Do great stories live forever?

Around 600 B.C. the storyteller Aesop began to chronicle fables from around the civilized world. He became famous, and he traveled many places to share tales with both kings and commoners.

His stories—like the one about the tortoise and the hare—gave animals human qualities. His fables pointed out people’s good and bad traits, and they illustrated critical life lessons.

I always wondered how long his stories were. So, I chose a few at random, and counted the words.

The one about “The Tortoise and the Hare” ran about 172 words in the version I saw. The one titled “The Lion and the Mouse” – the story where the mouse pulls a thorn from a suffering lion’s paw – contained 178 words.

What do these stories have in common? They’ve lived for 2,600 years, and they are all super-short. Each can be read aloud in about one minute.

Maybe Aesop invented this technique because he knew we’d need it more than ever today.

Published by

Rix Quinn

Rix Quinn is a former magazine editor and now a syndicated columnist for over 100 weekly newspapers. He holds degrees from Texas Christian University and California State University.

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