Aesop's fables (stories in which animals speak and act like humans) date back to the sixth century B.C. Aesop was a Greek slave from the island of Samos. According to legend, after being freed by his master Aesop traveled and collected many adventures, which were then handed down as oral stories throughout the ages. These stories are short, moralistic tales that usually teach some kind of lesson through the experiences of personified animals. One of the most famous fables is "The Tortoise and the Hare," in which the slow but persistent Tortoise wins a race against the fast but lazy Hare. Other popular stories are the "Fox and the Grapes" and "The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing."
Aesop's fables were translated into English in 1692 by Roger Lestrange (1616–1704) in London, England. Some of the stories are closely related to fables of other cultures and earlier times. Many scholars therefore believe that Aesop was a fictional narrator rather than an actual historical figure.
Further Information: Aesop. [Online] Available http://www.worldwideschool.org/library/books/socl/customsetiquettefolklore/Ae, October 23, 2000; Aesop. [Online] Available http://www.pacificnet. net/-johnr/cgi/aesop1.cgi?1&LifeofAesoplg, October 23, 2000; "Aesop." Electric Library. [Online] Available http://www.encyclopedia.com/articles/00152.html, October 23, 2000; Bader, Barbara, and Arthur Geisert. Aesop and Company: With Scenes From His Legendary Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991; Blackman, H. J. The Fable as Literature. London: Athlone Press, 1885; Hague, Michael. Aesop's Fables. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985.