I loathe them. Seriously.
As a kid I grew up reading them, as there are lots of children's books that tell/re-tell fables and they seemed particularly popular with teachers in elementary school. There's a reason for that.
Namely, fables always come attached to a moral.
The Tortoise and the Hare: Slow and steady wins the race, and pride goeth before a fall.
|I didn't mind this one so much at first, but I heard it so often I got very sick of it. Seriously, this has to be one of the most frequently told fables ever. And who takes a nap in the middle of a race? Really.|
The Ant and the Grasshopper: You get what's coming to you. Also, don't be a musician when you grow up.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Don't make up stories because no one will believe you when you tell the truth.
|I don't know where this illustration is from, but I'd be way more concerned about why he is yodeling while riding a sheep in Little Red Riding Hood's outfit than about the whole crying-wolf thing.|
This didactic approach, thinly cloaked in the guise of a story, always rubbed me the wrong way, and never more so than for The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which I seemed to get told more than any other for some reason. I was actually quite a truthful child, but I did tend to exaggerate sometimes (is there a fable with the moral "don't make a mountain out of a molehill"?) and then my family would say I was 'crying wolf' or whatever.
It frustrated me so much, as I didn't see it as exaggeration — *I* thought it was important, even if they didn't. As a result I grew to hate that story in particular. I thought the boy was stupid, I thought the other villagers were annoying, and the wolf scared me when I was younger. (I guess I didn't really mind the sheep, LOL.) So in a weird, ironic way I'm kind of pleased to hear that telling the fable apparently increases the likelihood children will lie.
I saw this comic strip awhile ago and came across it again today on The Beanstalk (it was originally done by Cracked.com):
They definitely had the right idea.
So, to wrap up, what's the moral of THIS post? Simple: don't subject your kids to Aesop's fables. They will lie less and thank you later for it.
Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts on it, lovers and haters of Aesop's fables alike.