Aesop facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Hellenistic statue thought to depict Aesop, Art Collection of Villa Albani, Rome
Hellenistic statue thought to depict Aesop, Art Collection of Villa Albani, Rome
Born c. 620 BCE
Died 564 BCE (aged c. 56)
Delphi, Greece
Nationality Greek
Genre Fable
Notable works Number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables

Aesop (c. 620 – 564 BCE) was a Greek fabulist and storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, and generally have human characteristics.

Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2500 years have included many works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films, plays, and television programs.

Nothing was known about Aesop from credible records. The tradition was that he was at one point freed from slavery and that he eventually died at the hands of Delphians.

His most famous fable in America is a parable of the tortoise and the hare. In this story, a rabbit challenges a tortoise to a race. The rabbit is sure of its victory and as a result, depending on the version of the story, in some way completes the race slower than the turtle. Often, the hare takes a nap or takes too many breaks. The persistent tortoise, despite being slower, wins because it persevered.


Aesop, as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle

The place of Aesop's birth was and still is disputed: (Africa)Thrace, Phrygia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Samos, Athens, Sardis and Amorium all claimed the honour. It is thought by modern writers that he may have been of African origin, it is said that his name is likely derived from "Aethiopian", a word used by the Greeks to refer mostly to dark skinned people of the African interior and that the stories are full of animals present in Africa, many of the creatures being quite foreign to Greece and Europe.

Aesop was also briefly mentioned in the classic Egyptian myth, "The Girl and the Rose-Red Slippers", considered by many to be history's first Cinderella story. In the myth, the freed slave Rhodopis mentions that a slave named Aesop told her many entrancing stories and fables while they were slaves on the island of Samos.

According to the historian Herodotus, Aesop met with a violent death at the hands of the inhabitants of Delphi, though the cause was not stated.

Aesop's Fables

The Farmer and the Stork - Project Gutenberg etext 19994
The Farmer and the Stork

Aesop's Fables or Aesopica refers to a collection of fables credited to Aesop. Aesop's Fables has also become a blanket term for collections of brief fables, usually involving personified animals.

The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today. Many stories included in Aesop's Fables, such as The Fox and the Grapes (from which the idiom "sour grapes" was derived), The Tortoise and the Hare and The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf (also known as The Boy Who Cried Wolf), are well-known throughout the world.

Images for kids

Aesop Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.