Illustration by Sam Bertken
How did this frog get so big? Through her own folly, I’m afraid…
She’s from The Frogs and the Ox, and she’s trying to make herself as big as an ox. It doesn’t turn out well.
In fact, the frogs always seem to be coming up with bad ideas… Like, for instance, in The Frogs Who Wished for a King or The Frog and the Mouse. Unlike the mice, who come up with bad ideas after a lot of thought and deliberation in their mouse councils, the frogs just don’t seem to think things through. Naturally, this leads to plenty of mishaps for the frogs.
The frogs are also scared of everything, perhaps with good reason considering all the misfortune that befalls them. They run for their lives in The Hares and the Frogs and The Boys and the Frogs.
What with all that running in fear and being prone to mishaps, we see some great opportunities for slapstick. That might be why the Frog sections of Aesop Amuck are some of the most hilarious to rehearse.
Here’s a little taste of our rehearsal shenanigans…
Thanks to the Library of Congress, many of Aesop’s fables are online in a gorgeous, interactive edition with illustrations by Milo Winter.
Google Books also has many electronic editions of Aesop collections, including a free public domain volume illustrated by Harrison Weir.
There’s a searchable collection at www.aesopfables.com, which also includes fairy tales from Hans Christian Andersen and others. This is likely the most extensive collection, and you’ll find many fables that are nearly identical but with slight variations in the details.
Who was Aesop anyway? Wikipedia can tell you a little more about who he might have been. But no writings attributed directly to “Aesop” survive. We do know that many philosophers and poets, including Aristophanes and Sophocles, knew of Aesop’s stories; Sophocles composed some of them into verse poems. We also know Aesop didn’t write down any of the morals; the lesson of each story was thought to be clear without articulating it, but later authors have added them and today we recognize many familiar aphorisms in the morals of “Aesop’s Fables.”
And for more images, head to Wikimedia Commons for a wealth of public domain illustrations from historical editions of the fables.
A Wenceslas Hollar illustration found at Wikimedia Commons