The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks

The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks

Book - 1990
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A pair of mandarin ducks, separated by a cruel lord who wishes to possess the drake for his colorful beauty, reward a compassionate couple who risk their lives to reunite the ducks.
Publisher: New York : Lodestar Books, c1990
ISBN: 9780525672838
0525672834
Characteristics: 1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill
Additional Contributors: Dillon, Leo
Dillon, Diane

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FindingJane Nov 02, 2014

This charming retelling of a Japanese folktale of greed, cruelty and kindness rewarded is beautifully illustrated by the celebrated Leo and Diane Dillon. As always, they suit their style to the material, adapting their protean abilities to resemble old-fashioned Japanese woodcuts. This story shows the ignorance and cruelty of some human beings who don’t understand nature, only believe that beautiful things are meant for their use and acquisition. But it also depicts those who see deeper and comprehend the way nature truly works.

The resolute one-eyed samurai and the shy but kind kitchen maid receive their just rewards for their decency. Unlike most tales, this one doesn’t end with them achieving a happy-ever-after ending but carries on to portray them in extreme old age, with the two drawn as happy elders strolling down a path together—the human counterparts to the ducks that they helped reunite. It is a subtle lesson but a powerful one, making this a foreign fairy tale of a different kind.

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