Aesop's Fables, 1881. Illustrated by Harrison Weir, John Tenniel, Ernest Griset

Aesop’s Fables, 1881. Illustrated by Harrison Weir, John Tenniel, Ernest Griset

I’m feeling a bit lazy today, so how about a quick fable? This is one of Aesop’s.

The Trumpeter Taken Prisoner

A trumpeter, bravely leading on the soldiers, was captured by the enemy. He cried out to his captors: “Pray spare me, and do not take my life without cause or without inquiry. I have not slain a single man of your troop. I have no arms, and carry nothing but this one brass trumpet.”

“That is the very reason for which you should be put to death,” they said; “for while you do not fight yourself, your loud trumpet stirs up all the other soldiers to battle.”

Moral:  He who incites strife is as guilty as they who strive.

Good point. Just because he didn’t actually kill people, he was still as much a part of the battle as the soldiers.

And a bit about Aesop from Wikipedia. The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned in passing that “Aesop the fable writer” was a slave who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century BCE. Among references in other writers, Aristophanes, in his comedy The Wasps, represented the protagonist Philocleon as having learnt the “absurdities” of Aesop from conversation at banquets; Plato wrote in Phaedo that Socrates whiled away his jail time turning some of Aesop’s fables “which he knew” into verses. Nonetheless, for two main reasons – because numerous morals within Aesop’s attributed fables contradict each other, and because ancient accounts of Aesop’s life contradict each other – the modern view is that Aesop did not solely compose all those fables attributed to him, if he even existed at all. Instead, any fable tended to be ascribed to the name of Aesop if there was no known alternative literary source. I think I’d rather believe that Aesop did exist and did write down the fables.

Thursday’s Tale is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.