Fables and Proverbs from the Sanskrit, Being the Hitopadesa
. George Routledge and Sons . London
xPK3741.H6E5 1885 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is an extra copy of the first edition. Here is my sixth copy of this book as it exists in Morley's Universal Library. The first five were either third edition copies from 1888 or second edition copies from 1886. Here is a first edition from 1885. Wilkins seems to date his translation to 1787. I will repeat some comments from the extensive comments I made on the third edition. There is a T of C at the beginning, listing all the fables; it is especially helpful since the fables are not titled within the text. This translation seems never to use verse, but it does use archaic English forms like "thou" and "knoweth" when translating the proverbial verses. The introductory lines for a fable are put into italics. There are frequent footnotes at the bottom of the page. The four books here are roughly equal in length. In this version, there is no carrying of the rat by the crow when they move residence to be with the tortoise (63). The monkey sits on a piece of timber while "his lower parts hung within the slit" (107). He dies from the event. One of the stories I have noticed in reading several versions of the Hitopadesa lately is "The Lion, the Mouse, and the Cat" (124). A lion bothered by mice gets a cat and feeds him well. Once the cat gets rid of the mice, he is so neglected that he dies. The story is used typically by Damanaka to show Karattaka why they need to keep the lion worried and thus should not resolve his fears about the bull immediately and simply. In some other versions, it is a prostitute who discovers the monkeys who are making noise with a stolen bell. Here it is a "poor woman" (128). In this version, it is clear that the bull raises questions about the jackals' handling of provisions in the presence of the lion's visiting brother (129). The brother recommends that the bull, not the jackals, be put in charge of provisions in the future, and the lion accepts his advice. Here is clear grounding for the enmity felt by the jackals towards the new favorite. The Hitopadesa's misogynism is here: "Women are never to be rendered faithful and obedient" (140-141). Here two visits from Damanaka to the lion and one to the bull are enough to cause an immediate confrontation. Chapter III on "Disputing" pits geese against peacocks. The ambassador/scout of the former is a booby, a tropical seabird like a gannet. At first the peacock king loses because he does not attend to the wisdom of his minister, the vulture. Then he follows the vulture's advice, besieges the geese, and wins. Sarasa the cock, the goose-king's general, protects his king's life and escape, even in defeat. I enjoy here again the story about the stupid husband who lurks under the sofa to catch his wife in infidelity. She senses him there in the midst of love with her paramour and begins proclaiming his virtues. Here he actually gets up with the sofa on his head and dances for joy (186)! I am struck again by the story of Veera-vara, who sacrificed his son and himself for his new king (205). The fourth chapter is difficult for me here. I have trouble finding the story in the midst of quotations flying back and forth. I believe that the peacock and goose kings make peace and return happily to their home territories. Here a blue-cloth cover with floral patterns announces both the title and the series.