PETER BULL: An Old Danish Tale by Helen -- Retold by Oechsli

PETER BULL: An Old Danish Tale

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Pithier than Mary Hatch's ""Peter Ox"" (More Danish Tales): all the way to the end here the listener knows more than the characters do -- a canny, comic use of dramatic irony. That is, the farmer never learns he's been duped by the town clerk who agrees to teach his calf to talk. . . ""so that we could adopt him as our own son and as heir to all we possess."" Several hundred dollars (books are expensive) and one veal roast later (this sight is unfortunate: Hatch has the calf sold at market, not eaten with relish), the heir is no longer apparent and the clerk blithely says ""I assumed that he had come straight home."" Sorrow dissipates, however, when a new merchant, one Peter Bull, is reported in another village: off goes the farmer to embrace the fellow and make out his will -- ""No one will ever believe we got you from the red cow."" Joy in the family, glee in the audience. . . but no punch in the pictures, style and color carbons of Bill Peet without the panache.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1971
Publisher: Viking