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Aesop's Fables in Scots #8

More uplifting fables from our first ebook.

Saturday, June 22, 2024
14 mins

Jupiter and the Tortoise

Aye, Jupiter, the big heid honcho o' the gods, wis haein' a grand shindig – his very own marriage bash! He flung the invite ootae the clouds, callin' a' the critters frae furred tae feathered tae finned for a feast fit for a king (o' Olympus, that is).

But, lo an' behold, one wee shell-backed soul wis missin' frae the party – the Tortoise. Jupiter, his beard bristlin' like a thistle in a gale, cornered the Tortoise the next day. "Ye daft dug!" he boomed, "where were ye for my grand weddin' bash?"

The Tortoise, slow as auld mince, just shrugged his wee shoulders. "Nae fan o' parties, me," he mumbled. "Home, sweet home's the only place for a fella like me."

Jupiter, used tae gettin' his way faster than a midge hit by a kilt, fumed like a dragon with a stoo-filled kilt. "Fine then," he roared, "if ye hate company that much, ye can carry yer home wherever ye go!" And with a snap o' his fingers, he cursed the Tortoise tae forever lug his wee hoose on his back.

Aye, friends, that's the tale o' the Tortoise an' his eternal burden. A wee reminder that no matter how much ye cherish yer own wee space, sometimes a wee step oot the door for a good blether an' a bite is worth it. An' Jupiter? Well, let's just say he learned that forcin' folk tae party is nae way tae win friends or influence critters.

So next time yer feelin' like stayin' in an' hidin' under yer duvet, remember the Tortoise. Maybe a wee social saunter, a friendly blether, or a bite o' something tasty is just what yer shell needs. But if ye do venture oot, just mind yer manners – ye never know who ye might bump into, an' they mightnae be as understanding as a wee slow-movin' Tortoise.

Moral: Sometimes a wee adventure can bring unexpected rewards, even if it means leaving yer comfort zone.

The Dog in the Manger

A grumpy wee Dug wis sprawled oot in a manger, snoozin' in the cosie hay meant for the hungry beasties. When the cows ambled ower, rumblin' bellies an' all, hopin' for a bite, the Dug let out a growl that could curdle milk. He snapped an' snarled, guardin' the hay like a dragon with a stoo-filled kilt.

One o' the coos, wiser than auld moo, shook her head an' mooed a wee bit o' wisdom tae her pals. "Och, the daft mutt," she sighed. "He cannae eat the hayle himsel', yet he denies it tae those who need it most."

Aye, the tale o' the Dug in the Manger is a wee reminder that greed an' possessiveness often leave everyone empty-pawed. Sometimes, sharin' yer hay means everyone gets a wee taste o' comfort, an' the world becomes a friendlier place for auld cows an' grumpy dugs alike. 

Moral:  A wee bit o' generosity goes a long way, even if it just means scootin' aside to make room at the trough. 

The Two Bags

Ah, the tale o' the Twa Bags! Every laddie an' lass stumbles through life luggin' a pair o' hefty sacks – one strapped tae their chest, the other hangin' off their backside. Now, you'd think they'd be stuffed wi' gold an' treasures, but nae! These bags are overflowing with somethin' far less pleasant – flaws an' faults, the lot o' them.

Here's the kicker, though: the bag in front? Aye, that one's crammed full o' the foibles o' everyone else – yer neighbour's greed, yer cousin's clumsiness, the baker's temper, all on display like a haggis at a Burns Night ceilidh. But the other bag, the one snug up against yer own spine? That one's filled to the brim wi' yer own personal shortcomings – yer impatience, yer stubbornness, the tendency tae talk too much after a wee dram.

And that's why, friends, we're blind as a bag o' spuds when it comes tae our own flaws. We can spot a crooked smile or a clumsy gait a mile away, but our own quirks an' tics? Naebody's home! It's as if someone cast a wee blinkin' spell o' self-deception on us.

So remember, the next time you're tempted tae point the finger at someone else's blunder, take a peek over yer shoulder at yer own wee bag o' imperfections. You might be surprised at what you find. And who knows, maybe a wee bit o' self-awareness can be the first step towards lightenin' both o' those bags, makin' life a bit easier for yourself and everyone around you.

Moral:  Mind yer ain windaes afore ye criticize ither folks’.

The Oxen and the Axletrees

A braw pair o' Oxen, muscles strainin' like haggis skins, hauled a cart laden fit tae break their backs. As they sweat an' puffed, the axle, poor wee soul, sang a creakin' tune o' protest, complainin' louder than a kilt-clad laddie on a gravy-drenched tattie scone.

