Après vous, M de La Fontaine . . . Contrefables
La Fontaine, Jean de
The author writes in the Avant-Propos: Par une suite en forme d'hommage, j'ai voulu, aujourd'hui, rendre justice aux victimes d'une tradition quelque peu contestable. Corbeaux, cigales, agneaux, belettes et petits lapins, c'est à vous que je dedie ces pages (7). In a manner shared to some degree by Ambrose Bierce, Gudule (Anne Duguël) makes something new of the fables. Where Bierce changes the ending, Gudule presents a surprising next event after the fable. There is a T of C of the twenty-one fables at the back. Each contre-fable is preceded by its normal fable. From what I can understand of FC, the two decide to work together for food in the future. GA's cigale sings one last plaintive song before she dies -- and is showered with recognition and money! Alas, the poet moralizes, without art we do not know how hungry and alone people are. The most deplorable are the poor who have no talent! The brother and sister of the dead weasel and rabbit get revenge on the cat who ate them by bringing the cat before the judge; if the poor would unite, as tyrants know, they would not long be tyrannized. The cobbler takes the financier's money and throws a three-day feast for all the poor. He finds serenity himself in helping others, and he makes the financier angrier than ever! Pity there is no art with the individual fables. The front-cover presents a nicely embossed set of counter-figures, like an ant playing the guitar, a hare catching up to an exhausted tortoise, and a crow reaching, in an apparently friendly way, for the fox's cheese. Is that a wolf eating a carrot with a lamb following?