The collection includes many fables that have come down from Phaedrus, some Oriental stories derived from Jewish sources, with many popular apologues that belong to the Renard cycle, and differ from those of older origin in that they are intended to amuse rather than to instruct.
The fifty-one treatises of which this encyclopaedia consists are interspersed with apologues in true Oriental style, and the idea of goodness, of moral perfection, is as prominent an end in every discourse as it was in the alleged dream of al-Ma ` mun.
The parables and apologues contained in the legend were incorporated into the Teachings of Prince Neagoe, and were also circulated separately; they are found in many old MSS.
Besides furnishing the early playwrights with material for miracle plays, it has supplied episodes and apologues to many a writer, including Boccaccio, John Gower and Shakespeare.
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