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The Hog, the Goat, and the Sheep

(Recueil 2, Livre 8, Fable 12)



A goat, a sheep, and porker fat,

All to the market rode together.

Their own amusement was not that

Which caused their journey there.

Their coachman did not mean to "set them down"

To see the shows and wonders of the town.

The porker cried, in piercing squeals,

As if with butchers at his heels.

The other beasts, of milder mood,

The cause by no means understood.

They saw no harm, and wondered why

At such a rate the hog should cry.

"Hush there, old piggy!" said the man,

"And keep as quiet as you can.

What wrong have you to squeal about,

And raise this devilish, deafening shout?

These stiller persons at your side

Have manners much more dignified.

Pray, have you heard

A single word

Come from that gentleman in wool?

That proves him wise." "That proves him fool!"

The testy hog replied;

"For did he know

To what we go,

He'd cry almost to split his throat;

So would her ladyship the goat.

They only think to lose with ease,

The goat her milk, the sheep his fleece:

They're, maybe, right; but as for me,

This ride is quite another matter.

Of service only on the platter,

My death is quite a certainty.

Adieu, my dear old piggery!"

The porker's logic proved at once

Himself a prophet and a dunce.

Hope ever gives a present ease,

But fear beforehand kills:

The wisest he who least foresees

Inevitable ills.

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 8, Fable 12



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