Chr. F. Gellert's sämtliche Fabeln und Erzählungen in drei Büchern
. Hahn'sche Buchhandlung . Hannover und Leipzig
Language note: German
PT1883.A17 1912 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
Language note: German
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This book is almost identical with a copy I bought in the same shop seventeen years earlier. As I looked it over, I found three small discrepancies, and so I include this copy on its own. First, the typeface under the frontispiece statue of Gellert has changed to more boldly Gothic. Secondly, the endpapers have changed pattern. Thirdly -- and perhaps most surprisingly -- the Vorwort is signed now not "Die Verlagsbuchhandlung" but "Die Verlagshandlung." These small clues, alas, did not lead anywhere, though I did learn that the firm was started in Hannover in 1792, took on Leipzig as a second place of business in 1810, and continues today as a major publishing house for academic publications. I will continue with my comments on the nearly identical copy, for which I guessed a date of 1910. "Nach den ältesten Ausgaben." There is a beginning T of C. I decided for this Gellert edition to examine the first eight illustrated fables. "Der Tanzbär" (2) presents a bear who has had to dance for his living; now he breaks away and rejoins the bears. He shows them his new skills. They try to do the same and fail. Soon they ask him to leave. Show skill and people will talk about you, and soon envy will follow, and your talent will become a crime. Also illustrated is "Das Gespenst" (17): you can use poetry, even or especially bad poetry, to drive away ghosts! "Der Hund" (22) tells of a miserly dog that, even in death, will not give up his treasured bones. "Der Bettler" (27) gives us a beggar; with a sword in his hand and a plea for compassion, he is like the writer who pays compliments and says that he trusts our sense of justice--but also uses threats. "Die zärtliche Frau" (39) is about a woman who at her husband's deathbed cries out "Death, come and take me!" When death shows up and asks if someone called, she points to her husband and says that he called. "Damokles" (53) is straightforward and true to the ancient anecdote. "Der grüne Esel" (61) is the story of instant notoriety and fast movement into being passé. "Die kranke Frau" (71) presents a woman who cannot be healed by doctors but only by a tailor's new dress! Because of its good illustration, I gave myself a bonus: "Der beherzte Entschluss" (127). It is worth it! A condemned man finds an old spinster pleading for him. The judge says that he will spare him if he will marry her. The prisoner choses death and asks the judge to kill him now. This is a straightforward volume with nothing but four pages of Vorwort, the T of C, texts, and illustrations. The cover shows "The Bears and the Apes."