Monkey camel

Do not try to ape your betters. “The Monkey and the Camel” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Upon the family’s return, there was a great celebration amongst the animals in honor of King Lion. Mimouka was asked to dance for the assembly and her dancing was very clever indeed. All of the animals were pleased with Mimouka’s grace and lightness so they gathered around her.

Such praise was showered on Mimouka that the Camel became envious. He was very sure that he could dance better than any monkey so he pushed his way into the crowd. The Camel raised himself up on his hind legs and began to dance, but he was so big and hulking that he only looked very ridiculous as he kicked out his knotty legs and twisted his long clumsy neck. The animals scurried about trying to keep from getting crushed under his heavy hoofs.

At last, when one of his huge hoofs came within an inch of King Lion’s nose, the animals were so disgusted that they set upon the Camel in a rage. Shortly afterward, refreshments, consisting mostly of Camel’s roasted hump and ribs, were served.


Monkey dolphin

One falsehood leads to another. “Monkey and the Dolphin” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Greeks traveled with their pet monkeys. At this time, the Dolphins were also very friendly towards humans, especially towards Athenians. A Greek ship bound for Athens was wrecked near the coast of Piraeus and Dolphins came to rescue the Athenians carrying them on their backs to shore. Mimouka spotted a Dolphin approaching, she quickly climbed onto his back, and then the Dolphin swam towards shore.

The Dolphin politely asked, “You are a citizen on illustrious Athens, are you not?”

Mimouka eagerly responded: “Yes, my family is one of the noblest in the city.”

“Indeed,” said the Dolphin. “Then of course you often visit Piraeus.”

“Yes, yes,” replied Mimouka. “Indeed, I do. I am with him constantly. Piraeus is my very best friend.”

This answer took the Dolphin by surprise, and turning his head ever so slightly, he could saw that he was carrying a cheeky monkey. With no more ado, he dived and left Mimouka soaked to fend care for herself while he swam off in search of some human to rescue.




Introducing Mimouka enjoying her favorite pastime at home, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Mimouka Notecard

Once upon a time, Mister Cat and a monkey named Mimouka lived as pets in the same household. They were at first great friends and enjoyed in all sorts of mischief together. They were simpatico in that they were both had gourmet tastes and they would seek roasted chestnuts by any means necessary.

One evening Mimouka and Mister Cat were sitting by the fire, watching some chestnuts roasting on the hearth. Mimouka put on her sweetest expression and cooed, “I would gladly get them, but you are much more skillful at such things than I am.” Mister Cat, ever cavalier, hesitated. Mimouka interjected “Pull them out and I’ll divide them between us.”

Mister Cat stretched out his paw very carefully, pushing aside some of the cinders, and drew back his paw very quickly. Then he tried it again, this time pulling a chestnut half out of the fire. A third time and he drew out the chestnut. He performed this feat several times, each time singeing his paw more severely. As fast as he pulled the chestnuts out of the fire, Mimouka let them cool to perfection then ate them up.

Now their human came in, and away chased the rascals away. Mister Cat with a burnt paw and no chestnuts learned his lesson. From that time on, they say, he contented himself with mice and rats and had little to do with Mimouka.

Monkey cat

The flatterer seeks some benefit at your expense. “The Monkey and the Cat” by Aesop retold and illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

frogs rock

Two frogs dodging rocks… design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Some boys were playing by the edge of a pond. Unaware that there was a group of frogs living there, they amused themselves by throwing stones into the pond to make them skip across the water. The stones were flying so thick and fast and the boys were enjoying themselves very much that they did not notice that the poor frogs in the pond were dodging the stones or trembling with fear amidst the grasses.

old frog

At last, the oldest and bravest of the frogs made a stand, and said: “Oh, please, dear boys, stop your cruel play! Though it may be fun for you, it means death to us!” Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Always stop to think whether your fun may not be the cause of another’s unhappiness.


A poor woodcutter, hard at work all day cutting down trees to sell for firewood, wanted to cut down one last tree before going home for the evening. He spotted a sturdy elm beside a deep pool and set to work. After a long day, he was so tired that after a few strokes, the ax slipped from his hands and fell with a splash into the deep murky water.


Woodcutter in the forest… designed by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

How could I be so careless!” the woodcutter lamented. “I’ll never see my ax again!”

He despaired. A mermaid heard the woodcutter’s lamentations and appeared before him to inquire about what was wrong.

“I’ve lost my only ax in the water,” the woodcutter groaned. “And I can’t afford to buy another. Now my children will go hungry. What can I do?”

“Wait here,” the mermaid replied, and she dove down. When she resurfaced, she held an ax made of pure gold in her hand.

“Is this the ax you lost?” the mermaid asked.

“No, that one isn’t mine,” he responded.

The mermaid dove again to the bottom of the pool and returned this time with a shining silver ax. She asserted: “Then this one must be yours.”

“No, no! That one’s not mine, either,” sighed the woodcutter. “Mine was just a plain iron ax with a wooden handle.”

For the third time the mermaid dove to the bottom and this time she came up with an old, worn iron ax.

“That’s the one!” cried the woodcutter joyfully.  “How can I ever thank you?”

“My friend,” said the mermaid, “your honesty deserves a reward. Take all three axes home with you, and your children will never go hungry again.”


Mermaid design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.

Delighted, the woodcutter went home and told his family what had happened.

