A goat, a sheep, and porker fat,
All to the market rode together.
Their own amusement was not that
Which caused their journey thither.
Their coachman did not mean to “set them down”
To see the shows and wonders of the town.
The porker cried, in piercing squeals,
As if with butchers at his heels.
The other beasts, of milder mood,
The cause by no means understood.
They saw no harm, and wonder’d why
At such a rate the hog should cry.
“Hush there, old piggy!” said the man,
“And keep as quiet as you can.
What wrong have you to squeal about,
And raise this dev’lish, deaf’ning shout?
These stiller persons at your side
Have manners much more dignified.
Pray, have you heard
A single word
Come from that gentleman in wool?
That proves him wise.” “That proves him fool!”
The testy hog replied;
“For did he know
To what we go,
He’d cry almost to split his throat;
So would her ladyship the goat.
They only think to lose with ease,
The goat her milk, the sheep his fleece:
They’re, maybe, right; but as for me
This ride is quite another matter.
Of service only on the platter,
My death is quite a certainty.
Adieu, my dear old piggery!”
The porker’s logic proved at once
Himself a prophet and a dunce.
Hope ever gives a present ease,
But fear beforehand kills:
The wisest he who least foresees
The Hog, the Goat, and the Sheep by Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables in Book 8