The Itchy Coo Book of Aesop's Fables in Scots
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Michael Morpurgo; various translators
This book is a lovely translation into Scots of "The Orchard Book of Aesop's Fables," published by Orchard Books in 2004. Except for the translated texts -- which are not that far from colloquial English -- the books seem identical. This text was published with support from the Scottish Government. As I wrote of the English original, there are here twenty-one fables on 96 pages. A great introduction tells the story of a man named Aesop leaving an old lion some stories. The lion roars the next day and invites all the animals to hear stories. They listen enthralled, but then fall asleep one by one. By morning the lion has finished all of Aesop's fables, and he has also eaten all of the sleeping listeners! TH has a lovely moral: "Speed isn't everything. There are other ways of winning" (17). The butcher here gives the dog the bone that he will lose in the river (18). In my experience, it is hard to articulate a good moral for BC, and Morpurgo does it well: "Saying something should be done is one thing. Doing it is often altogether more difficult" (29). The moral for OR is: "Obstinacy may look like strength. It rarely is" (67). The shepherd boy in BW has just begun shepherding because his dad now thinks him old enough. The wolf ends up eating him as well as the sheep (90). For good examples of the book's lovely illustrations, try MSA (59-65). Part of the excellence of this book again lies in its substantial paper stock, enhanced with nicely executed artwork.
Black & White Publishing