Painting of a fox and grapes from La Fontaine's classic French fable.

The Fox & the Grapes (An Ancient Greek Fable)

This is an old Greek fable originally popularised by Aesop in 600 BCE. It’s one of the most influential fables of all time, and it gives us the expression “sour grapes.” This is a re-telling by Juan Artola Miranda.

Once, in a lush and verdant forest, there lived a cunning and sly fox. As he roamed beneath the sun-dappled trees, he happened upon a vineyard. The vineyard was laden with ripe and succulent grapes, glistening with morning dew and hanging in bunches from sturdy vines. The sight of such tantalizing fruit made the fox’s mouth water, and he decided that he must taste them.

The fox approached the vineyard and stood beneath the vines, looking up at the grapes just out of reach. He coiled like a spring and then leapt into the air, stretching his paws towards the tempting fruit. Alas, the grapes remained beyond his grasp. Undeterred, the fox leapt again and again, each time jumping higher and reaching further, but to no avail. The grapes continued to taunt him, swaying gently in the breeze as if mocking his efforts.

Finally, exhausted and weary, the fox paused and regarded the grapes one last time. With a flick of his tail and a snort of disdain, he declared, “I am sure those grapes are sour and not worth my time. I shall not waste another moment on them.” And with that, the fox turned and sauntered back into the forest, his pride intact but his appetite unsatisfied.

Juan Artola Miranda

I am Juan Artola Miranda, a fabulist living in the Mexican Caribbean. My friends know me by the name of my father's father, but that name grew into something bigger, my writing reaching tens of millions of readers. It was too strong for me to control. Artola Miranda is the name of my mother's mother. It's a better name for a fabulist.

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