La Fontaine fables

La Fontaine fables

The Camel and the Floating Sticks

The first who saw the humpback’d camel Fled off for life; the next approach’d with care; The third with tyrant rope did boldly dare The desert wanderer to trammel. Such is the power of use to change The face of objects new and strange; Which grow, by looking at, so…

La Fontaine fables

The Carter in the Mire

The Phaëton who drove a load of hay Once found his cart bemired. Poor man! the spot was far away From human help—retired, In some rude country place, In Brittany, as near as I can trace, Near Quimper Corentan,— A town that poet never sang,— Which Fate, they say, puts…

La Fontaine fables

The Cat and the Fox

The cat and fox, when saints were all the rage Together went upon pilgrimage. Our pilgrims, as a thing of course, Disputed till their throats were hoarse. Then, dropping to a lower tone, They talk’d of this, and talk’d of that, Till Renard whisper’d to the cat, “You think yourself…

La Fontaine fables

The Cat and the Two Sparrows

Contemporary with a sparrow tame There lived a cat; from tenderest age, Of both, the basket and the cage Had household gods the same. The bird’s sharp beak full oft provoked the cat, Who play’d in turn, but with a gentle pat, His wee friend sparing with a merry laugh,…

La Fontaine fables

The Cock and the Fox

Upon a tree there mounted guard A veteran cock, adroit and cunning; When to the roots a fox up running, Spoke thus, in tones of kind regard:— “Our quarrel, brother, ‘s at an end; Henceforth I hope to live your friend; For peace now reigns Throughout the animal domains. I…

La Fontaine fables

The Council Held by the Rats

Old Rodilard, a certain cat, Such havoc of the rats had made, ‘Twas difficult to find a rat With nature’s debt unpaid. The few that did remain, To leave their holes afraid, From usual food abstain, Not eating half their fill. And wonder no one will That one who made…

La Fontaine fables

The Countryman and the Serpent

A countryman, as Æsop certifies, A charitable man, but not so wise, One day in winter found, Stretch’d on the snowy ground, A chill’d or frozen snake, As torpid as a stake, And, if alive, devoid of sense. He took him up, and bore him home, And, thinking not what…

La Fontaine fables

The Cunning Fox

A fox once practised, ’tis believed, A stratagem right well conceived. The wretch, when in the utmost strait By dogs of nose so delicate, Approach’d a gallows, where, A lesson to like passengers, Or clothed in feathers or in furs, Some badgers, owls, and foxes, pendent were. Their comrade, in…

La Fontaine fables

The Dog and His Master’s Dinner

Our eyes are not made proof against the fair, Nor hands against the touch of gold. Fidelity is sadly rare, And has been from the days of old. Well taught his appetite to check, And do full many a handy trick, A dog was trotting, light and quick, His master’s…

La Fontaine fables

The Dog Whose Ears Were Cropped

“What have I done, I’d like to know, To make my master maim me so? A pretty figure I shall cut! From other dogs I’ll keep, in kennel shut. Ye kings of beasts, or rather tyrants, ho! Would any beast have served you so?” Thus Growler cried, a mastiff young;—…

La Fontaine fables

The Dove and the Ant

A dove came to a brook to drink, When, leaning o’er its crumbling brink, An ant fell in, and vainly tried, In this, to her, an ocean tide, To reach the land; whereat the dove, With every living thing in love, Was prompt a spire of grass to throw her,…

La Fontaine fables

The Dragon with Many Heads

An envoy of the Porte Sublime, As history says, once on a time, Before th’ imperial German court Did rather boastfully report, The troops commanded by his master’s firman, As being a stronger army than the German: To which replied a Dutch attendant, “Our prince has more than one dependant…

La Fontaine fables

The Eagle and the Magpie

The eagle, through the air a queen, And one far different, I ween, In temper, language, thought, and mien,— The magpie,—once a prairie cross’d. The by-path where they met was drear, And Madge gave up herself for lost; But having dined on ample cheer, The eagle bade her, “Never fear;…

La Fontaine fables

The Ears of the Hare

Some beast with horns did gore The lion; and that sovereign dread, Resolved to suffer so no more, Straight banish’d from his realm, ’tis said, All sorts of beasts with horns— Rams, bulls, goats, stags, and unicorns. Such brutes all promptly fled. A hare, the shadow of his ears perceiving,…

La Fontaine fables

The Earthen Pot and the Iron Pot

An iron pot proposed To an earthen pot a journey. The latter was opposed, Expressing the concern he Had felt about the danger Of going out a ranger. He thought the kitchen hearth The safest place on earth For one so very brittle. “For thee, who art a kettle, And…

La Fontaine fables

The Fool Who Sold Wisdom

A fool, in town, did wisdom cry; The people, eager, flock’d to buy. Each for his money got, Paid promptly on the spot, Besides a box upon the head, Two fathoms’ length of thread. The most were vex’d—but quite in vain, The public only mock’d their pain. The wiser they…

La Fontaine fables

The Fox and the Turkeys

Against a robber fox, a tree Some turkeys served as citadel. That villain, much provoked to see Each standing there as sentinel, Cried out, “Such witless birds At me stretch out their necks, and gobble! No, by the powers! I’ll give them trouble.” He verified his words. The moon, that…

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