Balinese Children's Favorite Stories
Victor Mason with Gillian Beal
. Periplus . Hong Kong
Aesop and others
PZ8.1.M388Bal 2001 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Aesop and others
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"The introduction to this surprising book admits that some of the stories here come from Aesop, who some are reported to believe was a Phrygian slave of the Romans (4). The other main source here is the "Panchatantra." Text is one page and a full-page illustration is on the other. Texts from elsewhere are given a Balinese setting and flavor. The book includes eleven stories. The Aesopic fables here include "The Golden Axe"; AD; "The Dog and the Crow"; "The Haughty Toad"; and "Four Naughty Boys" (BS). Notice that this version substitutes a dog for the fox who flatters the crow. Panchatantra stories include "Saintly Stork"; TT; and "Three Fishes," though the latter is not the usual story of three fish found in "Kallila and Dimna." The haughty toad is named Gobrag. He likes to brag "For as East is East and West is West, I am the biggest and I am the best!" Three little frogs have tried to get away from him but landed on a large bull who rose out of the water and nearly killed them with his large hoofs. They are trying to give a sense of this monster's size, but Gobrag insists that he is larger than any beast. The saintly stork dresses up as a priest to issue his warning about coming fishermen. The crab strangles him from inside but does not kill him. The stork converts and stops lying. The retriever of the woodman's axe is a beautiful female fairy. She rewards him by visiting his wife and giving her a precious axe. The talkative turtle used to talk too much in school. One of the smallest illustrations may be the best: the talkative turtle and the two geese clamp onto the stick (32). Empas the talkative turtle finally answers the insult from a hungry dog: his family must have left him behind. The geese attack the dog and help save Empas. He actually gets rejoined with his family! AD has a Balinese boy with poison darts shot through a bamboo blowpipe. The dove pulls the ant out of the water with a blade of grass. Many ants bite at once! "The Three Fish" raises a good question. Did the young fish do well to leap out of the diminishing pond? He drew attention to its low water level. Older fish tell him that he should have looked before he leapt. The art is a strange mix of styles. A sample might be the crazy monkey sitting on the shoulder of the traditional prince on 37. On 48, there are cartoon ants on a realistic boy."