. Houghton Mifflin . Boston
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Here is an extra copy with a repaired dust-jacket. This book has been on my want list for a long time, and now within a few months I have found it in both hardbound and paperback versions. See my comments on the latter under the same title in 1977. The book offers thirty fables of a generally preachy character, usually on two-to-four pages per fable and often with the introductory phrase Once upon a time when King Brahmadatta was ruler of Benares.... Each story has one or two simple illustrations. About the illustrations, I would point out only that the artist cleverly gets all one hundred carts into the illustration on 31! As to texts, many of the standard representatives of Jataka tales are here, including TT (10), The Monkey and the Crocodile (38), and Rumors (80, usually about the end of the world, but here about an earthquake). Several fables deserve comment. The Oldest of the Three (1) presents a good paradigm-shift: after others proclaim how high the tree was when they were small, the partridge claims to have left the seed for this tree in its droppings. I knew this tree before it was born! Fearing the Wind (6) is a good fable about the fact that fear exists only in the mind. In The Brave Beetle (12) an elephant uses his droppings to defeat a drunken, bragging beetle. Responsibility (14) is funny: monkeys tear up trees by the roots to see how much watering the trees need. A good fable on ecology is Leave Well Enough Alone (41). Another good fable for a paradigm-shift is The Most Beautiful of All (43), in which turtle, asked which of two fish is prettier, answers that he is! Popularity (49) is typical of the teaching vein of these fables. A final good fable is Decide for Yourself (78): the two quarrelling otters get the head and tail of a big fish; the fox invited by them to settle their dispute takes the biggest and best central portion. One of the weakest stories is Friends and Neighbors (24). There are typos on 21 (money for monkey) and 54 (climed for climbed).