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The Fox and the Bust

(Recueil 1, Livre 4, Fable 14)



The great are like the maskers of the stage;

Their show deceives the simple of the age.

For all that they appear to be they pass,

With only those whose type's the ass.

The fox, more wary, looks beneath the skin,

And looks on every side, and, when he sees

That all their glory is a semblance thin,

He turns, and saves the hinges of his knees,

With such a speech as once, it's said,

He uttered to a hero's head.

A bust, somewhat colossal in its size,

Attracted crowds of wondering eyes.

The fox admired the sculptor's pains:

"Fine head," said he, "but void of brains!"

The same remark to many a lord applies.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 4, Fable 14



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