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Thai Pamphlets Purple 73-84

#0660073: The Groaning Volcano

This version is perhaps this series' most extensive (and confused?) transformation of a traditional fable. The volcano groans. Some think it is an earthquake; women think that there is a giant inside the mountain wanting to get out. Not far away, a mouse is looking for food and paying no attention to the groan. Then it sees the people and runs afraid into its hole. Then the volcano turns so quiet that people begin to laugh at the volcano. People say "It just giving the groan but can make anybody fear even a mouse." I challenge readers to come up with the one meaning of that statement! The moral does not help clarify things for me: "The great does not always make others fear."

#0660074: The Oak and the Reed

My favorite sentence in this story is "The reed still leans along the strong wind."

#0660075: The Big Crab and a Little Crab

Note that these two crabs are not (as is traditional for this fable) related to each other. The problem seems to be not whether the crab will walk forward but whether it will walk straight. "Look to yourself before criticism" sounds good in any language!

#0660076: The Prince and the Cat

Note that the beloved here is a prince. The "angle (sic) of love appears at the castle" in response to the cat's crying. Here the transformation has as its explicit condition that the cat change her whole nature, and the cat promises to show no sign that she used to be a cat. Here is a sentence too good to miss: "When the prince meet the twisted princess, he once falls in love and asks her to marry with." The prince later wonders when he finds her scratching a cushion. The next day she climbs on the balcony of the castle. Finally she catches a mouse and is beginning to eat it--when she turns back into being a cat. (Now, there is one surprised prince!)

#0660077: The Cock and the Fox

The Chanticleer story is here in its basic outlines. "This is my cock" is the mouth-opening cry of the fox that lets the cock loose. People arrive in time to beat this fox. The moral may lack grammar but takes an interesting perspective on the story: "Doing the right things at the right time."

#0660078: The Old Man and a Silly Donkey

This donkey has an enlarged and disproportioned head. He looks like one of Bennett's "humans with an animal head." The title does not mention the lap-dog that plays a major part in this fable. The picture attempting to show that the dog has just leapt into the old man's lap seems to suggest other things.... One wonders whether the donkey really gets the point, for his final reflection is "In the futher (sic), I will do just wise and useful things so I will not be punished like this." The moral: "Having carefully think before doing."

#0660079: The man and The lion

Great facial expressions, especially after the quarreling begins. Many illustrations include cute little critters around the central action. The moral takes refuge in the generic: "Judge not according to what we see."

#0660080: The three wishes

This story has migrated into this fable-collection from elsewhere; note the tree fairy and the three magic wishes. A tree tells the woodcutter that it is a woodland fairy and will offer three wishes if uncut. The three wishes end up being "I wish to have a string of black-bread," "I wish this bread to hang on your nose," and "I wish this bread loosed from my nose." The story may suggest how often we say "I want" without reflecting on how much we do or do not want what we mention. Among the illustrations in this series, the style here is perhaps the furthest toward a simple contemporary cartoon style. What lies beyond the focus of an individual scene is left with very rudimentary development.

#0660081: The crow and The snake

Borrowed from The Panchatantra, this story fills key roles with a prince and his two golden bracelets. Mrs. Crow is the mastermind here. There is no chase, but rather a search. The prince's people never know that the crows stole the bracelets.

#0660082: The Jay and the Nightingale

This fable is new to me. It is told, at least generally, in past tenses. The jays' screaming was "very anonymous (sic) because their voice was so ugly." But they thought their song was beautiful. They went to the eagle to have themselves declared "the king of song of the woods," and the eagle agreed. But other animals still laughed at them. So they returned to the eagle, who declared (in some labored English) "Even I name you so but your voice in actually is not beautiful." I see the point--a great one!--along the lines of "I do not care what the authorities say; the facts remain the way they are."

#0660083: The Merchant and His Friend

This is the Panchatantra story of "The Iron-Eating Rat," narrated in the past. It contains another prize-winning clause: "he thought it should be wised to put someone taking a look iron stored in his home." In this version, the former iron merchant became a schoolmaster, and his old friend sent his son to this school.... His story was that an owl took away the son. Not all would ascribe to this moral: "Treat the one who treated you badly in the same way."

#0660084: The Dragon in the Moon

Aesop here borrows from La Fontaine, since this is the story about the telescope with a fly stuck to its lens. Does it help the presentation of this story to show an illustration of a fly from its first description?

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