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Laimgruber, Monika
Recheis, Käthe
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The most memorable characteristic of this collection of fables by various authors may be the imposing colored picture on the cover of a fox in trench-coat looking up at a bunch of grapes. The gray-and-white interior designs are less imposing. The best of them are the footprints going into the lion's cave on 49. The blurb on the back-cover rightly claims that Recheis tells the stories in clear language without pointing a raised finger -- and so that children today gladly hear and read them. There are forty-two fables here. Many are from Aesop and La Fontaine. Others come from Pfeffel, Lessing, Tolstoy, Triller, Ebner-Eschenbach, Schopenhauer, Krylov, da Vince, and de' Giorgi Bertola. There are also representatives from American Indians, from Germany, China, and Tibet. Several are new to me and enjoyable. The young wolf who wants to fly (11) of course fails but then yells at the birds You cannot run as fast as we can! Each in His Own Way (18) by Lessing has a mother swallow teaching her child that she does not have to collect food for the summer as the ants do. Triller's brook hastens by the pretty meadow (44) only to end up in a swamp. Schopenhauer writes of the porcupines in the cold who tried keeping warm by getting close but then pricked each other with their quills. They kept going back and forth between being cold and getting pricked until they found the right distance -- and called it politeness and good behavior (63). Tolstoy (73) tells of a mouse who had a nest under a small hold in a granary: one grain after another fell through, always enough and easy to come by. But in time she found the hole too small. She gnawed it bigger, and lots of grains fell at once. She went out to invite all the other mice to a great party. When they got there, they found that the farmer had noticed the large hole and patched it. A rat had seen the large pile of grain and ate it all up!
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