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The Man and the Flea

(Recueil 2, Livre 8, Fable 5)



Impertinent, we tease and weary Heaven

With prayers which would insult mere mortals even.

"Twould seem that not a god in all the skies

From our affairs must ever turn his eyes,

And that the smallest of our race

Could hardly eat, or wash his face,

Without, like Greece and Troy for ten years' space,

Embroiling all Olympus in the case.

A flea some blockhead's shoulder bit,

And then his clothes refused to quit.

"O Hercules," he cried, "you ought to purge

This world of this far worse than hydra scourge!

O Jupiter, what are your bolts about,

They do not put these foes of mine to rout?"

To crush a flea, this fellow's fingers under,

The gods must lend the fool their club and thunder!

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 8, Fable 5



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