TIT FOR TAT and other Latvian Folk Tales by Mae J. Durham
Kirkus Star

TIT FOR TAT and other Latvian Folk Tales

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The devil lurks behind every door and the baron abuses his bounty in this collection of tales which are familiar in plot but quite particularly Latvian in their concepts and concerns. They reflect a harsh life spiked by rueful humor: the unjust rich are demeaned or dispatched by the poor peasants; the devil is done in by his own trickery and/or the power of faith. Even the occasional lapses in narrative logic reflect the illogic of a life based on superstition. For the reader, these aspects are incidental; he will laugh at the devil imprisoned in bread dough by the sign of the cross and at the wife who swallowed the story of the silly goose war. Even the stories which are most familiar-- The Princess on the Glass Mountain, One-Eye, Two-Eyes and Three Eyes --have their own twists of character and turns of fate. Harriet Pincus (The Wedding Procession of the Rag Doll...etc.) abets the demonic fantasy in numerous imaginative, ironic drawings where even the trees and the cows hate a quizzical character. Alan Dundes, a scholar in the field, has supplied extensive background notes that will interest librarians. Foremost are the stories themselves, witness to the vitality of traditional themes treated with zest and sensibility.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1967
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World