Tuesday, November 21, 2023



Aesop's Fables, or the Aesopica, is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. Of diverse origins, the stories associated with his name have descended to modern times through a number of sources and continue to be reinterpreted in different verbal registers and in popular as well as artistic media. The fables originally belonged to the oral tradition and were not collected for some three centuries after Aesop's death. By that time a variety of other stories, jokes and proverbs were being ascribed to him.


The Two Travellers and the Bear

The Fable:

Two Men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them.

One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree.

The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard that a Bear will not touch a dead body.

It must have been true, for the Bear snuffed at the Man's head awhile, and then, seeming to be satisfied that he was dead, walked away.

The Man in the tree climbed down.

"It looked just as if that Bear whispered in your ear," he said. "What did he tell you?"

"He said," answered the other, "that it was not at all wise to keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a moment of danger."

The Moral:

Misfortune is the test of true friendship.

Another version states:

After the bear left without injuring the man who had feigned being dead, the man in the tree came down to his comrade and jokingly asked what the bear had been saying to him. "It was some good advice," said his friend; "he told me never to trust someone who deserts you in need."

Other commentaries:

Words are nothing, till they are fulfilled by actions; and therefore we should not suffer ourselves to be deluded by a vain hope, and reliance upon them.

It is wise to diligently examine into the fidelity of those we have to deal with, before we embark with them in any enterprise, in which our lives and fortunes may be put to hazard by their breach of faith.

Poetic moral:

Those people who run from their friends in distress,
Will be left when themselves are in trouble, I guess.


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