Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables

Jean de La Fontaine (8 July 1621 – 13 April 1695) was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.

The Boy and the Schoolmaster

Wise counsel is not always wise, As this my tale exemplifies. A boy, that frolicked on the banks of Seine, Fell in, and would have found a watery grave, Had not that hand that plants never in vain A willow planted there, his life to save.

The Fox and the Stork

Old Mister Fox was at expense, one day, To dine old Mistress Stork. The fare was light, was nothing, sooth to say, Requiring knife and fork. That sly old gentleman, the dinner-giver, Was, you must understand, a frugal liver.

Death and the Unfortunate

A poor unfortunate, from day to day, Called Death to take him from this world away. "O Deathe he said, "to me how fair your form! Come quick, and end for me life's cruel storm."

Simonides Preserved By The Gods

Three sorts there are, as Malherbe says, Which one can never overpraise— The gods, the ladies, and the king; And I, for one, endorse the thing. The heart, praise tickles and entices; Of fair one's smile, it often the price is.

The Wolf and the Lamb

That innocence is not a shield, A story teaches, not the longest. The strongest reasons always yield To reasons of the strongest.

The City Rat and the Country Rat

A city rat, one night, Did, with a civil stoop, A country rat invite To end a turtle soup. On a turkey carpet They found the table spread,