365 Successful Fables: The Golden Ax and the Silver Ax
365 Successful Fables: The Golden Ax and the Silver Ax. Paperbound. Taiwan: 365 Successful Fables: You Fu Culture Co. Ltd. $10 from Jeremy Weiss, Sleepy Hollow, NY, through eBay, Sept., '12. FW 4. The first four tracks of each disc present the stories a paragraph at a time with alternating Chinese and English. The next four use only Mandarin. Tracks 9 through 12 present the four stories in English. Track 13 is a vocabulary and pronunciation exercise. The speakers tend to exaggerate throughout. There are plentiful sound effects along with a generous musical background.
The four fables presented and illustrated in this volume are: "The Golden Ax and the Silver Ax"; "The Lion and the Three Bulls"; "The Dog, The Rooster and The Fox"; and "The Maid and the Rooster." In the first fable, the place of Hermes or a water-spirit is taken by "an old man." Perhaps because every fable in this series is limited to four pages, the old man does not dive down for the woodcutter's iron ax. After two honest rounds, he simply gives the man the golden and silver axes. The key in the second fable is not geographic but persuasive; he is not rearranging the bulls physically but rather setting them against each other. To each of the three differently-colored bulls, the lion speaks ill of the other two. "The foolish believe rumors; the wise confirm them." Does not the fable show that the clever create rumors? The third fable hinges well on the question from the rooster to the fox: "Could you wake up my friend down there for me?" "Keep calm when you are in danger" is a surprising moral for this fable. The fourth fable reduces the two maids of the traditional fable to one. This is the fourth fable to use as a confusing moral "One could suffer for his wisdom" (16).