Friday Fable. Aesop’s “THE WOLF AND HIS SHADOW”*

Posted by jlubans on September 04, 2015

Caption: Illustration by Arthur Rackham, 1912

“A Wolf, who was roaming about on the plain when the sun was getting low in the sky, was much impressed by the size of his shadow, and said to himself, ‘I had no idea I was so big. Fancy my being afraid of a lion! Why, I, not he, ought to be King of the beasts’; and, heedless of danger, he strutted about as if there could be no doubt at all about it. Just then a lion sprang upon him and began to devour him. ‘Alas,’ he cried, ‘had I not lost sight of the facts, I shouldn't have been ruined by my fancies.’"

The illustration for this fable is by one of the greatest and most prolific book illustrators of the 20th century: Arthur Rackham (1867–1939).
Rackham’s raffish wolf with his lupine leer at his lollapalooza of a shadow, tells us Mr. Wolf is feeling mighty fine, 10 feet tall. “Ain’t I somethin’?” just prior to the lion’s lunge.
For me, this deftly done sketch concisely and convincingly shows off Rackham’s genius and interpretative skill.

Caption: Arthur Rackham – Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, 1909 edition.

Caption: Original illustration by Arthur Rackham in J. M. Barrie’s copy of Peter Pan.

*Source: AESOP'S FABLES A NEW TRANSLATION BY V. S. VERNON JONES WITH AN INTRODUCTION By G. K. CHESTERTON AND ILLUSTRATIONS BY ARTHUR RACKHAM (Publisher: London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1912). Available at Gutenberg.

© John Lubans 2015

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