HomeJean de La FontaineTHE WOLF, THE MOTHER, AND THE CHILD

THE WOLF, THE MOTHER, AND THE CHILD. Jean de La Fontaine

This Wolf recalls another to my mind—
A friend who found Fate more unkind—
Caught in a neater way, you′ll see;
He perished—here′s the history:
A peasant dwelt in a lone farm;
The Wolf, his watch intent to keep,
Saw in and out, not tearing harm,
Slim calves and lambs, and old fat sheep,
And regiment of turkeys strutting out;
In fact, good fare was spread about.

The thief grew weary of vain wishes
For dainty dishes;
But just then heard an Infant cry,
The mother chiding angrily—
"Be quiet!
No riot;
Or to the Wolf I′ll give you, brat!"
The Wolf cried, "Now, I quite like that;"
And thanked the gods for being good.
The Mother, as a mother should,
Soon calmed the Child. "Don′t cry, my pet!
If the Wolf comes, we′ll kill him, there!"
"What′s this?" the thief was in a fret;
"First this, then that, there′s no truth anywhere;
I′m not a fool, you know,
And yet they treat me so.
Some day, when nutting, it may hap
I may surprise the little chap."
As these reflections strike the beast,
A mastiff stops the way, at one fierce bound,
To any future feast,
And rough men gird him round.
"What brought you here?" cries many a one;
He told the tale as I have done.
"Good Heavens!" loud the Mother cried;
"You eat my boy! what! darling here
To stop your hunger? Hush! my dear."
They killed the brute and stripped his hide;
His right foot and his head in state
Adorn the Picard noble′s gate;
And this was written underneath
The shrivelled eyes and grinning teeth—
"Good Master Wolves, believe not all
That mothers say when children squall."

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