//Aesop horses. The horse in Aesop’s fables
The horse and the donkey

Aesop horses. The horse in Aesop’s fables

Fables are stories that through animals in humanized situations allow us to leave a teaching. Fables, unlike other literary forms, focus its focus on the objective: leave a “moral”. The moral is that teaching, in many occasions coming from the popular wisdom, that through a story is exemplified and becomes more evident. Today we will see how a famous fabler of antiquity left us a vast knowledge. Today we will talk about Aesop horses and their role in his famous fables.

In previous articles we have known over time that horses, donkeys and zebras are part of the equine world. All of them have common ancestors and have fulfilled similar functions for humanity.

THE HORSE AND THE DONKEY - English Bedtime Story || Animated Storytelling - Kids Time

Aesop wrote stories about a wide diversity of animals. In this amplitude, he gave unique importance to horses and donkeys.

So far we have not found in any of his stories, the presence of zebras. Perhaps he did not write about them because of their absence in their geographical area and because this animal species had not yet developed.

Aesop horses and donkeys in Aesop’s fables

It is clear that when we talk about fables, we are talking about the presence of things and animals that are given their own life and to which feelings are printed, and reasoning at the same time.

In the equine world that is the one that occupies us now, horses and donkeys, dialogue to teach us about different values.

They are also two species that are a significant part of the narrations produced by Aesop. As in most fables, we always find a teaching, a moral in each of these stories as mentioned above.

Aesop Fables with a draw of a mule on the cover
Aesop Fables with a draw of a mule on the cover

What is a fable?

A fable is a short story, usually very simple, through which a teaching is transmitted.

In general, fables are characterized by the presence of animals of different species. These are the protagonists of these stories. In our case, the Aesop horses stand out. For Aesop the horses had a lot to teach us.

Nevertheless, although the extension of the fables in their origins was quite short, with time they have gained a longer extension.

The most interesting thing is that through a simple story, complex values are transmitted and exemplified. This is the magic of fables. This capacity for conciseness is the key to being one of the best tools to transmit an ethical sense to our children

The extension of the tales of the fables

During the twentieth century fables were written as “Platero y Yo” by the Spanish writer Juan Ramón Jiménez, one of the most universally known. But universal literature is full of stories of humanized animals. Many of them later have taken to the cinematographic experience, the theater and other artistic expressions.

Objective of the fable

Aesop Horses in Fables - Plog Anthony
Aesop Horses in Fables – Plog Anthony

Most of the time, the fables are produced with a moral intention, with a didactic application in the teaching and learning processes. This implies that in the majority of the stories of the fables, at the end an expression called Moraleja is placed that implies a teaching.

It activates a critical and reflective thinking, which may well be worked with children and adolescents, but also with adults.

The best-known fables about horses and donkeys of Aesop

Among the best-known fables of Aesop, which highlights the equine world, we remember some of the most emblematic: “The horse and the ass,” “The dog and the ass,” “The mule, The goat and the ass,” “The horse and the soldier”, “The horse and the groom”, “The wolf and the ass”, among many other fables.

Here we present some of the fables that include Aesop horses

The horse and the ass

Spode Platter about Aesop Fable "the horse and the ass"
Spode Platter about Aesop Fable “the horse and the ass”

One man had one horse and one donkey. One day they were both on their way to the city, the donkey, he felt tired, he said to the horse:

– Take a part of my burden if you are interested in my life. Care for me!

The horse turning deaf did not say anything to the ass.

Hours later, the donkey fell victim to fatigue, and died there.

Then the owner threw all the load on the horse, even the skin of the donkey. And the horse, sighing, said:

– What bad luck I have! Because I did not want to carry a light burden, now I have to carry everything, even with the skin of the ass on top!

What teaching does he leave us?

Moral: Every time you do not reach out your hand to help your neighbor who honestly asks for it, without you noticing it at that moment, you are actually harming yourself.

The mule

Barley, a mule (product of the crossing of donkey and mare) began to jump, saying to herself:

• My father is a fast horse on the road, and I look like him in everything.

But the time came when the mule was forced to run. After the race, very disappointed, he suddenly remembered his real father: the serene ass.


We must always recognize our roots, respecting our inheritances and those of others. Aesop tells this short and very simple fable to talk about respect for our origins and acceptance of ourselves. This is something worth remembering every day of our life.

The horse, the ox, the dog and the man

When Zeus created man, he granted him a few years of life. But man, putting his intelligence to work, when winter came he built a house and lived in it.

One day when the cold was very cold, and the rain began to fall, the horse could not take it anymore, came running to the man and asked him to give him shelter. The man told him that he would only do so with one condition: that he give him part of his years. The horse accepted.

And then this is what happened:

Shortly afterwards, the ox showed up and could not suffer bad weather either. The man answered the same thing: that he would admit it if he gave a certain number of his years. The ox yielded a part and was admitted.

Finally, the dog arrived, dying of cold, and giving a part of his time of life, he got his refuge.

The results

And here is the result: when men fulfill the time that Zeus gave them, they are pure and good; when the horse orders arrive in the years, they are intrepid and proud; when they are in those of the ox, they are dedicated to command; and when they come to use the dog’s time, at the end of their existence, they become irascible and moody.


This fable describes the stages of man: innocent childhood, vigorous youth, powerful maturity and sensitive old age.

A Horse and A Lion
A Horse and A Lion

Who was Aesop?

Aesop was a Greek writer who was born between the sixth and seventh centuries BC. He was a narrator of immense culture.

Little is known about its history, but there are data from researchers and historians such as Heródoto who claim that this Greek writer who wrote fables had been a slave. Still, there are those who doubted their real existence.

Herodotus asserts that Ancient Greece attributed to Aesop, the creation of this literary genre, one of the oldest in world literature

Aristophanes, the renowned playwright confirmed the story told by Heracleides about the life of Aesop and about the sad circumstances of his death:

Aesop, when visiting Delphi, provoked its inhabitants to declare that they did not work and lived only from the offerings dedicated to the god Apollo.

Furious, the inhabitants implanted in Aesop’s suitcase a sacred cup to incriminate him. When the “theft” was discovered, Aesop was fatally condemned to be thrown from a cliff.

You can listen to another of Aesop’s fables in the following video. The fable is called “the horse and the groom”:

Aesop's Fable 10 - The Horse and the Groom

Aesop taught us a new and good way to teach values. Both men and children enjoy a good fable, and we enjoy it more when they come with our favorite animal. Let’s enjoy Aesop horses.


https://www.google.com/search?q=bibliotecadigital.ilce.edu.mx%2Fsites%2Fciencia%2Fv+olumen3%2Fciencia3%2F154%2Fh Consulta, 3 de mayo de 2019.



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