Jean de La Fontaine

July 8, 1621 - April 13, 1695


The Raven And The Fox

by Jean de La Fontaine

Perched on a lofty oak,
Sir Raven held a lunch of cheese;
Sir Fox, who smelt it in the breeze,
Thus to the holder spoke:
Ha! how do you do, Sir Raven?
Well, your coat, sir, is a brave one!
So black and glossy, on my word, sir,
With voice to match, you were a bird, sir,
Well fit to be the Phoenix of these days.

Sir Raven, overset with praise,
Must show how musical his croak.
Down fell the luncheon from the oak;
Which snatching up, Sir Fox thus spoke:
The flatterer, my good sir,
Aye liveth on his listener;
Which lesson, if you please,
Is doubtless worth the cheese.

A bit too late, Sir Raven swore
The rogue should never cheat him more.

See also:
The Fox and the Crow by Aesop


The Fables of La Fontaine
Copyright 1881
Translator: Elizur Wright, Jr.
H. M. Caldwell Co., Publishers
New York and Boston