Many hundreds of years ago, Aesop, a Greek slave, became famous for the fables he told. Today Aesop's fables are still read and enjoyed by people all over the world.
Since the days of Aesop the world has changed greatly. But people are still people. Some are good, some are bad. Some are wise, some are foolish. Aesop's lessons still have great meaning. We enjoy reading them today as much as the Greek enjoyed listening to them long, long ago.
The Oak and the Reed
There was once a mighty oak tree that grew at the edge of a wood. At the foot of this spreading giant grew a thin reed. With every breeze the reed would bend, swaying and sighing.
The oak looked down upon the thin reed and laughed.
"Look at me," boasted the oak. "See how strong I am. The wind may blow his hardest, but I will never bend."
Now it came to pass that there was a terrible storm. Never had the wind been wilder. It lashed at the oak tree, stiff and straight, and bent the reed.
Harder and still harder blew the wind, but the oak tree would not bend. Then, suddenly, with a great cracking and splitting, the oak tree fell over and lay uprooted on the ground.
When the wind died down, the little reed stood upright, as before. Sadly it looked down upon the fallen giant.
"Strength is not everything. It is a good thing to be able to bend when one has to," said the reed.
The Rooster and the Pearl
A rooster, pecking at the ground, once came upon a pearl. "Aha!" he said, "here is something special for me to eat." But when he had picked the pearl out of the barnyard straw, he saw that it was a jewel and not a grain of corn.
Just then the farmer's wife appeared with a sack of feed for the chickens. The rooster tossed aside the pearl and pecked at the corn instead.
The farmers wife saw the pearl. She reached down and snatched it up with delight.
"Well," said the rooster, "that pearl may be a treasure to her. But since I cannot eat it, it's of no use to me. I would rather have a small bit of food than a large sack of pearls."
The rooster watched the woman hurry away with her
treasure. He pecked happily at his corn.
"To each his own," he said.
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