June 29, 2013
First published: 560 BC
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I'm sure this book doesn't need any introduction: the fables are so well-known that sometimes we even don't realize we use some phrase or epithet because of the genius of Aesop who first came with the idea of describing human nature through shortish moralistic stories.
I was well acquainted with the fables too, but mostly through Krylov's adaptations. He took some of the most famous of Aesop's plots and translated them to Russian in verse. Apart from that, he also chose not to write explicit morals in the end of each fable, and that sometimes changed their meaning completely. So for me reading Aesop was more like a comparative investigation than just reading.
I must confess some of the morals were unexpected in the least, and sometimes even annoying. I guess this is because so much time has elapsed between modern times and the time they were written. It is especially true concerning the fables dealing with celestial intervention. But then, some of the morals hit the nail into the head, and I laughed a lot at some situations, because they sooo reminded me of someone.. :)
I guess this is a book that can be enjoyable for readers of all ages and all cultures, as it is amazing in its simplicity and at the same time intricacy. That's why there have been so many translations and adaptations of the fables through ages. Now I want to buy a big beautiful book of Aesop's fables that will decorate the shelves and provide distraction in times of boredom.