The Industrious Bear

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Seeing a Peasant work at bowshaped wooden halters, And knowing that they profit brought
(Though they, like bows, bend not when patience
falters), A Bear to gain his living by them thought.
For miles the woods, in which he wrought,
Resounded with the noise of cracking,
Nut trees, and elms, and birches thwacking,
Bruin around him desolation made,
But with it still went ill his trade. He to the Peasant goes, to ask him for advice,
And says : ” Good neighbour, tell me where’s the vice? Though to break trees I’ve strength, I know,
I can’t bend one into a bow,
Teach me what’s wanted my affairs to merid.” The Bear this answer got
“A thing of which there’s not in thee one jot
Patience, my friend ! ”

[Pletneff imagines this to allude to Kriloff’s own life as a tutor in Prince Golitzine’s family, but Kenevitch very
justly objects that, through Kriloft’s correspondence with his brother, we know that he was contented with his position,
and looked upon it as a home. It must be admitted that
it was one for which his character unfitted him, but not in a way to which this fable applies. It was his laziness and
want of experience as a teacher that were against him, and
neither his impatience and roughness, nor, as Pletneff
implies, the contrary defects of subservience and over-pliability. Indeed, the latter idea is utterly opposed to what we know of KrilofPs character, above all an independent
one. I believe the fable has a purely general meaning.]

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