The Kite and the Nightingale

Jean de La Fontaine Fables - Book 9 - Fable 18A noted thief, the kite,
Had set a neighbourhood in fright,
And raised the clamorous noise
Of all the village boys,
When, by misfortune, sad to say,
A nightingale fell in his way.
Spring’s herald begged him not to eat
A bird for music not for meat.
“O spare!” cried she, “and I’ll relate
“The crime of Tereus and his fate.”
“What’s Tereus? Is it food for kites?”
“No, but a king, of female rights
The villain spoiler, whom I taught
A lesson with repentance fraught;
And, should it please you not to kill,
My song about his fall
Your very heart shall thrill,
As it, indeed, does all.”
Replied the kite, a “pretty thing!
When I am faint and famishing,
To let you go, and hear you sing?”
“Ah, but I entertain the king!”
“Well, when he takes you, let him hear
Your tale, full wonderful, no doubt;
For me, a kite, I’ll go without.”
An empty stomach has no ear.

The Kite and the Nightingale by Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables in Book 9

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