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THE ROBBERS AND THE ASS. Jean de La Fontaine

The Thieves and the Ass. Honoré Daumier, 1858-1860

The Thieves and the Ass. Honoré Daumier, 1858-1860

Two Thieves were fighting for a prize,
A Donkey newly stolen; sell or not to sell—
That was the question—bloody fists, black eyes:
While they fought gallantly and well,
A third thief happening to pass,
Rode gaily off upon the ass.

The ass is some poor province it may be;
The thieves, that gracious potentate, or this,
Austria, Turkey, or say Hungary;
Instead of two, I vow I′ve set down three
(The world has almost had enough of this),
And often neither will the province win:
For third thief stepping in,
′Mid their debate and noisy fray,
With the disputed donkey rides away.

The Ass and Two Thieves. Honoré-Victorin Daumier, 1862

The Ass and Two Thieves. Honoré-Victorin Daumier, 1862


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