The Fox and the Goat book cover

The Fox and the Goat

"The Fox and the Goat" is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine that teaches the lesson of foresight and critical thinking. The story revolves around a sly fox who tricks a foolish goat into helping him escape a well. Once the fox is out, he doesn't reciprocate the goat's help, leaving the goat trapped in the well. The fox states the moral of the story before departing: never trust the advice of a man in difficulties.

Genre: Fable

Submitted by davidb on September 28, 2023

A Fox once travelled, and for company His friend, a large-horned Goat, had he, Who scarce could see an inch beyond his nose, While Reynard every trick and quibble knows. Thirst drove these folks, it so befell, To seek the bottom of a well. After they'd had their bout of drinking, Says Reynard, "Comrade, I am thinking How we can best get out from here; Put up your feet and horns--no fear-- Rear up against the wall, my friend, And I'll climb up--our troubles end. One spring upon your horns will do; And I once out can rescue you." "Now, by my beard! I like the plan," The other said, "you're one that can; Such folks as you see clear through things, Some never learn the secret springs; I never should have found it out, Though I had groped a year about." The Fox once free, the Goat compelled To learn a sermon--the text's "patience." "If Heaven," he said, "had only held It right to give thee and thy dull relations Half as much sense as beard-- (But then it hasn't, I'm afeard); Still use your efforts, my dear sir--no perturbations. Certain affairs of state Will hardly let me longer wait; In everything 'tis well to mind the end, In future think of that, my friend."
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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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