PrefaceTHE TALE, the Parable, and the Fable are all common andpopularmodesofconveying instruction.Each isdistinguishedby itsownspecialcharacteristics.TheTaleconsists simply inthe narration of a story either founded on facts, or createdsolelyby the imagination, andnotnecessarily associatedwiththe teachingof anymoral lesson.TheParable is thedesigneduse of language purposely intended to convey a hidden andsecret meaning other than that contained in the wordsthemselves;andwhichmayormaynotbearaspecialreferencetothehearer,orreader.TheFablepartlyagreeswith,andpartlydiffersfrombothofthese.Itwillcontain,liketheTale,ashortbut real narrative; it will seek, like the Parable, to convey ahiddenmeaning,andthatnotsomuchbytheuseof language,as by the skilful introduction of fictitious characters; and yetunliketoeitherTaleorParable,itwilleverkeepinview,asitshighprerogative,andinseparableattribute,thegreatpurposeofinstruction, andwill necessarily seek to inculcate somemoralmaxim,socialduty,orpoliticaltruth.ThetrueFable, if itrisetoitshighrequirements,everaimsatonegreatendandpurposerepresentation of human motive, and the improvement ofhuman conduct, and yet it so conceals its design under thedisguise of fictitious characters, by clothing with speech theanimalsofthefield,thebirdsoftheair,thetreesofthewood,or thebeastsof the forest, that the readershall receiveadvicewithout perceiving the presence of the adviser. Thus thesuperiority of the counsellor, which often renders counselunpalatable,iskeptoutofview,andthelessoncomeswiththegreater acceptance when the reader is led, unconsciously to"******ebook converter DEMO - www.ebook-converter.com*******"
himself, to have his sympathies enlisted in behalf of what ispure,honorable,andpraiseworthy,andtohavehis indignationexcited against what is low, ignoble, and unworthy. The truefabulist,therefore,dischargesamostimportantfunction.Heisneither a narrator, nor an allegorist. He is a great teacher, acorrector of morals, a censor of vice, and a commender ofvirtue.InthisconsiststhesuperiorityoftheFableovertheTaleortheParable.Thefabulististocreatealaugh,butyet,underamerryguise,toconveyinstruction.Phaedrus,thegreatimitatorofAesop, plainly indicates this double purpose to be the trueofficeofthewriteroffables.
Duplex libelli dos est: quod risummovet, Et quod prudentivitamconsiliomonet.
The continual observance of this twofold aim creates thecharm, and accounts for the universal favor, of the fables ofAesop. The fable, saysProfessorK.O.Mueller, originatedin Greece in an intentional travestie of human affairs. Theainos, as its name denotes, is an admonition, or rather areproof veiled, either from fear of an excess of frankness, orfromaloveoffunandjest,beneaththefictionofanoccurrencehappeningamongbeasts;andwhereverwehaveanyancientandauthentic account of theAesopian fables,we find it to be thesame.Theconstructionofafableinvolvesaminuteattentionto(1)
the narration itself; (2) the deduction of themoral; and (3) acareful maintenance of the individual characteristics of thefictitious personages introduced into it. The narration shouldrelatetoonesimpleaction,consistentwithitself,andneitherbe"******ebook converter DEMO - www.ebook-converter.com*******"
overladen with a multiplicity of details, nor distracted by avariety of circumstances. The moral or lesson should be soplain, and so intimately interwoven with, and so necessarilydependent on, the narration, that every reader should becompelledtogivetoitthesameundeniableinterpretation.Theintroduction of the animals or fictitious characters should bemarked with an unexceptionable care and attention to theirnatural attributes, and to the qualities attributed to them byuniversalpopularconsent.TheFoxshouldbealwayscunning,theHare timid, theLionbold, theWolfcruel, theBullstrong,theHorseproud,andtheAsspatient.Manyofthesefablesarecharacterized by the strictest observance of these rules. Theyare occupied with one short narrative, from which the moralnaturally flows, and with which it is intimately associated.Tis the simple manner, says Dodsley,  in which themorals of Aesop are interwoven with his fables thatdistinguisheshim,andgiveshim thepreferenceoverallothermythologists.His Mountain delivered of aMouse, producesthemoral of his fable in ridicule of pompous pretenders; andhis Crow, when she drops her cheese, lets fall, as it were byaccident,thestrongestadmonitionagainstthepowerofflattery.There is no need of a separate sentence to explain it; nopossibilityofimpressingitdeeper,bythatloadwetoooftenseeof accumulated reflections.An equal amount of praise isdue for the consistency with which the characters of theanimals, fictitiously introduced, are marked. While they aremadetodepictthemotivesandpassionsofmen,theyretain,inan eminent degree, their own special features of craft orcounsel,ofcowardiceorcourage,ofgenerosityorrapacity.These terms of praise, it must be confessed, cannot be
