BOOK REVIEWS

Aesop's Fables (Illustrated by Arthur Rackham with an Introduction by G. K. Chesterton) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-29 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1420953001
LANGUAGE:English

"قورباغه‌هایی که می‌خواستند شاه داشته باشند.

این حکایت به زمانی باز می‌گردد که قورباغه‌ها شاهی نداشتند و از این بابت ناراحت بودند. آن‌ها نماینده‌ای به خدمتِ ژوپیتر، خدای خدایان، فرستادند تا او شاهی برایشان تعیین کند. ژوپیتر از اینکه قورباغه‌ها کسی را می‌خواهند که بر آنها حکومت کند، دلخور شد و تکه کنده‌ای در دریاچهٔ قورباغه‌ها انداخت و گفت: «این هم شاهتان!» قورباغه‌ها ابتدا از آن کندهٔ درخت ترسیدند و زیر آب رفتند. کمی که ترسشان ریخت، روی آب آمدند و دیدند که انگار آن کندهٔ درخت کاری به آنها ندارد. آهسته جلوتر آمدند و بالاخره سوار کنده شدند، ولی دیدند باز هم آن شاه کاری به آنها ندارد. ناراحت شدند و احساس کردند که با وجودِ آن شاهِ آرام و بی خیال، غرورشان جریحه دار شده است. دوباره نماینده‌ای به سراغ ژوپیتر فرستادند و گفتند که این شاه نه حرفی می زند، نه کاری به آنها دارد و به درد نمی‌خورد. ژوپیتر دلسردتر از بارِ اول، لک لکی را به پادشاهیِ آن دریاچه برگزید. از آن پس لک لک دور دریاچه راه می‌رفت و دائماً سر قورباغه‌ها جیغ می‌کشید و حرف می‌زد و تا جایی که شکمش اجازه می‌داد، از آن‌ها می‌خورد و وظیفه‌اش را به نحو احسن انجام می‌داد.
" said.

"I hadn't read this book, but I was amazed at how many of these fables I was familiar with. So many are part of our modern culture, part of our collective consciousness, and they are not specific to any one country or continent. This is truly a World classic. Most of them are easy to understand, some of them are far fetched, and some just don't make any sense. Some animals are used over and over in the stories, like the donkey, the lion, and the hare. It occurred to me after I had finished that I should have assigned a comparative image to each and used it throughout, it might have been more entertaining. For example, I could have chosen one of my least favorite politicians as the donkey and used that image in all the tales. My apologies to donkeys everywhere." said.

" قرأت طبعة مكتبة (مصر) التي ترجمها د. مصطفى السقا وسعيد جودة السحار عن ترجمة (تاونْسِنْد) الإنجليزية. اشتريت الكتاب جديدا من معرض الكتاب بالقاهرة - في عام 2010 - بمئة وستين قرشا بعد الخصم! ووجدت فيه أكثر من ثلاثمائة حكاية كان معظمها فائق الإمتاع والعمق، بلا تكلف. والكتاب مزين برسوم قديمة محببة. الخلاصة أنني سأدعو للقائمين على مكتبة (مصر) حتى تُمحى آخر حكاية من حكايات إيسوب - حكيم اليونان - من ذاكرتي، ولست أظنه ممكنا!أحمد الديبمايو 2010 " said.

"3 1/2 - The fables varied in quality, and all pretty much blended together after a while. This one stood out:

Demandes and His Fable
Demades the orator was once speaking in the Assembly at Athens; but the people were very inattentive to what he was saying, so he stopped and said, "Gentlemen, I should like to tell you one of Aesop's fables." This made everyone listen intently. Then Demades began: "Demeter, a Swallow, and an Eel were once traveling together, and came to a river without a bridge: the Swallow flew over it, and the Eel swam across"; and then he stopped. "What happened to Demeter?" cried several people in the audience. "Demeter," he replied, "is very angry with you for listening to fables when you ought to be minding public business."
" said.

"58. Aesop's Fables for Modern Readers, illustrated by Eric Carle
published: 1965 (copyright is 1941, 1955 and 1965)
format: 58 page hardcover by Peter Pauper Press
acquired: from my neighbor in 2006
read: Aug 31 - Sep 5
rating: 2½ stars

The book itself is nice. It feels old, a small thin hardcover with illustrations by Eric Carle, like that shown on the cover. But I'm not sure what to make of the contents. What was it based off? Who translated it, and what did they translate? I only recognized three of the stories, but I hadn't realized any of those were from Aesop.

Looking up Aesop after I finished, I learned that there isn't really a text to translate. Aesop is just a name. Traditionally, he was a slave and story teller who lived from ~620 – 564 BCE. The first recorded collection of stories attributed to him in the 4th bce, which is lost, was simply a collection of folktales and whatnot that had been associated with him. Their true origins were various and unknown.

Still, I like to think the modern reader would have appreciated some kind of note about what went into this book.
" said.

"
لم أكن أنوي الإستماع لهذا الكتاب بتاتاً خلال هذا الشهر، بل كُنت أشاور نفسي فيما يجب علي حذفه أم لا لأحفظ سعة الآيباد في الفترة الراهنة، لكن حمداً لله على ذلك، رأيت ماجعلني أغير رأيي تماماً بل وأجبرني على إنهاء الكتاب وإعادة الإستماع له مرتين أيضاً!

