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The Horse and the Ass

(Recueil 1, Livre 6, Fable 16)



In such a world, all men, of every grade,

Should each the other kindly aid;

For, if beneath misfortune's goad

A neighbour falls, on you will fall his load.

There jogged in company an ass and horse;

Nothing but his harness did the last endorse;

The other bore a load that crushed him down,

And begged the horse a little help to give,

Or otherwise he could not reach the town.

"This prayer," said he, "is civil, I believe;

One half this burden you would scarcely feel."

The horse refused, flung up a scornful heel,

And saw his comrade die beneath the weight:

And saw his wrong too late;

For on his own proud back

They put the ass's pack,

And over that, beside,

They put the ass's hide.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 6, Fable 16



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