KING SOLOMON’S SEAL consists of 63+ pieces, some short, some long, each a story, several containing stories within stories. There is a short introduction, TO THE READER, which informs us by whom it originated and is narrated, if neither the why nor how. There is also an AFTERWORDS, which in some ways puts Finis to these tale-tellings. The time of its narrations is about 1750-1820, the place a small “house of study” perched on a mountain in the eastern part of the Fatra Range in Carpathia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire during that century. The materials are diverse in nature, suggestion and purpose, although the reader may and should suppose them meant for us today, even if the language by which the tales are told is a pasticcio of assumed translation into English from some other language, one that relates perhaps to whatever may have been the Yiddish vernacular of those lost times in that faraway place. Some two or three of its fables have appeared in print.
KING SOLOMON’S SEAL, playful and mock-serious at once, is meant to entertain. It is a “literary” work, consisting of pseudo-fairy tales, pseudo-folk materials, legends and the like.
Jascha Kessler has published 7 books of his poetry and fiction as well as 6 volumes of translations of poetry and fiction from Hungarian, Persian and Bulgarian, several of which have won major prizes. He served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa M