The Ant and the Grasshopper

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


            One summer day a grasshopper was singing and chirping and hopping about.  He was having a wonderful time.  He saw an ant who was busy gathering and storing grain for the winter. 

            “Stop and talk to me,” said the grasshopper.   “We can sing some songs and dance a while.”

            “Oh no,” said the ant.  “Winter is coming.  I am storing up food for the winter.  I think you should do the same.”

            “Oh, I can’t be bothered,” said the grasshopper.  “Winter is a long time off.   There is plenty of food.”   So the grasshopper continued to dance and sing and chip and the ant continued to work.

 When winter came the grasshopper had no food and was starving.  He went  to the ant’s house and asked, “Can I have some wheat or maybe a few kernels of corn.  Without it I will starve,” whined the grasshopper.

“You danced last summer,” said the ants in disgust.   “You can continue to dance.”  And they gave him no food.


There is a time to work and a time to play.



The Dog and the Bone

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


A dog once had a large bone that his master had given him.  As he trotted off to enjoy it, he went across a bridge across a river.  He looked down into the water and saw another dog.

The other dog was also carrying a bone in his mouth.  The dog stopped to look.  The other dog’s bone was bigger than his bone.  He dropped his bone and lunged for the other dog’s bone.  His bone fell into the water with a splash.  The dog fell into the water and struggled to shore.  As he climbed out of the water, he realized how stupid he had been.


It is very foolish to be greedy.




The Lion and the Four Oxen

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


There were four oxen that lived in a field.  Every day a lion came by the field.  He would prowl around and try to attack them.   Every time he did, the four oxen turned with their tails to each other and their heads outward.   No matter which way the lion approached, he was met by the horns of one of the oxen.  And he did not get an ox for his dinner.

One day the four oxen began to quarrel among themselves.  They angrily went off to graze alone, each in a different corner of the field.   Then the lion was able to attack them one by one and made an end to all four.


            United we stand, divided we fall.




The Lion and the Mouse

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


A lion was sleeping one day.  A small mouse ran up and down upon him.  The lion woke up and pinned the mouse beneath his paw.

“Oh please, lion,” pleaded the mouse.  “I am sorry I disturbed you.   Please forgive me this one time.  I may be small but someday I may be able to help you.”

The lion laughed.  How could a little mouse hope to help a strong animal like him?  But he lifted his paw and let the mouse go.

Some time later the lion was walking through the forest and walked into a hunter’s trap.   Try as he might, he could not free himself from the rope net.  Just then the little mouse happened by and saw the lion.  He wasted no time but set about knowing the ropes of the net and the lion was soon free.  “Was I not right?” said the little mouse. 


Little friends may prove to be great friends.




The Man and the Lion

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


There was once a man who refused to obey his king.  He was sentence to die.  But before they could kill him, the man escaped and ran into the forest.   He met a lion with a thorn in his paw.   The man pulled the thorn out.  As the lion was licking his paw, he said, “I am grateful to you.  I will never forget what you have done.  You will always be my friend.”

So the man told the lion goodbye and left.  It was not long before the man was captured by the king’ soldiers.  They brought him back and he was sentenced to died in the arena.  When the lion was released, the man recognized the lion.  It was the very same lion that he had helped.   He bravely reminded the lion of his promise and asked the lion not to eat him because they were friends. 

The lion was hungry.  He jumped upon the man and ate him.


Beware of friends who make false statements.


Note:  If you don’t like this ending, there are stories where the lion doesn’t eat the man because the lion was grateful.  The moral would then be something like:  When you help other people, you sometimes help yourself.



The Frog and the Ox

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


            An ox came down to the pond to drink.  As he walked into the water he smashed a young frog into the mud.  When the frogs returned home, the old mother frog soon missed the little frog.  She wanted to know where the little frog was.  “Oh mother,” said the little frogs, “a big monster stepped on little brother with one of his big feet.”

            “How big?” said the mother frog.  “Was he as big as this?”  And she puffed herself up.

            “Oh, much bigger!” they cried.

            The frog puffed up even bigger.

            “No, he was bigger than that!” they cried.

            “He couldn’t possibly have been bigger than this,” she said.  And she kept puffing herself up bigger and bigger and bigger until, all at once, she burst.


            Do not attempt the impossible.



The Little Crabs Who Walked Zig Zag

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens



            A mother crab was watching her young son walk.   “Why do you walk sideways like that?” she asked.  “You should always walk straight forward with your toes turned out.”

            The little crab tried to walk straight forward but only succeeded in walking sideways again.  “Show me how to do it, Mother,” he cried.  “I want to learn how to do it right.”

            So the old mother crab demonstrated how to walk and she walked sideways.  She tried and tried to walk sideways and could not do it.  When she tried to turn her toes outward, she stumbled and fell on her face.


            Do not tell others how to act unless you can set a good example.



The Fox and the Stork

An Aesop Fable Retold by Rose Owens


            One day a fox was feeling good.  He decided to play a trick on the stork.  The fox thought the stork looked funny and he was always laughing at the stork.

            “Please come over to my house for supper,” the fox told the stork.  The stork gladly accepted.  He wanted to be friends with the fox.  He made sure he arrived at fox’s house on time.  He was hungry.

