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Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cooper - Persian Fables - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

If fables are proverbs teaching wisdom, today I've chosen two with lessons still needed centuries after being devised.

Frederic Taber Cooper's An Argosy of Fables continues Book Two, Oriental Fables, with three sources of Persian Fables.  Present day Iran was once called Persia.
  1. The Sufi poet known as Jami wrote the Baharistan for his only surviving son.  
  2. Saadi, another Persian poet, wrote anecdotes in his Bostan (Cooper calls him Sadi and his work, The Burstan).  Those very brief anecdotes or fables are anonymously translated into English at Bostan e Saadi, so I would suggest reading it there.  
  3. The final source in this section is Anvar-i-Suhayli, which means The Lights of Canopus.  This is a 15th century Persian version of The Fables of Bidpai or it's called the Panchatantra, which you may remember was part of the previous section in Book Two.  (Bidpai is also known as Pilpai or Pilpay.)  Those Indian fables not only centuries later went to Persia, but also there's an Arabic version, which, among other things, changes the frame story, introduction, some of the animals, and instead calls the Brahmin a hermit.
Most of Jami's fables are quite brief, but this filled a page.

Moving from wisdom spoken by a tortoise is another reptile's story I've heard in various versions.




Whether it's the abbreviated version where someone gives a venomous snake a ride and is killed by the snake who says "You knew I was dangerous when you picked me up" to warn of the dangers of drugs or this look at violent enemies, these fables still contain wisdom.
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This is part of a series of weekly posting of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  I will post on Saturdays in the series unless that week I have other research articles.  I hope this will satisfy all who have found these stories worthwhile.  I include myself in that audience.  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

At the same time, I'm returning to involvement in projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.  
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