Outfoxing Fear: Folktales from Around the World
. W.W. Norton . NY
GR74.R34 2006 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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"This book is written in the wake of 9/11. It offers lots of helpful story perspectives on dealing with fear in a frightening world. I am happy that several fables make their way into this collection. I may have missed others, but I see these at work here. "The Frightened Fox" (29) is a clever story. They are rounding up camels. The fox knows enough to be afraid. The mob could well take him for a camel! "The Snail" gets across the road in seven years. Just as he makes it across, a tree falls and just misses him. "It's good to be fast," he says (62). "The Fox and Her Children and Nekhailo the Loafer" is a variation of the Aesopic "Lark and Her Children" (80). Young foxes hear Nekhailo notice that the grass needs weeding. Mother answers "Don't be afraid." Nekhailo returns after a long time; the grass has grown tall. "I'll come back with a scythe." "Don't be afraid." Three months later comes with a scythe, but the grass is so thick that he cannot cut it down. "I'll go get some matches and burn it." "Come, children, now we'd better run away!" (80). "The Lion Who Drowned in a Well" (82) and "The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal" (86) are familiar fables. "Ole Sis Goose" (104) takes the attacking fox to the courthouse, but the judge, the sheriff, the attorneys, and the jury all are foxes! Guess who wins the trial! "The Landlord and His Son" (130) does indeed illustrate that "Wer anderen eine Grube gräbt, fällt selbst hinein." "The Good Lie" (217) tells a good story of just that: a vizier translates a foreign captive's outburst as a verse from the Koran praising compassion -- and the captive is spared. Another counselor speaks up to say "He lied." The king says he prefers the first vizier's lie to the second vizier's truth: it brought a good action. Ragan adds a touching last chapter: "Sunrise Never Failed Us Yet." For something totally different, try "De White Man's Prayer" (75)."