Raz-Plus and Reading A-Z offer projectable or printable books—also assignable in Raz-Plus!—such as Aesop's Fables, a multi-level folktale (fiction) 1,090 words, Level S (Grade 3), Lexile 880L. Multilevel Book also available in levels M and P
Retold by Julie Harding, Illustrated by Maria Voris
The Fox and the Stork
The fox invited his friend the stork over for some homemade soup. When the stork arrived for dinner, the fox poured the soup into a flat dish and set it on the table for them to eat. The stork was very hungry, but all she could do was dip the tip of her long beak into the dish. The fox laughed at his prank, and he easily slurped up all the soup with the poor stork was left with nothing for dinner.
The next day, the stork decided to return the favor and invited the fox to her home for dinner. The stork placed some tasy meat in a jar with a long neck and set it on the table for both of them to share. The fox eagerly tried to get to the meat, but he could not get past the jar's narrow neck. The stork, however, ate easily because her long beak could reach down into the jar. The hungry fox learned his lesson and admitted that his prank the day before had been wrong.
Moral: If you play tricks on others, they might play tricks on you in return.
The Fox and the Crow
The hungry fox saw the crow fly to his favorite branch in a nearby tree. In his beak, the crow carried a tasty morsel of cheese. The crafty fox quickly devised a plan and trotted over to the tree to talk to the crow.
"Oh, Mister Crow, you truly are the most magnificent bird I have ever seen," he said sweetly. His flattering words caught the crow's attention, and he gazed down at the admiring fox.
"You fly so fast and so gracefully," the fox continued. "No doubt you sing as beautifully as you fly."
Now, the crow was a vain bird who loved to hear compliments. Since the fox was singing his praises, he decided to sing his own song for him. As soon as the crow opened his beak, the piece of cheese fell out and tumbled down into the eager fox's waiting mouth.
When the fox was finished eating, he smiled up at the dismayed crow. "I thank you, Mister Crow, for the delicious snack," he said.
Moral: Do not trust strangers who engage in flattery.
The Crow and the Pitcher
The crow had been flying all day under a blazing hot sun, and her throat was scratchy and parched. She noticed a clay pitcher partially filled with water and hurried toward it to quench her thirst. The pitcher's neck was too long for the crow's short beak, though, and she could not reach the water.
The thirsty crow tried tilting the heavy clay pitcher, but it would not budge. She then noticed pebbles scattered on the ground. The crow picked up the pebbles and, one at a time, began dropping them into the pitcher. Bit by bit, the water began to rise. It took a long time and many pebbles, but eventually the water reached the top of the pitcher. The patient crow could drink to her heart's content.
Moral: Persistence and patience can yield rewards.
The Dog and His Reflection
A dog was trotting along happily with a juicy hunk of meat in his mouth. As he crossed a bridge over a stream, he glanced down. Gazing back up at his was another dog carrying his own tasty bit of meat. The dog on the bridge saw an opportunity, so he bent down and snapped at the other dog's meal. As he did, his own hunk of meat fell from his mouth into the stream. The disappointed dog then realized that what he had seen was not another dog, but merely his own reflection in the water.
Moral: If you are always greedy for more, you might lose what you already have.
When Peacock spoke, his strange, raspy voice made people laugh. Peacock longed to sing beautiful songs just as the nightingale did, so he pleaded with the goddess of animals to grant him a pleasing voice. The goddess replied, "You are jealous of the nightingale, but you have no reason to be. The feathers on your neck shine with every color of the rainbow and your tail looks like it is covered in gems."
"Yes, but my squawking voice sounds terrible," the Peacock lamented.
"No one is good at everything," scolded the goddess. "All creatures are blessed with different gifts. The falcon is fast as lightning, and the eagle is strong as the wind. The parrot can speak many different languages, and the raven is very smart. Yes, the nightingale has a magnificent singing voice, but you are big and beautiful. Can't you see you are special just as you are?"
Moral: We all have different strengths, so treasure your own gifts and talents.
The City Mouse and the Country Mouse
The poor country mouse decided to take a journey and visit his rich cousin in the city. The country mouse was surprised at how busy and crowded the city was. He had never seen so many other mice living in one place.
The city mouse decided to show his country cousin around his fancy home. Everything was of the finest quality, including the delicious foods stored on the kitchen pantry shelves.
"Look at all this food!" exclaimed the astonished country mouse. "You must eat very well."
"Well, yes," whispered the city mouse as he looked around nervously. "But you must lower your voice. There is a cat that guards the pantry, and she is always on the prowl for mice."
The country mouse decided he'd had his fill of city life. He much preferred the quiet aloneness of country life to the crowded dangerous city. He thanked his cousin for the visit and returned to his humble home.
Moral: It is better to live simply in safety than to live in luxury and fear.
The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
A hungry wolf wanted some dinner, so he disguised himself as a sheep and visited a nearby pasture where a flock of sheep were grazing peacefully. The shepherd tending the sheep was fooled by the wolf's costume. He opened the pasture gate and herded the wolf inside. The sneaky wolf soon found an unsuspecting lamb to eat, but by then the shepherd had realized what was happening. He rescued the lamb from the wolf in just the nick of time.
Waving his staff, the shepherd chased the wolf from the pasture and warned him never to return. From that day on, no creature passed through the gate until the shepherd had carefully inspected it to make sure it was a real sheep.
Moral: The way things appear is not always the way things really are.
Aesop's Fables offers readers a collection of simple yet valuable life lessons. Each of the seven separate tales uses animal characters to tell a story that contains a clear moral. With classic illustrations that enrich the text, this book can also be used to teach students how to visualize as well as to analyze characters in a story. The books are also available for levels M and P.