Indeed, fables may be the easiest place to begin learning about literary symbolism because the stories are usually no more than a paragraph in length, and there are one or two agents or characters. Of Aesop's Fables, three come to mind that are no longer than a few sentences: The Fox and the Crow, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Fox and the Grapes. While the agents or characters in fables are usually talking animals, the lessons they convey are about human nature; in the case of these three, guile, persistence, and rationalization.
In The Fox and the Crow, the crow, the protagonist, is sitting on a branch of a tree, minding its business, clutching a piece of cheese in its beak, when along comes a fox, the antagonist, who decides that he will use his cunning to get the cheese. Standing under the tree, the fox exclaims what a noble and beautiful bird the crow is, exclaiming on her beautiful plumage. After this, he says he wonders if her voice is as sweet as her appearance is grand. Of course, the crow, succumbing to flattery, lets out a loud caw, dropping the cheese that is subsequently snatched up by the fox, who derides her. "You have a voice madam, but what you lack is wits."
If students, working in teams, put this on a story board, in frame one they might draw a sketch of the protagonist in its undisturbed, normal, setting, cheese in beak. Frame two might be a sketch of the fox, seeing the crow with the cheese, and plotting to get it. Frame three might be a sketch of the fox executing its plan and flattering the crow; in frame four, the crow is singing and dropping the cheese. In frame five, the fox has the cheese, and is demeaning the gullible crow. Once students see what has happened to the crow as a result of its naiveté and conceit, they consider what the agents and their actions may represent in the world of human nature. Using the landscape graphic organizer, they might write Crow, Fox, and Cheese at the tops of three columns, and brainstorm what these agents and this object represent in the world they know, e.g., a girl being sweet-talked by a guy, and giving up her virginity, and subsequently, getting dumped, is one representation that is bound to come up.
This same strategy may be used for the other two fables. In fact, students will pick one of the many Aesop's fables and create their own story board, following through with the landscape graphic organizer, making a short presentation to the class. These will be displayed in class.