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bestowedonallthefablesinthiscollection.Manyofthemlackthatunityofdesign,thatcloseconnectionofthemoralwiththenarrative, thatwise choice in the introduction of the animals,which constitute the charm and excellency of true Aesopianfable. This inferiority of some to others is sufficientlyaccounted for in thehistoryof theoriginanddescentof thesefables.Thegreatbulkof themarenot the immediateworkofAesop. Many are obtained from ancient authors prior to thetime inwhich he lived.Thus, the fable of the Hawk and theNightingale is relatedbyHesiod;  the EaglewoundedbyanArrow,wingedwithitsownFeathers,byAeschylus;theFox avenging hiswrongs on the Eagle, byArchilochus. Manyofthemagainareoflaterorigin,andaretobetracedtothemonks of themiddle ages: and yet this collection, thoughthus made up of fables both earlier and later than the era ofAesop,rightfullybearshisname,becausehecomposedsolargeanumber(allframedinthesamemould,andconformedtothesame fashion, and stampedwith the same lineaments, image,and superscription) as to secure to himself the right to beconsidered the father ofGreek fables, and the founder of thisclassofwriting,whichhaseversincebornehisname,andhassecuredforhim,throughallsucceedingages,thepositionofthefirstofmoralists.ThefableswereinthefirstinstanceonlynarratedbyAesop,
andforalongtimewerehandeddownbytheuncertainchanneloforal tradition.Socrates ismentionedbyPlato ashavingemployed his timewhile in prison, awaiting the return of thesacred ship from Delphos which was to be the signal of hisdeath, in turning some of these fables into verse, but he thusversifiedonlysuchasheremembered.DemetriusPhalereus,a"******ebook converter DEMO - www.ebook-converter.com*******"
philosopheratAthensabout300B.C.,issaidtohavemadethefirstcollectionofthesefables.Phaedrus,aslavebybirthorbysubsequent misfortunes, and admitted by Augustus to thehonors of a freedman, imitatedmany of these fables in Latiniambics about the commencement of the Christian era.Aphthonius,arhetoricianofAntioch,A.D.315,wroteatreatiseon,andconverted intoLatinprose, someof these fables.Thistranslation is the more worthy of notice, as it illustrates acustom of common use, both in these and in later times. Therhetoricians and philosophers were accustomed to give theFables of Aesop as an exercise to their scholars, not onlyinviting them to discuss the moral of the tale, but also topracticeandtoperfectthemselvestherebyinstyleandrulesofgrammar,bymaking for themselvesnewandvariousversionsof the fables. Ausonius,  the friend of the EmperorValentinian, and the latest poet of eminence in the WesternEmpire,hashandeddownsomeofthesefablesinverse,whichJulianus Titianus, a contemporary writer of no great name,translated into prose. Avienus, also a contemporary ofAusonius, put someof these fables intoLatin elegiacs,whicharegivenbyNevelet(inabookweshallrefertohereafter),andareoccasionallyincorporatedwiththeeditionsofPhaedrus.Sevencenturieselapsedbeforethenextnoticeisfoundofthe
FablesofAesop.During this longperiod these fables seem tohavesufferedaneclipse,tohavedisappearedandtohavebeenforgotten; and it is at the commencement of the fourteenthcentury,whentheByzantineemperorswerethegreatpatronsoflearning,andamidst thesplendorsofanAsiaticcourt, thatwenext find honors paid to the name and memory of Aesop.MaximusPlanudes,alearnedmonkofConstantinople,madea"******ebook converter DEMO - www.ebook-converter.com*******"
collectionofaboutahundredandfiftyofthesefables.Littleisknownofhishistory.Planudes,however,wasnomererecluse,shut up in his monastery. He took an active part in publicaffairs. In 1327A.D. hewas sent on a diplomaticmission toVenicebytheEmperorAndronicustheElder.Thisbroughthiminto immediate contact with the Western Patriarch, whoseinterestshehenceforthadvocatedwithsomuchzealastobringonhimsuspicionandpersecutionfromtherulersoftheEasternChurch.Planudeshasbeenexposedtoatwo-foldaccusation.HeischargedontheonehandwithhavinghadbeforehimacopyofBabrias(towhomweshallhaveoccasiontoreferatgreaterlengthintheendofthisPreface),andtohavehadthebadtastetotranspose,ortoturnhispoeticalversionintoprose:andheisasserted,ontheotherhand,nevertohaveseentheFablesofAesopatall,buttohavehimselfinventedandmadethefableswhich he palmed off under the name of the famous Greekfabulist. The truth lies between these two extremes. Planudesmayhaveinventedsomefewfables,orhaveinsertedsomethatwere current in his day; but there is an abundance ofunanswerable internal evidence to prove that he had anacquaintancewith the veritable fables ofAesop, although theversionshehadaccesstowereprobablycorrupt,ascontainedinthe various translations and disquisitional exercises of therhetoriciansandphilosophers.Hiscollectionis interestingandimportant, not only as the parent source or foundation of theearlier printedversionsofAesop, but as thedirect channel ofattractingtothesefablestheattentionofthelearned.The eventual re-intro