The Essential Aesop

224 pages with Word Index, 5x5 paperback
Bonus Stories compiled by Arnold Zegarelli
Epilogue: On the Wisdom of Aesop by Gregg Zegarelli

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The Cat-Maiden [90]

The Gods were once arguing over whether it was possible for a living being to change its nature.  So, Jupiter turned a Cat into a Maiden, and gave her to a young man for a wife. 

At the wedding-feast, Jupiter said to Venus, See how she behaves who could tell that yesterday she was a Cat? 

But, let us wait, replied Venus, who then let loose a mouse into the room.  The bride jumped up from her seat and tried to pounce upon the mouse.

Sooner or later, a core nature will be disclosed.


Belling the Cat [8]

The Mice needed a plan to protect them from the Cat.

Many plans were being discussed, when a young Mouse got up and said, "I have a plan.  All we have to do is to hang a bell on the Cat's neck.  When we hear the bell ringing, we will know that our enemy is coming."  The Mice were chagrinned that they had not thought of such a simple and obvious plan before.

But, then, the wise old Mouse arose and said: "Yes, a very good idea. But let me ask: Who will bell the Cat?"

Ideas must succeed through actual implementation.


The Dog and the Wolf [64]

A hungry Wolf came upon a House-dog. Cousin Wolf, are you hungry? said the Dog. Look at me!  Why not get your food regularly by others?

I might, if I could only get a place, said the Wolf.  I can arrange it.  Follow me, said the Dog. 

On the way, the Wolf noticed a wearing away of the Dogs neck hair. What happened to your neck? said the Wolf.  Oh, nothing.  That is where my collar is put upon me at night to keep me chained up.

Good-bye to you then, Master Dog.

He who feeds us, enslaves us.

Writing this go-to Aesop resource was a labor of love.  Aesop's Fables is a treasure trove of valuable stories, whether you need a short introductory story for a speech or article, or a story for your business team.  Aesop is not only for children.  Aesop is for everyone.  It worked for Abraham Lincoln.  Please rediscover Aesop with us.

Aesop always works and always helps.

                                                          -- Arnold Zegarelli and Gregg Zegarelli,
                                                                      Father and Son


Who are the authors?

Arnold Zegarelli is a well-known (now semi-retired) teacher and motivational speaker with a career spanning more than 50 years.  Gregg Zegarelli an an attorney and frequent instructor with a career of more than 25 years.  Arnold Zegarelli and Gregg Zegarelli are father and son.

Where is the book available for sale?

Currently, the eBook is available on  The Kindle version is available online.

Click here of Kindle, Click here for Print version.  Please contact us for bulk orders for your company, school or organization.

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Why is this book labeled "for business," etc.?

The fables are, well, the fables.  The authors have done the work for you in creating consistent one-page fables, each reduced to its salient essence.  As a speaker, you can embellish as required for your context. 

In purchasing this work, it is important to consider exactly what you are purchasing: a clean and concise collection of the fables themselves, each reduced to its salient essence.

This is an adult go-to collection that separates the wheat from the chaff, for adults. The fables are edited and presented for adults, but not changed in essence for adults. The fables are the fables, and they have withstood time, because they work.

Remember that these fables have been in existence for 2,500 years, so there are volumes of public domain materials available to you, including on Amazon, some with more fables (that may get repetitive in essence) and some that are embellished with pictures (usually for children). No pictures here.

This edition has 111 fables, plus 24 bonus stories and an Epilogue. If 135 fables and stories still seems like a lot, it flows easily because the fables are edited in a consistent, one-page-per-fable, presentation system. Adults are capable of embellishing when the context requires.

From a usage or gift perspective, consider it for politicians, speakers, entrepreneurs, students, clergy, etc., where wisdom or speaking "hooks" about the causes and effects of human nature is important. In buying the digital version, for yourself or as gift, you are giving an organized "go-to" collection for adults.

The authors also desire to re-introduce these wonderful stories to a prominent place in respected philosophical literature.  These stories helped frame the wise character of people like Abraham Lincoln.  When adults respect these fables, they will be more inclined to share them with others, particularly our children.

Introductions (and re-introductions) to Aesop always helps, and it always works.

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Aesop's Fables is for Children!?

Yes, but not only for children.  The fables do exactly what they are intended to do, for more than 2,500 years (c.600 BCE): they build character through the wise recognition of human nature.  Teaching children lessons in human nature is important.

