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THE LITTLE FISH AND THE FISHERMAN. Jean de La Fontaine

THE LITTLE FISH AND THE FISHERMAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE LITTLE FISH AND THE FISHERMAN. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

A little Fish will larger grow, in time,
If God will only grant him life; and yet
To let him free out of the tangling net
Is folly; and I mean it, though I rhyme:
The catching him again is not so sure, c′est tout.
A little Carp, who half a summer knew,
Was taken by an angler′s crafty hook.
"All count," the man said; "this begins my feast:
I′ll put it in my basket." "Here, just look!"
Exclaimed, in his own way, the tiny beast.
"Now what on earth can you, sir, want with me?
I′m not quite half a mouthful, as you see.
Let me grow up, and catch me when I′m tall,
Then some rich epicure will buy me dear;
But now you′ll want a hundred, that is plain,
Aye, and as much again,
To make a dish; and what dish, after all?
Why, good for nothing." "Good for nothing, eh?"
Replied the Angler. "Come, my little friend,
Into the pan you go; so end.
Your sermon pleases me, exceedingly.
To-night we′ll try
How you will fry."

The present, not the future, tense
Is that preferred by men of sense.
The one is sure that you have got:
The other, verily, is not.

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