Peter Parley's Book of Fables Illustrated by Numerous Engravings
Goodrich, Samuel G
. White Dwier, . Hartford
PZ8.2.P36 Bo 1836 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This is a lovely little book. Pages 13-14 are missing. Forty-seven fables full of explicitated lessons about what little children should do. If you look for a sense of how we wanted little kids to behave in the early nineteenth century, look no farther! The fables are heavy on animals learning too late what they should have done and very light on risk and adventure. The principal lesson is overwhelming: obey your parents! I find the rectangular little engravings charming; many of them here have been painted. There tend to be fewer as the book progresses. Surprisingly, the last six fables turn at last to traditional Aesopic material, and there has not been anything explicitly Aesopic before then. Some fables of course reinforce traditional fable themes, like The Fox and the Spaniel (71), which teaches that people judge us by the company we keep. Here is a selection of sample stories: The Wolf and the Young Lamb (why you should not leave your mother's side, 33); The Rival Snails (how to act if you are the fastest snail in climbing up a building, 35); The Cow and the Clover (Or, a Story to show the Danger of Greediness, 49); The Child and the Rainbow (why you should enjoy rainbows while they last, 55); and The Rat and Her Young Ones (96). This latter story takes a prize. One young rat loses his leg to a trap on an expedition forbidden by mother before she left the hole. When she comes back and asks what happened, the young rat declares Oh, my dear mother, while you were gone, a strong iron trap came into the hole, and snapped off my leg. There is a T of C at the beginning. The preface admits that the material presented here is based on the fables of Ingram Cobbin published in London. One catches the transatlantic sense in the footnote on 30 telling American children what a hedge is.