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THE WOLF AND THE STARVED DOG. Jean de La Fontaine

THE WOLF AND THE STARVED DOG. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE WOLF AND THE STARVED DOG. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

Once on a time, a little Carp to man
Preached all in vain; they put him in the pan.
And I repeat, ′tis foolish to let slip
The glass that′s full, and half way to the lip,
In hopes of better wine. The fish was wrong;
The fisherman was right, his reason strong.
One speaks out boldly when a life′s to save;
It needs some eloquence King Death to waive;
But still I hold I′m right, and don′t demur,
If from my former text I do not stir.
A Wolf, less wise than our good fisherman,
Meeting a Dog outside the village, ran
To bear him off. The poor Dog pleaded hard
That he was thin, and not worth his regard.
"My lord, I shall not please you, that is pat;
Wait till the marriage, I shall then grow fat
And quite myself—when master′s daughter′s wed."
The Wolf believed all that the terrier said.
The day expired; he came with faith to see
If good had come from this festivity.
To Wolf without the Dog spoke through the gate:
"Friend, I am coming, if you′ll only wait;
The porter of our lodge is coming, too,
We′ll soon be ready, sir, to wait on you."
The porter was a mastiff, you must know,
Ready to crunch up wolves, and at one blow.
The caller paused: "Your servant I remain,"
He said, and ran and sought the wood again;
Swift, but not clever: the remark was made,
"This Wolf was not a master of his trade."

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