The Frog and the Rat book cover

The Frog and the Rat

"The Frog and the Rat" is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine that presents a moral lesson about ambition and consequences. The story revolves around a frog who, desiring to be as big as a rat, puffs herself up to an unnatural size. Despite the warning from the rat about the dangers, the frog continues to inflate itself until it bursts. This cautionary tale serves as a metaphor to warn against vanity, false pride, and over-ambition.

Genre: Fable

Merlin said well, that those who often cheat Will sometimes cheat themselves--the phrase is old. I'm sorry that it is, I must repeat It's full of energy, and sound as gold. But to my story: once a well-fed Rat, Rotund and wealthy, plump and fat, Not knowing either Fast or Lent, Lounging beside a marsh pool went. A Frog addressed him in the Frog's own tongue, And asked him home to dinner civilly. No need to make the invitation long. He spoke, however, of the things he'd see: The pleasant bath, worth curiosity; The novelties along the marsh's shore, The score and score Of spots of beauty, manners of the races, The government of various places, Some day he would recount with glee Unto his youthful progeny; One thing alone the gallant vexed, And his adventurous soul perplexed; He swam but little, and he needed aid. The friendly Frog was undismayed; His paw to hers she strongly tied, And then they started side by side. The hostess towed her frightened guest Quick to the bottom of the lake-- Perfidious breach of law of nations-- All promises she faithless breaks, And sinks her friend to make fresh rations. Already did her appetite Dwell on the morsel with delight, Lunch, Scrunch! He prays the gods; she mocks his woe; He struggles up; she pulls below. And while this combat is fought out, A Kite that's seeking all about Sees the poor Rat that's like to drown; And pounces swift as lightning down. The Frog tied to him, by the way, Also became the glad Kite's prey; They gave him all that he could wish, A supper both of meat and fish. So oftentimes a base deceit Falls back upon the father cheat; So oftentimes doth perfidy Return with triple usury.
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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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