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THE HORSE AND THE WOLF. Jean de La Fontaine

THE HORSE AND THE WOLF. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

THE HORSE AND THE WOLF. Fable by Jean de La Fontaine. Illustration by Grandville

certain Wolf, in that soft, pleasant season,
When gentle zephyrs freshen every flower,
And animals leave home, for this good reason—
They want to make their hay before the shower:
A Wolf, I say, after rough winters rigour,
Perceived a Horse newly turned out to grass.
You may imagine what his joy was. Vigour
Came to him, when he saw the creature pass.
"Good game!" he said; "I wonder for whose spit?
No sheep this time—I only wish you were.
But this wants cunning, and some little wit:
Then let′s be cunning." So—with learned air,
As practised scholar of Hippocrates,
Who knew the virtues and demerits, too,
Of all the simples of the fields and leas,
And knew the way to cure (the praise is due)
All sorts of sad diseases—if Sir Horse
Would tell his malady, he′d cure the ill,
Quite gratis; for to see him course,
Wandering untethered, at his own free will,
Showed something wrong, if science did not err.
"I have an aposthume," the Horse replied,
"Under my foot." "My son," the doctor cried,
"There is no part so sensitive to blows.
I have the honour to attend your race,
And am a surgeon, too, the whole world knows."
The rascal only waited opportunity
To leap upon the invalid′s sunk flanks.
The Horse, who had mistrust, impatiently
Gave him a kick, expressive of his thanks,
That made a marmalade of teeth and jaws.
"Well done!" the Wolf growled, to himself reflecting:
"Each one should stick to his own trade. My claws
Were made for butchery, not herb-collecting."

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