Kamel – E.4 – III.1 Fabel

The fable of the → flea and the camel appears in the German Aesopic tradition (Leipziger Äsop, Steinhöwel’s Esopus, Kopenhagener Epimythien, Magdeburger Prosa-Äsop – see Grubmüller/Dicke no. 157, p. 170), as does that of the envious camel and Jupiter (Leipziger Äsop, Steinhöwel, Magdeburger and Nürnberger Prosa-Äsop – Grubmüller/Dicke no. 329, p. 385). None of these differs very significantly from the relevant Latin or other vernacular cognates: even the version of the Nürnberger Prosa-Äsop (8, pp. 20–2) does little more than flesh out the story and its interpretation, and give the latter a mildly Christian gloss. Anton von Pforr’s Buch der Beispiele der alten Weisen, however, has a version of the Eastern fable of the camel sacrificing its life to save the ailing → lion which focuses especially on the → wolf, → horse, and → fox – animals who conspire against the camel to bring about his death, and whose behaviour shows that even the innocent and strong can be overcome by conspiring traitors (Obermaier, p.367).

Lit.: S. OBERMAIER: Das Fabelbuch als Rahmenerzählung, 2004.

Nigel Harris

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