Sunday, July 3, 2011


In my studies this Summer on economics, it has become rather hard to avoid the constant headlines about the nation of Greece. They are having such dire troubles. I was struck by the violent photographs that came out earlier this week as protests took place across their small country.

So I have been thinking of Greece while I try to learn some lessons in history, and naturally my thoughts wander to how much humanity has gained from Greek culture. Since we use a classical curriculum for the boys education, we study the Greeks pretty heavily.  The Greek myths are so rich I could read them over and over again and never grow tired. But I have to say my favorite Greek figure is Aesop ( as in Aesop's fables). I stumbled upon them as a really little girl and just fell in love.

The most interesting thing I have discovered over the years is that life proves Aesop correct time and time again. He is hailed as a wise man, a great teacher, an intellectual; but honestly he seems more than all else to me- a simple man, able to see the truth before him and turn it into a tale that made others see it too.

Do you know how Aesop died? It's just heartbreaking-and I hope the irony of the story isn't lost. It certainly wasn't on me.

He lived as a slave for 2 different men, and was freed by the second for being so clever. He was hired by King Croecus to deliver a gift of gold to the Delphinians:

While on a mission for King Croesus to distribute a certain amount of gold to the people of Delphi in Greece, there was a misunderstanding about how much gold each person was supposed to receive. Aesop became discouraged because the Delphians did not seem appreciative enough of the gift from the King so Aesop decided to take it all back to King Croesus. On his journey back the people of Delhi, who thought he was actively cheating them and giving them a bad reputation, tracked him down. Lloyd W. Daly writes “Apprehensive of his spreading this low opinion of them on his travels, the Delphians lay a trap for Aesop. By stealth they [stashed] a golden bowl from [their] temple in his baggage; then as he starts off through Phocis, they overtake him, search his baggage, and find the bowl. Haled back to Delhi, Aesop is found guilty of sacrilege against Apollo for the theft of the bowl and is condemned to death by being hurled off a cliff.” (Daly, 20.)

Here is one that the good nation of Greece would have done well to pay more attention to (and many in our own nation too!)

The Ant and the Grasshopper
In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.

Then the Grasshopper knew...
It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

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