The Fly and the Ant book cover

The Fly and the Ant

"The Fly and the Ant" is a collection of fables by Jean de La Fontaine, one of the most famous fabulists in France. The book includes the named tale in which a fly and an ant distinct in characteristics engage in intellectual and philosophical dialogues, revealing profound morals. La Fontaine's stories are deeply imbued with humor, wisdom, and a keen understanding of human nature, making the book not just an entertaining read but also a thoughtful and educational one.

Genre: Fable

Submitted by davidb on September 28, 2023

The Fly and Ant once quarrelled seriously: "O Jupiter!" the first exclaimed, "how vanity Blinds the weak mind! This mean and crawling thing Actually ventures to compare With me, the daughter of the air. The palace I frequent, and on the board I taste the ox before our sovereign lord; While this poor paltry creature lives for days On the small straw she drags through devious ways. Come, Mignon, tell me plainly now, Do you camp ever on a monarch's brow, Or on a beauty's cheek? Well, I do so,-- And on her bosom, too, I'd have you know. I sport among her curls; I place Myself upon her blooming face. The ladies bound for conquest go To us for patches; their necks' snow With spots of blackness well contrast, Of all her toilette cares the last. Come, now, good fellow, rack your brain, And let us hear of sense some grain." "Well, have you done?" replied the Ant. "You haunt king's palaces, I grant; But then, by every one you're cursed. It's very likely you taste first The gods' own special sacred feast: Nor is it better, sir, for that. The fane you enter, with the train-- So do the godless and profane. On heads of kings or dogs, 'tis plain, You settle freely when not wanted, And you are punished often--granted. You talk of patches on a belle, I, too, should patch them just as well. The name your vanity delights, Frenchmen bestow on parasites; Cease, then, to be so grossly vain, Your aspirations, Miss, restrain; Your namesakes are exiled or hung, And you with famine will be clung. With cold and freezing misery, Will come your time of penury, When our King Phœbus goes to cheer And rule the other hemisphere: But I shall live upon my store, My labours for the summer o'er, Nor over mountains and seas go, Through storm and rain, and drifting snow; No sorrow near me will alloy The fulness of the present joy; Past trouble bars out future care, True not false glory is our share; And this I wish to show to you-- Time flies, and I must work. Adieu! This idle chattering will not fill My little granary and till."
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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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