Famous Stories from Aesop's & Panchatantra
. Dhingra Publishing House . Delhi, India
PZ8.2.F36 1980 (Fable Collection, Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library)
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This is a strange book. The English and the bookbinding are equally suspect. Strange phrases and typos appear, even as signatures separate from each other. The Foreword has a fragment in its first paragraph. So it is an adventure to read! Sentences sometimes read as though written by someone learning English. One finds, for example, this sentence in Lioness and the Bear: Nor you feel sorry for the deer which you hunted this week (20). This fable itself is unusual, since the mother lion loses her cubs, is chided by the bear she has often victimized, finds the cubs with the bear's help, remembers her advice for a few days, and soon returns to hunting. The extreme in mistakes comes in Fox and the Dragon (112) and Trout for Tea (138). FG (60) gets an unusual twist. A sparrow takes pity on the frustrated fox. The fox says that he is lucky not to have swallowed sour grapes not fit for foxes. The sparrow takes to heart the advice to leave alone things that are not the sparrow's concern. From then on they become fast friends. The donkey in The Horse and the Donkey (130) only faints, and then is put on the horse's back. New to me are Camel's Long Neck (62), Gift of the River (70), Monkeys and the Caps (80), The Troubled Tortoise (83), The Swallows and the Spider (87), The Mongoose and the Snake (88), Donkey Playing the Sitar (99), The Eagle Trapped (125), and The Jingling of Coins (144). The latter and Monkeys and the Caps are particularly well done. This book adds a second phase to the usual fable of two goats on a narrow bridge (91), in which two other goats handle the problem in wiser fashion. Unusual art can be found with Lark and Her Young Ones (72). The artist here does a good job of showing how a cat can hide himself in a sack of flour (134). This is an enthusiastic book, but it needs more technique.