How Well Do You Remember Aesop's Fables?


By: Raj Chander

7 Min Quiz

Image: Digital Vision. / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

For a man whose fables have had such a massive impact on human culture, we know very little about the life of Aesop.

What we do know is that he had a gift for telling riveting stories. Each tale had a theme, typically about behaving the right way - or the consequences of acting from evil, selfishness, or greed. Scholars believe he was of African descent, probably from Ethiopia, and while we don't know for sure, some believe that he was a slave. Aesop was also a problem solver. Legend has it that he dispensed advice to royalty like King Nectanabo of Egypt and King Lycurgus of Babylon - the latter was so grateful for his help that he erected a state of gold in Aesop's honor.

Unfortunately, Aesop's wit and biting tongue got him in trouble with the people of Delphi. Angered over an insult to their character, the people of Delphi planted a gold cup belonging to the god Apollo among Aesop's belongings. He was accused of stealing it and thrown to his death around 560 BC. Though he probably never wrote down his fables, authors, filmmakers, and historians have kept them alive throughout the centuries. How well do you know Aesop's tales? This quiz will tell you!

What problem does the boy face in The Boy and The Filberts?

In the fable, the boy is unwilling to drop any of the filberts, making it impossible for him to remove his hand from the pitcher. This story's lesson is to use moderation and not try to always take as much as you can.


In the Ant and the Grasshopper, what does the grasshopper do wrong?

When winter comes around, the ant refuses to share food that he worked hard to earn during the summer. Besides hard work, this story is also a lesson in thinking ahead.


In The Hare and The Tortoise, why does the tortoise end up winning the race?

In possibly Aesop's most famous fable, the much faster hare is defeated by the tortoise, leading to the story's moral: Slow and steady wins the race.


In The Crow and The Pitcher, how does the crow finally get to take a drink of water?

By solving a problem that at first seemed insurmountable, Aesop's crow teaches us an important lesson: A little creativity can solve even the toughest challenges.


What does the dove do for the ant in The Ant and The Dove?

After the dove saves his life, the ant repays the favor by biting the foot of a hunter who is about to catch the dove in a net, allowing his feathered friend to escape. The message in this story is to be kind because it will come back to you.


What does the little fish try to do to get the fisherman to spare him in the fable?

Unfortunately for the fish, the fisherman declines, leading to the moral of the story: A small gain that is certain is better than the hope for a larger gain in the future.


How does the kid escape the wolf in the fable of The Wolf and the Kid?

The wolf learns the moral of this fable the hard way: Don't let anything throw you off track from your main goal, or you may lose your opportunity altogether.


What makes the wolf feel bigger than he is in The Wolf and His Shadow?

His ego inflated by the size of his shadow, the wolf decides to take on the mighty lion - unfortunately, he is dispatched in a single strike. The moral of the story is to not let something that doesn't really matter make you more confident than you should be.


"In unity there is strength," is the lesson in which of Aesop's fables?

In this story, a father asks his quarrelsome sons to break the bundle of sticks together, but none of them can do it. After he separates the bundle, the sticks break easily, which illustrates the father's point: Sticking together makes you stronger than separating.


What mistake does the dog make in The Dog and His Reflection?

The dog mistakes the reflection of himself holding his bone for another dog with a larger bone and decides he wants that bone too, but instead ends up losing the only bone he had. Here, Aesop teaches us to not be greedy and learn to take satisfaction in what we already have.


What was the hare running for when he got away from the hound in The Hare and The Hound?

Even though the hound eventually fails in his pursuit of the hare, he brushes it off, telling other animals mocking him that he was only running for dinner, while the hare was running for survival. The story is a lesson about raising the stakes to improve motivation.


Why does the hare leave the lion's domain in The Hare and His Ears?

By leaving the area to make sure the lion doesn't mistake his ears for horns, the hare teaches us the moral of this fable: It's best to make sure that people don't even have the slightest reason to attack you.


Which figure of speech that means "a final performance" came from Aesop's fable The Swan and The Goose?

In different variations of the story, the swan is mistaken for a goose until its beautiful song is heard, saving its life. The whooper swan has been observed in the wild emitting an oddly musical noise when it dies - scholars believe it is the basis for Aesop's story.


In The Lion and The Mouse, which action by the lion ends up saving his life later?

After letting the mouse go, the lion gets trapped by a hunter's net. Upon hearing the lion's frustrated roars, the mouse returns to repay the favor, chewing through the net and allowing the lion to escape.


What is the name of this fable, which also means the largest or best portion of something?

After going hunting with a fox, jackal, and wolf, the lion divides up their catch into four equal parts and takes three of them for himself. The moral of this fable is that whoever has the most power is the one who gets to set the rules.


In The Fox and The Stork, the fox fools the stork by serving him soup in a bowl he can't access with his long beak. How does the stork retaliate?

When the fox becomes angered over not being able to eat the fish, the stork shares the lesson of this fable: Never play a prank on someone unless you are ready to be pranked back.


