Fairytales, folktales and fables for kids

La Fontaine fables

The Old Women and Her Servants

A beldam kept two spinning maids, Who plied so handily their trades, Those spinning sisters down below Were bunglers when compared with these. No care did this old woman know But giving tasks as she might please. No sooner did the god of day His glorious locks enkindle, Than both…

La Fontaine fables

Nothing Too Much

Look where we will throughout creation, We look in vain for moderation. The grain, best gift of Ceres fair, Green waving in the genial air, By overgrowth exhausts the soil; By superfluity of leaves Defrauds the treasure of its sheaves, And mocks the busy farmer’s toil. Not less redundant is…

La Fontaine fables

The Miser and the Monkey

A Man amass’d. The thing, we know, Doth often to a frenzy grow. No thought had he but of his minted gold— Stuff void of worth when unemploy’d, I hold. Now, that this treasure might the safer be, Our miser’s dwelling had the sea As guard on every side from…

La Fontaine fables

The Mice and the Owl

A pine was by a woodman fell’d, Which ancient, huge, and hollow tree An owl had for his palace held— A bird the Fates had kept in fee, Interpreter to such as we. Within the caverns of the pine, With other tenants of that mine, Were found full many footless…

La Fontaine fables

The Monkey and the Cat

Sly Bertrand and Ratto in company sat, (The one was a monkey, the other a cat,) Co-servants and lodgers: More mischievous codgers Ne’er mess’d from a platter, since platters were flat. Was anything wrong in the house or about it, The neighbours were blameless,—no mortal could doubt it; For Bertrand…

La Fontaine fables

The Monkey and the Leopard

A monkey and a leopard were The rivals at a country fair. Each advertised his own attractions. Said one, “Good sirs, the highest place My merit knows; for, of his grace, The king hath seen me face to face; And, judging by his looks and actions, I gave the best…

La Fontaine fables

The Man and His Image

A man, who had no rivals in the love Which to himself he bore, Esteem’d his own dear beauty far above What earth had seen before. More than contented in his error, He lived the foe of every mirror. Officious fate, resolved our lover From such an illness should recover,…

La Fontaine fables

The Man and the Wooden God (La Fontaine)

A pagan kept a god of wood,— A sort that never hears, Though furnish’d well with ears,— From which he hoped for wondrous good. The idol cost the board of three; So much enrich’d was he With vows and offerings vain, With bullocks garlanded and slain: No idol ever had,…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion, the Wolf and the Fox

A Lion, old, and impotent with gout, Would have some cure for age found out. This king, from every species,— Call’d to his aid the leeches. They came, from quacks without degree To doctors of the highest fee. Advised, prescribed, talk’d learnedly; But with the rest Came not Sir Cunning…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion and the Monkey

The lion, for his kingdom’s sake, In morals would some lessons take, And therefore call’d, one summer’s day, The monkey, master of the arts, An animal of brilliant parts, To hear what he could say. “Great king,” the monkey thus began, “To reign upon the wisest plan Requires a prince…

La Fontaine fables

The Lobster and Her Daughter

The wise, sometimes, as lobsters do, To gain their ends back foremost go. It is the rower’s art; and those Commanders who mislead their foes, Do often seem to aim their sight Just where they don’t intend to smite. My theme, so low, may yet apply To one whose fame…

La Fontaine fables

The Lioness and the Bear

The lioness had lost her young; A hunter stole it from the vale; The forests and the mountains rung Responsive to her hideous wail. Nor night, nor charms of sweet repose, Could still the loud lament that rose From that grim forest queen. No animal, as you might think, With…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion and the Hunter

A braggart, lover of the chase, Had lost a dog of valued race, And thought him in a lion’s maw. He ask’d a shepherd whom he saw, “Pray show me, man, the robber’s place, And I’ll have justice in the case.” “‘Tis on this mountain side,” The shepherd man replied.…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion Beaten by the Man

A picture once was shown, In which one man, alone, Upon the ground had thrown A lion fully grown. Much gloried at the sight the rabble. A lion thus rebuked their babble:— “That you have got the victory there, There is no contradiction. But, gentles, possibly you are The dupes…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion and the Gnat

“Go, paltry insect, nature’s meanest brat!” Thus said the royal lion to the gnat. The gnat declared immediate war. “Think you,” said he, “your royal name To me worth caring for? Think you I tremble at your power or fame? The ox is bigger far than you; Yet him I…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion Going to War

The lion had an enterprise in hand; Held a war-council, sent his provost-marshal, And gave the animals a call impartial— Each, in his way, to serve his high command. The elephant should carry on his back The tools of war, the mighty public pack, And fight in elephantine way and…

La Fontaine fables

The Lion and the Ass Hunting

The king of animals, with royal grace, Would celebrate his birthday in the chase. ‘Twas not with bow and arrows, To slay some wretched sparrows; The lion hunts the wild boar of the wood, The antlered deer and stags, the fat and good. This time, the king, t’ insure success,…

La Fontaine fables

The Joker and the Fishes

A joker at a banker’s table, Most amply spread to satisfy The height of epicurean wishes, Had nothing near but little fishes. So, taking several of the fry, He whisper’d to them very nigh, And seem’d to listen for reply. The guests much wonder’d what it meant, And stared upon…