The Coach and the Fly book cover

The Coach and the Fly

The Coach and the Fly is a classic short story by Jean de La Fontaine. It centers on a fly that believes it is extremely instrumental in making a horse-drawn carriage move while in reality, the true hard worker is the coachman. The amusing tale is a critique of those who overestimate their own importance and underestimate the efforts of others, demonstrating that the true weight of work is often carried by those less recognized.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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Up a long dusty hill, deep sunk in sand, Six sturdy horses drew a Coach. The band Of passengers were pushing hard behind: Women, old men, and monks, all of one mind. Weary and spent they were, and faint with heat; Straight on their heads the sunbeams fiercely beat. In the hot air, just then, came buzzing by, Thinking to rouse the team, a paltry Fly. Stings one, and then another; views the scene: Believing that this ponderous machine Is by his efforts moved, the pole bestrides; And now upon the coachman's nose he rides. Soon as the wheels begin again to grind The upward road, and folks to push behind, He claims the glory; bustles here and there, Fussy and fast, with all the toil and care With which a general hurries up his men, To charge the broken enemy again, And victory secure. The Fly, perplexed With all the work, confessed that she was vexed No one was helping, in that time of need. The monk his foolish breviary would read: He chose a pretty time! a woman sang: Let her and all her foolish songs go hang! Dame Fly went buzzing restless in their ears, And with such mockery their journey cheers. After much toil, the Coach moves on at last: "Now let us breathe; the worst of it is past," The Fly exclaimed; "it is quite smooth, you know; Come, my good nags, now pay me what you owe." So, certain people give themselves great airs, And meddlers mix themselves with one's affairs; Try to be useful, worry more and more, Until, at last, you show the fools the door.
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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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