- Paperback: 800 pages
- Publisher: Harvest Books; Reissue edition (November 15, 1992)
- ISBN-10: 0156454890
- ISBN-13: 978-0156454896
- List Price: $25.00
- I finished this book on May 1
This book is exactly what it sounds like a massive collection of folktales collected and retold by Calvino from all over Italy. There are a ton of them in here - and they are all brief, one page or two a pop. Some of them are more fun than others. All of them are very reminiscent to me of other folklore and fables I've heard. Most of them involve someone outsmarting someone else and then getting to marry the princess. I have come to two conclusions: never trust a person you meet in the woods, and, two: I would have hated to be a princess back then, because it's clear that your parents would marry you off to just about anyone (including a baddie known as the 'mangy one' nice use of the word mange).
Another common theme in these stories is that no one ever does what they are told. For example, in one story called "Silver Nose" a young girl goes to work for a mysterious stranger with a Silver Nose, even though her mother tells her not to. First off, yikes stripes, who thinks it's going to be a good idea to work for a dude with a silver nose? How is that even attached? Anywho: this Mensa quality genius of a girl decides to open the one door in the house that old Silver Schnoz tells her not to (obviously an awesome plan) and of course, it's hell and Schnozzola is the Devil. Then two more sisters decide to open the forbidden door. All I'm saying is: I have power over my own curiosity. No one in this book does. That's all.
I liked Calvino's telling of the stories, but I wouldn't recommend reading the book cover to cover as I did. It becomes very repetitive after a while. As I do with my books of fairy tales I think this would be much more fun as light occasional reading. I also like skipping around books like this. For more fun stuff, check out some fables online and this fun Andersen's Fairy Tales site where you can hear a story (and send me an e-card).