The Ape and the Leopard book cover

The Ape and the Leopard

In The Ape and the Leopard, Jean de La Fontaine offers a collection of witty and insightful fables composed in verse. Through the use of animal characters like the deceptive ape and the proud leopard, La Fontaine explores various human traits and social relationships. The stories engage and challenge readers to reflect on moral lessons and human nature. Jasmine Baylorsburgh

Genre: Fable

An Ape and a Leopard one day repair-- Money to gain--to a country fair, And setting up separate booths they vie, Each with each, in the arts of cajolery. "Come, see me," cries Leopard, "come, gentlemen come, The price of admission's a very small sum; To the great in all places my fame is well known, And should death overtake me, the king on his throne Would be glad of a robe from my skin; For 'tis mottled and wattled, And stained and ingrained With spots and with lines, lines and spots thick and thin, That truly, though modest, I can but declare, 'Tis by far the most wonderful thing in the fair." This bounce attained its end, and so The gulls came hurrying to the show; But, the sight seen, and the cash spent, They went away in discontent. Meanwhile the Ape cries--"Come, and see The sum of versatility! Yon Leopard boasts, through thick and thin, A splendid show of outside skin; But many varied gifts I have (For which your kind applause I crave) All safely lodged my brain within. Your servant I, Monsieur Guffaw, The noble Bertrand's son-in-law, Chief monkey to his Holiness The Pope. I now have come express, In three huge ships, to have with you The honour of an interview: For speaking is my special forte, And I can dance, and hoops jump through, And other kinds of tumbling do, And magic feats perform of every sort; And for six blancos? no, I say, a sou; But if with the performance you Are discontented, at the door To each his money we'll restore." And right was the Ape: For the colour and shape Of fine clothes can but please for awhile, Whilst the charms of a brain That is witty, remain, And for ever can soothe and beguile. Ah! there's many a one, Lord and gentleman's son, Who holds high estate here below, Who to Leopards akin Has nought but fine skin As the sum of his merits to show.
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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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