Tales from Tartary
. The Viking Press . NY ,
PZ64.1.R56 Ta 1979 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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Originally published in Great Britain by Kestrel Books: Penguin, Harmondsworth, Middlesex. The content of this book is Yerensay's Forty Fables, and I bought the book because they are labelled fables. At first glance, they seem more like the Tales of 1001 Nights, replete with jealous boots, demons, giants, genies, and winds that pick people up and deliver them long distances away. I was surprised, then, to find some of the stories that have none of these magical elements and more of a fable's tenor. Among them are The Nightingale's Song (33), about a nightingale who finds a clever way to escape from his cage; The Wolf and the Tailor (59), exactly in form like fables in which a ready destroyer is deceived by asking him to allow some action first; Two Lazy Brothers (94), who give up lying under an apple tree waiting for apples to fall because they realize that they would have to expend the effort of chewing them; Two Badgers (115), which warns that badgers should not dream of hunting camels; The Clever Brothers (116) about the perception-skills of the brothers; Who Is the Mightiest in the World? (122), which is the traditional story of marrying a daughter to the greatest, here beginning unusually with ice; The Poor Man and His Thousand Tanga (125) about a clever ruse to get a thief to repay a loan; The Leaning Silver Birch (129) about duping an arrogant rich man into playing the fool; and Upon Jewel Mountain (131) about outwitting an abusive master. A favorite word here is aul, a group of tents. There are lively cuts, about one to a story. A good example illustrates Upon Jewel Mountain (134). These cuts show up even better in color on the dust-jacket. There are a Tof C (7), maps (8-9), glossary (161-2), and commentary (163-171). This volume follows the first in the Russian Tales series, Riordan's Tales from Central Russia.