Javascript Menu by Deluxe-Menu.com The wolf and dog, the heifer,kid and ship,in partnership with the lion, the doble pouch, the swallow and little birds
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 I, fables 5,6,7,8
 

THE WOLF AND DOG (I, 5)
A wolf reduced to skin and bone,
So well the dogs had watched their care,
Met with a wildered mastiff stout as fair,
Fat, in good case, and straying all alone ;
         Gladly Sir Wolf had made the attack,
         And tore his belly from his back.
         He fain would have his dinner ;
But he must to battle fall,
With a mastiff strong and tall,
Which kept in awe the sinner.
Most humbly therefore he the silence broke,
And pretty compliments admiring spoke,
About his goodly size and fat. ”
“ Why, ” said the Dog, “ you soon may equal that ;
Leave but your woods and come along with me,
And from your wretched, starving neighbours flee ;
For here you live by fighting or by fetches ;
No easy cheer, no certain state,
Poor, despicable, hungry, shabby wretches :
Corne follow me and share a better fate. ”
“ And what's the work, ” said Wolf, “ required in place ? ”
 “ A trifie, ”—answered Mastiff, “ just to chase
Beggars and men with sticks away ;
Fawn on the family, and please the master,
Which mounts our wages up the faster ;
Platesful of broken victuals every day,
Pullets’ and pigeons’ bones are on us pressed ;
You've no idea how we're caressed. ”
The Wolf o'ercome assented weeping,
He formed great popes of such high keeping.
As they advanced he saw the Dog's neck bare.
What's that ?" he cried.— “ Nothing. ” — “ Nothing ? why pause ? ”
“ Pshaw ! what ye see, perhaps is worn-off hair ;
The collar I'm tied up in is the cause. ”
“ Tied ! ” cried the Wolf, “" ye don't run where ye will ? ”
“ Not always.— But no matter ; we've our fill."
“ Have you indeed ? I really do not care
Now, for your sumptuous fare ;
For liberty I count all treasures light. ”—
He said, and fled, and still holds on his flight.

 

THE HEIFER, KID, AND SHEEP,
IN PARTNERSHIPWITH THE LION (I, 6)

The heifer, kid, and sister sheer,
In days of yore as we are told,
Joined with their prince the Lion bold,
A common larder-house to keep.
In the kid's net a stagwas caught,
And soon to the partners brought,
Assembled all. The lion raised his paws,
Counting their portions on his claws :
“ We are but four to share the spoil, ”
He said with a most princely smile,
And carved it into four the while.
The first, by rank of sire, he took,
And said, with an expressive look,
“ Because my name is Lion. ” They
Had not a single word to say.
“ The second is my right, of course ;
That right you know’s the right of force.
The third as bravest I claim for my share,
To touch the fourth if any of you dare,
I’ll strangle him at once ! Beware ! ”

 

The swallow and little birds


The swallow and little birds (Etching by A. Delierre)


THE DOUBLE POUCH (I, 7)
“ Let all that breathe, ” Jove did one day proclaim,
“ Before my lofty footstool now appear ;
If any one complain of his own frame,
         Let him declare it without fear :
         Each grievance I ’ll redress.
     Corne, monkey, speak up first,—what's thy distress
     Behold these animals ; with them compare,
Their form, size, colour, and their hair,
     Their beauties to your own oppose.
Are ye content ? ” “ What I, ” said he, “ ay sure
    I have four feet as well as those,
A visage too that I well pleased endure.
As for my brother bear of shapeless bacon,
I hope he'll never have his portrait taken. ”
The bear carne up ; 'twas thought to wail;
But not at all ; he likes himself, and sneers
And dubs the elephant “ a clumsy lubber, ”
         Bids him enlarge his tail,
Or piece the stump out from his ears ;
Calls him “ a shapeless mass of bones and blubber. ”
The elephant, the wisest of his brothers,
Was heard, and said much the same things of others ;
         He found the whale by far too wide.
The ant assumed a colossean pride,
And thought the mite nought by her side.
Thus, self-approved, Jove sent them home again,
Each other blaming still. But of all fools,
Mankind transgresses most Love's golden rules ;
For we are all that's cruel, blind, and vain.
     Lynxes to others—to ourselves we're moles,
We see our own defects with partial eye ;
     We wink at all the blackness of our souls,
Whilst in our neighbour blemishes we spy.
One sovereign made us, bagmen of one kind,
     Such as we are, our fathers were of yore ;
For our defects we wear one pouch behind,
     But for our neighbours’ we hang one before.

 

THE SWALLOW AND LITTLE BIRDS (I, 8)
     Those who have seen much, may have much retained.
A swallow by her travels rendered wise,
Foresaw the smallest troubles in the skies,
     And told the seamen long before it rained.
She chanced to pass a field in hemp-seed time,
And saw the peasant many a furrow cover‑
“ I don't like that, ” exclaimed the cunning rover ;
“ My little birds, I'm not confined to clime ;
The danger's yours, I pity you indeed,
Therefore to timely counsel now give heed :
See you that hand advancing in the air ?
The fatal day wings on with speed,
When what it scatters will become your snare ;
     Engines to secure you well ;
Lurking gins to spring and snatch you,
Nets, and traps, and cords to catch you,
     More machines than I can tell ;
Which in the pleasant singing season,
Will cause your death or gloomy prison.
Beware of cage, of spit beware ;
Then eat this grain and do not spare ! ”
     They laughed at her advice and fled away,
To pick the plenty that around them lay ;
The hemp grew green—the swallow came again,
And bid them “ quickly pluck it grain by grain,
Or rue the produce of the cursed seed,
For your destruction's sure indeed. ”
“ Prophet of exil ! chatterer ! ” said they,
“ A verty pretty task you set to-day !
A thousand persons must be found ;
To pluck this single district round. ”
Quite ripe at last the seed appeared,
The swallow added : “ As I feared,
     Bad seed grows fast.
But I'm believed in nothing that I say ;
     However, hear me now at last :
When ye perceive the harrows quit the plain,
And harvest's over, when the people stray,
     And war against the feathered race,
Then change your climate or at home remain.
     Think not to hop from place to place ;
For shelter none affords,
’Tis then that birds are caught with wires and cords.
     Copy the wood-cock, crane, or duck ;
But that's not just as you would please,
     For you have no such luck ;
You can't like us cross deserts wild and seas,
In search of climes unknown.
There is one plan for you alone,                   -
A plan that's sure for all,
Shut up yourselves in holes of some old wall ”
The little birds would hear no more,
And chirped and chattered as in joke,
So did the Trojans long before,
When poor Cassandra merely spoke.
Many were caught of every kind,
Poor silly birds as slaves confined.

We listen to no instinct but our own,
Nor heed the danger till we're overthrown.



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