Short summary - Selected Fables - Jean de La Fontaine

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Selected Fables
Jean de La Fontaine

The Peasant and Death In the
cold winter, an old peasant picks up dead wood and, groaning, carries it to his smoky shack. Stopping on the way to rest, he lowers a bundle of firewood from his shoulders, sits on it and begins to complain about his fate.
In a speech addressed to himself, the old man recalls the need he endures, how he was tortured by the “capitation, boyars, quitrent”, that in his whole life he had not had a single joyful day, and in despondency he called your Death.
At the same moment she appears and asks: "Why did you call me, old man?"
Frightened by her stern appearance, the peasant quickly replies that it was only so that she would help him to lift his bundle.
This story clearly shows: no matter how bad life is, dying is even worse.
Oak and Reed
Once Oak in a conversation with Reed sympathizes with her: she's so thin, weak; she bends under a little sparrow, and even a light wind shakes her. Here he is - he laughs at whirlwinds and thunderstorms, in any bad weather he stands straight and firmly, and with his branches he can protect those who grow below. However, Reed does not accept his pity. She declares that although the wind bends her, it does not break; The storms have not harmed the oak until now, it is true, "but - let's wait for the end!"
And before she has time to utter it, a fierce Aquilon flies in from the north. The reed falls to the ground and thus is saved. The oak holds on, holds on ... but the wind doubles its strength and, roaring, uproots it.
Pigeon and Ant
Somehow a young Pigeon in the midday heat flies to the stream to get drunk and sees an Ant in the water, which has fallen from the stalk. The poor thing is floundering with all her strength and is about to drown. The Good Dove breaks off a grass shoot and throws it to the Ant; he climbs onto a blade of grass and thanks to this is saved. Not even a minute passes when a barefoot tramp with a gun appears on the bank of the stream. He sees the Dove and, seduced by such prey, aims at it. But the Ant comes to the rescue of a friend - he bites the tramp on the heel, and he, screaming in pain, lowers the gun. And Golubok, noticing the danger, flies away safely.
A cat turned into a woman
Once upon a time there was a certain eccentric who passionately loved his cat. He cannot live without her: he puts to sleep in his bed, eats with her from the same plate; finally decides to marry her and begs Fate to turn his cat into a human. Suddenly a miracle happens - a beautiful girl appears in the place of the pussy! The freak is crazy about joy. He never gets tired of hugging, kissing and caressing his beloved. She, too, is in love with him and responds to the marriage proposal with consent (after all, the groom is not old, handsome and rich - no comparison with a cat!). They hurry down the aisle.
The wedding ends, the guests leave, and the young are left alone. But as soon as the happy spouse, burning with desire, begins to undress his wife, she breaks free and rushes ... where? under the bed - there a mouse ran.
Natural inclination cannot be destroyed by anything.
The members of the body and the Stomach
In this fable, the author speaks of the greatness of kings and their connection with their subjects, using for this a comparison with the stomach - the whole body feels whether the stomach is happy or not.
Once the members of the body, tired of working for the Stomach, decide to live only for their own pleasure, without grief, without worries. Legs, Back, Hands and others announce that they will no longer serve him, and, indeed, stop working. However, an empty Stomach no longer renews the blood. The whole body is affected by disease. It is then that the Members learn that the one whom they considered to be a bum was more concerned about their welfare than themselves.
So it is with kings: only thanks to the king and his laws, each person can calmly earn his own bread.
Once people grumbled that the Senate gets honors, and they - only taxes and taxes, and began to rebel. But Menevius Agrippa told them this fable; everyone recognized the justice of his words, and the public excitement calmed down.
The Farmer and the Shoemaker

The wealthy Farmer lives in lush mansions, eats sweet, drinks deliciously. His treasures are innumerable, he gives banquets and feasts every day. In a word, he ought to live and rejoice, but the trouble is that the tax farmer cannot get enough sleep. At night, he cannot fall asleep, either because of fear of ruin, or in heavy thoughts about God's judgment, and he also cannot sleep at dawn because of the singing of a neighbor. The fact is that a poor man lives in a hut next to the mansion. a shoemaker, so cheerful that he sings incessantly from morning to night. What is the tax collector to do here? Telling a neighbor to shut up is not in his power; asked - the request does not work.

Finally he comes up with and immediately sends for a neighbor. He comes. The tax-farmer kindly asks him about his life. The poor man does not complain: there is enough work, the wife is kind and young. The farmer asks if the Shoemaker wants to become richer? And, having received the answer that wealth will not interfere with any person, he hands the poor man a bag of money: "I fell in love with you for the truth." The shoemaker, grabbing the bag, runs home and buries the present in the cellar that night. But since then, he begins to have insomnia. At night the Shoemaker is disturbed by any noise - it seems that there is a thief. At this point, songs do not come to mind!
In the end, the poor man returns the bag of money to the Tax Payer, adding: "... You live with your wealth, And I don't need a million for songs and sleep."
Funeral of the Lioness
Leo's wife died. Animals, to express their sympathy to him, gather from everywhere. The king of beasts cries and groans throughout his entire cave, and, echoing the sovereign, the court staff roars in thousands of ways (this happens in all courts: people are only a reflection of the mood and whims of the king).
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One Deer does not cry for the Lioness - she once killed his wife and son. The court flatterers immediately inform Leo that the Deer does not express the proper grief and laughs at the general grief. The enraged Leo orders the wolves to kill the traitor. But he declares that the deceased queen, all radiant, appeared to him, and ordered not to weep for her: she tasted a thousand pleasures in paradise, knew the joys of the blessed palace and is happy. Hearing this, the whole courtyard unanimously agrees that the Deer had a revelation. The lion with the gifts lets him go home.
Masters should always be amused with fabulous dreams. Even if they are angry with you, flatter them and they will call you their friend.
The Shepherd and the King
Our whole life is ruled by two demons, to whom weak human hearts are subordinate. One of them is called Love, and the other - Ambition. The possessions of the second are broader - sometimes Love is included in them. Many examples of this can be found, but the fable will talk about something else.
In the old days, a certain sensible King, seeing how, thanks to the care of the Shepherd, the flocks have multiplied last year after year and bring a hefty income, calls him to himself, says: "You are worthy to be a shepherd of people" and bestows upon him the title of supreme judge. Although the Shepherd is uneducated, he has common sense, and therefore judges justly.
Once a former shepherd is visited by a Hermit. He advises his friend not to trust in the royal favor - she caresses, threatening to disgrace. The judge only laughs carelessly, and then the Hermit tells him a parable about a blind man who, having lost his scourge, found a frozen Snake on the road and took it in his hands instead of a whip. It was in vain that a passer-by persuaded him to leave the Snake - he, confident that he was forced to part with a good whip out of envy, refused. And what? The snake, warmed up, stung the stubborn in the hand.
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The Hermit turns out to be right. Soon slanderers come to the King: they assure that the judge thinks only about how to get rich. After checking these rumors, the King discovers that the former shepherd lives simply, without luxury and splendor. However, the slanderers are not appeased and insist that the judge surely keeps his treasures in a chest sealed with seven seals. In the presence of all the dignitaries, the King orders the judge's chest to be opened - but there they find only an old, worn-out shepherd's clothing, a bag and a flute. Everyone is embarrassed ...
And the Shepherd, having put on this clothing that does not arouse envy and resentment, leaves the judicial chambers forever. He is content: he knew the hour of his power and the hour of his fall; now the ambitious dream has dissipated, but "who of us has no ambition, at least a bit?"