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THE SICK STAG. Jean de La Fontaine

In a land where stags abounded,
One fell very sick indeed;
And he saw his bed surrounded
By a dozen "friends in need."
"Gentlemen!" he muttered, "leave me,
Leave me, I implore, to fate:
Since your tears can only grieve me,
And your solace comes too late."
Not a bit;—their lamentations
Lasted for a week, or more;

While they took their daily rations
From his very scanty store.
Bit by bit his food diminished,
Under such attacks as these;
Till the sufferer′s course was finished
By starvation—not disease.

For comforters of every kind
Some fee is necessary, mind;
And nobody will give advice,
Or shed a tear, without his price.

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