Fables often feature animals as the main characters. They act as humans rather than animals, mostly interacting with each other in non-animal ways. Fables are used to demonstrate proper human behavior and the results of inappropriate actions. These lessons, usually stated outright at the end, are known as morals.
Aesop’s Fables are a collection of over 600 short teaching tales which date from ancient Greece and have survived for 2,500 years. Reading the fables and learning their lessons were the basis of children’s education in ancient Rome, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and are still popular today.
Very little is known of Aesop (AY-sop) the person. He might have been born about 620 BCE, and was a slave of African descent living in ancient Greece. His quick wit, sarcasm, and humor saved him many times from punishment and hazardous situations, and eventually won Aesop his freedom. As a free man, Aesop traveled widely and spread his stories and witty sayings throughout the Mediterranean region.