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Aesop / Literature

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  • Achoo is meant to teach children about manners. It teaches to sneeze into a hanky, take baths, eat neatly, share, but at the same time not to be too bossy about other people's manners.
  • The Egg by Andy Weir: Hurting other people inadvertently means hurting yourself.
  • In The Adventures of Caterpillar Jones, the first book deals with overcoming fear and learning to let go, while the second deals with exercise and good habits.
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  • In Animorphs, there are several including War Is Hell, and What Is Evil?.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Hell-Fire": Nuclear bombs are the tool of hell. The evidence for this aesop is Hellfire preached for centuries and the face of a Big Red Devil hidden in the explosion.
  • The moral of A Bad Case of Stripes is to be true to yourself.
  • The moral of The Brothers Karamazov is to live life, take the good and take the bad and remain true to yourself. There might be other lessons scattered about the book concerning not manipulating others or belief in God, but the big message is to take the ups and downs and keep on. It comes off as bittersweet mostly because of all the events that had to take place for the protagonist to come to this conclusion.
  • Brown's Pine Ridge Stories: The first chapter ends with one.
  • The Oompa-Loompa songs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator are usually aesops in rhyming verse, and close out chapters to boot.
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  • The Divine Comedy: The souls purging their sins in Purgatory make it clear the prayers of living people can make their journey to Heaven shorter by centuries of time. This serves as a lesson of the importance of prayer for Dante and for the poem's readers.
  • Sara Bergmark Elfgren and Mats Strandberg's The Circle (2011): Other people are more complicated than they seem at first glance. Also, never trust an authority figure.
  • The Fault in Our Stars: "The ill and the dying aren't saints, they're people." Word of God says the book was written as a reaction to the frequent glamorization of illness in the media.
  • Galaxy of Fear is Goosebumps IN STAR WARS, but features a pair of orphaned Alderaanian kids who sometimes learn things on the way, many of them a consequence to losing their home and everyone they knew. These are usually pretty quiet and not outright stated.
    • Eaten Alive: Even when no one believes you, trust your instincts.
    • City of the Dead: If you Never Got to Say Goodbye... that hurts, but it wouldn't really be better if you had. Don't let yourself think they could be brought back. Remember the good times with them.
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    • The Planet Plague: Dwelling too much on Revenge hurts you - if you're sick negative emotions may make the illness progress faster - it's better to be driven by what you're fighting for.
    • The Nightmare Machine: You have to stretch to find a moral, but you could argue that it's "You have to face your fears."
    • Ghost of the Jedi has a New Media Are Evil sort of message - just because you're friends with someone over the Internet doesn't mean you really know them - but also that failure happens and it's awful, but you can't mope and stop trying things just because you messed up, however badly.
    • Army of Terror might be that it's better not to lie. Kind of stretching, though.
    • The Brain Spiders: People change as they grow up, and that's okay. But don't be so eager to seem grown up that you lose track of who you were before, and don't confuse "grown up" with "reckless".
    • The Swarm: Careful about which secrets you keep. Also, don't think in black and white; people you think of as enemies may not be all loathsome.
    • Spore: Unchecked greed is bad. And it's good to feel like being part of something larger, but it isn't everything.
    • The Doomsday Ship: Sometimes even in frantic moments it's better to stop and think.
    • Clones: Don't judge too harshly by first impressions.
    • The Hunger: Question unexamined traditions. Don't succumb to feeling helpless.
  • Gangsta Granny: Elderly people are not boring.
  • Goblin Market concludes with a very obvious Aesop:
    For there is no friend like a sister...
    To fetch one if one goes astray,
    To lift one if one totters down,
    To strengthen whilst one stands.
  • The aesop of The Great Divorce is that Heaven and Hell are incompatible, though people can decide which to reside in.
  • "Hans the Hedgehog": Be careful what you wish for. And always keep your promises.
  • "The Hare and the Pineapple" claims its moral is "Pineapples don't wear sleeves". It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • The Heartstrikers:
    • Shortsighted goals lead to short lived victories, burning the future for the sake of the present results in no future for anyone, and sometimes you have to forgive even terrible people to put an end to the Cycle of Revenge.
    • The sequel series DFZ continues the "shortsighted goals lead to short lived victories" aesop from the first series. More front and center, however, is "money can't buy happiness."
      Opal: I want to be rich just as much as you do! That's why I bust my butt as a Cleaner, but I also know that money isn't everything. I know this, because I tried to buy freedom and integrity and love, and I couldn't. But while you can't buy them, you can absolutely sell them. That's why I'm fighting you so hard on this. You're about to sell something that money can't buy.
  • Hieroglyphics: When the Central Theme results in a message. In Machen's view, the message tends to not be a moral lesson but rather an observation and conclusion about something–a reflection of either the truth of human nature or of the truth of reality.
  • David Poses' memoir Heroin Story makes a compelling point about drug use being a surprisingly logical response to pain (emotional or otherwise). Also, contrary to what many people believe, not all drug use is problematic. David has managed to remain functional for decades, despite being addicted to heroin.
