C. F. Gellert's sämtliche Fabeln und Erzählungen in drey Büchern
Christian Fürchtegott Gellert
. Hahn'sche Buchhandlung . Leipzig
Language note: German
Language note: German
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This book ranks as our second-to-oldest Gellert edition, but it turns out that there were many illustrated editions of his work before this book was published. This edition has only a single frontispiece. It is labeled "Neueste Original-Ausgabe." The "Hahn'sche Buchhandlung" will be publisher of slightly later illustrated editions of Gellert in 1844 and 1861; we have copies of those editions. The frontispiece here shows a cameo of Gellert's head surrounded by sporting children with flowers, a lamb drinking from a pool, and a cherub and heart. The setting is distinctly floral. Pages 3 through 21 present a "Nachricht und Exempel" dated 1746. There is a beginning T of C. I decided while cataloguing an earlier Gellert edition to examine several fables in Gellert's first book, and I will repeat here what I found. "Der Tanzbär" (3) 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. "Das Gespenst" (16) shows that you can use poetry, even or especially bad poetry, to drive away ghosts! "Der Hund" (21) tells of a miserly dog that, even in death, will not give up his treasured bones. "Der Bettler" (26) 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" (37) 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" (49) is straightforward and true to the ancient anecdote. "Der grüne Esel" (57) is the story of instant notoriety and fast movement into being passé. "Die kranke Frau" (66) presents a woman who cannot be healed by doctors but only by a tailor's new dress!