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The Wolf and the Fox

"The Wolf and the Fox" is a classic fable by Jean de La Fontaine that centers on the deceptive relationship between a fox and a wolf. The cunning fox tricks the wolf multiple times for his own survival. The narrative presents themes of cleverness and survival, offering valuable lessons about wit, deception, and the balance of power in relationships between unequals. It is a timeless storytelling that sparks reflection on the dynamics of cunningness and naivety.

Genre: Fable

Why to the Fox does Æsop ever Give the palm of being clever? I the reason oft have sought, Without of reason finding aught. When the Wolf's engaged in strife, To save his own or take a life, The Fox can do no more than he, Or half as much, and so I might With Master Æsop disagree. But there's a case has come to light, In which 'tis fair I should admit The Fox displayed the greater wit. On one fine night it so befell That Reynard, looking down a well, The moons full silver circle sees, And takes it for a lordly cheese. Two pails, above the well suspended, To draw the water were intended; And into that which higher hung, Good Master Reynard, famished, sprung. Down swift he went, and, to his woe, Found out his sad mistake below. He saw his death before his eyes; For he could never hope to rise, Unless some other famished thing, Enticed by Dian's silver face, Into the other pail should spring, And then, by sinking, take his place. Two days passed on without a visit From any creature; and, meanwhile, Old Time had made a huge deficit In Mistress Moon's well-rounded smile. But, just as all seemed lost, at last A hungry Wolf the well's mouth past; To whom the Fox, with joyous hail, Cried, "Mister Wolf, with me regale; This glorious cheese you here behold, From Fauna's hands received its mould, Of milk which heifer Io gave. If Jupiter were lying ill, I think the god himself would crave Of this delicious cheese to have his fill. I've eaten my share, as you plainly may see, But enough still remains both for you and for me; So, enter that pail, placed expressly for you." Now, whether this story was told well, or not, The Wolf, like a fool, took it all in as true, And into the bucket with eagerness got; When, outweighed, of course, Master Reynard got up, And the other remained, on the moonshine to sup. And yet, why blame the luckless beast? For, tempted by some phantom feast, As easily deceived, That which he hopes, or that he fears, In either of the hemispheres. Is by each man believed.
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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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