  • Household Gods: Don't long for the past (it had its problems too, probably ones you've got no idea about). Face your problems now, and appreciate the good you have.
  • In How Kazir Won His Wife, a sorcerer in the Framing Story identifies the moral of the story he tells as being "not to rely on general principles and routine mechanical methods"
  • How To Be Comfortable In Your Own Feathers has "Don't try to be someone you're not, especially if it's bad for your health".
  • The second revised ending of The Little Mermaid says that the daughters of the air take more time to earn her souls if children are bad, and less time if they are good.
  • The poems "Maxims of Baloo" and "The Law of the Jungle" from Rudyard Kipling's original Jungle Books probably qualify.
  • Anna Dewdney's Llama Llama series tries to teach lessons such as being patient, sharing with others, and standing up to a bully.
  • Melanie's Marvelous Measles has the controversial Aesop "vaccines are bad for you and measles is good for you". It also talks about how hydration and vitamin A are important.
  • Mik's Mammoth: Provides us with one in the form of a poem,
    The moral is that little chaps
    May overcome life's handicaps,
    And, with some effort, they perhaps
    Can triumph in the end.
  • Russian Fairy Tale "Morozko" has several ones: Respect the Winter or it will kill you; parents must love and respect your children, regardless of their origin; do not go out of your way to be needlessly rude, confrontational and uppity to powerful people who can destroy you easily and with no consequence.
  • One Of Us Is Lying: To err is human. Quoted directly by Yale's admissions when they email Bronwyn at the end. No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, and it's assholes like Simon and Jake, who think anyone who makes a mistake deserves to have their life ruined, who cause the real trouble.
  • The People of Sparks' underlying theme is basically learning to accept people who are different from you.
  • The Reluctant King: Jorian's tales of King Filoman the Well-Meaning and his various foolish decisions are being pretty obviously used for delivering various messages through negative example, e.g. paying off criminals won't solve crime, although some are very inapplicaple for the real world, like "don't use golem generals".
  • Professor Ozpin discusses the Aesops of stories in RWBY: Fairy Tales of Remnant, in how they can be interpreted and change with time. The overarching Aesop of the collection is that stories should be remembered and learned from, but he does go into specifics on the tales.
    • "The Man Who Stared at the Sun" has the moral that it often takes great sacrifice to achieve anything of value, as the Farmer of the story went blind to win his bet against the sun. But Ozpin notes that the Vacuans have another spin on the moral of the story he finds amusing and pragmatic, "Don't stare at the sun."
    • "The Hunter's Children" is a moral on unity. Alone, the four children couldn't get very far in life. Only by working together did they truly thrive.
    • "The Indecisive King" has several messages attached to it, but the chief one is that while knowledge is power, too much knowledge can make you powerless. The wise king is paralyzed with indecision after witnessing a vision of the future, of a great choice he would have to make. He spends all of his time fretting about that future choice that it keeps him from making good choices in the present.
    • "The Infinite Man" is subject to propaganda, but the best moral Ozpin comes away with is that you shouldn't put too much faith in a single individual and set your expectations for them too high. Humans Are Flawed, and can let you down.
    • "The Tale of the Two Brothers" teaches that humanity is responsible for their future. They can create a paradise for themselves, or bring themselves to ruin, so they should live every day as if the judgment of the gods could be right around the corner.
    • "The Girl in the Tower" teaches the power of the written word. It is the Girl who saves herself from captivity by writing the story of her own imprisonment and the promise of a reward for anyone who can save her, spreading the message far and wide.
  • The moral of Sam, Bangs, and Moonshine is that you should know the difference between "good moonshine" (fantasies) and "bad moonshine" (outright lies).
  • The Serendipity Series, a set of childrens books written by Stephen Cosgrove, each carry an Aesop of their own.
  • Time To: The books have a moral of being polite and following standards.
  • Treehouse: Normally averted, but in "The 39-Storey Treehouse", Jill points out that Andy and Terry could have learnt something from their adventure and Terry complains because he hates stories with morals.
  • In The Trolls while little ones crop up here and there in Aunt Sally's stories, perhaps the biggest message is also, interestingly, the stealthiest one: be nice to your siblings.
  • Subverted in the poem Twice Times by A. A. Milne about two bears, one good and one bad who then, for no apparent reason, swapped places. The poem concludes "There may be a Moral, though some say not; I think there's a moral, though I don't know what."
  • War and Peace: There are no Magnificent Bastards, only bastards who think themselves magnificent. Told via an entire part just in case you didn't catch it in the plot.
  • The moral of Who Moved My Cheese is to watch for signs of change, and be ready to change your actions when change happens around you.
  • The Stormlight Archive
    • Words of Radiance: Just because the world would be better off without someone doesn't mean they deserve to die. Elhokar is a terrible king and should probably step down in favor of Dalinar, but he is not an evil man—just a short-sighted and impulsive one. With time and help, he can become a great king.
    • Oathbringer: "What is the most important step a man can take? The next step." It's never too late to atone and become a better person, as long as you're willing to try and take the steps to improve.


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