Fables from Aesop and Other Writers of Standard Celebrity Explained and Adapted to Popular Use
. Hogan & Thompson . Philadelphia
Aesop et al
PA3855.E5 G63 1851 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Aesop et al
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This book is full of surprises. I thought it must be a variant form of Baldwin's 1840/1920? Fables Ancient and Modern Adapted for the Use of Children. It shares the same preface verbatim. It has sixty-nine fables, whereas that edition had seventy-one. I was ready to declare them two different books when I noticed some overlap in the titles. Investigation showed that the order is different but that the texts are the same. The only discrepancy I can come up with is that DM here (33) adds one sentence at the beginning of its text. I cannot find The Daw and Borrowed Feathers in 1840, but I find it here. A fable-by-fable analysis would come up with the few fables that appear in one edition but not in the other. My comments on that book apply here, and so I will repeat them. The introduction gives some surprising tips, which the versions follow: (1) Do not shorten fables; make them visible; (2) do not let fables end unhappily; and (3) introduce nothing new without explanation. Endings are thus often softened, and we get some surprises. The country mouse lives at Horace's villa, the town mouse at Maecenas' palace. The dog in the manger gets both the meat and an admonition. The miller recovers the ass. The ant gives the grasshopper a little. The hermit dismisses the bear after his wound. Men save the tangled stag before the dogs kill him. All ends well in The Travellers and a Money-Bag. Furthermore, I notice in this reading of Baldwin's fables that in The Poor Farmer and the Justice (77), things turn out doubly different from the usual. The justice admits the farmer's claim, and the farmer feels so bad about having set the justice up with a counter-example that he uses the compensation to buy bread for the poor in the workhouse! In CW (124), the particular cat that the young man dotes on is grass green! When she bolts out of bed because she hears a rustling behind the drapes, the bridesmaids burst into laughter. She and her husband agree to ask Venus to make her a cat again, and the man happily marries another. The cat was convinced that it was best to be content as nature had made her (127). Happy endings are everywhere! In The Satyr and the Traveller (141), Baldwin is clear: The satyr was in the wrong. The same thing is often found to serve two purposes (144). The china jar in 2P (149) is not broken, and the author expresses the hope that she will not be. New to me is The Murderer and the Moon (186); it is not a strong fable. The illustration format here differs from that in the 1840/1920? edition. There the illustrations, eight to a page, served as an unusual T of C at the beginning of the book. Here there is an illustration, again by an unknown artist, at the start of each fable. There are also frequent end-pieces, often of a single animal. At least the illustration for Industry and Sloth (238) is after Bewick's in his Aesop (1818). My favorite private collection has a listing that seems to be identical with this book. Item F-0901 there calls for a book done by Collins in 1856 with the same number of pages (240) as this edition. It has the title The Book of Fables: Selections from Aesop and Other Authors. Curiously, the first illustration here features not only a grasshopper and ant but a large monument behind them with the words Book of Fables.