The Ass and His Masters book cover

The Ass and His Masters

"The Ass and His Masters" is a collection of fables by Jean de La Fontaine. The book revolves around an ass whose tale varies depending on the master it serves, representing individuals in different societal roles and exposing various aspects of human nature, such as greed, folly, and misunderstanding. Using the ass as an allegorical figure, the author weaves moral lessons and satirical commentary on human behavior and societal norms.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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A Gardener's Donkey once complained to Fate Of having to rise earlier than the sun. "The cocks," he said, "are certainly not late; But I have got to rise ere they've begun. And all for what?--to carry herbs to sell: A pretty cause to break one's morning sleep!" Fate, touched by this appeal, determined well To give the beast to other hands to keep: The Gardener to a Tanner yields him next. The weight of hides, and their distressing fume, Soon shock our friend; he is far worse perplexed: His mind again begins to lower and gloom. "I much regret," he said, "my first good man, For when he turned his head I always got A bite of cabbage;--that was just my plan: It cost me not a single sous, or jot; But here no, no rewards but kick and cuff."-- His fortune shifts; a Charcoal-dealer's stall Receives him. Still complaints, and quantum suff. "What! not content yet," Fate cries, "after all? This Ass is worse than half a hundred kings. Does he, forsooth, think he's the only one That's not content? Have I no other things To fill my mind but this poor simpleton?" And Fate was right. No man is satisfied: Our fortune never fits our wayward minds; The present seems the worst we've ever tried; We weary Heaven with outcries of all kinds. And yet, if Jupiter gave each his will, We should torment his ear with wishes still.
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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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