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The Lion and the Ass Hunting

(Recueil 1, Livre 2, Fable 19)



The king of animals, with royal grace,

Would celebrate his birthday in the chase.

It was not with bow and arrows,

To slay some wretched sparrows;

The lion hunts the wild boar of the wood,

The antlered deer and stags, the fat and good.

This time, the king insure success,

Took for his aide-de-camp an ass,

A creature of stentorian voice,

That felt much honoured by the choice.

The lion hid him in a proper station,

And ordered him to bray, for his vocation,

Assured that his tempestuous cry

The boldest beasts would terrify,

And cause them from their lairs to fly.

And, sooth, the horrid noise the creature made

Did strike the tenants of the wood with dread;

And, as they headlong fled,

All fell within the lion's ambuscade.

"Has not my service glorious

Made both of us victorious?"

Cried out the much-elated ass.

"Yes," said the lion; "bravely brayed!

Had I not known yourself and race,

I should have been myself afraid!"

If he had dared, the donkey

Had shown himself right spunky

At this retort, though justly made;

For who could suffer boasts to pass

So ill-befitting to an ass?

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 2, Fable 19



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