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The Fool and the Sage

(Recueil 3, Livre 12, Fable 22)



A fool pursued, with club and stone,

A sage, who said, "My friend, well done!

Receive this guinea for your pains;

They well deserve far higher gains.

The workman's worthy of his hire,

It's said. There comes a wealthy squire,

Who has wherewith your works to pay;

To him direct your gifts, and they

Shall gain their proper recompense."

Urged by the hope of gain,

On the wealthy citizen

The fool repeated the offence.

His pay this time was not in gold.

On the witless man

A score of ready footmen ran,

And on his back, in full, his wages told.

In courts, such fools afflict the wise;

They raise the laugh at your expense.

To check their babble, were it sense

Their folly meetly to chastise?

Perhaps "twill take a stronger man.

Then make them worry one who can.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 12, Fable 22



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