Aesop’s fables are common knowledge to the average reader, but Polish fairy tales and folk tales still remain unread. A good introduction to Polish folklore is W.S. Kuniczak’s The Glass Mountain: Twenty-Eight Ancient Polish Folk Tales and Fables.
Notable fables and folk tales have been retold and collected into this one volume, from the tragic legend about the origin of the lake Morskie Oko to the humorous tale of Pan Twardowski and the title story, The Glass Mountain. In all tales, wisdom, honesty, and compassion are shown to be the greatest and most valuable virtues. Of course, each tale has a moral and a warning to the reader to not make the same mistakes as the characters did. Satan and his horde in hell play a main role in many of the folk tales as the antagonists, with the stupidity of the devil being frequently mocked in such tales as How a Clever Peasant Outwitted a Stupid Devil. God is portrayed as the invisible overseer of the stories, and appears in some stories as deus ex machina to intervene in some unfortunate character’s situation.
Original, clever, and highly entertaining, The Glass Mountain: Twenty-Eight Ancient Polish Folk Tales and Fables is a trove of Polish wit and wisdom that should not go unnoticed anymore.
Original review: Unknown fables and folk tales, Examiner.com