Jean de La Fontaine




Incoming story terms:

Jean de La Fontaine was a French poet and fabulist, who lived and worked during the XVII century. For special contributions to French literature was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1684. Published in 1668, the collection of fables brought La Fontaine international fame. The works of the ancient Greeks, Indian storytellers, other fabulists and folk tales about animals serve as a source of inspiration for the author. Drawing motives from these works, La Fontaine brings new life to the fable genre.

The Old Man and the Ass

An old man, riding on his ass, Had found a spot of thrifty grass, And there turned loose his weary beast. Old Grizzle, pleased with such a feast, Flung up his heels, and capered round, Then rolled and rubbed upon the ground, And frisked and browsed and brayed, And many a clean spot made. Armed men came on them as he fed: “Let’s fly,”

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The Ant and the Grasshopper

One summer’s day, a merry Grasshopper was dancing, singing and playing his violin with all his heart. He saw an Ant passing by, bearing along with great toil a wheatear to store for the winter. ““Come and sing with me instead of working so hard”, said the Grasshopper “Let’s have fun together.” “I must store food for the winter”, said the Ant, “and I

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The Ass in the Lion’s Skin

An Ass once found a Lion’s skin which the hunters had left out in the sun to dry. He put it on and went towards his native village. All fled at his approach, both men and animals, and he was a proud Ass that day. In his delight he lifted up his voice and brayed, but then every one knew him, and his owner

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The Tortoise and the Hare

The Hare was once boasting of his speed before the other animals. “I have never yet been beaten,” said he, “when I put forth my full speed. I challenge any one here to race with me.” The Tortoise said quietly, “I accept your challenge.” “That is a good joke,” said the Hare; “I could dance round you all the way.” “Keep your boasting till

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The Sun and the Frogs

Rejoicing on their tyrant’s wedding-day, The people drowned their care in drink; While from the general joy did Aesop shrink, And showed its folly in this way. “The sun,” said he, “once took it in his head To have a partner: so he wed. From swamps, and ponds, and marshy bogs, Up rose the wailings of the frogs. “What shall we do, should he

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The Rat Retired from the World

The sage Levantines have a tale About a rat that weary grew Of all the cares which life assail, And to a Holland cheese withdrew. His solitude was there profound, Extending through his world so round. Our hermit lived on that within; And soon his industry had been With claws and teeth so good, That in his novel hermitage, He had in store, for

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The Camel and the Floating Sticks

The first who saw the humpbacked camel Fled off for life; the next approached 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 tame, They do not even seem the same. And since this theme is up

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The Mice and the Owl

A pine was by a woodman felled, 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 mice, But well provisioned, fat, and nice. The bird had bit off all their

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The Wolf Accusing the Fox

A wolf, affirming his belief That he had suffered by a thief, Brought up his neighbor fox Of whom it was by all confessed, His character was not the best To fill the prisoner’s box. As judge between these vermin, A monkey graced the ermine; And truly other gifts of Themis Did scarcely seem his; For while each party plead his cause, Appealing boldly

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The Thieves and the Ass

Two thieves, pursuing their profession, Had of a donkey got possession, Whereon a strife arose, Which went from words to blows. The question was, to sell, or not to sell; But while our sturdy champions fought it well, Another thief, who chanced to pass, With ready wit rode off the ass. This ass is, by interpretation, Some province poor, or prostrate nation. The thieves

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