The Bee and the Flies

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Two Flies had once arranged for foreign lands to start, And did their best to get a Bee with them to come : A parrot to them did impart
Of wonders there enough to strike them dumb.
Besides, it seemed to them themselves a shame,
That in their native country they
Were guests whom all men drove away
And ev’n (disgrace to man to name, But then men were such oddities, you see !) That they the richest dainties of the table To feast upon should be unable, Glass covers were invented, each dish from flies to free; While they in hovels must from fiercest spiders flee.
” A lucky journey, then !” to them the Bee replied : ” I find My birthplace to my mind.
My honey love to me doth bring on every side From all, the lowly and the great
But you, where’er You wish,, go there
And, everywhere
You’ll have the selfsame happy fate : Nowhere will you, my friends, of use to none, Be loved, nor after you will any run ; Spiders alone will share your joy,
And with you toy.”
He, that by work his country’s good advances,
To part with her to him it seldom chances
But he, that useful qualities doth want, After a foreign clime will ever pant
For there, no citizen, he less contempt excites,
And no one angrily will count his wasted days and nights.
[Absenteeism was one of the natural accompaniments
of the institution of serfdom, and from the time of Catherine
II. a very large number of Russian nobles were better acquainted with the Continent, especially with Paris, than
with their own country. In the reign of Nicholas an
attempt was made to stop this by making the acquisition
of a passport difficult. Kriloff was thoroughly patriotic,
and especially set himself against every manifestation of
this mania for everything foreign. Up to the present
moment many instances are met with in society of Russians
who know foreign languages better than their own. The
general feeling has, however, now set against this, and even
in the case of a great writer like Tourgenieff, it is a general
complaint against him, that he has lived abroad till he has
lost his Russian instinct.]

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