The Oxen, horns twitchin' in irritation, stopped mid-pull an' glowered at the squeaky axle. "Hey ye!" they bellowed, hooves stampin' like a ceilidh dance. "Why all the fuss? We're doin' all the work, an' here ye are, whinin' like a wee bairn wi' a scraped knee!"

The axle, wiser than auld moo, just chuckled a rusty chuckle. "Ah, my friends," it creaked, "dinnae ye ken the age-old truth? Those who suffer the least, complain the most! Your sweat may flow like whisky on Hogmanay, but it's my wee squeak that gets noticed. Remember, it's often the quiet wheels that keep the cart movin'."

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Oxen an' the Axletree is a wee reminder that noise an' drama dinnae always equal hard work. Sometimes, the quiet toil behind the scenes, the creaks an' groans of unseen effort, are what truly keep things rollin'. So next time ye find yourself tempted tae shout yer praises from the rooftops, take a moment tae appreciate the unsung heroes, the silent axles makin' the world go round, even if they do complain a bit along the way.

An' remember, a wee bit o' empathy goes a long way. Just because someone's squeaky or quiet, dinnae assume they're not pullin' their weight. Maybe lend a hand, grease a wee axle, an' see if their tune changes from a creak tae a grateful hum. We're all on this bumpy cart ride together, friends, so let's make it a smoother journey for everyone, noisy or silent alike.

Moral:  Thae wha mak the least fuss often cause the maist din.

The Boy and the Filberts

Wee Jock, eyes sparklin' like wee diamonds, spied a jar o' filberts, fat an' juicy, beggin' tae be gobbled. He shoved his wee paw in, grabbin' as many nuts as it could possibly grip, a glint o' greed in his eyes. But oh, the horror! When he tried tae pull his prize oot, it stuck fast, trapped like a haggis in a too-tight casing. His face scrunched up in a cry like a bagpipe gone berserk, tears streamed doon his cheeks faster than a kilt dancer's feet.

A kind soul nearby, seein' Jock's predicament, chuckled a wee bit. "Aye, laddie," he said, "greed can be a tricky trap. Let go o' half o' yer treasure, an' yer wee paw'll pop oot faster than a dram slides doon yer gullet."

Jock, snifflin' an' doubtin', hesitantly released half his nutty bounty. And lo and behold, his paw slipped oot like a greased eel. Relief flooded his face, brighter than a bonfire on Hogmanay. He munched on his smaller pile, a wee wiser an' a lot less greedy.

Aye, the tale o' Wee Jock an' the filberts is a gentle reminder: don't bite off more than ye can chew, or in this case, grab more than ye can fit oot o' a jar. Greed can leave ye stuck, cryin' an' frustrated. Sometimes, takin' a step back, lettin' go o' a bit o' the pie, is the only way tae find real satisfaction.

So remember, friends, moderation is key, even when faced with a jar o' filberts fit for a king. Be content with a wee handful, savor the taste, an' let yer wee paw fly free. And if ye see someone stuck in a pickle o' their own greed, offer a wee bit o' advice, like a friendly soul on the side o' the road. Maybe, just maybe, ye can help them escape their nutty trap an' find a taste o' happiness, nae bigger than a filbert, but sweet enough to fill their heart.

Moral: Greed can leave ye wi' a handful o' nothin', sometimes less is mair - let go a wee bit and ye'll win in the lang run.

The Frogs asking for a King

Aince upon a time, the wee frogs wisnae happy hoppin' aboot wi' nae ruler tae boss them aboot. So, they sent a slimy embassy tae Jupiter, the big heid honcho o' the gods, beggin' for a king – someone tae tell them who was hoppin' where an' when. Jupiter, bein' a bit o' a trickster, saw nae point in givin' them a real king (they'dnae know what tae dae wi' one anyway!), so he chucked a big, soggy log intae their pond. "There ye go," he boomed, "a king fit for a bunch o' tadpoles!"

The frogs, startled by the splash, squawked an' scunnered, scurryin' deeper than a kilt-clad laddie in a haggis-rollin' competition. But when they saw the log bobbin' like a drunken barrel, nae movin' a muscle, somethin' changed. Slowly, cautiously, they poked their wee heads oot, then their webbed feet, till the pond wis alive wi' green again. An' somethin' even stranger happened – the frogs, gettin' cocky like a haggis in a microwave, started climbin' on the log, usin' it as their royal throne!

