The Comb

Kriloff’s Original Fables
To dress a child’s head once a mother bought
A Comb with teeth close set. The child would take in hand naught else* and sought,
Whether he played, or learned his alphabet,
His mass of golden locks —Wavy and curling, as it shocks
His forehead, soft as finest flax

To draw out with the Comb, which, though he tax His infant mind, he cannot praise enough : Not only that it never scratches,
But in a tress it nowhere catches : So even, and so far from rough,
The Comb no price has in the boy’s fond eyes.
It happens once, though, that the Comb lost lies Forgotten in a corner, where the boy
Has romping been, while playing with a toy
The game had tangled in a knot his hair, And when the nurse came with a brush, the air Rang with his cry : ” My comb ! My comb !

At last they find it in its dusty home,
But through the hair it will not go, it sticks : And, as it tears, in tears the young rogue kicks. ” Thou nasty Comb, away !

He angrily doth say. And then the Comb speaks : —” I am still the same
But now thy hair is tangled with the game.”
The boy, however, out of spite,
His Comb into the river threw
And now the Naiads with it part their tresses bright.
Experience tells me, it is true That many thus with truth will act. As long as we can feel our conscience clear, Truth is a holy thing, to us most dear,
We listen to its teaching, call it fact
But once a crooked conscience we have got, We stop our ears, and truth for us is not. Each, like the child, rather than comb his hair will wrangle,
When he has made it all one tangle.

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