Fables and Morals

Contributor: Kimberly Bennett. Lesson ID: 10782

If a lion spoke to you, would you listen? How about a gnat? Talking animals live in a world of fables that teach moral lessons. Join Aesop with videos and online sources and even write your own fable!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What do you think is happening in the following picture?

 The Crow and the Pitcher

Image, via Wikimedia Commons, comes from the Project Gutenberg archives. This is an image that has come from a book or document for which the American copyright has expired and is in the public domain.

Do you think that the crow in the picture looks like it is doing something intentional (doing something with a purpose)?

How carefully do you think animals consider their actions?

Share your ideas and explanation with your teacher or parent.

The picture above is an illustration from the fable "The Crow and the Pitcher." Fables are old stories that often use animals as the main characters. These animals can talk and use reason and judgement, just like humans. When an author gives an animal or other non-human thing human traits in a story, it's called personification.

The authors of the fables chose particular animals based on their unique traits. For example, hares (rabbits) are known as being fast runners, while tortoises (turtles) are known for being slow. Some other animals with distinct characteristics are the fox, known the be sly and cunning; the lion, known for being ferocious and brave; the owl is known for being wise; and the ox is known for being strong.

The combination of personification and the unique animal traits allowed the authors of fables to craft short stories that are entertaining to children while teaching an important lesson about life. This life lesson is called the moral of the story. The moral of the story is usually at the end of the story, and points out how the animal's behavior caused — or could have avoided — a problem.

No one knows when the first fables were written, but fables were originally handed down through storytelling from one generation to the next, just like a myths, tales, and legends. It is, however, believed that a man named Aesop, who lived in Ancient Greece during the 5th century B.C., was the first to actually write fables.

Use the Fables and Morals Worksheet, found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar, to help guide you through the lesson. You will begin by watching Aesop: Biography of a Great Thinker (below). Remember to follow along on your worksheet and discuss the questions with your teacher or parent:


When you are finished answering the questions on the worksheet, it's time to hear one of Aesop's Fables! Watch Sesame Street - The Crow and the Pitcher (below). When you have finished, remember to answer and discuss the worksheet questions with your teacher or parent.


Let's move on and look at some other fables and the morals they teach!

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