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Aesop's Fables and Jokes by Ierocles


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Nothing is known for certain about the life of Aesop, though legend has it that he lived in the sixth century BC and came from Phrygia, in Asia Minor. Supposedly a slave who had been set free by his master, he was said to have spoken with a stutter and to have been an ugly, hunchbacked man. He lived on the island of Samos until he gained his freedom, then travelled in Asia and Egypt before coming to Greece, where he spent time both in the city of Corinth, under Periander, and in Athens, whose ruler at that time was the lawmaker and poet Solon, thus coming into contact with the so-called ‘seven wise men’ of ancient Greece, whose rational way of thinking had much in common with Aesop’s own. According to the same tradition, Aesop met his death at Delphi, murdered by its angry citizens for declaring them unworthy of the gift of gold that King Croesus had sent him to distribute. The work that he has left us consists of over two hundred short fables, usually with talking animals as heroes but occasionally with men or even gods, in which cunning is entertainingly pitted against naïveté, and malice against kind-heartedness, till in the end some kind of instructive conclusion is always drawn. This is invariably expressed in the form of a moral, even when the conclusion is so obvious as not to need restating. The oldest surviving collection of Aesop’s fables was compiled by Demetrius of Phalirea in the fourth century BC, and was followed by many others, not always accurately recorded, with the result that the original form of each tale slowly faded into the mists of time. Yet in his fables, Aesop had created a new and original category of writing, even if it was one that no other writer took up after him. Those later writers who reworked a number of his fables merely added literary flourishes to the bare style of the originals. Particularly successful versions were produced by the French writers La Fontaine in the seventeenth century and Florian in the eighteenth, followed by the Russian author Krilov in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. All of these were in verse. Aesop’s fables have become so popular over the years that they have been republished countless times in one form or another and have kept readers both young and old amused for centuries. They may not be great works of literature, but they have remained among the most widely read stories of all times.


The present edition, which presents the fables in their original simple form, aims not only to entertain the reader but to give him a closer experience of this unique and, one might add, immortal form of the written word.




A philosopher who taught at the Neo-Platonist school in Alexandria from 420-450AD, Ierocles was influenced both by Platonic philosophy and by the peripatetics and the stoics. Among his writings there have also been preserved some one hundred and fifty jokes from which the selection below is taken. Although more than fifteen hundred years have passed since they were written, they still have the power to make us laugh today.

Aesop's Fables and Jokes by Ierocles


Edited and introduced by Menelaos Stephanides
Illustrated by Photini Stefanidi
Translation: Bruce Walter
192 pages, paperback, pocket size 16,5 x 11,5 cm

