The Wax Candle book cover

The Wax Candle

The Wax Candle is a collection of fables written by Jean de La Fontaine. The book features allegorical tales that teach moral lessons, pointing out the follies and vices of humans in an entertaining manner. Each tale includes various characters such as animals, humans, and mythical creatures. The book's title fable, The Wax Candle, tells the story of being cautious of the consequences of one's greed and selfishness. The story, like many others within the book, serves as a simple, memorable moral lesson for readers of all ages.

Genre: Fable

Submitted by davidb on September 28, 2023

From heaven the Bees came down, they say, And on Hymettus' top, one day, Settled, and from sweet Zephyr's flowers Stole all the treasures and strange powers; And when th' ambrosia from each field, Long in their store-rooms close concealed, Was, to speak simple French, all taken, And the mere empty comb forsaken, Many Wax Tapers, from it made, Were sold by those to whom that trade Belongs. One of these Candles, long and thick, Seeing clay hardened into brick By fire, made to endure for aye, Like an Empedocles, to die, Resolved to perish in the flame. A foolish martyr, seeking fame, He leaped in headlong. Reasoning vain: Small wisdom in his empty brain. No human being's like another: One cannot argue from one's brother. Empedocles burnt up like paper; Yet wasn't madder than this Taper. "NOT TOO MUCH." I Find in no one race or nation Of men what I call moderation; Both animals and plants do err In this respect, I must aver. Nature's great Master wished that we Should guard the golden mean, you see; But do we?--No; and once more, No! Whether to good or ill we go. The corn that Ceres from her hand Spreads lavish o'er the fertile land, Too richly grows, and drains the ground, Luxuriant, and without a bound; So that from rank and crowded grain All nourishment the deep roots drain; The trees spread likewise heedlessly To check the corn. God graciously Gives us the sheep to check ill growth; Amid the corn they, nothing loath, Plunge headlong, and so, ruthless, spoil The slow result of peasants' toil. Then Heaven sends the wolf to thin The sheep--they gobble kith and kin-- If they spare one 'tis not their fault, They're but too ready to assault; Then man the speedy punishment Unto the cruel wolves is sent. Next man--far worst of all abuses-- The power Divine he rashly uses. Man, of all animals yet known, Is more disposed to this, I own; Little or great, unto excess We carry all things, I confess; No soul that lives but errs, I see, In this respect continually, The good text, "Not too much," is met Often, but never practised yet.
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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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