Fabeln, Parabeln und Erzählungen für jeden Stand und jedes Alter nebst einer Abhandlung über das Wesen und den Vortrag der Fabel

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Rehsener, Carl Gottlieb
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I have learned that Memel was formerly a city in East Prussia and is now Klaipida in Lithuania. This book begins with a subscriber list. Though the circumstances are surely different, I suspect that it was what we would call privately published. It contains 550 stories on 214 pages. Following that, true to the long title, there is a discussion on fable and its mode of presentation. This is a remarkable book by a preacher. The Vorrede makes clear that these fables arose occasionally and unsought over the years. Almost all are new. The twelve or so that rely on older fables have carried out the story differently. There are twenty-six chapters, and only one of them is meant for children. This preface recognizes that more strictly Aesopic fables are mixed here with parables and narratives of similar content. The writer's hope is that no friend of truth and harmless humor will set the book down unsatisfied. Chapters are given titles like Religion, Freedom, Wisdom and Recognition, and Love and Kindness. There is a great first story about Aesop and the Phrygians. Rehsener uses it well to suggest that fable wants not to moralize but to bring it about that people themselves moralize. For Aesop was rejected by the Phrygians, went into the desert and preached to the animals and other creatures there, and the Phygians came with pleasure to listen to him. They thought that they had found the truth themselves. A second part of this story clarifies that nature is rich in answers, but it depends how we ask the questions. I have only sampled the fables. They seem somewhat forced. The best of those I have read is perhaps that of the trees and the oasis. Some bad philosophers claimed that only bearing fruit makes for virtue. Wise trees answered that the first virtue is to stand on holy ground like that of the oasis. I would enjoy doing more with this book.
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