Look Before You Leap. - Aesop
Published: Aug 10, 2022
Look Before You Leap

to make sure that everything is alright before doing something important that you cannot revert
to think of the consequences of one’s actions before taking them
to imagine the likely effect before making a crucial verdict
to calculate the possible consequences before taking immense action

Look before you leap means that before a person takes an action or promises something, one should consider all the consequences or all the dangers involved in the course of the action. The expression before the jump is based on Aesop's fable "The Fox and the Goat" written in the 500s BC. In the fable, the fox falls into a well and cannot get out. A thirsty goat happened, and the fox persuaded the goat to jump into a well to drink water. The goat jumped in without assessing the situation; the fox climbed on the goat's back and climbed out of the well, leaving the goat behind and unable to get out of the well on its own. When the goat asked the fox for help, the fox replied that he could only blame himself for the goat's plight, because he should have looked before jumping.


Aesop (/ˈiːsɒp/ EE-sop or /ˈeɪsɒp/ AY-sop; Greek: Αἴσωπος, Aísōpos; c. 620–564 BCE) was a Greek fabulist and storyteller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop's Fables. Although his existence remains unclear and no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales associated with him are characterized by anthropomorphic animal characters.

Scattered details of Aesop's life can be found in ancient sources, including Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch. An ancient literary work called The Aesop Romance tells an episodic, probably highly fictional version of his life, including the traditional description of him as a strikingly ugly slave (δοῦλος) who by his cleverness acquires freedom and becomes an adviser to kings and city-states. Older spellings of his name have included Esop(e) and Isope. Depictions of Aesop in popular culture over the last 2,500 years have included many works of art and his appearance as a character in numerous books, films, plays, and television programs.

The name of Aesop is as widely known as any that has come down from Graeco-Roman antiquity it is far from certain whether a historical Aesop ever existed ... in the latter part of the fifth century something like a coherent Aesop legend appears, and Samos seems to be its home.

The earliest Greek sources, including Aristotle, indicate that Aesop was born around 620 BCE in the Greek colony of Mesembria. A number of later writers from the Roman imperial period (including Phaedrus, who adapted the fables into Latin) say that he was born in Phrygia.

From Aristotle and Herodotus, we learn that Aesop was a slave in Samos and that his masters were first a man named Xanthus and then a man named Iadmon; that he must eventually have been freed because he argued as an advocate for a wealthy Samian; and that he met his end in the city of Delphi. Plutarch tells us that Aesop had come to Delphi on a diplomatic mission from King Croesus of Lydia, that he insulted the Delphians, and was sentenced to death on a trumped-up charge of temple theft, and was thrown from a cliff (after which the Delphians suffered pestilence and famine).
Recent publications from this author (View All)
Related books (View All)