The Falcon and the Capon book cover

The Falcon and the Capon

"The Falcon and the Capon" is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine that uses animal characters to reflect human behaviour. The story explores a tamed falcon who refuses to hunt capons, pointing out that he was one of them before he grew into a falcon. Through this compelling narrative, La Fontaine explores themes of identity, memory, and conflict between nature and nurture, drawing readers into a profound reflection on human nature and the cost of training and civilizing.

Genre: Fable

A treacherous voice will sometimes call; Hear it, but trust it not at all. Not meaningless the thing I tell, But like the clog of Jean Nivelle. A citizen of Mons, by trade, A Capon, one day, was dismayed, Being summoned, very suddenly, Before his master's Lares; he Disliked that tribunal, the spit (It was a fowl of ready wit). Yet all the folks, their scheme to hide, "Coop, coop, coop, coop," so softly cried. "Your servant; your gross bait is vain; You won't catch me, I say again." All this a Falcon saw, perplexed: What had the silly creature vexed? Instinct, experience, or no, Fowls have no faith in us, I know; And this one, caught with endless trouble, To-morrow in a pot would bubble, Or in a stately dish repose-- Small honour, as the Capon knows. The Falcon the poor creature blamed; "I am astonished! I'm ashamed! You scum! you canaille! how you act! You're half an idiot, that's a fact. I come back to my master's fist, And hunt for him whate'er he list. Why, see, he's at the window, there; You're deaf; he's calling, I declare." "I know too well," the Fowl replied, Not caring for the Falcon's pride: "What does he want to say to me? The cook has got his knife, I see. Would you attend to such a bait? Now, let me fly, or I'm too late; So, cease to mock. Nay, now, good master, That wheedling voice portends disaster! Had you seen at the friendly hearth As many Falcons of good birth As I've seen Capons put to roast, You'd not reproach me with vain boast."
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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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