Treasury of Aesop's Fables
. Award Publications Limited . Worksop, Nottinghamshire
PZ8.2.B57 Tr 2007 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This book takes sixteen of Biro's texts and illustrations from earlier series and puts them together nicely. Two of the stories found in the earlier series do not appear here: The Boy and the Lion and FC. Note that these are not the same stories and illustrations found in Biro's Collected Tales. Some of the stories are sixteen pages long and some eight pages. I will gather earlier comments and repeat them here, watching out for changed page numbers. In DL at mealtimes the lapdog sits on people's laps. Biro's best illustration here may be the double-page centerfold showing the dog in the master's lap and the donkey looking in enviously through the window. In fact, the ancestor in the picture on the wall is startled by the donkey! The grinning expressions of the donkey playing and frolicking (16-19) contrast nicely with his expressions when being beaten (20-21) and when reflecting in his stable (22). In LM, thishis lion is not happy with this mouse! Pique shifts to wonder to smiling and musing--and then to desperation. All this development leads up to the fine two-page spread on which the lion is astounded by the mouse's ability to bite through his net. At the fox's dinner, the absence of spoons--which the stork would be too polite to ask for--is mentioned. I do not think that I have seen spoons mentioned in this story before. Similarly, the stork knows that the fox is too polite to pick up his jug and tip the meat into his mouth. The faces which Biro gives to the stork on the title-page and to the fox on the story's last page are excellent. The workmen in MSA suggest that a donkey is good for carrying two people, and thus the double load is here not an original idea of the man. The upside-down expression of the ass being carried on the pole is worth turning the book upside-down to see! After each encounter, the man (not identified as a miller here) thinks that he should please the person who has given him advice. Both father and son wear turban-like headgear. At the end, they fall into the water with the donkey. The Monkey and Fisherman may not work. It tells of the monkey who wanted fish and so tried to imitate the fishermen who spread a net, only to get tangled in the net. The monkey is told by the rescuing fishermen that he needs to learn about fishing before he does it. In the end, the monkey realizes that he does better catching and eating coconuts. The final lines of SS pay appropriate attention to the broad grin on the farmer's face and the scowl on the ass' face, which contrasts nicely with his earlier smile. The Sick Lion includes elaborate deceptions by the lion to lure the first victim in. Then it becomes an account of copycat behavior, with various animals showing how fearless they are. The best facial expressions may belong to the goat. TH skillfully repeats important words: hop, hop, hop, plod, plod, plod, and, most tellingly, snore, snore, snore. TB has an older and a younger friend. The latter forsakes the former. The bear surprises them at very close range and chases them. Does not this element hurt the story when the chasing bear comes upon one of the two men suddenly dead? The old man is offering his staff as a weapon for the young man to use when the latter climbs up into the tree. The inciting element in TT is not drought or any other danger but the tortoise's desire to fly. Whereas the tortoise in many versions of this story opens his mouth to say something harsh in response to the crowd, the tortoise here opines that the people below must think that he is very clever. Apparently the thump of his fall does no permanent damage to the tortoise. In BW here, the boy does not laugh out loud after the first deception. The second day, the townsmen see the boy laughing and realize his deception. Biro's wolf, when he does appear, is terror-inspiring! The wolf eats all the sheep. GGE contains the great line after they have cut the goose open to find the gold inside: But the goose was full of goose. The accompanying illustration has the man holding the back end and the wife the front end of the split goose. The best feature of The Eagle and Man lies in the eagle's facial expressions. He is frustrated in the net, happy to be freed, apparently menacing when he takes the man's hat, and perhaps admonitory as he flies away. Once a hearer or reader knows the story, it becomes clear that the last expression was one of concern that the man follow after him--and so avoid the imminent fall of the wall. The country mouse lives in a ditch. In the city, a man sweeping in the larder calls the dog to catch the mice. The characters in The Farmer and His Sons are Italian or German, to judge by their dress and accessories. The lazy sons lounge around in the shade of a tree. After their father's death and their energetic digging up of the vineyard, they are back to lying around under the old tree … until the harvest surprises them by its quality and abundance! In DLS, the lion-skin falls off the ass as he romps about, and he does not even notice the loss. Biro has a great line near the end of the story: Without his lion's skin he had no lion's courage.