            The fox served soup for supper.  It was set out in a very shallow dish and all the stork could do was dip in the end of his beak.  He did not taste a single drop of soup.  Fox happily lapped up the soup with a sly smile on his face.  The stork pretended to enjoy his soup.

            Although the stork was very angry at the fox’s trick, he was also even-tempered and not one to throw temper tantrums.  However, not long after this, the Stork invited the fox to dinner.  The fox arrived promptly.  The stork was serving a delicious smelling fish dinner.  But it was served in a tall jar with a very narrow  neck.  The stork could easily get at the food with his long bill, but the fox could only sniff at the delicious dinner and lick the outside of the jar. 


Do not play tricks on your friends unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.



The Turtle and the Ducks

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


            A turtle once listened to some ducks telling of all the wonders of the world they saw as they flew here and there.  The more he listened, the more he wanted to travel all over the world too. 

            Two ducks offered to help him.  “I you will take hold of this stick with your mouth, we will each hold an end and we will carry you through the air so you can see the whole countryside.  But you must promise not to talk.   You must promise to keep your mouth shut.”

            The turtle was happy to promise.  He grabbed hold of the stick and away sailed the two ducks and the turtle.  They sailed up higher than the trees.  They sailed up into the clouds.   Just then a crow flew by.  “What a foolish sight,” he called.  “What is a turtle doing flying through the clouds?”

            “I will have you know,” said the turtle.  But he never finished his explanation for the minute he opened his mouth to say these foolish words, he fell to the ground.


            There is a time to speak and a time to remain silent.




The Farmer and the Stork

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


            A flock of cranes once invited a stork to join them for a party.   They flew to a newly planted field and began to eat the seeds and sprouts.  The party ended sadly for they all became tangled up in the farmer’s net.

            The stork begged and begged the farmer to let him go.  “Please let me go,” he begged.  “I am a stork.  My family is honest.  Storks are birds of good character.  I did not know that the cranes were going to steal.”

            “You may be a very good bird,” answered the farmer,“ but I caught you with the thieving cranes and you will get the same punishment.


            You are judged by the company you keep.



The Crow and the Pitcher

An Aesop Fable Retold by Rose Owens



            It was very dry and the birds could find very little to drink.  A thirsty crow found a pitcher with a little water in it.   The pitcher was tall and had a narrow neck.  No matter how he tried, the crow could not reach the water.   He felt as if he would die of thirst.

            Then he had an idea.  He began to pick up small pebbles and drop them into the pitcher one by one.  With each pebble, the water rose a little higher until at last it was near enough so he could drink.


            In a pinch a good use of our wits may help us out.



Belling the Cat

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


            There was once a very vicious cat.  He caught mouse after mouse and ate them. Something had to be done!  So the mice decided to have a meeting.  Many plans were suggested and rejected.   At  last a very young mouse began to talk.  “My plan,” he said, “is to put a bell on the cat.  If she has a bell around her neck, we will be able to hear her before she gets close enough to catch us.”

            It was a wonderful plan and all the mice voted to accept the plan.   The mice cheered and were excited that the cat problem would now be solved.

            A very old mouse, who had been silent until now, spoke, “It is a wonderful plan,” he said, “a most clever idea and will no doubt be quite successful.   But what I want to know is who will put the bell on the cat?”


It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.


The Farmer and the Snake

An Aesop Fable Retold by Rose Owens


                        It was bitterly cold as the farmer climbed the path to the high hills to check on his livestock.  A rattlesnake lay across the path, nearly frozen.

            “Please,” begged the snake, “take me down where it is warmer.  Or I shall surely freeze to death.”

            “I don’t think so,” said the Farmer.  “I would be a fool to trust you.”

            But the snake pleaded.  “If you will do this thing, I promise that I will not hurt you.”

            Having compassion upon the snake, the farmer picked him up and carried him down into the valley and laid him down upon the ground.   As the snake warmed up, he wiggled and stretched.  He coiled himself up and struck the farmer.

            “Why did you bite me?” cried the farmer.  “You gave me your word not to harm me.”

            “Ah,” said the snake, “but you knew what I was when you picked me up.”


This version is copyrighted by Rose Owens  c. 2000


The Lark and the Wheat Field

An Aesop Fable retold by Rose Owens


A lark made her nest in a  wheat field.  Her eggs had hatched and now her young were nearly grown.  One day when she returned to the nest, her children said, “Mother, Mother!  We will have to move right away.  The farmer says the wheat is ripe and it is time to cut it.  He is going to ask his neighbors to help cut the wheat!”

            “No,” said the Mother.   “We are all right for a while yet.”

            The next day when she returned to the nest, her children said, “Mother!  Mother!  Surely we should move.  Today we heard the farmer say that the wheat is ripe and ready to cut.  He is going to ask his relatives to come cut it for him!”

            “No,” said the Mother lark.  “We do not have to move yet.”

            On the third day, the baby larks said, “Mother, Mother!  Today the farmer came to the fields.  I heard him tell his sons, ‘No one wants to help us.  Tomorrow we will have to cut the wheat ourselves.’”

            “It  is time to move, children for the farmer no longer waits for others but plans to reap the wheat himself.”


            Self-help is the best help. 


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