Examples of Fables

Susie McGee
reading to child

Examples of fables are often used to teach a lesson or simply to tell a story. Fables, fairy tales, myths, and parables are often referred to interchangeably, but each of these stories or tales has its own distinct characteristics. Because fables are often used to teach a lesson or impart a simple moral, they are often confused with parables. However, fables don't typically feature humans and instead focus on animal or inanimate characters, as well as forces of nature, like fire or storms.

Human Attributes 

The symbolic characters and forces of nature have human-like characteristics, so they can speak and have diverse personalities. Because of this, examples of fables are often a great way to present a certain message or moralistic theme in a less serious format, which makes them perfect particularly for children.

Characters in fables are often assigned unique qualities, such as the "cunning fox", the "courageous lion", and the "greedy wolf". Each character portrays these traits throughout the story, and either their heroism or their downfall is directly related to their personalities.

Using Examples of Fables

Teachers often use examples of fables in the classroom to teach a variety of lessons to students of all ages. Elements of literature can easily be illustrated using fable examples particularly the following:

  • Exposition-This includes the characters and the setting of the story.
  • Rising action-What events lead up to the inevitable conflict?
  • Conflict-There is typically a unique struggle in the tale.
  • Falling action-These are the events that occur because of the rising action and the resulting conflict.
  • Moral-What is the lesson that is to be learned from the story?

Fables are particularly useful in teaching children who have learning disabilities, particularly those who have difficulty with reading comprehension. Because most fables are short and they generally feature animals and other inanimate objects, they pique children's interest and foster a desire to learn more.

Lesson Suggestions

Fable examples can be used in a variety of ways, including the following lesson suggestions:

  • Create a table-Title each column "exposition", "rising action", "conflict", "falling action", and "moral". For extremely low level learners, add simpler columns as well, such as title, characters, and author. Have students fill in the columns with all they know about each section, then let them share with each other what they have written.

Pay particular attention to the moral of the story, since some readers may have a difficult time expressing the lesson that the story attempts to relate.

  • Create a fable-Invite kids to model fable examples they've already read by changing the characters, the setting, and maybe the plot to create their own fables.
  • Animal matching game-Write a list of animals on the board or give children their own list. Ask them to match the character traits that might be most likely associated with each particular animal, such as snake-sneaky and deceitful, donkey-quiet and obedient, lion-boastful and prideful.

Finding Popular Examples

Where can you find popular fable examples? The first place you can look should be your local library. Although you can certainly find examples online, you somehow miss the magic of holding and turning the pages of an illustrated book filled with wonderful fables. The best part of visiting the library is that it is a free resource! Once you've read your fill from the library shelves, dive into the vast array of sites found online like the following:

  • Aesop's Fables-This is an awesome online collection featuring more than 655 fables, indexed in table format with the morals of Aesop's fables listed. You can access audio narrations and view a variety of images as well.
  • Fable Vision-Check out some original fables online at this site.
  • Literature.org-This is a great site for finding simple, short fables to read for enjoyment or to use in the classroom.

Finally, you're never too old to try your own hand at creating a fable, so what are you waiting for?

Examples of Fables