(Recueil 3, Livre 12, Fable 21)
"Between elephant and beast of horned nose
About precedence a dispute arose,
Which they determined to decide by blows.
The day was fixed, when came a messenger
To say the ape of Jupiter
Was swiftly earthward seen to bear
His bright caduceus through the air.
This monkey, named in history Gill,
The elephant at once believed
A high commission had received
To witness, by his sovereign's will,
The aforesaid battle fought.
Uplifted by the glorious thought,
The beast was prompt on Monsieur Gill to wait,
But found him slow, in usual forms of state,
His high credentials to present.
The ape, however, before he went,
Bestowed a passing salutation.
His excellency would have heard
The subject matter of legation:
But not a word!
His fight, so far from stirring heaven,
The news was not received there, even!
What difference sees the impartial sky
Between an elephant and fly?
Our monarch, doting on his object,
Was forced himself to break the subject.
"My cousin Jupiter," said he,
"Will shortly, from his throne supreme,
A most important combat see,
For all his court a thrilling theme."
"What combat?" said the ape, with serious face.
"Is it possible you should not know the case?"
The elephant exclaimed not know, dear sir,
That Lord Rhinoceros disputes
With me precedence of the brutes?
That Elephantis is at war
With savage hosts of Rhinocer?
You know these realms, not void of fame?"
"I joy to learn them now by name,"
Returned Sir Gill, "for, first or last,
No lisp of them has ever passed
Throughout our dome so blue and vast."
Abashed, the elephant replied,
"What came you, then, to do?"
"Between two emmets to divide
A spire of grass in two.
We take of all a care;
And, as to your affair,
Before the gods, who view with equal eyes
The small and great, it has not chanced to rise."
Jean de La Fontaine