Eight Fables by La Fontaine
La Fontaine, Jean de
. Mulder & Zoon . Amsterdam
PZ8.2.L134 Eg 1955a (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This book is a smaller-format version of another book by the same title and with the same bibliographical information, for which I have guessed the same year. This book may be the more original of the two. Besides having a smaller format--about 7 x 8 rather than about 8 x 10--it has perhaps one colored picture fewer per story than the larger version, but adds many black-and-white smaller designs, especially for the modern stories. The cover now shows a collection of animals rather than small scenes from both the fables and the modern tales. It also has Number 2928 on the back cover, whereas the larger book has 3028 B. And now there is a series, The Diamond Series, and a list on the back cover of eight books in the series, including this one. I will repeat the pertinent comments from those on the larger version. For each of its eight La Fontaine fables (WL, TMCM, OF, FC, LM, TH, FS, and GA) there is a parallel story (often a fairy tale) based on the moral of the original French Fable. Thus for WL, there is The King and the General. The standard illustration for all the titles, featuring two elves, has been dropped. There are frequent colored illustrations for both the fables and the stories. The moral for both is delivered within the last lines of the modern story. The fables are only loosely based on La Fontaine's fables. The typo in OF (fell down deed) does not occur here. The modern stories seem to me labored. Thus OF is turned into a story of two friends, one a giant and one a dwarf. Suddenly the dwarf became jealous when the giant jumped from a tower during a fair; he also jumped and hurt himself. Fairly accurate, I would say, but not inspired. The gesture of the fox in the colored illustration for FC still seems to me anatomically impossible. The raven becomes a rich man desperate to be known as a great singer; the tinker praises him and offers to train him into a great singer for a large fee, which he keeps exacting…. LM is told unusually in that there is no phase of catching and then freeing the errant mouse. There is only a general reference that the rat had once done the lion a very great service. TH is faithful to La Fontaine in having the tortoise nap before he starts the race. The parallel of TH, The Two Painters, may be the best of the modern stories. Both GA and its parallel are entirely on the side of the ant.