Aesop in Modern Dress
Riley, Alice C. D
. distributed by Saunders Press . Claremont, CA
PS3535.I658 A7 1953 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
MetadataShow full item record
I had not known of this book, found it in an unlikely paperback barn I happened upon while walking from someplace else in Portland, and then found the same virtually unknown, limited edition book being offered me again within two months! The Blake copy has #306 written in the upper right corner of the title-page. There are eighty-three fables with seventeen illustrations. The best of the illustrations may be FG (39): the fox sits on the ground disgruntled. The rhyme of the rhyming couplets pushes the versions into some infelicities. Examples include the moral for The Ant and the Fly (55), the last two lines of Jupiter and Pallas (60), and the whole of FK (98-99). Sometimes the couplets become prosaic, as in the second moral on 51. I do not find much modern dress ; the braggart about Rhodes has now become a golfer (58). Riley sometimes supposes that we know the story; she thus presumes that we know that the milkmaid had the milk on her head (70-71). There are some surprising differences in how the stories are presented here. Thus the donkey in MSA ran to a broken bridge and fell in (23). Both the fox and the wolf not only lost but had to pay court costs (29). The man with two wives was old (36). The mouse that nibbled itself a small hole to get into the basket now has to wait to get slim enough to get back out, but then will be eaten in any case by a weasel (54). Only one lie is enough to lose your credibility in BW (67). The dog about whom the cock tells the fox is real (100). The moral for CP is Little by little does the trick (105). The lion's partners in the hunt are the jackal, the wolf, and the fox (109). The hare with many friends ends up using her own swift heels to disappear (124). There are also some very good interpretations. According to the moral in GA, The best of life must find a way/to bring together work and play (40). The Fox and the Cat (87) has a good moral (even if the story itself lacks important quotation marks at the end of its second stanza): Sometimes God's gifts to Mortal Man/Are so profuse he scarcely can/Decide which gift to cultivate,/And so wastes time until too late. Both the ending and the accompanying illustration are excellent in the book's last fable, The Ape and Her Young (136): But the neglected Ape was quick and able./He managed to escape from out this Fable.