Almost five centuries after they were first penned some of Leonardo’s fables still exist and are told in the Tuscan countryside. Few people remember who was the author of these tales which were once told in the courts of France and Italy.
Leonardo`s fables are very short, but involve complicated ideas and each one focused briefly on dangers like greed, jealousy and selfishness, or the benefits of compassion, kindness, honesty and generosity. It should be noted that fables are written, not so much for the entertainment of children, but to impart wisdom to adults.
Here is one of them:
The Tree & the Pole
A tree which grew luxuriantly, lifting to heaven its plume of green leaves, objected to the presence of a straight, dry old pole beside it.
“Pole, you are too close to me. Can you not move further away?”
The pole pretended not to hear and made no reply.
Then the tree turned to the thorn hedge surrounding it.
“Hedge, can you not go somehwere else? You irritate me.”
The hedge pretended not to hear, and made no reply.
“Beautiful tree,” said a lizard, raising his wise little head to look up at the tree, “do you not see that the pole is holding you up straight? Do you not realise that the hedge is protecting you from bad company?”
For other fables please go here.