An Introduction to Aesop's Fables


Kelly Macquire
published on 28 August 2022

A fable is a short story that usually includes animals that act like people as the main characters and conveys a moral or a lesson to be learnt. Aesop’s Fables (which come to a total of 725, although modern editions often only include between two and three hundred) are no different. Herodotus was writing in the 5th century BCE and tells us that Aesop was a slave on Samos and was known as a storyteller or story maker. It is during the fifth century BCE that some specific tales were connected to Aesop by writers like Aristophanes and Aristotle.

Each of Aesop’s Fables, all of which are short and to the point, contain a central moral, whether that be desirable behaviour, or undesirable. They teach the reader (or listener) about rights and wrongs, and they highlight poor choices. But they’re done so in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re being chastised or taught a lesson, for most of the fables have an animal or animals with human characteristics that are dealing with human concerns.



0:00​ Introduction
1:04 An Introduction to Aesop and his Fables
3:11 The Purpose of Aesop's Fables
4:43 Aesop's Most Famous Fables
4:55 The Fox and the Grapes
5:24 The Crow and the Pitcher
5:59 The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
6:37 The Tortoise and the Hare
7:45 Outro

Aesop's Fables
Ancient Greek Literature
Ancient Egyptian Literature

History of the Iliad and the Trojan War
The Odyssey Summarised - Context, Themes and Importance
The Adventure of Jason and the Argonauts from the Argonautica
The Roman Epic Poem The Aeneid: Introduction and Summary

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

All translations of Aesop's Fables in this video were done by V. S. Vernon Jones

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Arthur Rackham -
Public Domain US faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain -

World History Encyclopedia

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, August 28). An Introduction to Aesop's Fables. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "An Introduction to Aesop's Fables." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified August 28, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "An Introduction to Aesop's Fables." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 28 Aug 2022. Web. 25 May 2024.