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Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables
Jean de La Fontaine (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.
Wise counsel is not always wise, As this my tale exemplifies. A boy, that frolicked on the banks of Seine, Fell in, and would have found a watery grave, Had not that hand that plants never in vain A willow planted there, his life to save.
Old Mister Fox was at expense, one day, To dine old Mistress Stork. The fare was light, was nothing, sooth to say, Requiring knife and fork. That sly old gentleman, the dinner-giver, Was, you must understand, a frugal liver.
Three sorts there are, as Malherbe says, Which one can never overpraise— The gods, the ladies, and the king; And I, for one, endorse the thing. The heart, praise tickles and entices; Of fair one’s smile, it often the price is.