Indonesian Fables of Feats and Fortunes
. Heian: Stone Bridge Press . Berkeley, CA
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This is an extra copy of this book. Originally published in 2001 in Japan by Hoshinowakai. There are three stories in this large-format book of 32 pages. The Mischievous Mouse Deer, Kanchil presents about five episodes, each of which is or could be a fable. There is, for example, the episode in which Kanchil gets a group of alligators to line up, supposedly to be counted but really to form a bridge over which he can cross the river. Panji Kuraras and His Champion Rooster combines cockfighting, a wandering prince, and a lonely young woman in a forest into a lovely romantic tale. The king's unknown son comes with his rooster to the palace to defeat the king's best roosters in a cockfight. The victorious rooster then sings a riddling song that reveals the king's connection with this family. The Water Buffalo That Saved the Nation is the story of Sumatra's independence from Java. The king of militaristic Java has commands Sumatra to submit or to face war. Sumatra's counter-offer is to let two water buffalo fight and to abide by the outcome of their duel. For their fighter, the Sumatrans choose a young water buffalo calf who has been deprived of milk for three days. They secretly attach a sharp knife to his horns, and he immediately seeks the other animal's stomach. Squealing in pain, the larger water buffalo of Java runs away from further fighting. Honda's art is enjoyable. The very first picture for the final story emphasizes the presence of the pattern of buffalo horns in Sumatran dress and architecture. After the stories, there are short sections on the series, the book, the storyteller/editor, the illustrator, and Indonesia.