Last Fairy Tales
Booth, Mary L
. Harper & Brothers . NY ,
PZ8.L115 Las 1884 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
MetadataShow full item record
This eclectic collection of twenty-seven stories includes two that are listed as fables. The Wolf and the Goat (221) is an expansive story of some nine pages. It is subtitled A Mediaeval Fable. The wolf presses the goat to farm a piece of his land. The goat resists in vain, knowing that the wolf is a powerful and perhaps an unfair lord. At the first harvest, the wolf proposes to come back the next day and take all the grain the goat has put together and to leave the goat only the straw. The goat goes to two mastiffs she nursed and asks for their help. They come early the next day and hide. Renard accompanies the wolf, sees the dogs' tails, warns the wolf of possible danger, and then leaves the scene, to watch what will happen. After the wolf has put all the grain on his cart, the dogs attack him, wound him severely, and leave him for dead. Renard chuckles over the wolf's pain: The pain of others was his delight (227). The wolf's household laughs at him as he returns home injured. He takes five months to heal. When he returns to the goat then, she summons the dogs. The wolf leaves and never returns. This mediaeval fable is a new version of the Wolf and the Lamb. But the wolf has had the upper hand long enough, and here the lamb, or, in other words, the goat, has its turn (229). I have seldom seen so explicit a declaration of the reversing of a fable's intent. Falsehood and Truth (331-337) is described as An Old Spanish Fable. In old times, Falsehood and Truth once decided to live together and did so well. Falsehood suggests dividing a tree that they plant, with truth getting the underground part--and so in effect going underground--while falsehood gets the branches. Falsehood perches in the branches and harangues people. Finally the wind blows the tree over, falsehood is crippled, and truth emerges and begins rebuking people for their weakness and credulity. Falsehood gets people to stone her, drive her underground, and seal the spot with a large stone. A friendly hand writes this epitaph: Here lies Truth, slain not by disease, but by the cruel world, that nought might reign in it but Falsehood and Disloyalty. Falsehood, lame and squinting, reigns...to this very day. There are helpful line-drawings throughout the book.