Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Victory Dance!

Recently, I wrote a post entitled Literary Fun with the Apocrypha. In it, I mentioned a correlation I had made between a story found in apocrypha where the fox outwit fishes by claiming he has left his heart at home to a story found in the Jataka tales which describes the interactions between a monkey and a crocodile, where the monkey outwits the crocodile by claiming he has left his heart at home. (For more details/ in order for this to make sense, I recommend your reading my original post.)

Having purchased one of the most magical books in the world, Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg (thanks, Daddy!) at the SOY Seforim sale for a much-reduced price, and of course having decided not to do the many pressing things I ought to be doing, I was reading.

I came across the story I described earlier, the one about the fox outwitting the fish, and curious, looked at the footnote for further details:
    ...there can be no doubt that the origin of our fable is to be found in that about the ape and the crocodile (Pantchatantra, IV, 1) which has found its way also into the Alphabet of Ben Sira, where, however, it was combined with other elements. Whether the author of the Alphabet had directly made use of the Indian-Arabic fable literature, or whether he had adapted fables known to him from older Jewish writings, is a moot question. The first alternative, however, is the more likely, since the author knows a number of animal fables, which are not extant in older Jewish literature [etc] (Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg, "The Creation of the World," page 42, footnote 190)

This makes me very happy, especially as I asked exactly the same question as to what was more probable, and now I know! Even though the answer I gave, based on my logical reasoning from the Solomon idea was wrong, the idea was right!

And when you figure something out for yourself, all by yourself, and then discover that somebody else has done it and even has an answer for you, it's a wonderful feeling. Especially when it wasn't necessarily obvious. So I'm proud of myself right now. But it's the good kind of pride.

Victory dance!


Anonymous said...

Wow--great job! Keep on victory dancing!

Ezzie said...

Just to be a spoilsport... but this means you weren't original, right? :P [ducks to avoid incoming object]

Well, you still have that candle post... :D