The woodcutter had a wily brother who, upon hearing the story, thought to himself, “Why should my silly brother have better luck than me? Tomorrow I’ll try the same trick, and I’ll bring treasure home too!”

The next day the woodcutter’s brother went to the spot where the elm tree was and threw his ax into the water. He wept and wailed, summoning on the mermaid to help him. She appeared and after listening to his tale of woe, dove to the bottom of the pool. She returned with a golden ax and asked, “Is this the one you lost?”

“That’s the one!” the woodcutter’s brother cried.

Sensing his dishonesty, the mermaid let the golden ax fall back beneath the water. “For your dishonesty,” she stated, “you’ll have no ax at all.” The mermaid vanished, leaving the woodcutter’s brother poorer than ever.

owl moral

Honesty is the best policy. Owl design by Meredith Eliassen, 2018.


Scan 4

Playing in the role of Old Boar is a javalina from Sedona. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

An Old Boar was busily sharpening his tusks against the stump of an old tree, when a Fox happened by.

Scan 6

No tree trunks were harmed in the telling of this fable. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Now the Fox was always looking for a chance to mock his neighbors, so he made a great show of appearing anxious, as in fear of some hidden enemy, but Old Boar kept on with his tusk task.

Scan 3

Cactus design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Fox asked, “Why are you doing that, old friend?” With a smirk, he added, “I don’t see any danger lurking about.”

Scan 2

Dragonfly design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

“True enough,” Old Boar responded. With a sigh, he added, “but when danger comes, there won’t be time to do this kind of preparing. My tools and skills will have to be ready for use then, or I will suffer for it.”

Preparedness for adversity is the best guarantee of peace.


The Country Mouse

November 16, 2017

A Town Mouse went on a visit to his cousin in the country. Country Mouse loved his town friend and offered him heartily welcome. Beans and bacon, cheese and bread, were all that Country Mouse had to offer, but he offered them freely. Town Mouse rather turned up his long nose at this country fare, and said: “I cannot understand, Cousin, how you can put up with such poor food as this.” He continued, “but of course you cannot expect anything better in the country.”

Country mouse

Country Mouse design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Country Mouse scurried about beneath some nearby ferns trying to find some more elegant provisions. Then his urban cousin suggested, “Come you with me and I will show you how to live. When you have been in town a week you will wonder how you could ever have stood a country life for so long.”

No sooner said than done: the two mice set off for the town and arrived at the Town Mouse’s residence late in the evening. The polite Town Mouse offered, “You will want some refreshment after our long journey.”

He led his rough and ready cousin into the grand dining room where they found the remains of a fine feast. Soon the two mice were eating up jellies and cakes and all that was nice.

Suddenly they heard growling and barking.

Country Mouse asked, “Ieck!!! What is that?”

“It is only the dogs of the house,” his companion responded.

“Only!” squeaked the Country Mouse. “I do not like that kind of music at my dinner.”

Just at that moment the door flew open. In ran two huge mastiffs, and the two mice had to scamper down from the table and run off.

“Good-bye, Cousin,” said the Country Mouse.

“What! Going so soon?” said the other.


Happy Thanksgiving!


Bee and berries

November 14, 2017

A Bear roamed the woods in search of berries. He happened upon a fallen tree in which a swarm of bees had stashed their honey. The Bear began to nose around the log very, very carefully to see if the Bees were at home.

Just then one of the swarm happened home from the berry patch with a load of sweet pollen. Guessing what the Bear was after, the Bee flew at him, stung him sharply. Then he disappeared into the hollow log.

The Bear lost his temper and sprang upon the log attacking tooth and claw, hoping to destroy the nest, but this only brought out the whole swarm. The poor Bear took to his heels and ran. He only saved himself by diving into the nearby stream.

The weakest united may make for a strong alliance of protection. Overlooking the fact that many bees united can make even the strongest creature uncomfortable, it would be wiser to bear a single injury in silence than to provoke a thousand by flying into a rage.

bee and berries

Note: No animals were actually stung in the telling of this fable.


Crow and the pitcher

A lesson from Aesop: “In a pinch, good use of our wits may help us out.” Design featuring pitcher with an Etruscan cat motif by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

A crow with an unquenchable thirst happened upon a pitcher that once had been full of water. The crow tucked her beak into the pitcher only to discover that much of the water had evaporated and the pitcher was nearly empty. She could not reach down far enough to get at the water. She tried and tried until she stopped in despair.

Then a thought came to her… she took a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher, then another, then another, and another, and another, until the water slowly rose close to the rim. After casting a few more pebbles in, she learned that little by little does the trick, and she was able to quench her thirst at last.

Aesop Crow and the Pitcher Notecard


A sleeping lion was awakened by a little mouse that was running back and forth on him. With his big paw the lion lifted the little mouse by the tail and opened his big jaws to swallow him.

“Forgive me!” The mouse cried, “And I will never forget it.” He continued, “I may even be able to do you a good turn one of these days.”

The lion was so tickled at the idea that a little mouse might be able to help him that he lowered the mouse to the ground and let him go.


Aesop: Kindness is never wasted. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2017.

Some time later, the lion was captured in a trap set by hunters who were intent on keeping him alive in captivity. As the hunters left to go in search of a cart to carry him, the little mouse happened by and saw the plight of the lion. Soon the little mouse gnawed away the netting that bound the lion, and then smiled up at the King of Beasts: “Was I not right.

Aesop Mouse and the Lion Notecard