This month's fable, read by the Moore Public Library's Children Department staff, is The Lion and the Mouse. When the western world thinks of fables, Aesop is the name which springs to mind for many. But if it wasn't for Gaius Iulius Phaeder in Pieria, aka Phaedrus, we may not think of fables as we do today.
Phaedrus translated Aesop’s Fables from Greek into Latin and put them in a poetic form. He compiled them in the first collection of fables ever published as literature. He did more than create a compilation of Aesop’s tales, he refined and rewrote the fables in a Greek poetry style, called iambic senarii. He also included some of his own fables using “the old form but with modern content”, some say to fight against moral degradation during the time of Emperors Augustus and Tiberius.
The stated moral, either at the beginning (promythion) or at the end (epimythion), of the Aesop Fables may have also been from Phaedrus. Aesop, preferred to leave the moral to the imagination of the reader or listener and never included them himself.
Phaedrus’s contemporaries did not recognize his literary merit, but he regained the respect he had always sought after the 15th century, when his fables were rediscovered and were read by the public and even used for teaching Latin in school.
Click below to listen to or download the tale in English and/or Spanish.