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Aesop's Fables by  J. H. Stickney




[215] SINCE the purpose of the fable is not merely to entertain but especially to point some general truth or to draw a helpful lesson, no two versions of the same fable are exactly alike. In editions of Aesop intended for young children, it has been the custom to elaborate the slender story in such a way as to arouse thoroughly the child’s interest before the moral is drawn. Hence the modern popular versions often contain conversation and descriptive details not to be found in the accounts which are truest to the Greek versions. This popular elaborated form of the fable, however, needs no apology so long as the editor is true to the spirit of the original. In the preceding fables, the spirit if not the letter of the most trustworthy account available, has been carefully adhered to, but the editor has had always in mind the youthful readers and has neglected no opportunity to make the text fit their limited experience and understanding. But to both teacher and pupil the current short forms of some of the longer fables will have interest. In this Appendix, therefore, have been collected the short forms of the first fables which appear in the text. Much pleasure and profit can be had from a comparison of the two renderings, and such a comparison will open the way to a discussion of the difficulties in handing down literature orally and in preserving it in correct form.

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