The Miser and His Friend book cover

The Miser and His Friend

The Miser and His Friend is a lively, satirical tale by Jean de La Fontaine. The story revolves around a miser who always fears losing his wealth. When his gold gets stolen, he is devastated. However, his friend suggests that as long as no one else uses his gold, it's just as good as still being his, since he didn't really use it anyway. This irony-filled fable offers a moral lesson about the futility of hoarding wealth instead of using it.


Genre: Fable
Year:
1668
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A Miser once who'd got much money, Was puzzled how to hide that honey; For ignorance and love of gain Being ever sisters twain, Had left him at a total loss Where to secrete his golden dross; And why the Miser was so hot to find A place of safety for his hoarded pelf, Was simply the great fear that filled his mind, That some day he should spend and rob himself: Yes, rob himself by gathering pleasure From the usage of his treasure. Poor Miser! how I pity your mistake! Wealth is not wealth unless we use it, And when we do not we abuse it. Why keep money till the sense Of pleasure dies in impotence? To gather gold alone is wretched slaving; To have to watch it makes it not worth having. However this may be, our Miser might Have found some trusty banker for his gold; But it seemed better, to his purblind sight, To give it to the depths of earth to hold. So with a comrade's aid It soon beneath the turf was laid; But when a little time was past, Our Miser going to re-visit His buried treasure, found a huge deficit. At first despair oppressed him; but at last He hurried to his comrade, and he said-- "To-morrow I shall want your help again; Some bags of gold still in my house remain, And they had better with the rest be laid." The comrade immediately hurried away, And returned all the gold he had taken, Intending to grasp the whole lot the next day; But in this he was somewhat mistaken; For the Miser grown wise by the loss of his store, Resolved 'neath the earth to conceal it no more, But to use and enjoy it; and thus the poor thief, By being too clever, came headlong to grief. In my belief there is no ill in Playing the rascal to a villain.
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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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