The eagle & the fox & the fox and the eagle: two semantically symmetrical versions followed by a revised application
. Gaberbocchus Press Limited . London
PA3855.E5 E3 1949 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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This wild and wonderful presentation had been on my want list since I saw it in the Heffelfinger Collection in Minneapolis. Princeton Antiques' notice to me was the first time I had heard that it was available. Though the price was very steep, I tried to follow my collector's rule that one should buy immediately what one has not had the chance to buy before. The whimsy in this book begins on the cover which shows a fox's head separated like a doll from an attractive human female body, while next to it is stamped an outline of the eagle's body. There are already strange things happening! After the pre-title-page's image of hunchbacked Aesop crawling across the page like an animal, we find the title-page's presentation of the title along with each line's mirror image one line lower. The effect is perfect: a reader asks What is this? There follows Croxall's standard version, introduced as appealing for our sympathy with the vixen. Version 2 follows: Our description of the cruelty of the fox, appealing for your sympathy with the eagle. This second version reverses the aggressor and victim relationships exactly, changing only the tree's nest for an underground burrow. The application: These two fables are a warning to us not to deal hardly or injuriously by somebody who can defend himself by dealing hardly or injuriously by us. There ar many less subtle and imperious creatures which we can eat in peace, and to the Glory of God. Do not miss Contents just after the application; it continues the fun.