Isaac ben Solomon Sahula’s Meshal ha-kadmoni, also known as The Fable of the Ancient. Printed in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, by Johann Christoph Beckmann, 1692 or 1693.
This volume contains stories originally written in the 13th century by Isaac ben Solomon Sahula who has been referred to as the Jewish Aesop. These fables were intended to displace the light Arabic literature that, at the time, had become popular among Iberian Jews. The text contains a rhymed prose narrative depicting a debate between a cynic and a moralist arguing themes of ethics and piety through the use of animal fables. The 1491 edition, reproduced by means of the printing press, included seventy-five woodcuts illustrating the fables and is considered to be the first illustrated Hebrew printed book. This 1693 edition signifies the first Yiddish edition of the text. It was printed in Frankfurt an der Oder and the illustrations and type reflect the gothic influence on Hebrew printing and illustration.