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The fables in the second collection show the greatest technical skill; they are longer, more reflective and more personal than those in the first collection. He enriched the original tales considerably, by adding deft touches of drama or humour to the tales. He wrote his fables in verse, and set them mainly in the countryside. Sometimes, he turned to satire, sometimes he commented on contemporary political issues, but did so with humour and a touch as light as a feather.

The main theme of his tales, however, remains that of the traditional fable: the everyday moral issues of mankind. His fables were first translated into English in The most famous of the English translations are those with pictures by J. Grandville and Gustave Dore. This work is in the public domain. Toggle navigation Menu. Once Upon a Time Stories old and new. Pomegranate Pips Your first stories.

La Fontaine in English

Beyond Stories Story-inspired games. In his own time La Fontaine was considered a vagabond, dreamer, and lover of pleasure. A rustic character, he never was a real courtier and drifted happily from one patron to another. Because of the universal nature of his fables, La Fontaine's poems about industrious ants, brave lions, and carefree grasshoppers are still widely read. Little is known of his early childhood. When he died, La Fontaine inherited, besides considerable dets, his post, which he sold after gaining success as a fabulist.

At school La Fontaine was considered "a well-disposed but hopeless dunce". Shelley and Others, , p. After being educated at the grammar school in Reims, La Fontaine went to Paris to study medicine and theology, but was soon drawn to the whirls of social life. It was not until the end of his life that La Fontaine became interested in religion: religious rituals he dismissed as a waste of time.

Early Works

According to a story told by Jean Racine's son, his father took La Fontaine to church one day and soon noticed that his friend was becoming bored. To prevent him from falling asleep, Racine gave him a small Bible to read. It contained the prayer of the Jews in the Book of Baruch. La Fontaine was so deeply impressed by the prophet that he began to ask his acquaintainces whom he meet on the street, "Have you read Baruch? He was a real genius. It is said that she was amiable and beautiful, but the marriage was unhappy and they separated in La Fontaine was cited as a lawyer in but he never practiced.

He held a number of government posts, which did not pay much money, nor was he very efficient in his duties.

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Terribly absent-minded, La Fontaine once attended the burial of one of his friends, and sometime afterwards went to visit him. On hearing about his death, he said, "It is true enough! For now I recollect I went to his funeral. After leaving his family and moving to Paris, La Fontaine lived there his most creative years. His first published work, L'Eunuque , was an adaptation of Terence's play Eunuchus. The Miller His Son and the Donkey. The Belly and the Members. The Wolf Who Became a Shepherd.

The Frogs Who Asked for a King. The Fox and the Ram. The Eagle the Cat and the Pig. The Drunkard and His Wife. Gout and Spiders. The Wolf and the Stork. The Lion Beaten by the Man. The Swan and the Cook. The Wolves and the Sheep. The Lion Grown Old. The Woman Who Was Drowned. The Weasel in the Pantry.

The Cat and the Old Mouse. The Lion in Love. The Shepherd and the Sea. The Fly and the Ant. The Gardener and His Lord. The Jackass and the Lapdog. The Combat of the Weasels and the Rats.

Musée Jean de La Fontaine | Jean de La Fontaine

The Ape and the Dolphin. The Man and the Wooden Idol. The Frog and the Rat. The Tribute Sent by the Animals to Alexander.

The Fables

The Fox and the Bust. The Wolf the Nanny Goat and the Kid. The Wolf the Mother and the Child. The Wisdom of Socrates. The Old Man and His Children The Woodsman and Mercury. Clay Pot and Iron Pot.

Marianne Moore Reads "The Fables of La Fontaine: The Woods and the Woodsman"

The Little Fish and the Fisherman. The Ears of the Hare. The Satyr and the Wayfarer. The Horse and the Wolf. The Farmer and His Sons. Fortune and the Young Boy. The Ass Bearing Relics. The Serpent and the File. The Eagle and the Owl. The Lion Prepares for War. The Bear and the Two Guys. The Ass in a Lionskin. The Shepherd and the Lion. The Lion and the Hunter The Sun and the North Wind Jupiter and His Tenant Farmer. The Mouse the Cockerel and the Cat. The Fox the Monkey and the Animals. The Old Man and the Ass. The Tortoise and the Hare. The Donkey and His Masters.

The Sun and the Frogs. The Peasant and the Serpent. The Ailing Lion and the Fox. The Bird Catcher the Hawk and the Lark.


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The Horse and the Ass. The Bemired Cart Driver. The Young Widow. Dedication to Madame de Montespan.

The Animals Stricken with the Plague. The Unhappily Married Man. The Rat Who Retired from the World. The Two Cocks. On Mans Ingratitude Toward Fortune.