دخلت في موقع كورسيرا للتعلم ( https://www.coursera.org )
، وان هُنالك كورس يتكلم عن الفانتازيا وكتب الخيال العلمي ( Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World ) وكيفية “قراءة مابعد السطور” فيها وإستنتاج الحكم والعبر وحتى الرسائل المخفية.
بدأ الدرس بإستعراض أحد قصص حكايات أوسوب، وهي الثعبان والمزارع.
وكيف لقصة قصيرة جداً وبسيطة التركيب وأحادية الحدث أن تكون ذات بعد عميق!
فقد تحمل دلالة للإستمرار الجنسي، “ عندما نأخذ بالحسبان قطع الرجل لذيل الثعبان، وقتل الثعبان لولد الرجل ) حيث أن كل طرف من القصة أفنى بقصد أو من غير قصد الناتج الجنسي لطرف الآخر .
كذلك تحدث عن الغفران والنسيان، وكيف أنه يمكن لنا أن نغفر ذنباً، لا أن ننساه، وربطه بشكل عجيب بقصة خروج آدم من الجنة “ في النسخة النصرانية حيث كان الثعبان السبب الرئيسي في الخروج” ..

هذا التلخيص للقصة حمسني لأستمع للكتاب كُله، وأنهيه، وأتوقف عند كُل قصة وأحاول أستقراء ماخلف أحداثها البسيطة “ظاهراً” ..
لن أقول أني خرجت بالكثير نظراً لوقتي القصير ، لكني خرجت بالكثير من الفوائد والأفكار العجيبة لبعض القصص التي لم أتوقع أنها ستجعلني أفكر مرتين ..

ربما أحدث هذه القراءة عندما أتفرغ وأجلس لكتابة رأيي في كُل قصة على حده ..
ولكل شخص يمر من هنا، لا تنسى أن تطلع على موقع كورسيرا، فهو مُذهل ومجاني الدروس !
" said.

"Throughout your childhood you would have heard the variants of these tales which give you those little nuggets of wisdom. The morals of these tales are what other authors try to explain through books that may be as big as 600 plus pages ! Aesop needs a few sentences to make some of the most profound observations on human nature. His characters are varied between almost every known man,beast,bird, tree & god of the Greek era.

These are immortal tales and will remain so for eons to come. The moment someone says sour grapes , the images spring unbidden to our mind. There are many such tales which have fed the fuel for other story tellers of our time. I have no doubt that they will inspire a lot of future writers as well. There are very interesting questions that some stories pose : Did the Indians borrow some tales of the Pancatantra from the Greeks ? Did this happen after the invasion of Alexander ? No much satisfactory answers are given but there is many a tale which I have heard in may native tongue that I now realise are thinly guised versions of Aesop.

Brevity is a blessing for I can copy some of the best fables on to this space :

A fox, having crept into an actor's house, rummaged through his wardrobe and found , among other things, a large, beautifully fashioned mask of a monster. He held it in his paws and exclaimed :

'Ah ! What a head ! But it hasn't got a brain ! '


The moral of one other story was too brilliant to let pass by. It goes like this :

It is thus that the little things reveal the big things, and that the things which are visible reveal those which are hidden.

An excellent collection and quite a useful set of notes by the translator Robert Temple as well.
" said.

"I am a student of fairy tales. I have multiple editions of Grimms'. I have read everything ever written by Hans Christian Anderson. I had never read Aesop's Fables, though, understanding them from a young age to be folksy and devoid of conflict. But I have tasted regret often lately for my precocious judgements, so when this collection of several hundred tales caught my eye, I decided to give them a try. I'm so very glad I did, for each of these fables is a revelation. In their simplicity, these tales engender universal truisms whose plainspoken presentation undersells their total authenticity.

I was also completely wrong in categorizing them as kin to fairy tales. Fairy tales are narratives which challenge the status quo: the swineherd becomes a hero and marries a princess. "HA!" replies the fable, "A swineherd is a swineherd is a swineherd." These fables use allegory to cut through the conventions of fiction and fantasy, quite before either had become half so codified as it was in Grimms' day, a full two-thousand years later. It preemptively criticizes whole genres by correctly estimating that humans would always be drawn to such departures from reality.

Good common sense abounds (flatterers will always get what they want from the vain, hard work rewards where shortcuts punish, the most reliable thing about humans is their tendency towards self-interest) and many of its moral punch-lines have been so abused for three-thousand years that they are cliched through-and-through ("every man for himself," "honesty is the best policy," "pleasing all pleases none," "misery loves company," "one good turn deserves another," "kicking a man while he's down..."). Of course they seem trite--they are the basis of common sense throughout the whole world, and have been for three millennia.

This unseats Beowulf as the oldest book I've read, and the great irony here is that it's among the most relevant books I've read. I frequently paused to absorb, reflecting "wow, my supervisor is JUST LIKE the fox and I am like the honeybee..." or "my friend So-And-So has really been treating my like the wild ass, and I've been taking it like the sparrow..." These fables seem like common fodder for a child's bookshelf, but that is misguided. A first-grade reading level does not equate to a first-grade comprehension level.

Favorites included: The Bear and the Two Travelers, The Fox and the Grapes, The Hart and the Hunter, Hercules and the Wagoner, The Horse Hunter and Stag, The Miser, The Sick Stag
" said.

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