Kriloff’s Original Fables
” Good day, old friend, and where have you now
been?” —” To the fair, and there the show three hours I’ve seen ;
I went o’er all, inspected all, and come
Canst thou believe it ?—home from wonder dumb : Language can tell thee not The miracles of that enchanted spot
Nature’s inventions all in one strange lot
What birds fly there, and oh, what wild beasts roar! What butterflies, what beetles rare, What flies, what mites of insects there ! A coat of emerald some, others of coral wore ! What lady-birds minute and red
Some, I declare, smaller than a pin’s head !
—” Didst see the elephant ? Does not his look impress ?
I take it, thou didst think him mountains talL” —”What, is he there?”—” Of course.”—”Old fellow, I
I noticed not the elephant at all.”
[It has been asserted in Russian literature, that Kriloff was offended by a poetaster of the day leaving out his name in the enumeration of the great fabulists, the
Christian name of each of whom was Ivan ; La Fontaine,
Xemnitzer, and Demetrieff were alone mentioned, though
Kriloffs name was also Ivan. According to this account,
Kriloff avenged the slight by the above fable, but the well- known proofs of KrilofFs modest appreciation of his own
merits make it impossible to believe that he could have
represented himself as an elephant in comparison with La
Fontaine. The fable is clearly directed against minute
and pedantic study which overlooks more important things, one of the points on which Kriloff frequently dwells.]
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