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THE OLD CAT AND THE YOUNG MOUSE. Jean de La Fontaine

THE OLD CAT AND THE YOUNG MOUSE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE OLD CAT AND THE YOUNG MOUSE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

A young Mouse, small and innocent,
Implored an Old Cat′s clemency:—
"Raminagrobis, let me live!
Your royal mercy, monarch, give!
A Mouse so little, sir, as I
A tiny meal can well supply.
How could I starve a family?
Host, hostess, only look at me;
I fatten on a grain of wheat:
A mite my dinner makes complete.
I′m thin, too, now;—just wait a bit,
And for your children I′ll be fit."
Thus to the Cat the Mouse, aggrieved;
The other answered. "You′re deceived.
Is it to me you talk like that?
Go, tell the deaf and dumb—not me:
Old Cats don′t pardon, so you′ll see.
The law condemns, and you must die:
Descend, and tell the Fates that I
Have stopped your preaching, and be sure
My children′s meals will not be fewer."
He kept his word; and to my fable
I add a moral, as I′m able:
Youth hopes to win all by address;
But age is ever pitiless.

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