Aesop (c.620 BC-564 BC) is famous for his fables, metaphorical fairly tales with moral conclusions. According to Greek tradition, Aesop was born into slavery in approximately 620 BC in the ancient Greek town of Mesembria in the region of Thrace and served as a slave on the island of Samos. In time, Aesop was freed by his master, Iodman. Some accounts depict Aesop winning his freedom by outwitting his master and subsequently joining the court of King Croesus of Lydia.
It was in Lydia that Aesop composed his fables, debated philosophy with great Greek thinkers such as Solon and Thales, and even served as an advisor and diplomatic courier to King Croesus. As an ambassador he was able to travel and tell his fables to different audiences. Certain scholars believe that on a mission in which he was to deliver money to Delphi, Aesop saw the corruption and ungratefulness of the Delphians, and refused to grant the money. In a fit of rage, the Delphians executed him and were subsequently plagued with catastrophes until they paid public reparations for his unjust death.
Although Egyptians had been reciting fables for several centuries, Aesop’s employment of the metaphor in telling his fables was unique in Greek literature. In the years following Aesop’s death, however, his fables were reduced to moral expressions and his colorful narratives looked down upon until post-Medieval times. Aesop is credited with creating or adapting over 700 fables that he passed by speech due to his inability to write. Two of his most enduring fables are
The Tortoise and the Hare, detailing a race in which a slow and steady tortoise defeats an arrogant rabbit, and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, in which a shepherd boy learns the repercussions of lying.
Aesop Park, located on Page Avenue in Richmond Valley, uniquely integrates the original surrounding forest with a variety of manmade structures. The park has 200 trees, a 200 person amphitheater, play equipment, swings, a spray shower, a fitness trail, and animal art of Aesop’s most enduring characters, including the fox, hare, tortoise, gnat, and bull. The property belongs to the school and had previously been used as forestland until 2001, when a playground was constructed to serve the students of the newly renovated P.S. 6. The $1.8 million project was funded by Council Member Stephen Fiala.
P.S. 6 has been praised for its architectural design, and the playground is regarded by Parks Commissioner Stern as one of “the most magnificent I have seen in fifteen years as commissioner.” The playground is jointly operated by Parks and the Board of Education. True to its namesake, there is a sundial at the playground with "slow and steady win the race" encoded around it, along with a granite ID plaque at the entrance.