”Hej uggla tjena moss/kom hit en stund till oss”, those words often greeted me when I turned on one of the two channels that Swedish television consisted of when I was a child. We didn’t get a whole lot of Jetsons, Flintstones or Scooby-Doo, but we did have an owl made of felt, reading us fables. The show was called Fablernas Värld, and I always just assumed that it was Swedish.
Years later, while visiting a friend in The Netherlands, I heard the theme song coming from their television, in unmistakable Dutch, and found out that De Fabetljeskrant was indeed a Dutch product. The show, that started in 1968 and ran to 1989, produced an amazing 1640 episodes! All in which the owl (Meneer in the Dutch and Jakob in the Swedish version) presented a fable – most often a classic one from the annals of Phaedrus, Aesop or Jean de La Fontaine, but sometimes one written for the show – which was then played out by the gallery of frequent characters. The mix of stop motion and puppetry seems a bit dated now, but the theme song is still pretty catchy.