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The Earthen Pot and the Iron Pot

(Recueil 1, Livre 5, Fable 2)



An iron pot proposed

To an earthen pot a journey.

The latter was opposed,

Expressing the concern he

Had felt about the danger

Of going out a ranger.

He thought the kitchen hearth

The safest place on earth

For one so very brittle.

"For you, who art a kettle,

And have a tougher skin,

There's nothing to keep you in."

"I'll be your bodyguard,"

Replied the iron pot;

"If anything that's hard

Should threaten you a jot,

Between you I will go,

And save you from the blow."

This offer him persuaded.

The iron pot paraded

Himself as guard and guide

Close at his cousin's side.

Now, in their tripod way,

They hobble as they may;

And eke together bolt

At every little jolt,

Which gives the crockery pain;

But presently his comrade hits

So hard, he dashes him to bits,

Before he can complain.

Take care that you associate

With equals only, lest your fate

Between these pots should find its mate.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 5, Fable 2



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