Aesop’s Fables: Heaven Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Aesop’s Fables: Heaven Helps Those Who Help Themselves
This image has been color corrected. (Baby's Own Aesop/CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)
Epoch Inspired Staff
11/15/2023
Updated:
11/15/2023

A farmer was driving his wagon along a miry country road after a heavy rain. The horses could hardly drag the load through the deep mud, and at last came to a standstill when one of the wheels sank to the hub in a rut.

The farmer climbed down from his seat and stood beside the wagon looking at it but without making the least effort to get it out of the rut. All he did was to curse his bad luck and call loudly on Hercules to come to his aid.

An illustration of the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner by Walter Crane in the limerick collection Baby's Own Aesop (1887). (Baby's Own Aesop/CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)
An illustration of the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner by Walter Crane in the limerick collection Baby's Own Aesop (1887). (Baby's Own Aesop/CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

Then, it is said, Hercules really did appear, saying:

“Put your shoulder to the wheel, man, and urge on your horses. Do you think you can move the wagon by simply looking at it and whining about it? Hercules will not help unless you make some effort to help yourself.”

And when the farmer put his shoulder to the wheel and urged on the horses, the wagon moved very readily, and soon the Farmer was riding along in great content and with a good lesson learned.

Self help is the best help.
Heaven helps those who help themselves.
This fable is reproduced from The Project Gutenberg eBook of “The Aesop for Children” (1919). And the illustration is sourced from the fable of Hercules and the Wagoner by Walter Crane in the limerick collection “Baby’s Own Aesop“ (1887).
Aesop (c. 620–564 B.C.) was a Greek storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as “Aesop’s Fables.” His tales, with their moral value, have long influenced our culture and civilization, contributing not only to the education and moral character building of children, but also, with their universal appeal, to the self-reflection of adults alike who have chosen to embrace the virtues or heed the warnings within.
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Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.