If de la Mare's is the staple collection, this might be an ideal (the ideal) auxiliary, retelling 39 tales culled from cultures largely unrepresented by his classic poems and stories, among them Tanzania, Borneo, Mexico, Lapland, Mississippi -- each source fastidiously documented. Archetypal creatures (sly fox, nasty crow) are intermixed with such surprises as the cockatoo, the cormorant, the heron; and ditto the motifs -- explicit (plot) and implicit (moral) -- since traditional literary inventions are balanced with origin myths (""Why You Find Spiders in Banana Bunches""), and since ethics may count less than shrewdness sometimes. The renderings are disappointingly uniform, but uniformly pleasing, smooth, even energetic, and the variety of content and character is anyhow mitigating: some selections have magic, some have no people, some are fables, some are fugitive, some are funny. . . . An outline map at the front identifies locale by number for each and every.