Aesop’s fables are known the world over for their conciseness and easy to remember moral lessons. Ambrose Bierce couldn’t help but poke fun a bit at the seriousness of these fables, and produced his own version of Aesop’s famous tales that usually end a little more realistically. Read both versions here, or at Gutenberg.org (Aesop’s here, Ambrose’s here), or listen to them performed by me, Kay Mack.
Aesop-The Farmer and his Sons
A father, being on the point of death, wished to be sure that his sons would give the same attention to his farm as he himself had given it. He called them to his bedside and said, “My sons, there is a great treasure hid in one of my vineyards.” The sons, after his death, took their spades and mattocks and carefully dug over every portion of their land. They found no treasure, but the vines repaid their labor by an extraordinary and superabundant crop.
Ambrose-The Cat and the Youth
A Farmer being about to die, and knowing that during his illness his Sons had permitted the vineyard to become overgrown with weeds while they improved the shining hour by gambling with the doctor, said to them:
“My boys, there is a great treasure buried in the vineyard. You dig in the ground until you find it.”
So the Sons dug up all the weeds, and all the vines too, and even neglected to bury the old man.