365 Successful Fables: The Businessman and the Golden Lion
365 Successful Fables: The Businessman and the Golden Lion. Paperbound. Taiwan: 365 Successful Fables: You Fu Culture Co. Ltd. $10 from Jeremy Weiss, Sleepy Hollow, NY, through eBay, Sept., '12. FW 11. 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 Businessman and the Golden Lion"; "The Bird's Beauty Pageant"; Father and his Daughters"; and "The Fox and the Cicada." Again, the morals may not strike us as the most apt. For the first, the moral is "You share nothing; you gain nothing." The businessman who encountered the golden lion hesitated to think over whether he would get help. By the time he decided to try to get the golden lion for only himself, the golden lion was gone. I do not remember this fable as among the traditional Aesopic fables. The second fable is surprising in making the ostrich, not a crow, the central figure. A strong wind blows off all the feathers. The strange moral is "Murder will out." Who was murdered? Notice the typo in the second fable's title; more than one bird is involved in the pageant. Typical of the art is the double picture on 10-11: the first daughter makes a request that her father pray for rain for her husband's flowers. The good but awkwardly phrased ending to the last fable is "Well, Mr. Fox, you won't be cheated if you didn't cheat me first" (16).