Oriental Fable Talk
. The Warren Press . Boston
PS3515.A1566 O7 1943 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
MetadataShow full item record
This 32-page pamphlet contains narrative poems. One, The Bunch of Twigs (26), is a standard Aesopic fable. Others are fables representing Aesopic and Eastern themes, or even both at once. A directly Aesopic motif works in the story of harlots stolen first by one band of brigands and then another (14); one harlot wisely says to another in effect what Aesop's ass says to his owner: What difference is there if you change your owner's name? A cook brings to court a man who stole by smelling his delicious foods (7); the judge has the defendant jingle coins: Since this/Man by nose thy food did steal;/Thou by ear his dirhems feel. A chemist-philosopher breeds a particular species of dogs and tries to straighten their curly tails. Finally he bottles up a tail in straight form for forty years. When he extracts the tail, it springs back into curly form (9). A kindly man rescues a rat and pampers it, but it languishes (11); a wise physician counsels him To the dung-heap let him go!/Fancies fail to keep alive/Those who on but dung must thrive! There may be something I misunderstand in the engaging story of a man who violated another's harem. As the latter pursues the former through crowded streets, the perpetrator grabs a handful of rice and convinces people to help him since he, hungry, has only stolen a handful of rice (12). For some reason, the victim cannot reveal the real reason for his pursuit of the wrongdoer. Is The Plight of Farosh (15) about protecting one's daughter so well that she gets pregnant by one's son? My favorite story here concerns a jester who pleads with God for 100 pieces of gold (16-17). The miser next door tosses from above a sack of 99 gold pieces. The jester tells God he will trust God for the missing one. The miser expected to get his money back after the joke, and so he sues the jester. When the jester feigns illness, the miser, to get him to court, gives him first his donkey to ride and then his cane to use. Before the judge, the jester says Next he will be claiming my donkey and my cane. When the miser does just that, the judge decides in the jester's favor, saying about the miser Throw outside/This pretender who is claiming/Every thing this man is naming! The needs of rhythm and rhyme play havoc here with word order, especially when predicates start sentences, as here: Smiled the wise physician, nodding (11). The introduction rightly suggests that the stories of Yunan (24) and Musa (25) derive from biblical stories of Jonah and Moses.