edited by Bryna & Louis Untermeyer ~ Golden Press, 1966
Scored this amazing and hefty tome for a mere 49 cents, and believe me, it will bring this household hours and hours of family fun. Not only does its 544 pages hold one of my favorites ~ Switch on the Night ~ with illustrations by Hillary Knight (who knew?)... and a wonderful selection of Aesop's fables illustrated by the Provensen's, but it has this excerpt (Bambi Finds the Meadow) from the original Bambi story by Felix Salten illustrated by cult fave Charles Harper (Charley).
No mommy dies in this particular section, and it is still a weeper.
Bambi was a child. If he had been a human child he would have shouted. But he was a young deer, and deer cannot shout, at least not the way human children do. So he rejoiced with his legs and his whole body as he flung himself in the air. His mother stood by and was glad. She saw that Bambi was wild. She watched how he bounded into the air and fell again awkwardly, in one spot. She saw how he stared about him, dazed and bewildered, only to leap up over and over again. She understood that Bambi knew only the narrow deer tracks in the forest and how his brief life was used to the limits of the thicket.
I think any parent can relate to this and knows exactly how Bambi's mother feels here, which makes the inevitable all the more heartbreaking. I don't think I'd ever read this story in its original form, but it is elegant and profound. Even though ~ all on its own ~ the movie has traumatized children for generations, I doubt I'll ever view it in the same way. It certainly takes the "umbilical connection" (that's what my mom has always called that mother/child love) to a whole new level. Here I am, off to find the full text. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, let's all give thanks for mommies why don't we?