When reading Aesop’s fables one thing becomes apparent — these stories are made for a faraway time and a faraway place, that is quite different than the one we presently inhabit. On the scholarly site Perry’s Index to the Aesopica, there are 584 listed fables, and on each of them there are clickthroughs with an average of six variations to the fable. Each of these has a clickthrough to a particular translation. The Fox and the Grapes has twelve variations: 7 English, 3 Latin, 2 Greek. Each of them is different and has different moral lessons supposedly to be learned from the story. The shocking thing is how very different the moral lessons are from one another, and how comically inapplicable those lessons are to our present lives. Therefore, for the stories to be meaningful they must be rewritten and retold in a form that is appropriate for our modern people. For example:

The Fox and the Grapes

One day a fox was hunting and came upon a vineyard and saw a bunch of grapes the harvesters had ignored hanging on a high vine. He thought, “Some sweet grapes would be just the thing to quench my thirst.” He climbed as high as possible, and jumped over at the grapes to grab them but failed. He tried several more times using various tactics, but try as he might he just couldn’t get them. So, walking away in disgust he said, “Those grapes must be sour or the workers would have picked them.”

Some things you just can’t have, so condemning them makes it easier to forget them.

This is a contradiction to the current American folk saying, “You can have anything you want, if you just try hard enough.”