His passion for the stage completely engrossed him; he tried his hand both at dramatic criticism and at dramatic authorship. His first dramatic piece, Lethe, or Aesop in the Shades, which he was thirty-seven years later to read from a splendidly bound transcript to King George III.
When Aesop was about twenty years old his master lost a great deal of money and was obliged to sell his slaves.
Along the top and the bottom run decorative borders with figures of animals, scenes from fables of Aesop and of Phaedrus, from husbandry and the chase, and occasionally from the story of the Conquest itself (see Embroidery, Plate I.
This answer pleased the rich man so well that he bought Aesop at once, and took him to his home on the island of Samos.
Neckam also wrote Corrogationes Promethei, a scriptural commentary prefaced by a treatise on grammatical criticism; a translation of Aesop into Latin elegiacs (six fables from this version, as given in a Paris MS., are printed in Robert's Fables inedites); commentaries, still unprinted, on portions of Aristotle, Martianus Capella and Ovid's Metamorphoses, and other works.
It immediately made a great impression, which was enhanced by the continuation of his autobiography (Home Letters) and especially by his Fables of Aesop and of other Writers (Leipzig, 1789).
They saw that all these fables taught some great truth, and they wondered how Aesop could have thought of them.
It has been contended that there are traces of the legend even in the New Testament, and there is a striking similarity between it and the Life of Aesop by Maximus Planudes (ch.
Lastly, the obscurity in which the history of Aesop is involved has induced some scholars to deny his existence altogether.
And before the end of the journey Aesop had nothing to carry, while the other slaves were groaning under their heavy loads.