The Swine under the Oak

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Beneath an Oak a century old,
A Swine ate acorns once, until his skin was cracking
And, when he could no longer hold
His food, he thought that sleep was lacking : He slept, he rose, his small eyes stared about,
And under all the roots next poked his grubbing snout. ” Methinks, that can’t but harm the Oak,” —It was a Crow that to him spoke
From off the tree —” ’twill rot, if thou the roots lay’st bare.”
” Let it, then, rot ! ” the Swine replied : ” What’s that to me ? I do not care ; No use can I see in its leafy pride ;
And, when it dies for good, I’ll grieve not in the least, If I have only acorns to fatten me and feast.”
‘ Ungrateful that thou art ! ” the Oak then gently said : “If thou that snout of thine couldst higher raise, Then wouldst thou know and praise
The tree on which alone are acorns bred.”
Thus ill-bred dunces, blindly spurning
The light of science, rail on learning
And all its labours, ignorant that they
Themselves enjoy its fruits from day to day.
[This fable will, I think, amply justify the remarks,
already more than once made, with reference to KrilofPs supposed indifference to science and learning.]

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