« AnteriorContinuar »
and began to climb the hill just in the light that Gluck had never felt so happy hottest part of the day. When he had in his life. climbed for an hour, he got dreadfully Yet, when he had climbed for another thirsty, and was going to drink like his hour, his thirst became intolerable again; brothers, when he saw an old man coming and, when he looked at his bottle, he down the path above him, looking very saw that there were only five or six drops feeble, and leaning on a staff. “My son," left in it, and he could not venture to said the old man, “I am faint with thirst. drink. And, as he was hanging the flask Give me some of that water." Then to his belt again, he saw a little dog lying Gluck looked at him, and when he saw on the rocks, gasping for breath-just that he was pale and weary, he gave him as Hans had seen it on the day of his the water; “Only pray don't drink it all,” ascent. And Gluck stopped and looked said Gluck. But the old man drank a at it, and then at the Golden River, not great deal, and gave him back the bottle five hundred yards above him; and he two-thirds empty. Then he bade him thought of the dwarf's words, “that no good speed, and Gluck went on again one could succeed, except in his first merrily. And the path became easier attempt"; and he tried to pass the dog, to his feet, and two or three blades of but it whined piteously, and Gluck grass appeared upon it, and some grass- stopped again. "Poor beastie," said hoppers began singing on the bank beside Gluck, "it'll be dead when I come down it; and Gluck thought he had never again, if I don't help it." Then he heard such merry singing.
looked closer and closer at it, and its Then he went on for another hour, and eye turned on him so mournfully that the thirst increased on him so that he he could not stand it. “Confound the thought he should be forced to drink. King and his gold, too,” said Gluck; and But, as he raised the flask, he saw a he opened the flask, and poured all the little child lying panting by the roadside, water into the dog's mouth. and it cried out piteously for water. The dog sprang up and stood on its Then Gluck struggled with himself, and hind legs. Its tail disappeared, its ears determined to bear the thirst a little became long, longer, silky, golden; its nose longer; and he put the bottle to the child's became very red, its eyes became very lips, and it drank it all but a few drops. twinkling; in three seconds the dog was Then it smiled on him, and got up and gone, and before Gluck stood his old acran down the hill; and Gluck looked quaintance, the King of the Golden River. after it, till it became as small as a little "Thank you," said the monarch; "but star, and then turned and began climbing don't be frightened, it's all right”; for again. And then there were all kinds of Gluck showed manifest symptoms of sweet flowers growing on the rocks, bright consternation at this unlooked-for reply green moss with pale pink starry flowers, to his last observation. “Why did n't and soft belled gentians, more blue than you come before," continued the dwarf, the sky at its deepest, and pure white “instead of sending me those rascally transparent lilies. And crimson and brothers of yours, for me to have the purple butterflies darted hither and trouble of turning into stones? Very thither, and the sky sent down such pure hard stones they make, too."
"Oh, dear me!" said Gluck, "have you, only the river was not turned into gold really been so cruel?”
but its waters seemed much diminished “Cruel!" said the dwarf:"they poured in quantity. Yet he obeyed his friend unholy water into my stream; do you the dwarf, and descended the other side suppose I'm going to allow that?” of the mountains, towards the Treasure
“Why,” said Gluck, “I am sure, sir, — Valley; and, as he went, he thought he your Majesty, I mean, — they got the heard the noise of water working its way water out of the church font.”
under the ground. And when he came in "Very probably," replied the dwarf; sight of the Treasure Valley, behold, a "but," and his countenance grew stern as river, like the Golden River, was springhe spoke, “the water which has been ing from a new cleft of the rocks above it, refused to the cry of the weary and dying and was flowing in innumerable streams is unholy, though it had been blessed by among the dry heaps of red sand. every saint in heaven; and the water And, as Gluck gazed, fresh grass which is found in the vessel of mercy is sprang beside the new streams, and holy, though it had been defiled with creeping plants grew, and climbed among corpses."
the moistening soil. Young flowers So saying, the dwarf stooped and opened suddenly along the river sides, plucked a lily that grew at his feet. On as stars leap out when twilight is deepenits white leaves there hung three drops ing, and thickets of myrtle, and tendrils of clear dew. And the dwarf shook of vine, cast lengthening shadows over them into the flask which Gluck held in the valley as they grew. And thus the his hand. “Cast these into the river," Treasure Valley became a garden again, he said, “and descend on the other side and the inheritance, which had been of the mountains into the Treasure lost by cruelty, was regained by love. Valley, and so good speed.”
And Gluck went and dwelt in the valAs he spoke, the figure of the dwarf ley, and the poor were never driven from became indistinct. The playing colors his door; so that his barns became full of of his robe formed themselves into a corn, and his house of treasure. And prismatic mist of dewy light: he stood for him, the river had, according to the for an instant veiled with them as with dwarf's promise, become a River of Gold. the belt of a broad rainbow. The colors And, to this day, the inhabitants of grew faint, the mist rose into the air; the valley point out the place where the the monarch had evaporated.
three drops of holy dew were cast into And Gluck climbed to the brink of the stream, and trace the course of the the Golden River and its waves were Golden River under the ground, until as clear as crystal, and as brilliant as it emerges in the Treasure Valley. And the sun. And, when he cast the three at the top of the cataract of the Golden drops of dew into the stream, there River are still to be seen two BLACK opened where they fell, a small circular STONES, round which the waters howl whirlpool, into which the waters de- mournfully every day at sunset; and scended with a musical noise.
these stones are still called by the people Gluck stood watching it for some time, of the valley very much disappointed, because not
THE BLACK BROTHERS.
