The Elephant and Jupiter's Monkey book cover

The Elephant and Jupiter's Monkey

The Elephant and Jupiter's Monkey by Jean de La Fontaine is a retelling of one of Aesop's classic fables. When a monkey becomes Jupiter's pet, he pompously appoints himself as the king of all the animals. The wise elephant challenges the monkey's arrogant behavior, encouraging humbleness and modesty amongst all creatures. Through this whimsical tale, La Fontaine imparts lessons of humility, respect, and the pitfalls of arrogance.

Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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An Elephant had words, one day, With a Rhinoceros, they say. They settled they would fight it out. But, while the matter was about, Jove's Monkey, like a Mercury, came: Giles was, historians say, his name. The Elephant, a brute ambitious, Was pleased to find the heaven propitious. Eager for fame, he smiled to see So dignified an embassy. But Giles, though wise in all essentials, Is slow presenting his credentials. At length he comes to pay respect, Yet still shows somewhat of neglect; Speaks not a word: no single mention Of the great deities' attention. What care those living in the skies If perish Elephants or flies? The potentate's compelled to speak: "My cousin, Jupiter, this week Will see, from his Olympic throne, A pretty combat, as he'll own; And his Court, too, will see it partly." "What combat?" said the Monkey, tartly. "Pooh!" said the Elephant; "you know 'Bout the Rhinoceros, and the blow; 'Tis property that we dispute. In a long, tedious Chancery suit Elephantor and Rhinocere Are warring, as you've heard up there." "I'm pleased to learn their names, good sir," Said Master Giles; "but, King, you err If you think we of such things heed." The Elephant, surprised indeed, Said, "Who, then, come you now to aid?" "I come to part a blade of grass Between some ants. To every class Our cares of sovereignty extend. As for your wars, my noble friend, The gods have not heard of them yet; Or, if they have, they do forget. The small and great are, in Jove's eye, Guarded with like equality."
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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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