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The Fables of La Fontaine

Jean de La Fontaine

Book Overview: 

Jean de la Fontaine's fables were very well-known all over Europe during his life, and are now slowly being rediscovered. This edition contains 240 fables or fairy tales and a biography of Jean de la Fontaine and Aesop, containing the most well-known fables in existence, as well as some lesser-known fables and stories. Walter Thornbury's translation furthermore sets the fables into memorable rhymes.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .us did not allow him to leave without bestowing upon him[Pg xlix] the greatest marks of affection, nor without making him swear that he would return to end his days with him.

Amongst the cities which he visited, Delphi was one of the principal. The Delphians were very willing to listen to him, but they paid him no honours, and Æsop, piqued by this lack of respect, compared them to sticks which float on the water, which at some distance off seem to be something important, but when close at hand are discovered to be worthless. This comparison, however, cost him dear, for the Delphians conceived such a dislike to him, and such a vehement desire of being avenged on him (as well as being impressed by a fear that he would defame them), that they resolved to compass his death. To attain this end, they concealed amongst his goods one of their sacred vessels, intending to accuse him of theft and sacrilege, and then to condemn him to death.

As Æsop w. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Delightful little nuggets of practicality from a polished cynic. There's a delightfully patrician sense of humour behind each one. The edition I read was considerably enhanced by a suite of accomplished illustrations by Quentin Blake. It's a formidable combination.

I read the first fable in the book, The Crow and the Fox, and to me it was a little too short (I wanted a little more detail)! But the story itself was cute, and more importantly, the message at the end was clear and unique. The basic plot centers around a crow who is nibbling on some cheese in a tr