Have Books, Will Travel: From Fable to Table

Booklovers, rejoice! The holidays are just around the bend, which means meals. Plain and simple. Family and friends will gather around tables far and wide to partake in all manner of meats, potatoes, peas and pies. Nanas, grannies and great aunts will break out the recipes that have no exact measurements whatsoever and we’ll all salivate at the mere thought of seconds…okay, thirds…and an extra slice of cake. That’s right, as much as the holidays remind us of what it means to take a moment to be thankful for those near and dear, they also allow us to pig out. And in honor of that tradition, we bring you a list of Aesop’s fables made famous for their mention of food. Also, foxes. Aesop had a thing for foxes. Let’s dig in!

The Fox and The Crow

Our first mention of the fox finds the mischievous creature creeping up on a crow who had the good fortune of finding a piece of cheese. Never one to let a delectable morsel get away, the fox resorts to flattery as a means of coaxing the crow out of its snack. Sure enough, the shenanigans work, and the crow ends up dropping the cheese smack-dab into the snout of the enemy. Tsk tsk tsk. Keep a keen eye on those who shower you with empty acclaim.

Moral of the story:The flatterer lives at the expense of those who will listen to him.”

The Fox and The Grapes

If you’re wondering who the main character might be in our next tale, no need. It’s the fox. The fox is back. Except this time, he’s after grapes. He spots them hanging lusciously from a tree and decides that he simply must have them. He tries jumping into the tree to grab them but falls short. His second attempt consists of a running start followed by a larger leaping situation; still no luck. After failing to procure his desired produce, he figures he doesn’t want those stinkin’ grapes anyway. For shame. Funny how the fruit he’d been aiming for the entire time is no longer worth his attention because he isn’t willing to put in the work.

Moral of the story: “There are many who pretend to despise and belittle that which is beyond their reach.”

The Fox and The Stork

Oh, what’s this? Why, it’s another story about a greedy fox. Go figure. In this parable, the fox has a habit of picking on the neighborhood stork because of its unconventional appearance. In an effort to further amuse himself, he invites the stork to dinner. The unsuspecting bird happily agrees to share a meal but finds the task of actually eating rather difficult, given that the fox has chosen to serve soup in a shallow dish that isn’t suitable for the stork’s long beak. Instead of flying off the handle (see what we did there?), the stork simply invites his sly counterpart to dinner in return. The fox arrives to find that the stork has prepared a tasty fish dinner served in a tall, thin jar. Now that the tables have turned, the fox loses his temper. It seems he can’t quite take what he dishes out.

Moral of the story: “Do not play tricks on your neighbors unless you can stand the same treatment yourself.”

The Ant and The Grasshopper

Ha. You thought you were about to read yet another synopsis featuring a familiar sneaky mammal. Well, joke’s on you. We’re bringing our list to its conclusion with insects. Enter a family of hardworking ants. After storing up grain all winter, they are enjoying the fruits of their labor in the summer sunshine while laying their food out to dry. A starving grasshopper comes their way, a tiny fiddle tucked beneath one of his six legs. Let’s just say the fourth one. Anywho, the grasshopper begs the ants for a few bits of their harvest and they inquire about why he hadn’t stored up any food of his own last summer like everyone else. He explains that he spent the summer before playing music, perfecting his craft, living off of pure rhythm and grit. Before he knew it, the season had come and gone. The ants shrug and turn their backs on the grasshopper in response. Guess he would’ve been better off working when the fields were ripe for the picking.

Moral of the story: “There is a time for work and a time for play.”

Truth be told, the lessons to be learned from food-related folklore are endless. What are some of your favorite fables? More importantly, let us know what dish you’re most looking forward to this holiday season. Happy eating!