Mon Grand Livre de Fables d'Ésope
. Tournesol S.A.R.L. . Mantes-la-Jolie, France
Language note: French
PA3855.F7 M66 1989 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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The original copyright on this book (1989) belongs to Susaeta in Madrid, who also printed the book. This is a large (slightly under 8½ x 11) hardbound book with delightful colored illustrations for each of its eighty fables. Each fable gets one page. T of C at the end. The two endpapers at each end on the court of the lion are nice mirror images of each other. The four parts have twenty fables each. Do not miss the larger illustrations just before Parts II, III, and IV. Each fable ends in a conversational moral, like this for DLS (9): C'est ainsi que les gens sans culture, qui se déguisent en savants, finissent toujours par se faire démasquer. Of course it is unusual to find a French book presenting Aesop rather than La Fontaine, and so it is instructive to see how this text understands fables generally interpreted through La Fontaine. When the man complains about God's justice but kills many ants because one bit him, it is an angel that sets him straight (11). Le Nègre appears here (13), though it seldom does any more in American editions. The eagle drops the turtle when he can no longer put up with his vanity; the turtle has just said in mid-air that the people below ought to envy his destiny (20). I can understand, perhaps for the first time, The Rabbit and the Fox (22): When the former asks the latter why he is called The Profiteer, the latter invites the former home to dinner to find out. There is no dinner at home, and the rabbit understands just before his death that the fox gets his name not from profits but from schemes. In CW, a fairy makes the two transformations (23). Le Chien invité (40) wants to hide the fact that he was deceived and so lies to those who ask him how the party was; the moral is that we should not trust those who promise us the possessions of others. The fox swept away by the current tells the other foxes that he has a message to give to heaven and will show them the best drinking place when he returns (45); the moral is that we should not endanger ourselves by showing off in front of others. Le Chat et les Rats (55) shows the cat hanging not from a peg but from a beam. The parrot points out to the cat that his voice is pleasant while the cat's is not, and so the master has forbidden the cat to speak but will not forbid him (57). SS is told with two asses making one trip (59); the copycat carrying the sponges dies. The illustration that extends over both covers is signed Ariza.