Aesop’s fables




Potential benefits

Working obliquely with story as metaphor

Conversations around ethics

Resources needed

A book of Aesop’s fables

Animal objects most common in the fables, to illustrate the stories: fox, lion, hare, tortoise, mouse, ass, wolf


  1. Following on from earlier sessions on animals, introduce Aesop’s fables. Some people may be familiar with them and recall some of the tales – perhaps the most well-known are ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ and ‘The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse’
  2. Take the lead from what group members recall in terms of fragments of the fables, or complete stories, and expand. If none are forthcoming, introduce ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ and/or ‘The Lion and the Mouse’
  3. Use the animal objects to begin the tale – passing around the group
  4. Share the story/stories
  5. See what emerges from the tale. Did the story go as expected? Was there a twist in the fable? Which animal did people favour? Is there a moral?
  6. Note down observations, and add to the book if client’s are in agreement, and photograph objects


Copy the fables shared to put in the book, and add photos and comments.

Further sessions

There are some musical versions of some of Aesop’s fables, and many artists have drawn and painted images based on the tales, so these could be shared, along with further stories from the fables. (Music: Charles Valentin Alkan, Bob Chilcott, Mabel Wood Hill, William Russo, Scott Watson; Art: Georges Fraipont, Morgan Leshinsky, Arthur Rackham, Paul de Vos).

The fables may lead to other animal stories or poetry being recalled that can be visited in later sessions. Themes that may also develop might be around the morals, ethics and beliefs of people.

The client’s response

“I find it very good. I like listening to all the stories”

“I quite enjoyed it – quite interesting to hear the stories”

“I enjoyed it all – very nice. I love the stories”

There can be a great deal of pleasure to be had in listening to a story. Older adults may not have had this experience since being a child, or perhaps never. It is often a time of rapt focus, and gives the opportunity for creatively opening up themes that might not have been possible to explore without them being introduced in story-form first.

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