[Gregg] Let me add this: As an attorney, with the rise of digital media, I have been receiving calls from adult men and women who have posed in intimate and compromising positions only to have a dispute about publication.  ["I posed naked for my boyfriend and now my boyfriend won't give me the pictures."]  Thus the rise of the "selfie" and the "revenge porn" concepts, both of which are now part of a new law in California.  I cannot imagine the pain of a young woman (or man) who has to live knowing that there are pictures looming.  But, this is the world we are in with fun digital media, that has no barriers to immediate dissemination, while in the moment.

These fables are a great reminder to adults about human nature and foolish acts; adults are not immune from foolish behavior.  Aesop's fables provide common-sense reminders about thinking ahead. 

If only those young women thought ahead, and thought of the Wolf. 

Now, I am not saying my brethren, the male gender, are wolves, of course, but nor I am not saying, such as James Madison stated in the Federalist Papers, that men are angels either.

The Forefathers knew Aesop, and they thought ahead.  Following is an excerpt from James Madison, also known as the "Father of the U.S. Constitution" (in a way that Thomas Jefferson is also known as "Drafter of the Declaration of Independence"). 


The Federalist No. 51 The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments Independent Journal Wednesday, February 6, 1788 [James Madison]

The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.


As I state in the Epilogue of the book, Aesop's Fables are certainly for children, just like teaching children the wisdom contained in any spiritual work.  But, wisdom transcends all walks of life and all ages.  Jesus had parables, Socrates had allegories, Confucius and Laozi had similes.  These simple stories just get better, as they should, with age and deepened knowledge.  The more wisdom you have, the more wisdom you get, exponentially.  Deep philosophy, to wit: the tendencies of human nature, coated in the literary device known as the 'fable.'

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Can I get a discount for bulk orders?

We entertain discounts for bulk orders, particularly for organizations.  The Essential Aesop is a great book for corporate staff gifts, speaking associations and guilds.  Contact us at

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Are the authors available for book readings?

Please contact us at or on the Feedback form to request information and/or to schedule a speaking engagement.  See below, Contact.

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What caused you to write this book?

[Arnold] The primary purpose was to share the ideas and wisdom we have learned from fables and stories over a lifetime of learning.

It all started when my son (Gregg) had just learned to read, and I wanted to find a way of teaching him good morals and principles that he would understand and remember. The vehicles I decided upon were fables and stories.  My logic was that Christ told parables that were still being told and Aesop told fables that have also been retold for over a thousand years. Gregg and I each would read the Aesop's Fables, which used animals to create key morals in life.  We then would date and initial each parable. We also did the same with Christ's parables.

By doing this we created a bond and a body of knowledge that has served us very well in business and in life.  Gregg is a successful lawyer, and I am positive achieving speaker that has allowed me to help many people acquire fulfillment.

Gregg wrote a book, ONE, which combines the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament of the Bible. I wrote a book, Diamond Capsules for Success and Wisdom, so, as you can see, fables and stories have helped us and our families in so many wonderful ways. 

We hope and pray you can use this Aesop's Fables collection to achieve a very special life.

[Gregg]  Well, I was sort of wired for it, if you noticed that my father had me read and sign the fables as a young child! 

Really, I never remember pushing back; I love these stories.

But, writing this book was really a tribute to my father's legacy regarding these wonderful stories.  Once you lock onto them, just one time, they will never let you go.  They are just too powerful, with the imagery and the simplicity.

We had a practical goal and a philosophical goal, which were not mutually exclusive.  The practical goal was to simplify each fable to its essence for writers and speakers.  To give adults their own version.  The philosophical goal remains our deepened desire to re-introduce these fables into our adult culture with the importance they deserve.  I am a technology attorney, so I will not be the one to say that there is anything inherently wrong with a Twitter world, but we cannot lose our stable philosophical grounding.  Aesop's Fables addresses very important philosophical questions of human nature.  Very sophisticated questions that the most brilliant minds could debate, and the most brilliant minds have debated: the core nature of man. 

Aesop, as a teacher, avoided that debate (as I point out in the Epilogue), but, as an attorney, I tend to enjoy that debate.  In any case, these fables have lasted 2,500 years, since c.600 BCE, because they work, in life.  Then, and now.

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Is there a Volume II in production?

There are so many wonderful fables, we intend to augment the first book with a Volume II, which is anticipated to be available in 2014.

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Arnold L. Zegarelli
2585 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15241-2565


Contact Information:
Gregg R. Zegarelli
2585 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15241-2565

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