Fable: Cicada and Ant, by Jean de la Fontaine
Jean de la Fontaine
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This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.
When you are a child in France, you learn at school “Les Fables de La Fontaine” written in 1668 by poet Jean de La Fontaine.
His work was highly appreciated by the Court of Louis XIV. It now occupies a prominent place in the French cultural heritage and some precepts of the fables are even part of conventional wisdom.
You may not know that the French tend to save money a lot and don’t like to live on credit…
Probably because they learnt the fable called “La cigale et la fourmi” by Monsieur de La Fontaine.
Fable by Jean de La Fontaine translated into English by Christopher CARSTE
“Cicada and Ant” by Jean de la Fontaine
Having sung the summer through,
Cicada found herself quite destitute.
And when the North Wind blew,
Provisions being less than scant,
She crawled on down to neighbor ant
With cries of famine,
Hoping to borrow just a bit of seed
To tide her over till the coming Spring.
“I’ll pay of course,” she tried to plead,
“Before the month of August,
Both interest and principal.
Come, trust a fellow animal!”
The ant however is no lender;
Lending is the least of all her flaws.
“Could you tell me what you did
On all those hot dry days?”
She asked the borrower.
“Night and day, my pardon to you ants,
I sang, for one and all.”
“You sang? I am enthralled!
Now all you have to do is dance.”