FALVEY MEMORIAL LIBRARY

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Amusement

Amusement




 

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots, p. 8, 1888, André, Richard, copyrighted by McLoughlin Bro's: New York, USA

The tomcat ‘Puss in Boots’ first gained fame in Germany through the works of Perrault.[1] In this particular story, Puss is inherited by a master who initially sees no use for the feline. By means of deception and cunning, Puss convinces a king that his master is a wealthy lord and worthy of marriage to the king’s daughter. The cat’s ability to speak never provokes inquiry, but its aristocratic dress and mannerism, so key to Puss’ plans, does inspire wonder. This story would not significantly change in plot if a human played the cat’s role. The cast of animals merely aids the suspension of disbelief and creates a more amusing flavor for the tale.

 

Battle of Frogs and Mice

A History of British Reptiles, selection from p. 115, 1839, Bell, Thomas, engraved by Vasey, published by John Van Voorst: London, UK

At the end of his description of the common toad, Bell inserts an engraving by Vasey depicting a fight between a platoon of frogs and a brigade of mice. This illustration of pugnacious critters captures a scene from the ancient Greek poem, Βατραχομυομαχία. Mice wage a one-day war upon the frogs after one of the amphibians accidentally drowns a mouse. The altercation, with vengeance, massed forces, and ultimately intervention by an outside source, mimics the actions of mankind. The creatures even imitate human use of tools by wielding plant stems. Entertaining audiences for multiple centuries, this likely parody of the Iliad attests to the amusement found in animals impersonating humans.

References

[1] Animals, Men, and Myths, p. 319, 1954, Lewinsohn, Richard, published by Harper & Brothers: New York, USA