Monterroso's fables nestle quietly in the mind, and it's sometimes a while before you feel their little claws taking hold. Creatures of our time, these animals are rarely interested in anything so simple as grapes -- more often it's knowledge, or justice, or power -- and there's a fine, ironic line between the wise beasts and the fools, virtue and vice. Consider the Owl's efforts to correct the natural order: ""However wise [he] assumed that [the other Animals] assumed he was. . . they went right on eating each other -- all except the Owl, who was not eaten by anybody and who never ate anybody else."" Or the Horse's insight (and who should know better;): ""Everybody knows. . . that if Horses were capable of imagining God at all, they would think of him in the form of a rider."" Or find out for yourself about the politics of ""The Chameleon Who Ended Up Not Knowing What to Turn,"" the crucial difference between ""The Two Tails"" (a delight), or the social significance of ""The Black Sheep"" (a lingering chill). Acerbic, acute, and very, very sly.