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The Lion and the Rat

(Recueil 1, Livre 2, Fable 11)

 

 

To show to all your kindness, it behoves :

There's none so small but you his aid may need.

I quote two fables for this weighty creed,

Which either of them fully proves.

From underneath the sward

A rat, quite off his guard,

Popped out between a lion's paws.

The beast of royal bearing

Showed what a lion was

The creature's life by sparing

A kindness well repaid;

For, little as you would have thought

His majesty would ever need his aid,

It proved full soon

A precious boon.

Forth issuing from his forest glen,

To explore the haunts of men,

In lion net his majesty was caught,

From which his strength and rage

Served not to disengage.

The rat ran up, with grateful glee,

Gnawed off a rope, and set him free.

By time and toil we sever

What strength and rage could never.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 2, Fable 11

 

 

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