The Haughty Toad and Other Tales from Bali
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This large-format (12 x 12) picture-book contains ten short stories and one last seventeen-page story. Each has one colored, ornate Balinese painting. Several among the first stories are either derived from or very close to fables. The Golden Axe (9) has only one round with the celestial being who offers the woodsman a golden axe when he has lost his normal axe from high above the waters. He moves away from her and falls asleep; when he awakes, she is proferring him a steel axe. The Sanctimonious Stork (13) makes himself a religious figure and then proclaims danger, from which he will save the fish by transporting them to the promised land. As in Kalila and Dimna, a crab chokes the stork when he sees the remains of the fish that the stork has eaten. Four Wayward Sons (17) is the Aesopic Bundle of Sticks. The Mocked Turtle (19) is TT. The two geese fly all night and are getting ready to land, when a scrawny, scabby, cunning pyedog sees them and insults the flying turtle. The latter of course immediately snaps back. King Crow and Pyedog (27) is the Aesopic FC. In this case, the crow had a piece of choice carrion in his beak. When he opened his beak, he made a noise like the rasp of a saw on a split bamboo. One Good Dove Deserves Ant's Succour (33) is the Aesopic AD. The attacker in this case was a farmboy with a bamboo blow-pipe and poisoned darts. As for the ant, after she saved the dove, the boy squashed her flat! A Pretty Kettle of Fish (37) is a version of Wise Fish, Clever Fish, and Stupid Fish. The second survivor here is not as clever as he usually is in the Kalila and Dimna version.
PT Bali Art Print/H. Paul Hamlyn