The Cheat (Fable 55)

~Aesop, 1480~

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Aesop relating his fables. NYPL Digital Collections.

A poor man, being very ill and getting worse, promised the gods to sacrifice to them one hundred oxen if they saved him from death. Continue reading

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Sanzuwu: a Totem

~Han Dynasty, China~

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Larry Vienneau, Three legged Birds, Etching.

In Chinese legend, the Sanzuwu, or three-legged crow, is not a trickster or bad omen. He and his brothers were responsible for drawing the sun across the sky each day.

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A Han Dynasty mural painting of a three-legged crow from the Henan province, northern China.

Featured Book: The Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs

~Excerpts from The Magical and Ritual Use of Herbs by Richard Alan Miller~

In psychology, ritual is considered the celebration of a myth, which is achieved through a carefully constructed enactment of the myth. Because ritual is the externalization of something internal, myth has a more archetypal than logical structure to it. Rituals reveal values at their most fundamental level. Man expresses in ritual what moves him most. Therefore: The symbol always originates on the inside and is projected outward.

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Ex Libris: The Art of Possession

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Bookplate of Charles Grave Hudson. Died 1813.

Ex libris, or bookplates, are placards inscribed with the name of a tome’s owner and affixed to the inside of its cover. Ex libris establish some amount of provenance — a clue into the history of a book’s possession. The art decorating bookplates is often heraldic, fantastic, ornate, and gorgeous. This collection is comprised mostly of plates created in Europe during the 17th & 18th centuries.

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The Crow and the Pitcher: A Fable

~ From Aesop’s Fables, Robinson edition, 1895~

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A Crow, ready to die with thirst, flew with joy to a Pitcher, which he saw at a distance. But when he came up to it, he found the water so low that with all his stooping and straining he was unable to reach it. Thereupon he tried to break the Pitcher; then to overturn it; but his strength was not sufficient to do either. At last, seeing some small pebbles lie near the place, he cast them one by one into the Pitcher; and thus, by degrees, raised the water up to the very brim, and quenched his thirst.”