ISBN-13: 9789604250998



1. The Donkey and the Wolf

2. The North Wind and the Sun

3. The Two Young Men and the Butcher

4. The Eagle and the Fox

5. The Fox who Lost her Tail

6. The Fisherman and the Sprat

7. The Coalman and the Laundryman

8. The Fox and the Bramble Bush

9. The Shipwrecked Traveller

10. The Cunning Man

11. The Fox and the Mask

12. Τhe Swallοw and the Other Birds

13. The Astronomer

14. The Fox and the Dog

15. The Travellers and the Bear

16. The Man who was Bitten by a Dog

17. Τhe Dolphins, the Whales and the Sprat

18. Τhe Dolphin and the Monkey

19. The Two Travellers and the Axe

20. Τhe Deer and the Lion

21. The Cat and the Mice

22. The Fox and the Monkey

23. Hermes and the Sculptor

24. The Dog and the Donkey

25. Τhe Two Dogs

26. Τhe Lion and the Hare

27. The Fox and the Woodcutter

28. The Wildcat and the Cockerel

29. The Eagle, the Jackdaw and the Shepherd

30. The Fishermen

31. The Fox and the Grapes

32. The Fisherman

33. The Murderer

34. The Farmer and his Children

35. The Frogs Who Were Looking for a King

36. Τhe Oxen and the Axle

37. The Oak Tree and the Reed

38. The Donkey, the Cockerel and the Lion

39. The Monkey and the Camel

40. Τhe Piglet and the Sheep

41. The Hen who Laid Golden Eggs

42. The Father and his Daughters

43. The Man and his Wife

44. Τhe Goat and the Wolf

45. Zeus and Shame

46. Heracles and Plutos

47. Τhe Ant and the Cricket

48. The Doctor and the Dead Man

49. The Crab and the Fox

50. Zeus and the Camel

51. The Otter

52. The Gardener

53. The Dog and the Wolf

54. Τhe Lion and the Bear

55. Zeus and the Tortoise

56. The Dog and the Meat

57. Τhe Wild Goats and the Herdsman

58. The Fox and the Billygoat

59. The Kingfisher

60. The Boastful Athlete

61. The Fox with the Swollen Belly

62. The Goddess Aphrodite and the Cat

63. The Farmer and the Dogs

64. Τhe Farmer’s Children

65. The Lady and her Servants

66. The Witch

67. The Old Woman and the Doctor

68. The Οld Man and Death

69. Demades the Orator

70. Τhe Wolf and the Billygoat on the Roof

71. The Man who Sold Statues

72. Zeus and Momos

73. The Jackdaw and the Other Birds

74. Hermes and Tiresias

75. Τhe Horse, the Ox, the Dog and the Man

76. Zeus and Mankind

77. The Gardener and the Dog

78. The Thieves and the Cockerel

79. The Carrion Crow and the Dog

80. Τhe Lion and the Bull

81. Τhe Lion and the Mouse

82. The Robber and the Fig Tree

83. The Wolf and the Horse

84. The Wolf and the Lamb

85. The Donkey and the Mule-driver

86. Τhe Boy who Went for a Swim

87. Τhe Clumsy Shearer

88. The Pomegranate Tree, the Apple Tree and the Bramble Bush

89. The Mole

90. The Wasp and the Snake

91. Τhe Peacock and the Jackdaw

92. Τhe Cicada and the Fox

93. Τhe Peacock and the Stork

94. The Hare and the Tortoise

95. The Miser

96. Τhe Swallow and the Snake

97. The Woodcutters and the Oak Tree

98. Τhe Fir Tree and the Bramble Bush

99. The Two Cockerels and the Eagle

100. Τhe Mosquito and the Lion

101. The Man who Went to Buy a Donkey

102. Τhe Lion, the Donkey and the Fox

103. The Wolf and the Pelican

104. The Wolf and the Old Woman

105. The Shipwrecked Sailor and the Sea

106. The Prodigal Son and the Swallow

107. The Sick Man and the Doctor

108. The Bat, the Bramble Bush and the Seagull

109. Hermes and the Woodcutters

110. Τhe Boy and Chance

111. The Travellers and the Plane Tree

112. The Donkey that was Carrying a Statue

113. The Wild Donkey

114. The Fox, the Donkey and the Lion

115. The Wolves and the Sheep

116. The Swans and the Hawks

117. The Goat and the Herdsman

118. The Donkey with the Lion’s Skin

119. The Cranes and the Stork

120. The Bulls and the Lion

121. The Fox and the Lion

122. The Eagle and the Snake

123. An Argument Between a Lion and a Man

124. The Hunter and the Partridges

125. The Fox and the Crow

126. The Donkey and the Lion’s Skin

127. The Dog and the Fox

128. Τhe Mosquito and the Bull

129. The Hares and the Frogs

130. Τhe Lion and the Farmer

131. Τhe Lion and the Frog

132. The Wolf and the Shepherd

133. The Donkey and the Mule

134. Τhe Boy who was Hunting Grasshoppers

135. Τhe Young Thief and his Mother

136. The Rich man and the Mourners

137. The Dog, the Cockerel and the Fox

138. The Shepherd and the Sea

139. Τhe Lion, the Wolf and the Fox

140. The Ethiopian

141. The Shepherd and the Wolf

142. The Swan

143. The Man who Broke the Statue

144. Τhe Sick Crow

145. The Trumpeter

146. Τhe Lion, Prometheus and the Elephant

147. The Man and the Cricket

148. The Woman and the Farmer

149. The Thirsty Crow

150. The Incompetent Doctor

151. The Two Mice

152. Τhe Dogs and the Fox

153. The Donkey, the Mule and the Muleteer

154. The Snake’s Tail

155. Τhe Lion and the Fox

156. The Wolf and the Sheep

157. The Lioness and the Fox

158. The Wolf and the Lamb in the Temple

159. The Hares and the Foxes

160. The Seer

161. The Priest’s Donkey

162. The Mice and the Cats

163. Τhe Ant

164. The Traveller and Hermes

165. Τhe Ant and the Dove

166. The Donkey who was Carrying Salt

167. The Hunter and the Partridge

168. The Donkey and the Gardener

169. The Hen and the Snake’s Eggs

170. The Embezzler and the Oath

171. The Shepherd and the Wolf cub

172. The Shepherd who Loved Joking

173. The Travellers and the Raven

174. Prometheus and Men

175. The Saddlebags

176. The Fox and the Caged Lion

177. The Man and the Dog

178. The Farmer and the Viper

179. The Hunter and the Horseman

180. The Farmer and his Neighbour’s Crop

181. The Cat and the File

182. Τhe Pigeon and the Jug

183. The Shepherd and his Sheep

184. The Fox and the Monkey

185. The Dog and the Coppersmiths

186. The Dog and the Hare

187. The Shepherd and the Wolf

188. Heracles and the Carter

189. The Cow and the Ox

190. The Doctor and his Patient

191. The Dog and the Dinner, party

192. Τhe Lion and the Wild Donkey

193. The Wolf and his Shadow

194. The Bee and Zeus

195. The Flea and the Man



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