Showing posts with the label fables

Reading journal: Fairy Tales of China by Peter Lum

Genre: Children Published: 1959 Date read: 1960, and a few times since Great little book with four traditional Chinese stories. The Dragon King is about the consequences of disobedience—the Dragon King makes it rain at the wrong time and place and is punished. The Sacred Ric e is another consequences story—stolen rice turns to stones in the robbers’ stomachs. The Chess Players is a story of gods messing with human lives, and The Wandering Sta r is about estranged lovers who may only meet once a year by crossing the Magpie Bridge in the heavens. Very tragic and romantic. I loved these stories as a child. I loved the illustrations and the strong moral messages, and the cultural strangeness for a little girl in a sheltered life in Australia. Later in life, partly because of this book, I spent years trying to learn Chinese. I didn’t really succeed, but I’m glad I tried. These stories are culturally important too. The Magpie Bridge is the name given to a Chinese communicat

Reading journal: How St Francis Tamed the Wolf by Elizabeth and Gerald Rose

Genre: Children Published: 1958 Date read: April 2018 I received this picture book for my fifth birthday, and it made a huge impression on me. The story is an old one. A wolf is terrorising a town. St Francis tames the wolf with kindness and the townspeople undertake to feed the wolf so that he won’t need to hunt. The illustrations are brilliant and funny. In one, the wolf chases the schoolmaster around in his nightshirt. Remember, I was only five years old. In another, the hunters are cautiously following the wolf’s footprints through the snow, while the wolf sneaks cunningly along BEHIND them. And the wolf has a very long, red tongue and very sharp teeth. My copy is worn and repaired with tape on every page. Also on every page are pencil scribble embellishments contributed by one of my younger brothers. That’s why we can never have anything nice. A great story about kindness and getting along. We could do with more of it.