Famous Animal Stories: Animal Myths, Fables, Fairy Tales, Stories of Real Animals
Seton, Ernest Thompson
Here is a long book of 668 pages. The sub-title gives Seton's sense of the four categories of animal stories, and his foreword explains each. He describes fable as an allegory in which each animal represents some vice, virtue or quality. The actors here are human beings going around in Animal forms (v). The fable section of the book runs from 43 through 97 and includes some 31 Aesopic fables and sixteen others. Of these Seton himself is the author or adapter of nine. Other authors include Allan Cunningham, John Gay, Mary Howitt, James Montgomery, Arthur Guiterman, George Lanigan, and Mark Twain. Cunningham's The Fox and the Cat in verse is new to me; its verse presents a chain of judges of slayers who then turn to slaying (43). Mary Howitt's The Spider and the Fly reads like a classic I learned as a child, but I believe I have not seen it for years (45). Arthur Guiterman's A Rabbit Parable shows in verse how a simple dwelling is seized by one mightier than another until they slay each other and the rabbit returns to his home (49). Most of Seton's own fables are replays of traditional stories. The Yankee Crab (82) is an exception. It is new to me and well done. Those wanting something different can try Seton's The Cyclone and the Steeple (87). Mark Twain's The Fable of the Scientific Expedition goes for eight pages (90-97).
Tudor Publishing Company