Mischle Schualim: Die Fuchsfabeln des Berekhja Ben Natronaj
Berechiah ben Natronai
Bodemann #406.1. T of C on XIII shows the one-hundred-and-seven fables with rhyming German morals. In fact, it is a strange experience to read the title-page, Einleitung, and this T of C from the left-hand, as we do typically with Western books, and then to find that the rest of the book reads in the opposite direction through its 121 pages of jiddischer Reimprosa, as Bodemann calls it. Berekhja Ben Natronaj (sometimes known as Berechiah ha-Nakdan) lived sometime before the first half of the thirteenth century, perhaps in the Provence. Goldschmidt's introduction seems to indicate that this collection and Marie de France's overlap considerably in their material, so that there are good questions of which collection may have come from the other. Goldschmidt finds this author emphasizing the entertaining as well as the instructing function of his fable collection. Michelson's thirty-one woodcuts vary somewhat in size from 3 x 4 to 4 x 6. As Bodemann writes, they are medieval in style and technique. Among them I am most impressed by Der Affe und der Panther, which I take to be the Aesopic fable of the monkey that is mother of twins (112). Strong illustrations include WL (13), Der Esel und der Hund (14), Das Reh und die Hunde (80), Der Fuchs und die Katze (99), and Der Fuchs und die Fische (106). I feel privileged to have one of the seven-hundred-and-fifty copies of this book in the collection!
Erich Reiss Verlag