Don Juan Manuel's Tales of Count Lucanor, in Spanish Libro de los ejemplos del conde Lucanor y de Patronio (Book of the Examples of Count Lucanor and of Patronio), also commonly known as El Conde Lucanor, Libro de Patronio, or Libro de los ejemplos (original Old Castilian: Libro de los enxiemplos del Conde Lucanor et de Patronio), is one of the earliest works of prose in Castilian Spanish. It was first written in 1335.
The book is divided into four parts. The first and most well-known part is a series of 50 short stories (some no more than a page or two) drawn from various sources, such as Aesop and other classical writers, and Arabic folktales. Story 28, "Of what happened to a woman called Truhana", a version of Aesop's The Milkmaid and Her Pail, was claimed by Max Müller to originate in the Hindu cycle Panchatantra.
Tales of Count Lucanor was first printed in 1575 when it was published at Seville under the auspices of Argote de Molina. It was again printed at Madrid in 1642, after which it lay forgotten for nearly two centuries.
Purpose and structure
A didactic, moralistic purpose, which would color so much of the Spanish literature to follow (see Novela picaresca), is the mark of this book. Count Lucanor engages in conversation with his advisor Patronio, putting to him a problem ("Some man has made me a proposition..." or "I fear that such and such person intends to...") and asking for advice. Patronio responds always with the greatest humility, claiming not to wish to offer advice to so illustrious a person as the Count, but offering to tell him a story of which the Count's problem reminds him. (Thus, the stories are "examples" [ejemplos] of wise action.) At the end he advises the Count to do as the protagonist of his story did.
Each chapter ends in more or less the same way, with slight variations on: "And this pleased the Count greatly and he did just so, and found it well. And Don Johán (Juan) saw that this example was very good, and had it written in this book, and composed the following verses." A rhymed couplet closes, giving the moral of the story.
Treatments derived from Tales of Count Lucanor
Tale 23, What happened to a good Man and his Son, leading a beast to market is the familiar fable The miller, his son and the donkey.
In 2016, Baroque Decay released a game under the name "The Count Lucanor". As well as some protagonists' names, certain events from the books inspired past events in the game.
The titles in the following list are those given in James York's 1868 translation into English.
- The Prologue
- 1. Relates to what happened to a Moorish king of Cordova. This story is based on the life of Al-Hakam II: his battles repulsing the last Norman attacks, and the struggle against the Zirids and the Fatimids in northern Morocco.
- 2. Treats of that which happened to Lorenzo Suarez Gallinato, and Garciperez of Vargas, and another knight
- 3. Treats of that which happened to Don Rodrigo el Franco and his knights
- 4. Of a Hermit who sought to know whom he should have for his companion in Paradise, and of the leap made by King Richard of England
- 5. Of that which happened to the Emperor Frederick  and Don Alvar Fañez, with their wives
- 6. Of that which happened to the Count of Provence and Saladin the Sultan of Babylon
- 7. Of that which happened to a King and three Impostors
- 8. What happened to a King with a man who called himself an Alchymist
- 9. Of that which happened to two Cavaliers who were in the service of the Infant Prince Henry
- 10. Concerning what happened to a Seneschal of Carcasona
- 11. Of that which happened to a Moor who had a Sister pretending to be alarmed at any ordinary occurrence
- 12. Of that which happened to a Dean of Santiago, with Don Illan, the Magician, who lived at Toledo
- 13. What happened to King Ben Abit, of Seville, with Queen Romaquia, his wife
- 14. Concerning what happened to a Lombardian, in Bologna
- 15. What Count Fernan Gonzales said to Nuno Lainez
- 16. Of what happened to Don Rodrigo Melendez de Valdez
- 17. Concerning that which happened to a great Philosopher and a young King, his pupil
- 18. Relates what happened to a Moorish King, who had three Sons, and who desired to know which would become the best Man
- 19. Of that which happened to the Canons of the Cathedral Church of Paris, and to the Friars of Saint Francis, called Minors
- 20. Of that which happened to a Falcon and a Heron, and, more particularly, to a cunning Falcon, which belonged to the Infant Don Manuel
- 21. Recounts what happened to Count Fernan Gonzalez, and the Reply which he gave to his Vassals
- 22. Of that which happened to a King and his Favourite
- 23. What happened to a good Man and his Son, leading a beast to market
- 24. Of what a Genovese said to his soul when about to die
- 25. What happened to the Crow, with the Fox
- 26. What happened to the Swallow, with the other birds, when he saw the flax sown
- 27. Relates what happened to a Man who carried a very precious Treasure hung round his neck, and who had to pass a River
