The Wolf and the Dog book cover

The Wolf and the Dog

"The Wolf and the Dog" is a morality tale by Jean de La Fontaine which illustrates the dangers of envy and desiring what others possess. The story follows the encounter of a lean, hungry wolf and a well-fed domestic dog. The dog tempts the wolf with the comforts of his life, but the wolf, realizing the dog is chained and lacks freedom, decides he is content with his life in the wild, drawing a comparison between liberty and material possessions.

Genre: Fable

A Wolf, who was but skin and bone, So watchful had the sheep-dogs grown, Once met a Mastiff fat and sleek, Stern only to the poor and weak. Sir Wolf would fain, no doubt, have munched This pampered cur, and on him lunched; But then the meal involved a fight, And he was craven, save at night; For such a dog could guard his throat As well as any dog of note. So the Wolf, humbly flattering him, Praised the soft plumpness of each limb. "You're wrong, you're wrong, my noble sir, To roam in woods indeed you err," The dog replies, "you do indeed; If you but wish, with me you'll feed. Your comrades are a shabby pack, Gaunt, bony, lean in side and back, Pining for hunger, scurvy, hollow, Fighting for every scrap they swallow. Come, share my lot, and take your ease." "What must I do to earn it, please?" "Do?--why, do nothing! Beggar-men Bark at and chase; fawn now and then At friends; your master always flatter. Do this, and by this little matter Earn every sort of dainty dish-- Fowl-bones or pigeons'--what you wish-- Aye, better things; and with these messes, Fondlings, and ceaseless kind caresses." The Wolf, delighted, as he hears Is deeply moved--almost to tears; When all at once he sees a speck, A gall upon the Mastiff's neck. "What's that?"--"Oh, nothing!" "Nothing?"--"No!" "A slight rub from the chain, you know." "The chain!" replies the Wolf, aghast; "You are not free?--they tie you fast?" "Sometimes. But, law! what matters it?"-- "Matters so much, the rarest bit Seems worthless, bought at such a price." The Wolf, so saying, in a trice, Ran off, and with the best goodwill, And very likely's running still.
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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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