. Foreign Languages Press . Peking
MetadataShow full item record
"This book contains eight fables originally published between 1935 and 1945. A brief biography of Ho Yi at the end situates his literary development, though it is no help in understanding the book's title. It and his introduction at the book's beginning are outspokenly political. The introduction tells that these are bitter fables because the time before the people's revolution was a bitter time. These fables, he says, are not "beautiful as poetry and sweet as honey. Yes, that is true. But how can I help it? Anybody who has lived in the old society, in which these fables were written, can testify that it was by no means 'beautiful as poetry and sweet as honey' but a criminal suffocating, unfortunate society." Later in the introduction he writes "the life of the Chinese people today is truly a great poem and is sweet as honey, being saturated with the nectar of mutual understanding, love and respect." I wonder if Ho Yi would have written the same during the cultural revolution of 1966. The second story here quotes Aesop's FG and then extends it. This fox ends up getting a spade and digging up the trellis and the vine so that no one can enjoy it (13-16). That is an apt fable about imperialism and lots of other selfishness! The first story, Grandad Ho, some twelve pages in length, tells of an evil landlord who confiscates a tenant's only possession, three great melons, and devours them. Magically the tenant springs out of the last melon and apparently kills the landlord, his wife, and child. There is a good anti-slavery story, though too long and too magical, I believe, to be a fable. It is not unlike Nathan's story to David about Uriah, through Nathan was wise enough to let David respond rather than to create a magical ending. There is a story that is a fable on 80-81: "The Fish and Its Baby." In a surprising turn, a fisherman gives back a little fish, telling it to obey its mother in the future. That is not the way it usually goes in the world of fables!"