365 Successful Fables: The Opportunistic Donkey
365 Successful Fables: The Opportunistic Donkey. Paperbound. Taiwan: 365 Successful Fables: You Fu Culture Co. Ltd. $10 from Jeremy Weiss, Sleepy Hollow, NY, through eBay, Sept., '12. FW 6. 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 Opportunistic Donkey"; "The Ant and The Dove"; "The Lion and The Bear"; and "The Fox Without a Tail." The donkey in the first fable falls into a pool deliberately but this second time he is carrying cotton and not salt. As in another fable, the moral uses "wisdom" but means something more like "bright idea": "One could suffer for his wisdom" (4). The Ant and the Dove is well told but has this strange moral: "Don't be little yourself" (8). When the lion and bear exhaust each other, a fox takes away the deer over which they have been arguing: "When shepherds quarrel, the wolf has a winning game" (12). The Fox without a Tail has some foxes see the fox without his tail first; does that fact not undercut his appeal to others to part with theirs voluntarily? Here is a good moral: "Facts are most convincing" (16). The two-page spreads remain the most important part of the visual art here.