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JUPITER AND THE TRAVELLER. Jean de La Fontaine

JUPITER AND THE TRAVELLER. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

JUPITER AND THE TRAVELLER. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

The gods our perils would make wealthy,
If we our vows remembered, when once made.
But, dangers passed, and we, all safe and healthy,
Forget the promises on altars laid;
We only think of what we owe to men.
Jove, says the atheist, is a creditor
Who never sends out bailiffs; if so, then
What is the thunder meant as warning for?
A Passenger, in tempest tossed and rolled,
To Jupiter a hundred oxen offered.
He hadn′t one; had he been only bold,
A hundred elephants he would have proffered:
They′d cost him not a single farthing more.
Suddenly mounted unto great Jove′s nose
The scent of beef bones burnt upon the shore.
"Accept my promised vow," the rascal crows;
"′Tis ox you smell: the smoke is all for thee:
Now we are quits." Jove smiled a bitter smile;
But, some days after, sent a dream, to be
The recompense of that man′s wicked guile.
The dream informed him where a treasure lay:
The man ran to it, like a moth to flame.
Some robbers seized him. Having nought to pay,
He promised them at once, if they but came
Where he′d a hundred talents of good gold.
The place, far off, pleased not the wary thieves;
And one man said, "My comrade, I am told
You mock us; and he dies, whoe′er deceives.
Go and take Pluto, for an offering,
Your hundred talents: they will please the king."


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