Four Fables from Aesop
Craik, Elizabeth (translator)
Nakatsukasa, Tetsuo (translator)
How nice to get this book almost hot off the presses! I commend the authors for researching their introduction carefully and for using Perry numbers to identify the four fables they offer. The introduction notes some important antecedents of Greek fables. A brief history of the dissemination of Aesopic fables notes that Jesuits brought them to Japan. The four fables are Two Boys and the Cook, BW, Herakles and the Carter, and DM. The woodcuts may not have been as lovingly printed in the eighteenth century as they are here! (As the last page's colophon notes, the edition for which the blocks were made has not been identified.) All four pictures are clear and dramatic. The translation for Herakles and the Carter is done in verse to fit the Greek verse original. DM, offered in Latin prose, includes an alternate version about one dog unable to gnaw but refusing to give his bone to another dog. The surprising variety of original materials might have prompted the authors to identify the sources from which Perry takes these four. The first two are from the Augustana. The Greek verse in Perry 291 is from Babrius, and the Latin for DM comes from Steinhöwel's Fabulae Extravagantes.
The Hayloft Press