But oh, the naivety o' it all! They thought this soggy stump wis an insult tae their froggy dignity. So, off they splashed again, back tae Jupiter, whinin' an' bletherin' aboot wantin' a proper king, one wi' a crown an' a sceptre, maybe even a wee palace on a lily pad. Jupiter, gettin' grumpy like a dragon wi' a stoo-filled kilt, decided tae teach them a lesson. He sent nae grand king this time, just a hungry, beady-eyed stork.

Now, this stork wisnae interested in speeches or sermons – he liked his lunch wiggly an' green. As soon as he landed, his long beak started snappin' up frogs faster than a kilt dancer could tap his toe. The pond turned from a peaceful kingdom tae a froggy massacre.

Sometimes, a wee bit o' freedom an' self-rule is better than any fancy crown or feathered tyrant. An' remember, Jupiter might be up in the clouds, but he's got a keen eye for the daftness o' wee critters, so dinnae tempt him tae send a stork tae your next pond party.

So there ye have it, the cautionary croak o' the Frog King. Hop wisely, friends, an' may yer pond be free o' soggy logs an' feathered predators. Just keep an eye on the skies – ye never know who might be watchin'!

Moral: Be careful whit ye wish for!

The Olive Tree and the Fig Tree

Wee Olivetree, leaves shinin' like emerald jewels, gloated ower Figgy, her branches bare as a kirk on Monday mornin'. "Ha!" she scoffed, "Losin' yer cloak every autumn, standin' stark as a scarecrow till spring! Me, I keep my greenery year-round, strong an' proud, a picture o' perseverance!"

But fate, like a rogue Highland wind, can change direction on a whim. Soon, a blizzard blew in, blastin' the land wi' a thick blanket o' snow. The flakes clung heavy tae Olivetree, pile upon pile, till her boughs groaned an' snapped, bendin' like a haggis under a kilt. Figgy, on the other hand, her bare branches laughin' at the storm, danced in the wind, lettin' the snow sift harmlessly through.

When the sun peeked back oot, Olivetree lay broken, a sorry heap o' twigs an' frost. Figgy, though scarred by the winter, stood tall, ready tae sprout new leaves an' bear another sweet bounty.

Aye, friends, the tale o' Olivetree an' Figgy is a wee reminder that pride comes afore a fall, even for a green-fingered braggart. Sometimes, lettin' go, standin' bare an' unburdened, can be the bravest stance o' all. An' maybe, just maybe, when the storm subsides, ye'll find yerself stronger, wiser, ready tae bear fruit sweeter than any olive.

So next time ye find yerself tempted tae gloat ower someone's bareness, remember Figgy laughin' in the wind. Take a deep breath, let go o' yer prickly pride, an' face the winter o' life with grace an' hope. For you, too, might rise up again, stronger an' sweeter than ever, ready tae face the sun an' bear your own unique fruit.

And remember, a bit o' snow on the branches can make the sun glisten even brighter when it melts. So keep yer chin up, friends, an' let yer roots grow deep, even in the coldest o' times.

Moral:  No' a' strengths are the same, like trees we flourish in different seasons. Bide by yer ain nature and dinna begrudge the gifts o' ithers.

The Lion and the Boar

Aye, on a scorchin' summer day, the sun blazin' like a wee dragon, a Lion an' a Boar stumbled upon a wee burn, gurglin' like a friendly ghost. Thirsty as haggis hounds after a hill race, they both made a dive for the cool watter, tempers flarin' faster than a kilt in a gale. "It's mine!" roared the Lion, teeth flashin' like a wee dram o' lightning. "Nae chance, furball!" grunted the Boar, tusks gleamin' like haggis knives.

Soon, the burnside turned into a battleground, claws an' tusks slashin' the air like bagpipes gone wild. But in the heat o' the fight, they both glimpsed somethin' that sent a shiver doon their spines – perched on a rocky crag, beady eyes glinted like stolen jewels. A gaggle o' vultures, waitin' with patience fit for an auld shepherd, ready tae feast on the loser o' this hairy brawl.

The Lion an' the Boar, fear dingin' their fury, froze mid-snarl. In that moment, the absurdity o' their fight hit them like a bag o' spuds. "Ach," sighed the Lion, sheatin' his claws, "better we share a dram o' watter than become a vulture's banquet!" The Boar, grumbling but wiser, nodded his dusty head.