- 28. Of what happened to a woman called Truhana
- 29. Of that which happened to a Man who was suffering from a malady and whose liver had to be cleansed
- 30. Of what happened to a man who through poverty and lack of other food, was reduced to eat some peas
- 31 What happened to a Cock and a Fox
- 32. What happened to a Man catching Partridges
- 33. Relates to what happened to a Man with his Friend who had invited him to dinner
- 34. What happened to the Owls and the Crows
- 35. The advice which Patronio gave to Count Lucanor, when he said he wished to enjoy himself, illustrated by the example of that which happened to the Ants
- 36. Of that which happened to a good Man and his Son, who boasted of having many Friends
- 37. Relates to what happened to the Lion and the Bull
- 38. Relates to the advice which Patronio gave to Count Lucanor, when he expressed a desire to obtain a good reputation; and the example was what happened to a Philosopher who was suffering from a severe illness
- 39. Of what happened to a man who was made Governor of a large territory
- 40. Of that which happened to Good and Evil, illustrated by what occurred to a Man with a Madman
- 41. Of the association between Truth and Falsehood
- 42. Of what happened to a Fox who pretended to be dead
- 43. What happened to two blind Men travelling together
- 44. Of what happened to a young Man on his Wedding Day
- 45. Of what happened to a Merchant who went to buy brains
- 46. What happened to a Man with a grey Sandpiper and a Swallow
- 47. What happened to the Devil, with a Woman who went on a pilgrimage
- 48. The advice which Patronio gave to Count Lucanor when informed that a Man had offered to teach him the art of foretelling coming events, which he exemplified by what happened to a good Man who became first rich and afterwards poor by the intervention of the Devil
- 49. What happened to Don Lorenzo Xuares Gallinato, when he beheaded the renegade Priest
- 50. Concerning that which happened to Saladin and a Lady, wife of a Knight in his service
|Spanish Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- See The Broken Pot from the Panchatantra, an example of folktales of type "Air Castles". Retrieved March 13, 2010.
- Preface of Count Lucanor; of the Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio, written by the Prince Don Juan Manuel and first translated into English by James York, M. D., 1868 Gibbings & Company, Limited; London; 1899.
- Exemplo XXXVº - De lo que contesçió a un mançebo que casó con una muger muy fuerte et muy brava. In English: Of what happened to a young Man on his Wedding Day from Count Lucanor; of the Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio, written by the Prince Don Juan Manuel and first translated into English by James York, M. D., 1868, Gibbings & Company, Limited; London; 1899; pp 200-207.
- Exemplo XXXIIº - De lo que contesció a un rey con los burladores que fizieron el paño. In English: Of that which happened to a King and three Impostors from Count Lucanor; of the Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio, written by the Prince Don Juan Manuel and first translated into English by James York, M. D., 1868, Gibbings & Company, Limited; London; 1899; pp. xiii-xvi. The tale is to be found in Idries Shah's collection World Tales.
- Contents page of Count Lucanor; of the Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio, written by the Prince Don Juan Manuel and first translated into English by James York, M. D., 1868 Gibbings & Company, Limited; London; 1899.
- Emperor Frederick could be either Frederick I or Frederick II, both of whom were Holy Roman Emperor; but the story in Tale 5 is not in either of their histories.
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- Vasvari, Louise O. "'Hit the Cat and Tame the Bride': Shrew Taming as Wedding Ritual, East to West." American and British Interactions, Perceptions and Images of North America. Ed. Adel Manai. TSAS Innovation Series: American Center, Tunis, Tunisia, 2000. 122-40.
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- "Ibn Sahula's Tale of the Egyptian Sorcerer: A Thirteenth Century Don Yllán." eHumanista 4 (2004): 1-12.
- "Don Yllán and the Egyptian Sorcerer: Vernacular commonality and literary diversity in medieval Castile." Sefarad 65.2 (2005): 413-33.
- "Reconquest Colonialism and Andalusi Narrative Practice in Don Juan Manuel's Conde Lucanor." diacritics 36.3-4 (2006): 87-103.
- Madsen, Annette. Count Lucanor by Don Juan Manuel as Inspiration for Hans Christian Andersen and Other European Writers, In Johan de Mylius, Aage Jørgensen and Viggo Hjørnager Pedersen (eds.), Hans Christian Andersen. A Poet in Time. Papers from the Second International Hans Christian Andersen Conference 29 July to 2 August 1996. The Hans Christian Andersen Center, Odense: Odense University Press, 1999. http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/forskning/konference/tekst_e.html?id=10922