The fable was one of the most popular genre of the European Enlightenment as well as of the Hebrew Haskalah. Many fables were published in Hameasef, the first modern Hebrew journal (1783-1811) that opens the period of modern Hebrew literature. The fables published during the early period of Haskalah in Germany were recycled in textbooks and other publications. Some of them were original, but most of them were adaptations of the classical Aesopian fables or their Jewish equivalent, Mishlei Shualim by Berachyah Hanakdan.

Haskalah fabulists did endow universal fables with some Jewish and Hebrew coloration either by adding a moral based on Proverbs or talmudic adage, or using biblical style and idiom, but they also adhered to the fables' general and universal moral teaching.

This article follows up on the initial discussion in the chapter on the fable in my book, Sugot Vesugyot Besifrut Hahaskalah Haivrit (1999). The article now classifies the various fable phenomena in Hameasef into the Aesopian fables, narrative fables, fabulist stories, parables, poetic fables, and allegories. In each category, examples are cited and analyzed and the literary conventions of each are examined. The article then discusses the question of the adaptation of fables and the so-called 'original' fables, and examines the possible satiric function of the fable. The relation of the fable to the needs and aesthetics of Haskalah literature is discussed as well.