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Fortune and the Boy

(Recueil 1, Livre 5, Fable 11)



Beside a well, uncurbed and deep,

A schoolboy laid him down to sleep:

(Such rogues can do so anywhere.)

If some kind man had seen him there,

He would have leaped as if distracted;

But Fortune much more wisely acted;

For, passing by, she softly waked the child,

Thus whispering in accents mild:

"I save your life, my little dear,

And beg you not to venture here

Again, for had you fallen in,

I should have had to bear the sin;

But I demand, in reason's name,

If for your rashness I'm to blame?"

With this the goddess went her way.

I like her logic, I must say.

There takes place nothing on this planet,

But Fortune ends, whoever began it.

In all adventures good or ill,

We look to her to foot the bill.

Has one a stupid, empty pate,

That serves him never till too late,

He clears himself by blaming Fate!

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 5, Fable 11



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