What ends up happening at the end of the fable of The Two Goats?

Because the goats are on a narrow bridge without enough room for both to cross, but cannot agree to let the other pass, they both end up falling to their deaths. Here Aesop's lesson is that sometimes it's important to let another person do something first and take your turn second.


What common saying is derived from the fable of The Fox and The Grapes?

It's only after realizing he cannot reach the grapes that the fox decides they are spoiled and sour, an example illustrating how many people speak badly of things because they cannot have them.


In The Oak and The Reeds, what is different about the way the oak and the reeds handle wind?

Eventually, a huge hurricane comes around with winds so powerful that they shatter the oak, while the reeds survive. Aesop's moral here is that sometimes it's better to yield to what you cannot change, instead of resisting stubbornly and causing things to be worse.


What is the object that the two travelers see floating in the distance in The Travelers and The Sea?

Although they believe the log is a ship holding treasure and then a fisherman's skiff, it ends up being nothing close to that. The lesson is to never let your fanciful imagination take you away from reality.


In The Frogs Who Wished for a King, why do the frogs end up regretting the second king they are sent?

The first king, a log sent by the god Jupiter, is ridiculed by the frogs, who had been requesting a king. When Jupiter sends them a malevolent king who eats them, it illustrates the lesson of this fable: Make sure the changes you seek will improve your condition.


Why does the lion ignore the ass in The Lion and the Ass?

The lion is at first angered by the ass's braying, but he calms himself down and realizes that there's no point getting himself worked up over an opinion that doesn't matter - a lesson that we all would be wise to heed.


In The Frog and The Mouse, the frog uses a reed to tie his leg to the mouse's. What happens next?

The frog deceives the curious mouse into coming into the pond, where he quickly drowns - but before the frog can unbind himself from the mouse, a hawk swoops in and grabs them both to eat. The lesson? When you try to harm others, you often bring yourself down in the process.


In The Sheep and The Pig, why do the sheep not understand why the pig squeals so loudly upon being picked up by the farmer?

The sheep don't understand that the farmer actually wants to slaughter the pig for meat, since he has only ever cut their hair. This fable explains that it's easy to be brave when you aren't in danger.


What mistake does the bear make in The Bear and The Bees?

While hunting for honey, the bear carefully inspects a fallen log to ensure no bees are there. Just then, a bee returns home to the log and sees him, immediately stinging the bear. Enraged, the bear begins violently jumping and clawing the log, only to aggravate the entire swarm, forcing him to run away and jump in a nearby water. The moral? Better to suffer a single injury in silence than to make things worse by reacting in anger.


In the fable, what's the difference between The Crow and The Swallow?

While the swallow chides the crow for his plain-looking feathers, the crow points out that his feathers actually keep him warm, while the swallow's just have interesting colors.


In The Farmer and the Stork, what mistake does the stork make?

The stork pleads with the farmer to let him go, but the farmer points out the lesson of this fable: You are judged by the company you keep, and must pay the price for their misdeeds along with them.


What is the lesson in The Boys and the Frogs?

The boys seem to be innocently skipping stones into the pond, but the frogs who live there teach them the lesson of the story: What you do for harmless pleasure might be dangerous for another party.


In The Beetle and the Eagle, how does the beetle get revenge on the eagle?

By pushing the eagle's unborn eggs out of the nest, the beetle gets vengeance on the eagle for not sparing a hare that had asked the beetle for protection. The lesson is that even the smallest, weakest creatures can cause harm, so it pays to be nice to everyone.


What is the lesson in The Farmer and The Viper?

As a result of the viper killing the farmer who showed it kindness, the expression "viper in my bosom" is often used to refer to someone who is ungrateful or hurts you after attempts to help them.


Which story is about not taking advantage of a person in a bad situation?

In this story, the bull takes refuge from a prowling lion by running into a cave that happened to have a goat already in it. The goat begins headbutting the bull, who responds indignantly by telling the goat to wait until the lion leaves if he wants to see real strength.


In The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse, why do the two mice have to interrupt their meal at the town mouse's house?

The Country Mouse leaves to go back home right after the interruption, explaining to his Town Mouse cousin that he'd rather be at peace and safe while eating meager foods than eat rich foods in a dangerous circumstance.


In the story of The Fox and The Leopard, who has the best-looking coat of fur?

Although the leopard has the best physical appearance, the fox points out that he has a sharper intellect, which leads us to the lesson of the fable: Don't judge people's brainpower by their looks.


The title character in The Heron learns what lesson while he is hunting for breakfast?

The heron continues to pass on average-sized fish, telling himself that they aren't worth his time, until all the fish swim away entirely, leaving him to eat a snail instead.


In Aesop's fable of Hercules and the Wagoner, how does the wagoner get his cart out of the mud?

Instead of using his mythological strength, Hercules simply encourages the wagoner to give it some effort on his own, instead of complaining as he had been. The moral of the story is that it's always better to put in the work to solve a problem, instead of just thinking about how bad it is.


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