Fables Omnibus

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Anglade, Jean
Séruzier, Jean-Gabriel
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A clever verse preface has the author, sitting at his typewriter, confronted by his nephew asking what he is doing. When he explains, the nephew proceeds to tell the whole neighborhood Pere Anglade has spent the last three weeks working on composing La Fontaine's fables! Wikipedia lists this book -- among his voluminous writings -- as one of his divertissements. An early borrowing from La Fontaine is L'âne élu président (18), with, as usual, a full-page black-and-white line drawing. The ass found no way to get ahead. Without vocation, art, title, or status, he had to choose politics. To impress people in a campaign, he wore a lion's skin. He promised all the usual stuff, starting with Fraternité and liberté, and got elected. When he appeared in his own skin, the populace turned on him, calling him a liar and deceiver. He answered that they had let themselves be deceived. They should have opened their eyes. Now shut up and respect the President. L'avare et le miroir (30) is again, like most here, a one-page verse text faced by a full-page line-drawing. The greedy man uses a mirror every evening before which to double his possessions. They are not paper but gold ingots and coins. As he caresses them, he says that he will keep in his chest only what will take care of his modest needs and that the rest he will abandon to the poor. A last three-line comment notes that this money served well to pay off the humble servants of our governments! La limace et l'obélisque (94) tells of a slug who crawled his way up the Luxor Obelisk in Paris and watched the Sunday's doings. Now, I know, I have left my trace upon history! There is of course a telling variation on GA (172). The cicada returns after years to plead again but finds only one decrepit ant at home. She declares to the surprised cicada: The other ants have left to enjoy winter sports elsewhere. There are no ants in this damned century. There are nothing but cicadas! These are fun!
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