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The Swan and the Cook

"The Swan and the Cook" is a satirical short story by Jean de La Fontaine. Drawing on the traditional animal fable, the narrative revolves around a swan saved by a cook from being slaughtered and cooked. The swan, going beyond its simple bird root, becomes a beloved court performer, renowned for its beauty and singing voice. This allegorical tale criticizes the court's superficial judgments of value, where grace and talent are valued over sustenance and practicality.

Genre: Fable

In a menagerie a Swan and Goose Lived like sworn friends, in peace and amity. This one was meant to please the master's eye, The other fitted for his palate's use: This for the garden, that one for the board. The château's fosse was their long corridor, Where they could swim, in sight of their liege lord, Splash, drink, and paddle, or fly o'er and o'er, Unwearied of their pastime, down the moat. One day the Cook, taking a cup too much, Mistook the birds, and, seizing by the throat, Was just about to kill--his blindness such-- The helpless Swan, and thrust him in the pot. The bird began to sing his dying song: The Cook, in great surprise, Opened his sleepy eyes. "What do I do?" he said; "I had forgot: No, no, Jove willing! may my neck be strung, Before I kill a bird that sings so well." Thus, in the dangers that around us throng, Soft words are often useful, as it here befell.
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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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