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The Camel and the Floating Sticks

(Recueil 1, Livre 4, Fable 10)

 

 

The first who saw the humpbacked camel

Fled off for life; the next approached with care;

The third with tyrant rope did boldly dare

The desert wanderer to trammel.

Such is the power of use to change

The face of objects new and strange;

Which grow, by looking at, so tame,

They do not even seem the same.

And since this theme is up for our attention,

A certain watchman I will mention,

Who, seeing something far

Away on the ocean,

Could not but speak his notion

That It was a ship of war.

Some minutes more had past,

A bomb ketch It was without a sail,

And then a boat, and then a bale,

And floating sticks of wood at last!

Full many things on earth, I wot,

Will claim this tale, and well they may;

They're something dreadful far away,

But near at hand they're not.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 4, Fable 10

 

 

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