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Fables

Part One

Part Two

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Aesop's Best: 80 Fables in Verse

(Manuscript for a future book)



An African slave named Aesop, brought forcibly to Greece in the fifth century BCE, invents some 350 unforgettable stories for adults that teach timeless wisdom, and now the most interesting of them is re-told in verse by poet William Cleary. Two illustrated books contain the published versions: Prayers and Fables, and Praying Your Story with a future book planned containing them all to be titled Aesop's Best.

Part One

Group One


1 City mouse and country mouse exchange visits
2 The bald knight laughs at himself
3 A man is undone by two loving wives
4 The peace-loving sun defeats the wind
5 An astrologer suffers a foolish accident
6 The wise wasp uncovers the truth
7 The little mice plan to bell the cat
8 The thirsty crow gets good advice
9 The canny dog out-smarts the thief
10 The wounded wolf calls for help

Group Two


11 The comedian out-squeals a pig
12 The donkey adores the grasshopper's music
13 The disappointed fox bad-mouths the grapes
14 A ghost cures an old man's despair
15 A farmer kills the goose who lays the golden eggs
16 The camel copies the monkey
17 A gluttonous mouse gets trapped in a box
18 The hunter condemns a traitorous partridge
19 The sun plans a wedding
20 The bragging candle learns a lesson


Group Three


21 The tortoise outraces the hare
22 A thin reed survives where a great oak dies
23 The lion and the mouse exchange favors
24 The goat and the lion decide not to fight
25 The mother lion settles an argument
26 The donkey's shadow disappears
27 The dove and the ant save each other
28 The greedy boy's hand gets caught in the jar
29 The greedy woman over-deeds her hen
30 The tricky donkey gets tricked


Group Four


31 A man argues with a wise lion
32 The deer misjudges his talents
33 The dying farmer tricks his sons
34 The baby goat taunts a wolf
35 The pigeons choose a king
36 The big trees betray the little tree
37 A mean dog nests in the manger
38 The selfish horse goes an extra load
39 A boy cries wolf
40 The fox outwits the crow

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Part Two


Group One


1 Some timid bunnies change their tune
2 The hare outruns a hound
3 The lion is ashamed to feel afraid
4 Grandma ewe saves her life
5 A fool scolds a drowning child
6 The wolf fails to deceive a horse
7 A canny bat changes her name
8 A gullible wolf is scared away
9 The amorous lion becomes a fool
10 Some revelers forget past lessons


Group Two


11 A wolf becomes proud of its shadow
12 A greedy lion loses his dinner
13 A lovesick cat becomes a woman
14 A milkmaid dreams too much
15 The greedy dog loses his bone
16 Prideful mice are defeated
17 A drowning priest learns to pray
18 A wise bear advises a traveler
19 A man tries to sell his god
20 A clever donkey tricks a wolf


Group Three


21 The boastful rooster loses his life
22 Grasshoppers fail to save for the future
23 A hunter hunts only tracks
24 A swan sings to save her life
25 An eagle dies a double death
26 The foolish crab moves to dry land
27 A reckless deer takes one bite too many
28 The foolhardy shepherd rears wolf cubs
29 A wolf refuses to pay his fee
30 A wily fox has a hare for dinner


Group Four


31 The brash gnat loses his life
32 The enemy's trumpeter is condemned
33 A tortoise dies trying to fly
34 A doomed man still enjoys revenge
35 The scorpion stings the helpful hawk
36 A wolf finds reasons for eating a lamb
37 The stork chooses bad companions
38 The tricky wolf dons sheep's clothing
39 A donkey thinks he's divine
40 A patient dies of good symptoms

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