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THE RAVEN WHO WISHED TO IMITATE THE EAGLE. Jean de La Fontaine

THE RAVEN WHO WISHED TO IMITATE THE EAGLE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE RAVEN WHO WISHED TO IMITATE THE EAGLE. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

The bird of Jove bore off a heavy "mutton;"
A Raven, witness of the whole affair,
Weaker in back, but scarcely less a glutton,
Resolved to do the same, whate′er
Might come of it.
With greedy wit,
Around the flock he made a sweep,
Marking, among the fattest sheep,
One of enormous size,
Fit for a sacrifice.
Said Master Raven, winking both his eyes,
"Your nurse′s name I cannot tell,
But such fat flesh will suit me well:
You′re ready for my eating."
Then on the sheep, slow, sluggish, bleating,
The Raven settled down, not knowing
The beast weighed more than a mere cream-cheese could.
It had a fleece as thickly growing
As beard of Polyphemus—tangled wood—
That clung to either claw; the animal could not withdraw.
The shepherd comes, and calling to his boy,
Gives him the Raven for a toy.

We must take care; the moral is quite clear—
The footpad mustn′t rob on the highway.
Example is a dangerous lure, I fear:
Men-eaters are not all great people; no, I say,
Where wasps passed last week gnats are crushed to-day.

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