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 the Fox
A farmer, who bore a grudge against a Fox for robbing his poultry yard, caught him at last, and being determined to take an ample revenge, tied some rope well soaked in oil to his tail, and set it on fire. The Fox by a strange fatality rushed to the fields of the Farmer who had captured him. It was the time of the wheat harvest; but the Farmer reaped nothing that year and returned home grieving sorely.
Ambrose-The Farmer and the Fox
A Farmer who had a deadly and implacable hatred against a certain Fox, caught him and tied some tow to his tail; then carrying him to the centre of his own grain-field, set the tow on fire and let the animal go.
“Alas!” said the Farmer, seeing the result; “if that grain had not been heavily insured, I might have had to dissemble my hatred of the Fox.”