365 Successful Fables: The Greedy Dog
365 Successful Fables: The Greedy Dog. Paperbound. Taiwan: 365 Successful Fables: You Fu Culture Co. Ltd. $10 from Jeremy Weiss, Sleepy Hollow, NY, through eBay, Sept., '12. FW 7. 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 Greedy Dog"; "The Two Roosters and the Eagle"; "The Doctor and His Patient"; and "The Monkey and The Fisherman." In DS, the dog only barks at the dog in the water. The fable is nicely portrayed on 2-3. The moral is just as surprising as in its other use in this series: "Penny-wise and pound foolish." How is this dog penny-wise? In "The Two Roosters and the Eagle," two roosters compete for one particular hen. One of them even picks flowers for her. The two are pictured well on 6-7. Unfortunately, in this illustration the eagle seems to be swooping down on them even during the fight. The point in the text, as generally, is that, after winning, the victor flies high and celebrates and so makes himself into a victim. "The Doctor and His Patient" is new to me and somewhat confusing. A doctor explains that a pear is good for our teeth but bad for our spleen, while a jujube -- a Chinese date, I here learn -- is good for our spleen but bad for our teeth. The patient claims a good way to get the good and avoid the bad, namely to chew the pear but not to swallow it and to swallow the jujube straight down. How might this story lead to the moral "A little learning is a dangerous thing" (12)? The monkey tries to imitate the fisherman and gets tangled in the net. "Practice makes perfect" may miss the point, since practice without insight accomplishes nothing and the monkey seems to lack insight!