Three Rolls and One Doughnut: Fables from Russia
. The Dial Press . NY
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Here is an extra copy without dust-jacket. This delightful book contains twenty-eight stories. Many are familiar in one form or another, whether as fables or other genres of literature. Rabbit Fat (3) is thus the story of the liar whose story shrinks in its absurd proportions the nearer it gets to liar's bridge. The illustration, as is typical for Lobel, is detailed and witty. We watch a barge cross from pier to pier, almost looking like a bridge that has lost some of its parts. Some of the stories are closer to jokes, like How the Peasant Helped His Horse (6). The peasant riding a cart behind the horse picked up one of the bags of grain from the cart and carried it on his shoulder! The title-story is a similar joke. A man ate three rolls and was still hungry; then he ate one doughnut and was no longer hungry (7)! TB appears, with a fine illustration, on 20. Hatchet Gruel (25) is a different form of the traditional Stone Soup. The Peasant and the Bear (27) is a variation of the old You take the tops and I will take the bottoms story. Plans (31) replicates MM, but by having a peasant frighten away the hare the catching of which was going to start his dreamed-of future. A Thousand Thoughts (34) is a distant relative of The Cat and the Fox. The fox in a hole runs and runs with a thousand thoughts. The crane has just one thought. She plays dead, and the hunter throws her out of the hole, planning of course to pick her up in a moment. The four panels on 38 do a good job of echoing The Lion, the Fish, and the Man. The cat teacher keeps one saving trick from her tiger student (40). Two Stubborn Goats (42) is just as we would find it in the fable tradition. The Valiant Lion (45) is a highly developed version of the story of getting the lion to jump into the well to attack his reflection. The Fox and the Thrush (48) is a version of UP.