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The Old Man and the Ass

(Recueil 1, Livre 6, Fable 8)



An old man, riding on his ass,

Had found a spot of thrifty grass,

And there turned loose his weary beast.

Old Grizzle, pleased with such a feast,

Flung up his heels, and capered round,

Then rolled and rubbed on the ground,

And frisked and browsed and brayed,

And many a clean spot made.

Armed men came on them as he fed:

"Let's fly," in haste the old man said.

"And why so?" the ass replied;

"With heavier burdens will they ride?"

"No," said the man, already started.

"Then," cried the ass, as he departed,

"I'll stay, and be—no matter whose;

Save you yourself, and leave me loose.

But let me tell you, before you go,

(I speak plain French, you know,)

My master is my only foe."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 6, Fable 8



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