I asked my partner to share his favourite fable. He told me the story of the frog and the scorpion. I hadn`t heard of it, but in 3 minutes he not only told me a story, but also demonstrated that the nature of a person is in most cases constant. The story?-you will have to look it up for yourself. The moral?-one of many passed down by word of mouth for generations, bridging languages, countries and cultures in an enduring cycle.
For me it’s the tortoise and the hare. You probably know that one…
So what is it about fables that make them both loved and valuable? In reality, what is there not to love? They teach easily accessible enjoyable lessons in a non-judgemental way. How do they do this?
Fables are short, to the point, have few characters, and are just one story. This means they are easy to understand and enjoyable, rather than taxing.
Fables often use animals as characters. This makes their attributes easier to understand as animals are seen as less complicated beings. The characteristics of the animals chosen often reflect the strengths and weaknesses being featured in the story, underpinning the moral lesson.
- They actually do teach us (or our children) a lesson.
Fables take a complex message and indirectly convey it to the reader. The reader is engaged with the story, but under the surface they are learning something quite powerful. This is an invaluable tool for teaching. It can sweeten a bitter pill, and the lesson is absorbed without being forced.
A fable will often make us think long after the story has been told. This is great for learning wisdom. Why learn from our own mistakes when we can learn from someone else`s? This way has got to be infinitely less painful!
Fables can widen our appreciation of other cultures, help us understand traditions, and teach us new ways of appreciating the world and the diversity of life, reducing discrimination, and promoting acceptance.
All in all a worthy hoard of literary treasure! Do not underestimate them and use them to good effect. I have never forgotten the fable of the tortoise and the hare. It has taken me a half century to get where I wanted to be in life. But I made it….
Which fabled character will you identify with and why not leave an Amazon link to your favourite fable in our comments below?