Death and the Woodcutter book cover

Death and the Woodcutter

"Death and the Woodcutter" is a fable by Jean de la Fontaine that explores various human attitudes towards death. This story depicts a weary and destitute woodcutter who, in a moment of despair, inadvertently calls upon Death. However, when confronted with the grim reaper, he attempts to trick Death and escape his fate. The tale serves as a commentary on human nature and our complex relationship with mortality.

Genre: Fable

A poor Woodcutter, covered with his load, Bent down with boughs and with a weary age, Groaning and stooping, made his sorrowing stage To reach his smoky cabin; on the road, Worn out with toil and pain, he seeks relief By resting for a while, to brood on grief.-- What pleasure has he had since he was born? In this round world is there one more forlorn? Sometimes no bread, and never, never rest. Creditors, soldiers, taxes, children, wife, The corvée. Such a life! The picture of a miserable man--look east or west. He calls on Death--for Death calls everywhere-- Well,--Death is there. He comes without delay, And asks the groaner if he needs his aid. "Yes," said the Woodman, "help me in my trade. Put up these faggots--then you need not stay." Death is a cure for all, say I, But do not budge from where you are; Better to suffer than to die, Is man's old motto, near and far.
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Jean de La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine was a renowned French fabulist and one of the most famous poets during the French classical period. He was born on July 8, 1621, and died on April 13, 1695. Known for his literary style, he is best known for his "Fables", which are considered classics of French literature. His works were marked by his sophisticated style and moral substance, and his fables provided a scathing critique of French society during his time. more…

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