HomeJean de La FontaineTHE CAT, THE WEASEL, AND THE LITTLE RABBIT

THE CAT, THE WEASEL, AND THE LITTLE RABBIT. Jean de La Fontaine

A little Rabbit′s charming nook
A Weasel seized upon one morn;
His household gods with him he took,
Jane Rabbit′s mansion to adorn.

At break of day departed Jane,
To munch amongst the thyme and roses,
Returning, at her window-pane—
"Why, there the wicked Weasel′s nose is!"

"Oh, gracious goodness! what is here?
Turned out of my paternal hall!
From this you quickly disappear,
Or I′ll give all the rats a call."

The Weasel simply said the Earth
Always belonged to the first comer;
All other claims were little worth:
A sufferance tenant a misnomer.

A little kingdom he had found:
"Now, tell me, what more right have you
To these domains, this patch of ground,
Than Tom or Dick, than Nan or Sue?"

"Usage and custom of the law,"
The Rabbit said, "give me the place:
On sire′s and grandsire′s claims I stand—
I, who here represent their race."

"A law most wise! can′t be more wise!"
Said cunning Weasel. "What of that?
Our claims to settle, I devise
A reference to our friend the Cat."

It was a Cat of solemn mien—
A very hermit of a Cat:—
A saint, upon whose face was seen
Precept and practice, law, and—fat.

The Rabbit here agreed, and then
They sought the pious Pussy′s home.
"Approach—I′m deaf, he said; and when
They came, they told him why they′d come.

"Approach, fear not, for calm is law;
For law no one here ever lacks;"
And, stretching on each side a claw,
He broke both litigants′ weak backs.

This story calls unto my mind
The sad result which often springs
From squabbles of a larger kind,
Which small grand-dukes refer to kings.

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