S. Michalkow: Ausgewählte Fabeln
Michalkov, Sergej V
. Verlag Kultur und Fortschritt . Berlin
Language note: German
PZ34.2.M55 1955 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: German
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This book is a new favorite of mine. I am almost happy that I bought it twice in Germany! It seems to me an example of something I had read and heard of. Russian fabulists speak well of government problems without ever mentioning the government. The morals to the seventeen fables here frequently invite readers to apply the fables well beyond the animal territory that they describe. Each fable has one excellent colored page of art. The artists are listed, with the fables, at the back of the book. The fables are dated. Among the fables I find best are Laufende Instandhaltung, Der Wolf als Grasfresser, Polkan und Schawka, und Die vorsichtigen Vögel. Among the best illustrations are those by W. Milaschewski (Zwei Freundinnen), J. Ratschew (Die Krähe und die Nachtigal), and K. Jelissejew (Der Löwe und die Fliege). 1. The lion attends a concert but makes faces. The singers are fired, but people later learn that lion had a stomach-ache. His dissatisfaction had nothing to do with the singers. 2. Success comes to the tailor so massively that he no longer cuts or sews. Soon he loses all his skill, and then all his clients. 3. Elephant paints a picture and invites the animals. Each misses his or her own thing in the picture. So he paints those in. And they all say What a mish-mash! Willst du gefallen jedermann,/tust du dir selber Schaden an. 4. Mouse praises friend rat's (?) apartment because everything in it comes from outside the country. What do you eat? Bread and bacon, of course. We praise everybody else's stuff but eat only ours. 5. Fable-writer cannot get people at the zoo to tell him how long lions live. 6. Crow wonders why the young nightingale is so celebrated when the crow has sung a lot longer and louder…. 7. Knock on bureaucracy. To paint a porch needs a decision, and a decision needs a meeting, and the meeting will last hours. Want to take a walk? 8. Driver passes everybody until his car breaks down, and then he has to watch even the slowest animal-carts go past him. The person who gets forward not by ability but by getting into gaps is advancing only on luck. When luck stops, he will stop. 9. Older beaver is an easy target for a sly young fox woman. He leaves his wife for her, but soon cannot keep up with her. Goes back to wife, who refuses him. And then to the fox, but there's already another beaver with her. Watch out, old beavers! 10. The wolf in court claims that wolves are slandered and eat only grain and sometimes grass. If they once or twice take a lamb, then it is done out of necessity and so there is no blame. The court sides with the wolf, since a change is becoming evident in the whole wolf-race. That was a while ago, and no change seems to have appeared…. 11. The plump man orders the thin man around in the sauna and objects when the thin man then asks them to switch roles. But outside the sauna everybody laughed, because the thin man put on a uniform of higher rank. 12. Polkan and Schawka, two dogs, face some wolves. Polkan goes for the strongest and, though wounded, overcomes him. Schawka throws himself at the wolves' feet, declares his friendship and family ties to them, and leads them to the herd--where they tear him apart. The wolves then took some tough hits from the other dogs and the shepherds. I do not feel sorry for Schawka, but for Polkan. 13. Iwan Iwanytsch gets sick and falls apart. Nothing works to help him--until they take away his job and car. Suddenly he gets cheerful and better. No commentary needed, according to Michalkov--but I'm afraid I do not get exactly the point. 14. At the porcupine's party, the hare drinks too much. As he is ready to go home, he talks about taking on the lion should he be attacked. He makes so much noise that he wakes up the lion, who grabs him and asks how he got so drunk. The hare answers: drinking to your health and that of your family. The lion lets him go. Apparently a little flattery goes a long way. There is a great picture here of the lion waking up in his pajamas. 15. A fly sat for a long time on a lion's ear, and the rumor went around that the lion could not live without her. After a while, the fly could do anything she wanted in the lion's office. Moral: flies ought to rein in their power…. 16. A bear has an abscess. Its worst result for him is that he cannot sleep. First one sharp-billed bird doctor is called to the scene and then another, and finally a rooster too. Again, he could not sleep. Do not lance it yet, they decide, but if we must tonight, then call in the crane. In the meantime, a bee stings him on the abscess, and that does the trick. Doctors were happy because the bee took the responsibility from them. Do not miss the cover's lovely multi-colored picture of the three doctors around a table. 17. Sick hare needs water and asks the tortoise to get some. The tortoise agrees. The hare waits impatiently all day and then hears a sound in the grass. Are you finally returning? No, I'm just going. Now see also Der Lowe und der Hase: Fabeln von Sergej Michalkow from Holz and dated 1954? It offers contrasting translations of fifteen of these fables.