The Ass and the Little Dog book cover

The Ass and the Little Dog

The Ass and the Little Dog is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine which tells the story of an ass who becomes envious of a little dog's close relationship with their owner. The ass tries to win the master’s affection by imitating the dog’s playful behavior. However, the imitation only leads to disaster, as the master gets annoyed and drives the ass away. The story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of envy and the importance of being true to one's nature.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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To ape a talent not your own Is foolish; no one can affect a grace. A blundering blockhead better leave alone The gallant's bows, and tricks, and smiling face. To very few is granted Heaven's dower-- Few have infused into their life the power To please, so better far to leave the charm To them. And may I ask you, where's the harm? One would not bear resemblance to the Ass, Who wishing to be dearer to his master, Amiably went to kiss him; so it came to pass There followed instantly no small disaster. "What!" said he, "shall this paltry thing Assume by dint of toadying, Win Madam's friendly fellowship, And twist and gambol, fawn and skip, While I have only blows? no, no! What does he do?--why, all fools know-- He gives his paw; the thing is done, And then they kiss him every one. If that is all, upon my word, To call it difficult 's absurd." Full of this glorious thought, one luckless day, Seeing his master smiling pass that way, The clumsy creature comes, and clumsily Chucks with his well-worn hoof quite gallantly His master's chin; to please him still the more, With voice, so sweet, sonorous brays his best. "Oh, what caresses, and what melody!" The master cries; "Ho! Martin, come, be quick! And, Martin, bring the heaviest stick!" Then Martin comes; the donkey changed his tune. So ended the brief comedy In bitter blows and misery. Donkeys' ambitions pass so soon.
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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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