Fridays are for rhetoric! Are you too grown up to read nursery rhymes? How about fables? A bit of A.A. Milne, anyone? Dr. Seuss? Quintilian thinks you are not too grown up to play with the ideas and words others have made very simple for you.
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory.Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book I Chapter 9
As pre-rhetoric studies Quintilian recommends students learn to tell Aesop’s fables. He states that these are the basic stories “after the nurse’s stories” (Quintilian I.9.2). As well as telling these familiar stories the students should learn to express them in writing. They then learn to embellish the stories, still keeping the sense. “He who shall successfully perform this exercise, which is difficult even for accomplished professors, will be able to learn anything” (Ibid., I.9.3) Quintilian divides sayings and their forms into sentences, chriae, and ethologies, though he does not define these clearly. He does, however, observe that the ability to work with these retellings is necessary for the rhetorician.