Aesop’s Fables: The Milkmaid and Her Pail

This is not the first Aesop’s fable we’ve posted, and it won’t be the last. Aesop’s fables have stuck around for a reason; they always have something to teach us.

The story goes that Aesop, a slave in ancient Greece, “made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are…” (Philostratus)

Only in the 18th century were the stories first marketed to children as useful moral tales.

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The Milkmaid and Her Pail

(From Project Gutenberg)

“A farmer’s daughter had been out to milk the cows, and was returning to the dairy carrying her pail of milk upon her head. As she walked along, she fell a-musing after this fashion: “The milk in this pail will provide me with cream, which I will make into butter and take to market to sell. With the money I will buy a number of eggs, and these, when hatched, will produce chickens, and by and by I shall have quite a large poultry-yard. Then I shall sell some of my fowls, and with the money which they will bring in I will buy myself a new gown, which I shall wear when I go to the fair; and all the young fellows will admire it, and come and make love to me, but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them.” Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!

Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.”

Aesop’s Fables: The Prophet

Aesop’s fables are tales contributed to a slave named Aesop from as early as his alleged birth in 620 B.C — but it’s unknown whether he was a real person or not. In fact, Aesop’s name is usually attributed to any fable without a known author.

We can all use some fables in our life, so here’s one from a 2003 edition of Aesop’s Fables.

“A prophet sat in the marketplace and told the fortunes of all who cared to engage his services. Suddenly there came running up one who told him that his house had been broken into by thieves, and that they had made off with everything they could lay hands on. He was up in a moment, and rushed off, tearing his hair and calling down curses on the miscreants. The bystanders were much amused, and one of them said, “Our friend professes to know what is going to happen to others, but it seems he’s not clever enough to perceive what’s in store for himself.”799px-Page_77_illustration_a_from_The_Fables_of_Æsop_(Jacobs)