Once upon a Time

THE BEARS' FAMOUS INVASION OF SICILY (147 pp.)—Dino Buzzati, translated by Frances Lobb— Pantheon ($2.75).

Leander was no ordinary monarch. He was King of the bears of Sicily. Thirteen years ago, he had led them down from the mountains, defeated the Grand Duke's army of mere men and captured the capital. Leander had ruled well, but traffic with human beings had corrupted his kindly, naive bears. They took to wearing clothes, learned to steal and gamble and to stage bacchanalian orgies. Now the King had been shot by his own chamberlain. On his deathbed, the King spoke slowly:

"Go back to...

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