Fair is Fair: World Folktales of Justice. by Sharon Creeden. Little Rock, Arkansas: August House, 1994. Paperbound, 224 pages. List price is $12.95 but you get a discount.
Sharon Creeden has compiled these justice stories from cultures all over the world. Creeden, not only a professional storyteller but a lawyer as well, gives a few paragraphs of comments after the end of each tale to relate how modern legal practices try -- or do not try -- to address the issues raised.
The stories themselves are exquisitely told and are brief enough to serve as bedtime reading to a young child -- or you can read these for yourself and expect to gain a deeper sense of how humanity views fairness and justice.
As in real life, not every story has a happy ending, but in most cases justice wins out, sometimes in very unexpected ways.
Adults and teenagers will appreciate Creeden's commentaries, although one need not agree with all her views. The very first folktale in the book seems to deal with property rights and the question of externalities -- if you put something into the public domain, is it still yours? Creeden seems to think the story deals instead with frivolous lawsuits, a puzzling conclusion but she does explain the topic well.
My only complaint with this book is the occasional typographic error and some incorrect spellings.
This is a fun book and will enrich any human being. I own a copy and am buying another as a holiday gift -- how about you?
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