I am sure that I will enjoy sitting with my book now and then to read a few fables again. Mar 08, Emad Attili rated it really liked it Shelves: reads. In a nutshell: These fables are immortal. One can't stop enjoying them. Some of them were totally new for me, and most of them were familiar. This was a very enjoyable read. This is often considered children's literature, so I also categorized it as so, but I believe that was not necessarily La Fontaine's primary audience. If you've never read any of these fables, you should.
Many would strike you as familiar from your childhood, yet as an adult you will find ironies and morals in the full texts that will delight you all over again.
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What a pleasure it is to read all these witty and enchanting fables with moral teachings. It is truly a classic and hidden gem in America although the fables are very popular in France. May 09, Anamarialodnmavo rated it it was amazing.
Sep 03, Robert Sheppard rated it it was amazing Shelves: fables , chinese-literature , iranian-persian-literature , spiritual-novels , spiritus-mundi-novel-by-robert-shep , african-literature , allegory , history-of-world-literature , animal-farm , archetype. Very often these were passed down for millennia in oral form around primal campfires or tribal conclaves as "orature" before the invention of writing and the consequent evolution of "literature," later to be recorded or reworked in such immortal collections as "Aesop's Fables" of the 6th Century BC.
In the 's a new interest in folk tales arose in the wake of the Romantic Movement which idealized the natural wisdom of the common people, inducing the systematic efforts of scholars and writers to collect and preserve this heritage, as exemplified in such works as Sir Walter Scott's "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," Goethe's friend Johann Gottfried Herder's "Folksongs," and the "German Folktales" of "The Brothers Grimm"Jacob and Wilhelm. With the evolution of World Literature in our globalized modern world these enduring folk tales remain a continuing source of wisdom and delight.
We encounter them as children in our storybooks and we gain the enhanced perspectives of maturity on them as we introduce them to our own children and grandchildren. Additionally, we have the opportunity to learn of the folk wisdom and genius of other peoples and civilizations which add to our own heritage as the common inheritance of mankind. Thus World Literature Forum is happy to introduce such masterpieces of the genre as the "Panchatantra" of ancient India, similar to the animal fables of our own Western Aesop, the "Pali Jatakas," or fabled-accounts of the incarnations of Buddha on the path of Enlightenment, folk-tales of the Chinese Monkey-King Sun Wu Kong and his Indian prototype Hanuman from the Ramayana, and the Amerincian Coyote and Trickster Tales.
Also presented is some of the history and evolution of the classics of our own Western heritage, whose origins may have slipped from memory, such as Charles Perrault's "Mother Goose" tales, La Fontaine's "Fables," and American Southern raconteur Joel Chandler Harris's "Tar Baby," derived from the African tales of the black slaves,and perhaps of earlier Indian origin. Little is known of Aesop himself, though legends have it that he was very ugly and that the citizens of Athens purportedly threw him off a cliff for non-payment of a charity, after which they were punished by a plague.
Most Europeans came to know the Fables through a translation into Latin by a Greek slave Phaedrus in Rome, which collected ninety-seven short fables became a children's primer as well as a model text for learning Latin for the next two millennia throughout Europe. An example is: The Fox and the Crow A Fox once saw a crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of all other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds. In exchange for your cheese I'll give you a piece of advice for the future: 'Do not trust flatterers.
Barzoye visited the court of the most powerful king in India and at last obtained copies of not only that book but of many others.
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Fearful that the Indian king would take back the books, he quickly made copies and translated the works into Persian, or Pahlavi. On returning to the royal court in Persia Barzoya recited the works aloud to the King and court, who were so delighted they became Persian classics. Thus began the travels of the Panchatantra, which would be brought to Paris in the 's translated from the Persian into French, and from thence into all the modern European languages. The Panchatantra, or "The Five Principles," is ascribed in India to a legendary figure, Vishnusharma, and is the most celebrated book of social wisdom in South Asian history.
It is framed as a series of discourses for the education of royal princes, though like the Fables of the Greek Aesop, it utilizes the odd motif of talking animals--animal fables. Thus the core ethical problems of human existence such as the nature of trust and the limits of risk are entrusted to the wisdom of the beasts.
One of the most famous of the Aesopian animal fables of the Panchatantra is that of "The Turtle and the Geese. The geese resolve to fly away to a large lake and come to say good-bye to Kambugriva.
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If you love me, you should rescue me from the jaws of death. For you when the lake dries up you will only suffer some loss of food, but for me it means death. What is worse, loss of food or loss of life?
We will then hold the two ends in our beaks and fly you through the air to a large beautiful lake far away. It looks ridiculous, like a large cartwheel! The raciness, dangerous ambiguity and rampant wit of some of his tales led sometimes to the disfavour of Louis, but the purity and grace of his style led to his election to the Academie Francaise.
His first edition of verse "Fables" was modeled on Aesop, but in later editions he turned to oriental sources, of which a French translation by Pilpay of the Indian "Panchatantra" from the Persian and Arabic was one. Republics, kingdoms, you will view, And famous cities, old and new; And get of customs, laws, a notion, — Of various wisdom various pieces, As did, indeed, the sage Ulysses. A nice machine the birds devise To bear their pilgrim through the skies. It made the people gape and stare Beyond the expressive power of words, To see a tortoise cut the air, Exactly poised between two birds.
There goes the flying tortoise queen! Imprudence, vanity, and babble, And idle curiosity, An ever-undivided rabble, Have all the same paternity. Each story purports to tell of a previous life of the Buddha in which he learned some critical lesson or acheived some moral attainment of the "Middle Path" in the course of the vast cycle of transmigration and reincarnation that led to his Buddhahood. The story of "Prince Five Weapons" represents one such prior life of the Buddha.