So, truce was called, claws retracted, an' grudging respect bloomed like heather in the hills. They shared the wee burn, quench their thirst, an' maybe even swapped a tale or two.

Aye, friends, the tale o' the Lion an' the Boar is a wee reminder that sometimes, the biggest threats lurk in the shadows, watchin' from afar. An' when faced wi' a common enemy, even the fiercest rivals can find peace, if only to avoid a peck in the backside from a feathered scavenger. So remember, next time your pride wants to roar or your hackles want to rise, take a moment tae check for vultures on the horizon. Maybe a wee bit o' compromise an' shared refreshment can turn a battlefield into a friendly burnside, an' that's never a bad thing.

Moral:  Aye bide in a fecht can end as food for carrion crows, sometimes settlin' yer differences can be the best weapon o' them a'.

The Walnut Tree

Aye, there wis this wee Walnut Tree growin' snug by the roadside, its branches heavy wi' plump, juicy nuts. Every year, it offered this bountiful feast tae the world, but oh, the ingratitude! Folks passin' by, instead o' showin' a smidgen o' respect, would grab stones an' sticks, peltin' the poor wee tree like it wis a haggis in a shinty match. The nuts would come rainin' down, sure, but at what cost? Every twig ached, every leaf drooped, an' the Walnut Tree would cry out in bitterness, "Is this the thanks I get? My bounty battered wi' insults an' blows, the very folk who eat my gifts the ones who hurt me most!"

Aye, friends, it's a sad truth o' life: sometimes, kindness gets met with a kick in the shins, generosity wi' a slap in the face. It's enough tae make even the sturdiest Walnut Tree wanna pack its nuts an' move tae a deserted island.

But here's the thing: though the world can be full o' stone-throwers, dinnae let them harden yer heart. Keep offerin' yer bounty, yer shade, yer juicy sweetness. Maybe, just maybe, one day someone will pass by, not wi' a stick in hand, but wi' a grateful smile an' a gentle touch. An' even if they dinnae, remember, the joy o' givin' is its own reward. It's like spreadin' butter on yer bannock – it might get a wee bit crumbly, but the taste o' generosity is somethin' that nae stone can steal.

So keep yer branches strong, Walnut Tree, an' don't let the bad apples spoil the orchard. Keep growin', keep givin', an' trust that in the end, the sweetness o' yer fruit will outweigh the sting o' a few misplaced stones. After all, a world wi' nut-filled branches an' open hearts is a far tastier place tae be, eh?

Moral:  Sometimes thae wha benefit the maist can be the verra same tae cause the maist harm. But dinna despair, keep growin' strong and offerin' yer bounty, kindness aye finds its reward in the end.

The Man and the Lion

Auld Jock an' Leo, a man an' a lion, wandrochin' the countryside, fell tae bickerin' like bagpipes in a ceilidh. Each crowin' louder than a kilt-clad laddie after a dram, boastin' aboot their strength an' bravery. "Me, stronger than a haggis hurl!" roared Jock, chest puffed like a puffer fish. "Nay, nae chance, furball!" growled Leo, teeth flashin' like a wee bolt o' lightning. "Lions, we're the kings o' the jungle, fear nothin'!"

Their arguin' went on longer than a haggis-huntin' tale, till they stumbled upon a crossroads, a grand statue standin' proud. It showed a strappin' laddie grippin' a lion's throat, muscles strainin' like tartan against a kilt. Jock, gleeful as a wee bairn wi' a new dram, thumped his chest. "See! Proof positive! Men, lords o' creation!"

Leo, though, just chuckled, a rumbling sound like thunder on the hills. "Hold yer horses, Jock," he purred. "That's just one side o' the story. If lions carved statues, ye can bet most o' them would show a lion gnawin' on a man's backside!"

Aye, friends, the tale o' Jock an' Leo is a wee reminder that every story has two sides, every fight two fists. Don't get trapped in yer own wee bubble, thinkin' yer truth is the only one. Take a step back, see the world through someone else's eyes, even if they have claws an' a mane.

So next time you find yerself ready to roar yer own superiority, remember the statue at the crossroads. There's always another perspective, another way to see the fight. An' maybe, just maybe, when you open yer ears an' yer heart, you'll find there's no need for fightin' at all. Just a shared dram, a friendly blether, an' the knowledge that we're all part o' the same grand, messy story, lions an' men alike.

Moral:  Ivery story has twa sides, just like a coin has twa faces. Aye consider the ither sicht o' the tale afore jumpin' tae conclusions.

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