Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com The Husbandman and his Sons, the Mountain in labour, Fortune and the Schoolboy, The two Physicians
portrait de Jean de La Fontaine le corbeau de la fable jardin de la maison natale actuellement le perron de l'entrée de la maison
Fables, Jean de La Fontaine 
Book V, fables 9, 10, 11, 12
 

THE HUSBANDMAN AND HIS SONS (V, 9)

       Work hard, nor trouble spare, nor toil,
       Labour’s more plentiful than soil.

A wealthy farmer, feeling death draw nigh,
Called round his children, and, no witness by,
“ Beware,” he said, “ of selling the estate
Our fathers left us, purchased with their sweat ;
       For hidden treasure’s there.
The spot I know not ; but with zeal and care
You'll find it out, and make it yours at last.
Plough up the ground as soon as autumn's past,
And dig and delve—nor grudge the daily pain ;
And when you’ve toiled, return and toil again.”
     He died.—The sons turned up the field ;
Incessant was their toil, and when the year
Was ended, large the produce it did yield,
Though ne’er a hidden treasure did appear.

Wise was the father, ere he died, to show
That labour is the mine whence riches flow.


THE MOUNTAIN IN LABOUR (V, 10)

A moutain was in labour's pang,
The country with her clamour rang,
And each one, hurrying to the din,
Thought that her travail would begin,
That she would bear a bigger town
Than Paris. But a mouse came down.
When such a fable I review,
          Which looks so like a lie,
          Though yet its sense be true,
     Methinks I hear some poet cry :
     “ In lofty strains the war I’ll sing,
The Titans waged against the Thunder-king.”
'Tis mach : but often the result is found
                         Mere sound !


FORTUNE AND THE SCHOOLBOY (V, 11)

Upon the margin of a well profound,
A schoolboy careless lay in slumber bound.
Such lads, just as it strikes their foolish head,
Take anything for bolster or for bed.
             A wise man would have slept, I think,
                    Not quite so near the brink.
             Fortune by chance came by that way,
             And softly waked him where he lay :
             “ Get up, my boy, and scape thy doom,
             And wiser be for time to come.
Hadst thou but fallen, all men would incline
To blame me for it, though the fault was thine.
Comes thy rash conduct then, sincerely say,
From my caprice ? ” She spoke, and passed away.
             I own, I'm of the lady's mind ;
             For nothing happens here below
             But that she's either kind or blind.
’Tis she must all our mazy paths protect,
Which we ourselves like blundering fools neglect :
She bears our crimes and follies all along,
And we are right because we say she's wrong

fortune and the schoolboy
Fortune and the Schoolboy (ill. François Chauveau)


THE TWO PHYSICIANS (V, 12)

             Doctor Allswell a patient had,
Attended also by his friend Allsbad :
The former hoped. The latter said “ He must
                   Visit his kindred dust.”
          Their mode of treatment differing wide,
                   The patient died,
Allsbad's advice was taken to his ill.
                         Both doctors triumphed still.
“ He's dead,” said this, “I knew he'd not survive !”
“ Had I been heard,” said that, “ he'd be alive ! ”



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