|“||Take my advice. Some topics are best never brought up. Never discuss personal hygiene with a bridge troll. Never trade casserole recipes with a Black Forest Witch. But above all, when talking to the Deputy Mayor -- never mention the dwarves!||”|
— Boy Blue
"Old Tales Revisited" is the first story in Fables. It introduces several of the Fables who will become central characters of the series, focusing specifically on Bigby Wolf, Snow White and Jack Horner.
"Old Tales Revisited" is Chapter One of the first story arc of Fables (collected in the trade paperback Fables: Legends in Exile), which involves the mystery around Rose Red's apparent murder. In this chapter, Rose Red's boyfriend Jack informs Bigby Wolf, the sheriff of Fabletown, that Rose has been killed. Bigby informs Rose's sister, Snow White, and then proceeds to investigate the crime scene.
Once upon a time, in a fictional land called New York City, a young man named Jack dashes from a taxi into a vast building called The Woodlands and into the Security Office of Bigby Wolf. As Jack struggles to catch his breath, he claims to Bigby that something terrible has happened.
In the Business Office next door, Director of Operations Snow White has a meeting with Lady Beauty and Lord Beast. Beast's appearance has been increasingly monstrous lately, as his ancient curse reasserts itself when his wife is mad at him, and he is in risk of breaching Fabletown's most vital law: no Fable shall cause the community's magical nature to become known to the mundane world. Fables that cannot pass as human must be relocated upstate to the Farm. Beauty becomes upset that Snow will not help them, but when she mentions Snow's "tawdry little adventure with those seven dwarves", she crosses the line. Snow White looks like she's about to explode, until her secretary Boy Blue quickly pushes Beauty and Beast out of the door. "Some topics are best never brought up," he explains to them. In particular, "when talking to the Deputy Mayor -- never mention the dwarves!"
As Beauty and Beast leave, Bigby arrives with bad news for Snow. She initially suspects he is going to tell her that her ex-husband, Prince Charming is in town, which she already knows. In fact, he explains that Jack has reported that Snow's sister, Rose Red, is missing and presumed dead. Snow insists on accompanying Bigby to the crime scene, despite his objections.
Elsewhere, at Gottfried's Steak House, Prince Charming finishes eating a meal. When the waitress, Molly Greenbaum, asks him back to her place, he reveals that he cannot afford to pay for the meal and convinces her to pay for him. They depart together, and later have sex at Molly's apartment.
Bigby and Snow arrive at Rose Red's apartment, where Jack has been guarding the crime scene - Bigby trusts him to do so since he discovered the crime in the first place. Inside, the room is covered with blood and furniture is tossed about. Giving Snow his cigarette so that he can keep his senses clear, Bigby investigates the crime scene. When he finally emerges, he takes Jack into custody, ostensibly for "resisting arrest". Jack immediately swings at Bigby, who slams him against the wall. Snow asks Bigby if Jack's the one, but Bigby only says "We'll see."
- Bigby Wolf
- Snow White
- Jack Horner
- Trusty John
- Boy Blue
- Forsworn Knight
- Molly Greenbaum
- Prince Charming
- Rose Red (Flashback)
- The Woodland
- Gottfried's Steak House
- New York City
- Molly Greenbaum's apartment
- Rose Red's Greenwich Village apartment
- Snow White mentions that King Cole is the Mayor of Fabletown. King Cole appears for the first time in "Fables #3".
- Boy Blue mentions the Black Forest Witch, who appears for the first time in "Fables #3".
- Bigby smokes almost constantly, except when he wants to keep his senses clear to investigate the crime scene. It is revealed in "Duel" that Bigby smokes to deaden his senses enough to avoid sensory overload in a bustling city like New York.
- When Bigby investigates the crime scene, he takes note of several clues that will be brought up again in "Fables #5". These include: a fallen lamp, an overturned ashtray, a stereo system, a blood-spattered compact disk, a damaged toaster, and a padlock that fits onto the refrigerator.
- There's a continuity error in the geography. The first page shows The Woodland Apartments as being at the corner of Bullfinch and Kipling. Later material will show that the entrance is halfway down the block on Bullfinch. The Yellowbrick Roadhouse is at the corner and the Webb 'n' Muffet Market is between the roadhouse and the gate.
- First appearance of Bigby Wolf.
- First appearance of Snow White.
- First appearance of Jack Horner.
- First appearance of Trusty John.
- First appearance of Flycatcher.
- First appearance of Grimble.
- First appearance of Beauty.
- First appearance of Beast.
- First appearance of Boy Blue.
- First appearance of Bufkin.
- First appearance of Forsworn Knight.
- First appearance of Molly Greenbaum.
- First appearance of Prince Charming.
- First appearance of Rose Red. (Flashback)
- The Woodlands is on the corner of Bullfinch Street and Kipling Street. These are presumably named after Thomas Bullfinch, author of The Age of Fable, and Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book.
- Bigby asks Jack if he has "climbed any beanstalks lately", a reference to the tale Jack and the Beanstalk. In response, Jack asks if Bigby has "blown down any piggies' homes", a reference to the Three Little Pigs.
- On pages 7 and 8, a stone can be seen in Snow White's office with a sword in it. This is presumably the sword of King Arthur.
- When Bigby is sitting on Snow's desk and telling her about Rose Red's death, a suit of armor can be seen immediately behind him. But there's no suit of armor in that location in any of the wider views of the room.
- As Prince Charming has sex with Molly Greenbaum, two girls can be seen listening to them through the wall.
- When Bigby casts a shadow on the wall outside Rose's apartment, it takes the form of a wolf even though he is in human form.