The short stories attributed to Aesop have been around for over 2,500 years. Many times no longer than a paragraph, they are still long enough for the reader to see the moralistic truth of the world around us summed up in a brief encounter between animals. The vocabulary and grammar can be difficult for young children on their own, but they will be understood if it is read to them with the proper pauses and inflections. Every fable has its moral underneath it. Many of them children will recognize from other storybooks. Every teacher should have a collection of Aesop's fables.
About the Author
Aesop or Esop (620-564 BC), known for the genre of fables ascribed to him, was by tradition born a slave and was a contemporary of Croesus and Solon in the mid-sixth century BC in ancient Greece. Aesop's existence remains uncertain, and no writings by Aesop survive, but numerous fables attributed to him were gathered and set down in writing across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day; various collections under the rubric Aesop's Fables are currently available. In these stories animals speak and have human characteristics; see for example the Tortoise and the Hare or the Ant and the Grasshopper. While the Aesopic fables today are often cast as stories for children, for the early Greeks the fable "was a technique of criticism and persuasion, which by its indirectness might avoid giving offense, while at the same time making a powerful impression by its artistry. It was especially valuable to the weak as a weapon against the powerful." As the legendary creator of fables, quoted by Socrates, Aristophanes, and others, Aesop was highly regarded by the Greeks, despite his origin as a slave. Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch, and an ancient literary work called The Aesop Romance tells an episodic, probably highly fictional version of his life, including the traditional description of Aesop as strikingly ugly. A later tradition (dating from the Middle Ages) depicts Aesop as a black Ethiopian. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2500 years have included several works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films, plays, and television programs.