Animal fables are narratives, some shorter than others, but all seek to leave a clear reflective message about the way in which it is better to act in everyday life, always following the good example and good values. In short, they are advice on ways of living. If you pay attention, you will easily realize that the vast majority of narrative fables have animal characters and you may wonder why. Here we explain the importance of animals in fables and their meaning.
The best animal fables and their meaning
In most fables, animals are a typical resource for this type of text and this has an explanation. Just as verses and prose are used to give a picturesque touch to what is transmitted, in the same way, the characters used are usually animals of all kinds to more easily exemplify the characteristics of the values that are to be taught. We therefore see animal fables that contain frogs, dogs, horses, donkeys, cats, mice, ants and all kinds of birds, among many and many more. The fabulists have used the animal world as simple allegories of how human beings should act.
Since the birth of fables, the use of animal characters with human capacities such as speaking, dialoguing or debating has been its greatest characteristic and this has been maintained throughout the ages. In our account of the history of mankind, since before the year zero, the first fabulists used this style intentionally, it is not a mere coincidence that they chose animals as their protagonists.
Why are the characters in fables mostly animals?
Not only in fables, but in many literary texts animal characters are used. But it is in the fables where these take an undeniable role and their anthropomorphic characteristics are added. The use of animals in fables is based on certain stereotypes that are socially attributed to animals and that serve to exemplify cases.
In this way, fabulists create stories with morals, explicit or implicit, that are very easy to understand. For kids it has been an effective way to generate empathy with animals and with the teachings that the fables propose.
These are some of the best known animal fables
The camel and the dromedary
- Author: José Rosas Moreno
- Summary : In a desert, a camel saw a dromedary and was scared to see its huge hump. He was quite amused and without thinking twice he told her that he was very ugly. The dromedary did not say anything, but the camel later realized what he was talking about if on its back it carried two of the same humps that it saw on the dromedary.
- Moral: It is easier to see the defects in others and criticize them with a loose tongue than to see the own defects.
The owl and the pigeon
- Author: Rafael Pombo
- Summary : An owl always believed itself to be perfect, with great qualities and did not associate with any of the animals. One day, he felt very lonely and when he saw a gallant pigeon, he asked him why no one wanted him. The pigeon replied that it was his fault for believing himself superior and that if he dared to love without so much disdain, his affection would be returned.
- Moral: If you treat other people with contempt, you will find the same feelings back. On the other hand, if you are a kind person, you will find kindness and affection in return.
The crow with foreign feathers
- Author: Juan Ruiz de Alarcón
- Summary : The eagle was ready to celebrate his wedding and invited the birds of the kingdom. The crow was not feeling gallant, so it went and stole a feather from each of the other birds to decorate itself and be ready for the occasion. Already at the event, when the crow arrived, all the birds recognized its feathers and wanted to give it an example. The eagle stops the commotion and asks the crow that if he did not feel fit, it was better that he did not attend.
- Moral: Wanting to decorate yourself to appear what you are not can have consequences. Sincerity is better than vain imitation.
- Author: Félix María Samaniego
- Summary : It is said that two thousand flies were attracted by a sweet honeycomb of fresh honey and all died when their legs stuck to the amber substance. Likewise, humans can become prisoners and perish if a vice dominates them.
- Moral: Falling into weaknesses is easy, but it is brave to overcome the challenges that life puts us ahead.
The wolf in sheep’s clothing
- Author: Aesop
- Summary : He was a very cunning wolf thinking of a strategy that would make hunting easier for him, so he took a sheepskin and put it on top looking like and imitating any common sheep. He mixed with the flock and grazed with it, also trying to deceive the shepherd. But the shepherd sacrificed a sheep that day, and such was his surprise when he discovered that it was the wolf disguised as a sheep.
- Moral: Deceiving others does not lead to benefits, all lies will always be discovered over time and the more that happens, without a doubt, the more serious the consequences will be.