Kriloff’s Original Fables
Reproach we’re all too apt to cast on Fortune’s name : One gets not wealth, another rank
And we for all this Fortune thank,
Though, well considered, we’re ourselves to blame. Blind Chance, when wandering here with men on earth,
Not only visits kings and men of birth, But ev’n unto thy cottage door,
A welcome guest, perhaps, will one day stray,
If thou waste not the precious store, That time brings to thee every day
A single minute, unto him that knows its price,
For years of patient toil pays thrice.
If thou, by Chance once helped, hast failed her grace to earn, Then with thyself thou shouldst, not Fortune, angry grow, And know,
That she, perhaps through life, may not to thee return.
An old house lonely stood upon a township’s land
Three brothers lived in it, who led a sorry life
Nothing went well, for all their daily strife. Whatever they might take in hand,
Not once the least success came after, Everywhere loss, or else their neighbours’ laughter
Them to believe ’twas Fortune’s fault alone. Fortune, invisible, to call there left her throne,
And, feeling pity for them in her heart,
Decided that to help them was her part, Whatever they might try for, wish for, own, And be their guest the summer through. All summer : had a joke come true? Now the poor fellows found that things went better. One was a trader, whom no rules could fetter, So ignorant he ; but now, he sells or buys,
And constant profit in each bargain lies : What losing meant he had forgot,
And rich as Croesus soon he got. Another wholesale dealt ; at other time he had
On a clerk’s stool to sit been glad
But now to him, from every side, Flows luck’s full tide : They feast him, and they come with low salute
Of rank or place he’s sure with his repute ;
See what estates he owns, town house and country seat
And now you ask, how Chance the third did treat ? On him too, not less kind, will Fortune surely smile
Of course she did : with him she hath no rest the while.
Well, the third brother, then, whose hands and eyes Were quick, the summer spent in catching flies
So luckily he caught ’em,
Men thought he’d bought ’em.
I know not if he formerly had practised this, But now his pains were not unpaid : Where’er his hand he dash, with Fortune’s aid,
Not once he makes a miss. Now of the brothers’ house their guest had had enough,
And off she set on ways both smooth and rough.
Two brothers were well off; one quite a wealthy man,
The other had besides got rank : the third began
To swear at fate, that Fortune’s malice left A wallet to him, of all else bereft.
Reader, thou’lt own it was not theft
Whose fault was it that after flies he ran ?
Kriloff’s Original Fables