The core of the story is the account of a battle against an adversary upon whose tacky and sticky body all weapons stick, a symbolical case study of a nemesis of the Buddhist virtue of "detachment.
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Then Buddha tells the story of his past life: A Prince was born to a great king. The Queen, seeking a name for him asked of Brahmins for a name. Then she learned that the King would soon die and the baby Prince would become a great king, conquering with the aid of the Five Weapons. Sent to Afghanistan for martial arts training in the Five Weapons, on his return he encounters a great demon named "Hairy Grip" with an adhesive hide to which all weapons stick fast.
He uses his sword, spear, and club but all stick uselessly. Then he uses his two fists, his two feet and finally butts him with his head, all of which stick uselessly to the hide. Finally, hopelessly stuck to the the monster, the demon asks if he is afraid to die. The Prince answers that he has a fifth weapon, that of Knowledge which he bears within him, and that if the monster devours him the monster will be punished in future lives and the Prince himself will attain future glories. The monster is taken aback by the spirit of the Prince and, becoming a convert to Buddhism releases him, after which the Prince fulfills his destiny of becoming a great King, and in a later life, the Buddha.
Thereby, the backslider is counseled to persevere and end his backsliding, with the moral: "With no attachment, all things are possible. Like the Amerindian "Trickster" tales or the cartoon series the "Roadrunner and the Coyote," or "Bugs Bunny" they often focus on how the smart and wily Brer Rabbit outthinks and tricks Brer Fox who constantly seeks to catch and eat him.
The most famous of these stories is that of "The Tar Baby" in which Brer Fox covers a life-like manniquin in sticky tar and puts it in Brer Rabbit's path. The rabbit becomes angry that the Tar Baby will not answer his questions and losing his temper strikes him, causing his hand to stick fast. Then in turn he hits, kicks and head butts him until his whole body is stuck fast to the "Tar Baby.
These two competing theories, "Monogenesis and Diffusion" vs "Polygenesis" remain competing explanations. Further research documented how the Pali Jataka had, like the "Panchatantra" been translated into Persian, then Arabic, then into African dialects in Muslim-influenced West Africa, where many American slaves hailed from. Polygenesis Theory also gained some competing support from C. Jung's theory of "Archetypes" and the "Universal Collective Unconscious" which would provide a psychological force and source for the continuous regeneration of similar stories and dreams throughout the world.
The two theories continue to compete and complement each other as explanations of cultural diffusion and similiarity. He won the King's favor and retired on a generous pension from the finance minister Colbert. He was associated with the argument between two literary factions which became known in England as "The Battle of the Books" after Swift, and which focused on the question of whether the modern writers or the ancients were the greater.
Perrault argued in favor of the moderns, but Louis XIV intervened in the proceedings of the Academie and found in favor of the ancients. Perrault persisted,however, in trying to outdo Aesop in his "Mother Goose" collection of folk and children's tales. One of the most famous was that of "Donkey Skin," a kind of variation on the better-known Cinderella theme, in which a Princess, fearful of the attempt of her own father to an incestuous marriage, flees, disguising herself as a crude peasant-girl clothed in a donkey-skin.
Arriving at the neighboring kingdom she works as a scullery maid until the Prince observes her in secret dressed in her most beautiful royal gown. Falling in love with her the Prince is unable to establish her true identity but finds a ring from her finger and declares he will marry the girl whose finger fits the ring. As in the case of Cinderella's glass slipper, all the girls of the kingdom attempt but fail to put on the ring, until the very last, Donkey-Skin succeeds. At the marriage it is discovered that she is really a Princess and she is reconciled with her father, who has abandoned his incestuous inclinations.
The story is partially a satire on Louis XIV, who himself took as a mistress Louise de la Valliere, a simple girl with a lame foot while surrounded by the most elegant beauties of Paris.
This tale was embodied in Indian lore which passed into China with the coming of Buddhism and was later incorporated into the classic novel by Wu ChengEn. In Southwest North America this often took the form of the Coyote. In the lustful tale "The Coyote as Medicine Man" the trickster gets all he desires. The Coyote walking along a lake sees an old man with a penis so long he must coil it around his body many times like a rope. Then he sees a group of naked girls jumping and playing in the water. He asks the old man if he can borrow his penis, which the old man lends him.
Then the Coyote sticks the enormous penis onto his own and enters the water, at which the enormous penis slithers like an eel into the vagina of one of the girls, who cut it off with a knife, but with one part remaining inside, making her sick. Later the Coyote transforms himself into a Medicine Man shaman to whom the girls go to cure their sick friend. He uses this opportunity and trickery to sexually fondle all the girls as well as curing the sick one by an additional act of copulation, which fuses the two segments of the severed penis again into one, allowing him to extract the whole from her.
Apr 13, Laetitia rated it it was amazing Shelves: middle-school , Of course, La Fontaine's fables are a classic for French students and even worldwide? I think the stories are a lot of fun and I would recommend them to pretty much everybody no matter how old they'd be! The morals are definitely to remember and it is great to see an author criticise his era and society under its nose. Sep 17, Valentine rated it really liked it. Books 1 to 6 read. Sep 01, Jimin Lee rated it liked it. The were pretty interesting to ponder upon.
For CLit30B. There are some good fables, but quite a few bad ones too. Nov 29, Jared rated it liked it. Curious that human nature is so accurately portrayed in the comings-and-goings of animals Definitely an interesting read, but make sure to take it in little chunks.