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The Two Mules

(Recueil 1, Livre 1, Fable 4)



Two mules were bearing on their backs,

One, oats; the other, silver of the tax.

The latter glorying in his load,

Marched proudly forward on the road;

And, from the jingle of his bell,

It was plain he liked his burden well.

But in a wild-wood glen

A band of robber men

Rushed forth on the twain.

Well with the silver pleased,

They by the bridle seized

The treasure-mule so vain.

Poor mule! in struggling to repel

His ruthless foes, he fell

Stabbed through; and with a bitter sighing,

He cried, "Is this the lot they promised me?

My humble friend from danger free,

While, weltering in my gore, I'm dying?"

"My friend," his fellow-mule replied,

"It is not well to have one's work too high.

If you had been a miller's drudge, as I,

You would not thus have died."

Jean de La Fontaine

Book 1, Fable 4



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