La Fontaine fables

The Two Rats, the Fox and the Egg

the two rats, the fox and the egg

Two rats in foraging fell on an egg,—
For gentry such as they
A genteel dinner every way;
They needed not to find an ox’s leg.
Brimful of joy and appetite,
They were about to sack the box,
So tight without the aid of locks,
When suddenly there came in sight
A personage—Sir Pullet Fox.
Sure, luck was never more untoward
Since Fortune was a vixen froward!
How should they save their egg—and bacon?
Their plunder couldn’t then be bagg’d;
Should it in forward paws be taken,
Or roll’d along, or dragg’d?
Each method seem’d impossible,
And each was then of danger full.
Necessity, ingenious mother,
Brought forth what help’d them from their pother.
As still there was a chance to save their prey,—
The sponger yet some hundred yards away,—
One seized the egg, and turn’d upon his back,
And then, in spite of many a thump and thwack,
That would have torn, perhaps, a coat of mail,
The other dragg’d him by the tail.
Who dares the inference to blink,
That beasts possess wherewith to think?
Were I commission’d to bestow
This power on creatures here below,
The beasts should have as much of mind
As infants of the human kind.

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