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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for Fable

Fable: From Middle English from Middle French from the Latin fabula meaning conversation, story or play from fari meaning to speak. The ula suffix means "little" thus, "little story."

A fable writer was called a fabulist. Fabulous is a direct descendant though its meaning has changed from that which pertains to fables to that which is marvelous, incredible or has an exaggerated quality. The word confabulate, meaning to chat, confer or hold a discussion is a close cousin. A confabulator is someone who tells Tall Tales.

Fables can be found in most cultures. They were oral stories meant to be short and have a moral lesson. Some of the oldest fables date back to ancient Egypt, Samaria and India. For us the most well known fables are those of Aesop. The African and Caribbean fables about Anansi the Spider evolved into the stories of Uncle Remus. Other fables include The Arabian Nights, George Orwell's Animal Farm, and Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

The Finest Tail, a Fable by Bish

Lizard believed he had the finest tail. "See how it lies against the leaf?" he said. "See how magnificent it is"

One day as Lizard admired his tail he heard news of a contest from Bird.

"The King is offering half his kingdom and the hand of his daughter to him with the best tail."

"Well," said lizard, "that would be me!"

On the day of the contest there was Mouse, Rat and Bird, Turtle, Mongoose, Gecko and many others besides. But Lizard could see none had a tail as fine as his.

The King told them all to line up and explained his daughter would judge. Lizard positioned himself at the end of the line as he believed in saving the finest for last.

Princess went down the line and carefully studied each tail. When she got to Lizard she began to laugh.

"Are you laughing at me?" asked Lizard.

"Why of course," said Princess.

"But I have the finest tail of all, how can you possibly laugh?"

"Your tail is the skinniest thing I've ever seen," she said.

"It can't be," he replied. "I have the finest...."

But Princess cut him short. "I've made my decision. Turtle has the best tail."

Moral: The finest is not necessarily the best.

What other morals can you take away from this story?


  1. It's funny that you mention Animal Farm as if just put it on my TBRA (to be read again) list! as for the moral of the lizard "tale", my mind may be in the gutter, please, ignore me!

  2. Ha ha great fable :) the turtle always seems to win in fables....Modesty is the best policy.

  3. That is one magnificent lizard, even if the princess did laugh at his tail. Is it bad that I feel sorry for him?

  4. Oh, I love your fable, Bish! And how cool that fabulous came from fabulist (did I get that spelling right)?

  5. I love fables - I grew up hearing them, reading them, what have you. I think my favourite is the Mongoose and the Snake - there are other variations depending on the culture/country. I find that so fascinating about fables - that the stories have similar roots, but still make it across the world in different incarnations.

    I also think I use too many hyphens/whatever it's called when you connect two parts of a sentence with a -. :-)

  6. "A short tail in time is better than nine?" Oh, my brain is foggy from reading blogs. I always learn such neat things when I read your posts. I've become a figgy fan.
    Oh sorry, that was from the other post I just read.

  7. Good story. I guess I would say, don't count your tails until you get to market. LOL
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  8. Gotta love the lizard. Great fable.

    It pays not to brag, modesty is always the best policy.

    Like I won't brag about my castle in Ireland. *wink*

  9. Ah, the fable. Something I need to re-acquaint myself with. Love yours! I'd say another lesson learned is (however cliche) "Pride cometh before a fall."

  10. Wow, that's really awesome you grew up in the Virgin Islands.

    I always loved reading fables when I was a kid!

  11. Fabulous fable, Bish!

    One of the first books I read was Aesop's fables (sure it was dumbed down since I was in second grade), only I thought Aesop was a place where all these talking animals lived.

  12. I used to love reading Aesop's fables as well. This is a great fable you've shared. If I were the princess I would've chosen turtle as well. Turtles are way cuter than lizards (and humbler, besides0

  13. Hmm. Love fables. Another moral....Beware of princesses holding contests. Never judge by one's tail.
    It is truly a Tale of Tails. Sorry. Got carried away with the tail thing. Great job and I love lizards so I loved that picture.

  14. What a lovely fable! I'd say another moral is that fair is in the eye of the beholder.

  15. Nice Fable and I love learning about the origins of the word fabulous. Very interesting!

  16. One of my favourite books as a child was a book of fables... nice post.

  17. I think Rat should have won. I had a pet rat when I was growing up and she would sit backwards on my shoulder and curl her tail around so it would sit across my top lip like a moustache. I loved the feel of it haha :)


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