The Instructive and Entertaining Fables of Pilpay
. Printed for J. and F. Rivington W. Strahan, T. Caslon, S. Crowder..., , Printed for J. and F. Rivington, W. Strahan, et al . London
PN989.I5 B4 1775 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Bodemann #126.3. This book may set the record for the longest subtitle: An Ancient Indian Philosopher. Containing a Number of Excellent Rules for the Conduct of Persons of all Ages, and in all Stations: Under several Heads. Fifth Edition. Corrected, Improved, and Enlarged; and Adorned with near Seventy Cuts neatly Engraved. I had studied this book in the facsimile done by Darf publishers in 1987. As there, General Heads are listed first (here on x), while a full listing of fables begins on the following page. This Bidpai follows the five-chapter tradition. There are many fables here that I would not have expected to see, including The Gardener and the Bear (114). Many fables are new to me, like The King and His Mistress (193). As I mention there, the book represents a compromise between the integrated narrative typical of Bidpai and the each fable deserves a new page Western approach. The woodcuts in the facsimile are apportioned out to their individual fables, and they are not well reproduced. Though they are not great art, they are lively and engaging in their original form here. The printer sometimes has trouble aligning them to retain a margin above and below their groupings of three on a single page. I am puzzled by the fox climbing up the tree in the image on 51 and in the text on 59. Can foxes do that? Among the best images are those of the serpent and raven (72), the lion and the well (78), the camel betrayed (95), and the gardener and bear (112). Quaint might be the best word for the rendition of the difficult scenes in which a lying man is smoked out of a tree (104) or elephants trample rabbits (198). This book is in good condition, especially for having lived over 225 years!