Der Löwe und der Hase: Fabeln von Sergej Michalkow
. Alfred Holz Verlag . Berlin
Language note: German
Language note: German
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This is an extra copy without dust jacket. Here is another German translation of all but two of the fables one finds in Ausgewählten Fabeln, translated by Bruno Tutenberg and published by Verlag Kultur und Fortschritt in Berlin in 1955. As far as I can tell, only Eine Einfache Auskunft and Solang Man Glück Hat are there but not here. In many cases, the second translation clears up the fable considerably; in others, I am glad to see my hard-won interpretations confirmed! A T of C at the back lists the twenty fables here. Among the new pieces here are Die Kleine Schraube (8), which shows that a little screw can screw up a big wheel'; Die Wassermelone (27), which shows that the biggest often has nothing but a big outside to offer; Der Kuckuck und der Star (37), which demonstrates that there is power in collectivity and a special joy in raising one's own family; and Der Affe und die Kokosnuß (43), which suggests, I believe, that there is always something bigger in someone else's yard, and so one had better not be overly proud when one has a particularly large coconut. By comparison with the Tutenberg translation, in Der Löwe und die Fliege (13) it is clear here that the fly even takes over the lion's power. Zwei Hunde (15) is clearer here than Polkan und Schawka there, especially in showing no sympathy for the coward Schawka. Renamé's translation Die Ratte und die Maus (17) may see, I think, the difference between local and foreign food differently than Tutenberg's translation. There the sense seems to have been Whatever prize possessions we bring in from foreign countries--and however much we despise our local artifacts--when it comes to the important act of eating, we choose what is local. Here at least some of the sense seems to be You cannot get anything tasteful to eat here; you are reduced to bread and bacon. Or is that only the view of the small-minded rat in the fable, while the fabulist sees the irony represented already by Tutenberg's translation? Apparently, it was terrible for the fat fellow from the schwitzbad to be known as a mere major, while the thin fellow was a general (26). Iwan Iwanytsch (33) finds health and life when his high-perks job is taken away from him; now he takes walks with the family he had had no time for earlier. Der Schneider auf den Lorbeeren (35) has an even clearer point now: Applause is not healthy for many people, especially when it is exaggerated. The fable is followed by a tail-piece of a dog with raised leg marking its territory. The tone of Michalkow's work is well given in the epimythium to Die Vorsichtigen Vögel. In this fable, a bear's abscess is finally broken by a chance bee-sting while doctors keep pushing off decision and adding consultants. Michalkow writes I write this poem for those who refuse responsibility, but I do not advise you to hope to be saved by bees (20). Der Waschbär Hat Sich Sehr Verändert (29), the fifth new fable here, deals with the surprising change in the racoon once he takes over the ministry for animals' homes; he cannot be found and makes no decisions. Michalkow is pointed in his epimythium: I wrote this fable, in order to exercise patience, in the waiting room of the Stadtsowjet. The titles are incorporated into pleasing designs for each fable. Most fables also offer tail-pieces.