19 fables de singes
. Castor Poche Flammarion . Paris
Language note: French
PZ24.2.M89 Nine 1992 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: French
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I had already had a larger and thinner copy of this paperback book with a 1998 copyright. I figured that this was simply an earlier version. Upon closer inspection, I find that the texts are the same, but that the same artist seems to have done two different sets of illustrations for the two different editions. That is surprising! This smaller, thicker book has for its cover picture a mouse on an elephant with a banana in his trunk. The back cover includes a picture of a monkey with a fez. If those illustrations tend to be simple, strong sketches, these tend to be full scenes, with plenty of shades. I liked those; I like these even more. They are much more suggestive. A good example may be the cow stuck in the tree, whose milk the monkeys can enjoy (17). One problem with this edition is clear in the T of C at the end. The last two chapters, after Chapter 17, are labelled 16. I will include some of my comments on the later edition. The nineteen fables here are really fables. What a delight! A few are familiar, including one from La Fontaine. It is done in verse, while the others are in prose. This collection represents a very broad spectrum of countries of origin. I also have from Castor Poche Flammarion, Dix-Neuf Fables du mechant Loup, Dix-Neuf Fables d'Oiseaux, 19 Fables de renard, and Diecisiete Fábulas del Zorro. Several fables are new to me. The monkey gets the cow with full udders to charge an apple tree so hard that her horn sticks in the tree. Then the monkey and his children milk the cow dry. A monkey worries about crossing a river and so asks two locals--a giraffe and a lizard--if it is a good idea. They give quite different answers! A monkey offers to help build homes for a succession of other animals, but is always interrupted; it turns out that he has no home of his own. Le Singe et les hommes (55-73) is so long that I think it can no longer function as a fable, even though it is well done. The king of the monkeys actually learns the secret of immortality from a Grand Sage, but then shows it off out of pride and anger when he is mocked by fellow students. The Grand Sage cannot take back the secret of immortality, but he can forbid the monkey from ever seeing his people again. In Le Singe et le Python, a monkey wants to get rid of a python who has moved into his tree. He stages an argument with a fellow monkey about whether the python would fit into a sack that he has….