Texas Aesop Fables
. Pelican Publishing Company . Gretna, LA
PZ8.2.D283 Tex 2008 (Fable Collection, Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library)
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This landscape-formatted book cleverly adapts Aesopic fables. It has 28 unpaginated pages with a fable or two on each page. Each fable has a colored illustration. The Texas part of the book lies in local placement, animals, imagery, and jargon. The first two sentences give examples: One time over in Cherokee County there was an old skinflint who was tighter than a pair of cheap boots. He didn't trust banks, so he took his greenbacks and bought a big lump of gold. A coyote takes the place of the wolf in WC, and a jackrabbit races the tortoise. The satyr who encounters the man with hot and cold breath here is an Indian scout. The boy reaching into a jar has been told that the rock candy is a nickel a handful. The Old Woman and the Wine Jar here becomes The Rancher's Wife and the Bluebonnet. The bluebonnet is a flower that her husband had given her years ago. She smells it and remembers. The memory of a good deed never dies. There is a fresh sense of imagery at work in this book, especially in phrases like as crooked as a bucket of snakes. TH, TMCM, and The Vaquero and His Boots get a two-page spread each. The latter features a prairie godmother. She punishes a tinhorn named Red for claiming the gold and silver boots she dredges up in the fable's second half. As a punishment he has to walk back to town without any boots. My favorite moral is Those who do the least bellyache the most. MM has Don't count your chickens before they hatch. The Boy and the Buzzards is new to me, at least as it is developed here. The boy envies the buzzards and asks them to give him a ride. They carry him aloft and drop him in a dungheap. Be careful what you wish for--you might get it.