The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox book cover

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox

The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox is a fable by Jean de La Fontaine that explores themes of deceit, cruelty, and the abuse of power. In the tale, a lion, reigning as king, falls ill and promises to reward any animal that can cure him. A cunning fox tricks a wolf into aggravating the lion, which leads to the wolf's demise, while the fox reaps the rewards of the king's promise. The story is a classic commentary on the dangers of manipulation and the injustice of corrupt leadership.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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A Lion, sickly, weak, and full of years, Desired a remedy against old age (Impossible's a word no monarch hears Without directly flying in a rage). He sent for doctors--men of draughts and pills; From far and near, obedient to the call, Came makers-up of recipes and pills: The Fox alone declined to come at all. At court the Wolf malignantly referred To Reynard's absence, whereupon the King-- Whose anger was aroused at what he heard--- Decided on a rather cruel thing. He sent a force to smoke sly Reynard out, And bring him, willy nilly. When he came, The Fox could scarcely entertain a doubt As to whose tongue had put him thus to shame. "I greatly fear, your Majesty," said he, "You think me rude; you wrong me, if you do: For I was on a pilgrimage, you see, And went to offer up my vows for you. I scarcely need inform you I have met Expert physicians whilst I was away, And hope to cure you of your sickness yet, Which comes from coldness of the blood, they say You must, sire, skin a Wolf, and wrap the skin About you close, to get the body warmed; And when the heat has kindled up within The fires of life again, the cure's performed. Our friend, I'm sure, will take immense delight In lending you his coat; so, take it, sire." The Lion supped upon the Wolf that night, And made the skin a part of his attire. Courtiers, discretion is your safest plan: Malice is sure to find its source again; And, while you do yourself what good you can, Reflect that slandering others is in vain.
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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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