[[quoteright:267:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ba227429ddc5be6f302feb25dd1e0b6c.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:267: Aesop.]]

Aesopos (Greek Αἴσωπος, shortened to Aesop in modern English) was a slave, later freedman, living somewhere in Asia Minor in the sixth century BC. If, that is, he existed at all.

But European fables -- mostly {{Beast Fable}}s -- have a marvelous tendency to accrete onto the collections claimed to be his. Being fables, they have rather obvious morals, which are sometimes (but not always) explicitly pointed out at the end.

Aesop's most famous fables are:

* ''Literature/TheGrasshopperAndTheAnts'': A grasshopper is lazy and does nothing during spring and summer, while the ants work. When winter arrives the ants survive because they harvested food and had built a warm home, while the grasshopper dies from cold and starvation.
* ''Literature/TheTortoiseAndTheHare'': A tortoise and a hare decided to hold a race. The tortoise wins because the hare fell asleep during the race and wasn't in time to cross the finish first.
* ''[[CryingWolf The Boy Who Cried Wolf]]'': A shepherd boy {{troll}}s the villagers by yelling that he's being attacked by a wolf. Eventually they get so annoyed by his lying that when the wolf really does come to kill the sheep, nobody believes him.

----
!!These fables are the TropeNamers for:
* AnAesop
* AndroclesLion
* AssInALionSkin
* CountryMouse and CityMouse -- the same fable.
* CryingWolf
* TheFarmerAndTheViper
* HealThyself
* HonestAxe
* LeonineContract
* SweetAndSourGrapes
* WhoWillBellTheCat

They are also the former trope namer for BigBadWannabe (originally titled "Evil Frog Who Wants to Be an Ox").
----
!!Tropes in these fables:
* AnAesop: Yes, pretty much all the fables have the moral lesson spelled out at the end.
* BeastFable
* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor:
** In "The Frogs Pick a King", a community of frogs prays to Jupiter to send them a king. In order to quiet them, he drops a log into their pond. The frogs were frightened of the log at first, but before long, they started using it as a platform. They grew dissatisfied with their "sovereign" and asked Jupiter for a different king. His response was to send a stork to eat them.
** In "Zeus and the Bee", Zeus offers to grant the bee a wish after she presents him with honey. The bee tells him that she is constantly having her honey stolen from her and asks for a weapon to defend her honey. Zeus is displeased by the selfish nature of the wish, but being obliged to grant it, he gives her a barbed spear... which he implants directly into her abdomen, so that it will tear out her insides and kill her if she uses it.
* BiggerIsBetter: The frog thinks so in "The Frog and the Ox".
* BrokenAesop: "The Moon and her Mother" has the Moon's mother deny making her daughter a dress, because it could never fit her because she keeps changing size. [[http://childhoodreading.com/wp-content/illustrations/Arthur_Rackham/Rackham-MoonAndMother.jpg In one accompanying illustration]], the "moon" part is ''her head'', so the dress's size shouldn't be a problem.
* BystanderSyndrome: The attitude of the ass in "The Ass and The Old Peasant".
* CaligulasHorse: In "The Frogs Pick a King", a community of frogs prays to Jupiter for a king. He responds by dropping a log in their pond and calling it their king.
* CatsAreMean / KingOfBeasts: Lions are the king of beasts, and in Aesop's Fables they won't let you forget it.
* TheCityVsTheCountry: The CountryMouse visits her friend the CityMouse. While at first impressed by his lavish lifestyle, she soon changes her mind once she learns about the cat or dog living in the same house.
* CleverCrows: One tale involves a crow, dying of thirst, finding a pitcher of water with the water level just out of reach of the bird's beak. So, it uses several pebbles to raise the water level and save itself.
** Subverted in "The Crow, the Fox, and the Cheese." The crow has a nice piece of cheese that the fox wants, so the fox resorts to flattery and coaxing to get her to "sing" which drops the cheese right in front of him. He slinks off with a full stomach and a warning to the crow to beware flatterers.
* ConsummateLiar: One of the two travelers in "The Apes and the Two Travelers", the other traveler [[CannotTellALie is an inversion]] of this.
* CunningLikeAFox: The UrExample.
* DirtyCoward: One of the soldiers in "The Two Soldiers and the Robber".
* DownerEnding: A couple, such as "The Wolf and the Lamb" and "The Crab and the Fox".
* DudeWheresMyReward: "The Wolf and the Crane" has the titular crane ask the wolf for the promised reward for dislodging a bone from his throat. The wolf instead tells her that the actual reward was allowing the crane to survive the experience since her head was in the wolf's maw and he refused to attack while she was vulnerable.
* EverythingTalks: "The Two Pots".
* ForgivenButNotForgotten: The story of "The Man and the Serpent" where the man asks the serpent to put aside their differences and "forget and forgive", but the serpent rejects, saying that he will never forget the death of his son and he won't forget the loss of his tail. This leads to the lesson that "Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten."
* GenderBender: The core theme of "The Hyena and the Fox" (also titled "The Fox and the Hyena") and "The Two Hyenas". In the former, the hyena is rejected by the fox because the hyena's gender-bending nature makes it impossible for the fox to place as girlfriend or boyfriend, with the moral basically amounting to "don't be too ambiguous". In the latter uses the hyena's gender-bending nature comes into play in a dispute; the current male wants the current female to perform an "unnatural" sexual act or is abusing her, so the current female warns him to remember that eventually the tables will be turned.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The fable "The Man his Wife, and The Boy Outside", sometimes explicitly named "Adulterer and Husband". Numbered 350 in the Perry index.
* GladiatorGames: "Androcles and the Lion"
* JerkassGods: Jupiter could sometimes come off as this for example in one story where he judged the animals' children, to find out which one was most beautiful, and coldly laughed at an ape's attempt. The ape's reaction was to say that Jupiter could have his judgement but [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments to her, her offspring was the most beautiful of all. ]]
* LastSecondShowoff: "The Tortoise and the Hare" is the TropeCodifier.
* LiminalBeing: The bat, in one fable, took advantage of its differing traits to keep flip-flopping between the sides of the birds and the beasts when they went to war. Eventually, they made peace just long enough to unite and declare that the bat did not belong to either side, and that is why bats only come out at night.
* ManipulativeBastard: The depiction of the fox in the various fables are often this.
* TheOldNorthWind: "The North Wind and the Sun" describes a contest between the two titular entities over who will be able to strip a passing traveler of his cloak. The North Wind blew his harshest, strongest winds to tear the garment away from the man, but the more he did so the more the traveler pulled his cloak close to himself. The Sun simply shone brightly and warmly, and the traveler took off his cloak of his own accord in the pleasant weather. The story is meant to teach a moral about the value of civility and persuasion, as embodied by the Sun, instead of using the North Wind's brute force to solve problems.
* WickedWeasel: Since the cats hadn't arrived to Europe yet, the weasels took the roles usually reserved for the felines.
----