Common type of story is the fable, which presents a moral, or lesson about human behavior. Fables usually feature animals behaving and speaking as humans. Among the most widely known are those from the ancient Sanskrit Pancatantra (Five Chapters), which was first written down in India perhaps 2,000 years ago. Known in Europe as The Fables of Bidpai, this collection presents animal characters in entertaining stories and poetry. Many European animal fables have at least in part descended from the Pancatantra. Among the most renowned Western fables are those attributed to Aesop, a (probably fictitious) slave from ancient Greece. One of the best-known of Aesop's stories is "The Ant and the Grasshopper," which teaches the need to be industrious and save for the future during times of plenty. Stories that point out lessons are called fables. Nearly everyone knows the fable about the three little pigs. They leave home and go out into the world to make their fortunes. Of course, they have to build places in which to live. The first little pig makes his house of straw. The second little pig also takes things easily, building his house of sticks. The third little pig works hard and long to make a house of bricks—a good, sturdy house. Along comes a wolf who blows down the houses of straw and sticks and eats the two lazy little pigs. All his huffing and puffing, however, cannot blow down the house of bricks. In this fable the three little pigs show human characteristics. Two little pigs are shiftless and meet an unhappy end through their own fault. The hard-working little pig earns the reward of a good life.
History of fables
In very early times people told stories in which animals talk. By their actions the animals show how foolish or wise people can be. Folklore scholars think that fables probably originated among the Semitic peoples of the Middle East. The tales spread to India and then west to Greece. Many fables go back to an ancient Sanskrit collection from India...
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