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Although the title invokes on the one hand Boccaccio and on the other Frobenius, there seems to be a slew of other antecedents as well, among them the Arabian Nights, he Brothers Grimm, La Fontaine, Horror comics and various scurrying excursions into rimitive anthropology, if not outright mythology. However, none of the above is meant of minimize the big, bright, bountiful bundle of folk tales Peter Fuchs has dragged ack with him out of Central Africa and anyone looking for an introduction to the spirit, entiments, sorrows, songs and zestful communalism of the Dark Continent- or to be recise, of the Hadjerai tribes inhabiting the mountain village Mukulu- will certainly ind it here at the very first dip. Many of the tales relate zoological metamorphoses: zards into men, boys into lions; there's way out cannibalism: ""after he had eaten all the animals in the village, he began to eat men and soon there was no one left; so he began to eat himself""; there's also poetry: ""storm clouds stampede across the sky over the savannah like a herd of charging buffaloes"". And like all folk tales they have masterstrokes of a middle-way moderation, as much moralistic as it is realistic- indeed a few grizzly gems about murder and adultery have a cynical charm even the French might envy. Examples also of taboos, totemism and exogamy, of fertility rites. A rewarding reference.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1963
Publisher: olensky