Aesop's Tales.

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1956
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Book, Whole
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Shoji found this (and the accompanying second grade book) for me after I left Japan. What a wonderful gift! The book is structured as are the other volumes: a T of C, thirty-five fables, and a guide for parents and teachers follow full-page colored pictures of The Horse Carrying the Money and the Horse Carrying the Wheat, The Fox Outside the Lion's Den, and The Hermit and the Bear. The last of these is funny, as often: the bear is about to destroy his friend by protecting him from a fly! The front cover of the Japanese dust jacket features the driver and his ass carrying a shrine. I found the first two fables difficult to pin down. The first (6-8) is The Cock and the Jewel with a new twist. A jewelry shop has burned down, and many seek jewels, but the roosters prefer wheat to jewels. The second (9-16) is 2B told in a long form like La Fontaine's: to the god's question about what they want, all the animals express satisfaction with the bodies they have. Only man wants more-in fact, two bodies and six hands. The god gives him two baskets for others' weaknesses and his own, respectively. On 43-7 there is a rare retelling of the fable about replanting an apple tree that had been doing very well; it of course fails in its new location. The art seems to me simpler than in the earlier books; often there is only an opening design to mark a story. I am delighted to find a rare illustration of the man who vowed a hundred cattle and then offered up little statues (49). I have never before seen the collier and fuller presented as a man and woman (78-9). On 98-99 there is a dramatic glimpse of the frog drowning the rat, with the hawk moving in to seize both. On 190-91, the two pots are pictured as having been on a swinging bridge; the poor earthen pot is only a face and some falling shards.
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Kaseisha
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