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Jupiter and the Farmer

(Recueil 1, Livre 6, Fable 4)



Of yore, a farm had Jupiter to rent;

To advertise it, Mercury was sent.

The farmers, far and near,

Flocked round, the terms to hear;

And, calling to their aid

The various tricks of trade,

One said It was rash a farm to hire

Which would so much expense require;

Another, that, do what you would,

The farm would still be far from good.

While thus, in market style, its faults were told,

One of the crowd, less wise than bold,

Would give so much, on this condition,

That Jove would yield him altogether

The choice and making of his weather,

That, instantly on his decision,

His various crops should feel the power

Of heat or cold, of sun or shower.

Jove yields. The bargain closed, our man

Rains, blows, and takes the care

Of all the changes of the air,

On his peculiar, private plan.

His nearest neighbours felt it not,

And all the better was their lot.

Their year was good, by grace divine;

The grain was rich, and full the vine.

The renter, failing altogether,

The next year made quite different weather;

And yet the fruit of all his labours

Was far inferior to his neighbours.

What better could he do? To Heaven

He owns at last his want of sense,

And so is graciously forgiven.

Hence we conclude that Providence

Knows better what we need

Than we ourselves, indeed.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 6, Fable 4



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