His full name was Tomás de Iriarte and Nieves Ravelo. He was born in Tenerife in 1750 and grew up in an aristocratic and renowned family in Spain. He received a cultured education from an early age and thus entered poetry, translation and music, the latter in an amateur way. He was instructed by diplomats and at the age of thirteen he was brought before his uncle, Juan de Iriarte, a distinguished biographer and writer, to continue his training.
Best known fables of Iriarte
His fables are easy to read and with a cosmopolitan air characteristic of eighteenth-century art. Tomás de Iriarte was recognized in a wide social circle of the time. He died at the age of 41, after becoming infected with gout disease.
The donkey and the flute
- Summary: it is the story of a donkey who found a flute on his way. With a loud snort he made it sound and satisfied with the notes he produced, he told himself that she was a great flute player and continued on his way convinced of his talent.
- Moral: not because the first try something has gone well, you can consider yourself a skilled person on the subject. Sometimes this happens by chance, so it is not convenient to celebrate before a first hit.
The bear, the monkey and the pig
- Summary: there was the bear, on his days off, trying to pass the time practicing his dance steps on two legs like a human would. The monkey, seeing him, was quick to tell him sincerely that such steps were not as convincing as she believed and that perhaps that was not her best talent. The pig, on the other hand, filled him with flattery which was finally quite pretty, but not true.
- Moral: it shows us the value of sincerity in the face of compliments that are often expressed by people who do not know about the subject. There are those who speak of more only because they keep the interest to look good in front of others. It is better to value sincere words even if they are not pleasant.
- Summary: a traveler crossed the lands taking with him a chicken coop from which half the world ate the fresh eggs laid by his chickens. In the new lands, where they were unknown, eggs were over time a successful food and they increasingly found more properties to make new recipes. The people who invented them praised themselves for their creations without thanking the chickens that laid the eggs and the traveler who made it possible, in the beginning, to know the eggs.
- Moral: you have to give the value and merit to those who deserve it. Despite creativity, recognize that many successes are due to the knowledge of others. It is also prudent to value that simplicity is paramount and to recognize that great achievements can come from something simple.
The two rabbits
- Summary: two rabbits were running in great haste through the fields, fleeing from some fast dogs that were going after them in hunt. The rabbits ran for a while, but at the end, they began to argue about the best escape strategy and about their pursuers, as well as where the dogs came from. They both forgot that they were escaping, each wanting to be right, and were finally caught by the dogs.
- Moral: sometimes arguing over trifles makes you miss the point. Avoid wasting time on details that don’t matter and focus on what’s really worthwhile.
The rich scholar
- Summary: it is the story of a young man who enjoyed riches thanks to his family and always decorated his house very well, with gallant and exquisite taste. A friend commented that it was a shame such a nice home without a good bookstore to accommodate valuable works. To which the young man replied that the idea was not bad, however buying books was very expensive, that it was better for him to put some false covers to complement the decoration.
- Moral: you have to avoid that appearances are the first thing in life. Educate yourself and pay attention to good content is what makes the true beauty that attracts knowledge.
Tea and sage
- Summary: tea and sage were found on the way of travel where each sought their luck in a new destination. The tea came from China and it sought merit in Europe where it was little known, and the salvia discredited in its lands, wanted to go to the East to surprise those present with its magical properties. Tea and sage alike knew that, unfortunately, they would be better appreciated elsewhere than in their homeland.
- Moral: many times talents and products that come from abroad are more appreciated and become a novelty only because of their place of origin. Many times the local has what it takes, it only needs its own recognition.