Chinese Fables and Folk Stories

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Authors
Chow-Leung
Davis, Mary Hayes
Issue Date
1908
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Book, Whole
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The thirty-seven stories here include many more fables than I thought. Put it better: many of these stories are much more fables than I had thought they would be. The book makes a proud boast that it is the first to bring Chinese fables into English. As Yin--Chwang Wang Tsen-Zan says in the introduction, This is the first book of Chinese stories ever printed in English that will bring the Western people to the knowledge of some of our fables, which have never been heretofore known to the world (7). Though they are somewhat longer than most Western fables and though they often have a legendary quality, using frequent proper names, still they do mostly what fables do. Several particularly good fables include The Evergreen Tree and the Wilderness Marigold (27), The Snail and the Bees (31), The Proud Chicken (37, very much like our The Two Cocks), The Man Who Loved Money Better than Life (66), The Proud Fox and the Crab (141), The Lion and the Mosquitoes (176), and The Thief and the Elephant (181), which features confession by fear. The version of SM here (136) results in death. La Fontaine's fable of the acorn and pumpkin shows up here as that of the fig and watermelon (203). Maybe the most touching story in the book is that of Confucius' contemplation of two trees, which helps him to find purpose in a wintry world of rejection (128). Most of the illustrations are signed by a chop with a star over the letter B. The tone of these stories is heavily didactic.
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American Book Company
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