620 BC-564 BC

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."

Aesop lived approximately 620-564 B.C. There are many possibilities relating to his place of birth: suggestions include Thrace, Greece, Phrygia, Ethiopia and Samos, but he is reported to have spent much of his life living in Greece at the court of King Croesus in Athens.

Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus and Plutarch. Traditionally, he is described as a strikingly ugly slave who, by his cleverness, acquires freedom and becomes an adviser to kings and city-states.

Aesop's Fables were first printed in English by William Caxton in 1484. They were believed not to have been written specifically as children's literature, but were used originally to make thinly disguised social and political criticisms.

In many of the tales, animals speak and have human characteristics; a moral is added at the bottom of each of the fables, and many of the sayings and proverbs featured are well known today. For example, “slow and steady wins the race” comes from ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ and “familiarity breeds contempt” comes from ‘The Fox and the Lion’.

Other well known fables include ‘The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’, ‘The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs’ and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’.


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