Jacobs, Joseph, History of the Aesopic Fable.
The only elaborate and scholarly study in English. Vol. I of a reprint of Caxton's Aesop.
(Bibliothèque de Carabas Series.] Published in 1889 in a limited edition and not easily
accessible. Jacobs, Joseph, The Fables of Aesop. [Illustrated by Richard Heighway.]
Eighty-two selected fables. The Introduction is a summary of all the essential conclusions
reached in the study above. Wiggin, Kate D., and Smith, Nora A., The Talking Beasts.
The best general collection from all fields, including both the folk fable and the modern literary
These three books are excellent for simplified versions of the eastern group. Those desiring
to get closer to the sources may refer to Cowell (ed.), The Jataka, or Stories of the Buddha's Former Births; Rhys-Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories; Keith-Falconer, Bid pai's Fables.
SUGGESTIONS FOR READING
It is possible to piece out a very satisfactory account of the nature and history of the traditional fable by looking up in any good encyclopedia the brief articles under the following heads: Folklore, Fable, Parable, Apologue, Æsop, Demetrius of Phalerum, Babrias, Phaedrus, Avian, Romulus, Maximus Planudes, Jataka, Bidpai, Panchatantra, Hitopadesa.
For a popular account of the whole philosophy of the apologue consult Newbigging, Fables and Fabulists: Ancient and Modern.
For distinctions between various kinds of symbolic tales see Canby, The Short Story in English (pp. 23 ff.); Trench, Notes on the Parables (Introduction); Smith, “The Fable and Kindred Forms,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. XIV, p. 519.
For origins and parallels read Müller, “On the Migration of Fables," Selected Essays, Vol. I (reprinted in large part in Warner, Library of the World's Best Literature, Vol. XVIII); Clouston, Popular Tales and Fictions, Vol. I, p. 266, and Vol. II, p. 432. The more general treatises on folklore all touch on these problems.
For suggestions on the use of fables with children see MacClintock, Literature in the Elementary School (chap. xi); Adler, Moral Instruction of Children (chaps. vii and viii); McMurry, Special Method in Reading in the Grades (p. 70).
For a clear and helpful account of the French writers of fables, the most important modern group, read Collins, La Fontaine and Other French Fabulists. Representative examples are given in most excellent translation. The best complete translation of La Fontaine is by Elizur Wright; of Krylov, in verse by I. H. Harrison, in prose by W. R. S. Ralston; of Yriarte, by R. Rockliffe. Gay's complete collection may be found in any edition of his poems.
Satisfactory collections of proverbial sayings useful in finding expressions for the wisdom found in fables are Christy, Proverbs, Maxims, and Phrases of All Ages; Hazlitt, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases; Trench, Proverbs and Their Lessons.
A book of great suggestive value covering the whole field of the prose story is Fansler, Types of Prose Narratives. It contains elaborate classifications, discussions and examples of each type, and an extended bibliography. Pp. 83–127 deal with fables, parables, and allegories.
SECTION V: FABLES AND SYMBOLIC STORIES
The character and value of fables. Some one has pointed out that there are two kinds of ideals by which we are guided in life and that these ideals may be compared to lighthouses and lanterns. By means of the lighthouse, remote and lofty, we are able to lay a course and to know at any time whether we are headed in the right direction. But while we are moving along a difficult road we need more immediate illumination to avoid the mudholes and stumbling-places close at hand. We need the humble lantern to show us where we may safely step.
Fables are lanterns by which our feet are guided. They embody the practical rules for everyday uses, rules of prudence that have been tested and approved by untold generations of travelers along the arduous road of life. They chart only minor dangers and difficult places as a rule, but these are the ones with which we are always in direct contact. Being honest because it is the "best policy" is not the highest reason for honesty, but it is what a practical world has found to be best in practice. Fables simply give us the “rules of the road," and these rules contribute greatly to our convenience and safety. Such rules are the result of the common sense of man working upon his everyday problems. To violate one of these practical rules is to be a blunderer, and blundering is a subject for jest rather than bitter denouncement. Hence the humorous and satirical note in fables.
The practical, self-made men of the world, who have done things and inspired others to do them, have always placed great emphasis upon common-sense ideals. Benjamin Franklin, by his Poor Richard's Almanac, kept the incentives to industry and thrift before a people who needed to practice these everyday rules if they were to . conquer an unwilling wilderness. So well did he do his work that after nearly two hundred years we are still quoting his pithy sayings. It may be that his proverbs were all borrowed, but the rules of the road are not matters for constant experiment. Again, no account of Abraham Lincoln can omit his use of Æsop or of Æsop-like stories to enforce his ideas. His homely stories were so “pat” that there was nothing left for the opposition to say. Only one who grasps the heart of a problem can use concrete illustrations with such effect.
No one really questions the truths enforced by the more familiar fables. But since these teachings are so commonplace and obvious, they cannot be impressed upon us by mere repetition of the teachings as such. To secure the emphasis needed the world gradually evolved a body of striking stories and proverbs by which the standing rules of everyday life are displayed in terms that cling like burrs. “The peculiar value of the fable,” says Dr. Adler, “is that they are instantaneous photographs, which reproduce, as it were, in a single flash of light, some one aspect of human nature, and which, excluding everything else, permit the entire attention to be fixed on that one."