A Sap's Fables: The Lion at the Pond and Other Tales
. Castle Books . Memphis, TN
PN982.M66 1996 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This book is a homey, folksy combination of all sorts of stories related in one way or another to Aesop's fables. The author submits his work humbly, but with faith in the fable as lesson and as entertainment (5). The animals are regularly named, like Cameron Camel and Armand Armadillo. Perhaps the strongest story is indeed the first, The Lion at the Pond (11). The jackals come up with a scheme to keep the old lion who will go the next day to the pond to see himself as if in a mirror. They succeed in making him think that he is still young and thus in making him benevolent with all the animals, but…. There are plenty of original fables. Two lively examples would be The Penguin Who Didn't (54) and A Mare's Nest (57). There is straight Aesop in The Bees, the Drones and the Wasp (29), but then immediately parodied. There is word-play in The Dogs, the Lamb and the Wolf (34) and reversal in The Wolf Who Cried Boy (91). Sometimes Aesop is made over into something fresh, as when LM becomes The Giraffe and the Terrier (67). A new story of the lion's death makes the old point well: The largest part/Is not what's meant:/The Lion's Share?/One hundred percent! My biggest question about a laudable effort to present some fresh stories and to do homage to Aesop would be: Why talk of a sap? T of C at the beginning.