|About the Book|
This book is a collection of cartoons that originally appeared in Punch during the 70s. Most of them are satirical adaptations of stories from Aesops Fables, hence the title. I find them hysterically funny, and have read the book so many times I pretty much know it by heart. It is a complete mystery to me that it isnt better known.Here is a sample, which combines the original Aesop story with references to Muhammad Ali and Shakespeare (Handelsman is nothing if not eclectic). I will transpose to dramatic form for convenience.PROLOGUEFIRST COCK: I demand a return match in Philadelphia!ACT 1, SCENE 1[SECOND COCK is strutting around the barnyard, surrounded by his admiring harem of HENS:]SECOND COCK: He didnt take no dive/I knocked him out in five!FIRST HEN: Take me!SECOND HEN: Im yours!THIRD HEN: Forever!ACT 1, SCENE 2[An EAGLE swoops down and carries off SECOND COCK:]SECOND COCK [well off the ground:]: I got plenty of endurance/But I dont carry no insurance.EAGLE: Shut up.ACT 2, SCENE 1[FIRST COCK has reappeared, looking much the worse for wear:]FIRST COCK: Dont fret, girls! Joe Loser is still here!FIRST HEN: Why, you crumb! Dont you know that love is not love, that alters when it alteration finds?SECOND HEN: Or bends with the remover to remove?THIRD HEN: Oh no, it is an ever-fixéd fight/That stares on tempests and is never Shakespeare!ACT 2, SCENE 2[The HENS have clearly thought better of it, because they are now surrounding FIRST COCK:]FIRST HEN: However...SECOND HEN: We have to be chicken about it...THIRD HEN: But well hate ourselves in the morning.FIRST HEN: Make a note, Edna.EPILOGUE[Every story comes with a moral. Here, it is presented as a Brechtian subtitle held up by FIRST COCK:]FIRST COCK [via subtitle:]: Moral. He who comes latest/Is always the greatest.