Aesop's Fables

by Aesop
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"Sour Grapes"

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Last Updated on May 25, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 144

Context: "Sour grapes" is the shortened form of the proverbial saying for which everyone knows the source. The moral tacked onto the story is usually "It is easy to despise something you cannot get." George Herbert in 1640 said "The fox, when he cannot reach the grapes, says they are not ripe." LaFontaine in his famous Fables retold the story as "They are too green . . . and only good for fools." In the most recently translated version from the most accurate original, the fable is as follows:

A hungry fox saw some grapes hanging from a vine in a tree and, although he was eager to reach them, was unable to do so. As he went away, he said to himself, "They're sour grapes." So it is with men, too. Some who can't do what they want because of their own inability blame it on circumstances.

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