Der Rohrspatz: Ein neues Fabelbuch

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Etzel, Theodor
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There are thirty-eight fables here in either prose or verse on some 116 pages. Etzel here sees himself as the Rohrspatz, the reed bunting, whose cry is repetitive, sharp, high, and raw. The first fable goes to lengths to offer an image of this bird as first hopeful and then critical. For an extra twist, Etzel has a fable-writing poet hear the reed bunting and write in his notebook The fresh reed bunting is making noise. Die Mücke (15) has a mosquito fly onto a stag, who suddenly raises his head and starts running. The mosquito pursues him, unaware that (as it stands in the fable) a lion is also pursuing the stag. When the lion catches up, the mosquito says to him You can thank me for this catch, but the lion pays no attention to the mosquito. The mosquito mutters The great know no gratitude and vows never again to hunt a stag for a lion. A fox wakes up to find before his hole a sad badger weeping (16). A vine keeper shot my wife as she traveled through his vineyard. The fox answers that guilt finds revenge and that men hate thievery. But she stole nothing. The fox agrees but adds that he himself stole some wonderful grapes there last evening. In Aestheten (63), a dungbeetle makes himself comfortable in some ox excrement. A fine butterfly happens by and cries with horror To the Devil with anyone who sits down in Scheissdreck! Embarrassed, the dungbeetle answers You should be ashamed, young woman, to utter such hateful words! C.P. Peterson, known as an animal artist from his Simplicissimus, adds the part- and full-page black-and-white illustrations. My prize among the illustrations goes to the illustration on 49 of the hyena whose stomach has burst; here one can see a hoof of the giraffe bursting out of the hyena's belly. The themes are those of the turn into the 20th century: society, politics, morality, and fashion. There is on the back cover a nice caricature of the artist (writer or illustrator?) on a hobby horse looking down on various animals. Surprisingly not in Bodemann.
Albert Langen
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