Tradition has it that Aesop was a freed Phrygian slave living in the 6th century BC, making this the world’s oldest collection of stories. Originally orally transmitted, there are over 300 fables, many of which have become proverbial to us – ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’, ‘The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing’ for example.
According to Life of Aesop (an ancient account), Aesop was born an ugly mute slave, but was granted the power to speak and craft fables in return for his generosity to one of the attendants of the goddess Isis.
Edward J. Detmold (1883-1957) was born in London, England. Detmold completed the illustrations for The Fables of Aesop in 1909.
‘A Mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard; and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse’ – ‘The Mountain in Labour’ from The Fables of Aesop