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The Dog Whose Ears Were Cropped

(Recueil 2, Livre 10, Fable 8)



"What have I done, I had like to know,

To make my master maim me so?

A pretty figure I shall cut!

From other dogs I'll keep, in kennel shut.

You kings of beasts, or rather tyrants, ho!

Would any beast have served you so?"

Thus Growler cried, a mastiff young;

The man, whom pity never stung,

Went on to prune him of his ears.

Though Growler whined about his losses,

He found, before the lapse of years,

Himself a gainer by the process;

For, being by his nature prone

To fight his brethren for a bone,

He'd often come back from sad reverse

With those appendages the worse.

All snarling dogs have ragged ears.

The less of hold for teeth of foe,

The better will the battle go.

When, in a certain place, one fears

The chance of being hurt or beat,

He fortifies it from defeat.

Besides the shortness of his ears,

See Growler armed against his likes

With gorget full of ugly spikes.

A wolf would find it quite a puzzle

To get a hold about his muzzle.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 10, Fable 8



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