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BM Florian

1900? Fables de Florian. J.J. Grandville. Eight cards, just over 6¼" x 4½", advertising Au Bon Marché, presenting fables of Florian and illustrated in color by J.J. Grandville. Engraved by H. Demoulin and printed by Draeger Frères. From Annick Tilly at the Clignancourt flea market for about 50 Francs each, August, '99 and July, '01. "Le Linot" for $14 from McIaren Enterprises, Nottingham, England, through Ebay, August, '00. "La Tourterelle et la Fauvette" for €3 at Paris Post Card Exhibit, Jan., '05. Extras of "Les deux Chats," "La Guenon, le Singe et la Noix," and "Le Hibou et le Pigeon," the latter cropped.

Each card lists "Au Bon Marché" at the top of both front and back. The front of the card then presents a delightful Grandville scene, including the usual dressed human animals. Under Grandville's signature is a title for the fable scene and, in parentheses, "Fables de Florian." The back identifies Au Bon Marché as "Maison A. Boucicaut" in Paris, restates "Fables de Florian," and lists the engraver and printer under the full text. A note on the back of one of the cards from Annick indicated that there are six in the series. Now that--having found "Le Linot" and "La Tourterelle et la Fauvette"--I have eight, that remark seems to have been premature. While all the illustrations are done in portrait format, half of the texts are in landscape format.

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"Le Coq fanfaron" The vain man can always find a way to be satisfied with himself, even in defeat. The cock here is twice defeated but can explain it away.

"Les deux Chats" The fat cat in ermine explains to his thin comrade that the point is not to be useful but to be adroit.

"La Guenon, le Singe et la Noix" A young ape tries biting into a nut time after time and can't get anything. A monkey breaks open his cast-away nut with a stone, and tells him that no one gains in life without some labor.

"Le Hibou et le Pigeon" The pigeon, accompanied by a child, hears out the solitary owl who complains that no one cares for him. The pigeon points out to him that he has not cared for anybody and asks why he complains.

"La jeune Poule et le Vieux Renard" An old fox has fallen in with a young chicken late in getting back to the hen house. He apologizes for the bad name given his species and mentions that there is supposed to be an attack on the hen house this evening. In fact, he has been assigned to protect the hens. So she walks him right home. As soon as he is there, he kills and strangles everything in sight. The worst of the bad are the old hypocrites.

"Le Linot" A pampered young bird learns humility and other virtues by going it alone for a while in the forest. Adversity teaches in a moment what advice could not offer over years.

"Le Procès des 2 Renards" One fox has set up as a teacher, and another agrees to study law under him. The student sues the teacher and won't pay the pullets he has promised. After hearing lawyerly logic from both, judge leopard declares: "The master no more keeps his school; the pupil is disbarred from practice."

"La Tourterelle et la Fauvette" Of two young female friends, the turtledove loves nothing but music, while the warbler loves nothing but loving and lovers. They argue the benefits of their pursuits. Ten years later they meet again. The warbler is frustrated: she still loves, but no one loves her. The turtledove has lost her voice but still loves music and enjoys hearing the nightingale sing. "La beauté passe, un talent reste,/On en jouit même en autrui."