The witty fables of Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695)  have delighted generations of readers.

Here is a less known one.

The Parrot and the Squirrel


                                            by Jean de La Fontaine

A young parrot was talking more than a woman
and sometimes he was even more eloquent.
"The renegade," they whispered, "is sure to have a soul,
No doubt he can speak with his eyes."

Although his cackle was much admired
the parrot did not have the gift - so rare -
to be liked.
Everyone hated the parrot of the house.

An agile squirrel,
hopping and tumbling about
- almost a clever monkey -
made himself much loved by all,
including the marmot in the yard.

The parrot said:
"Dear fellow,
How do you go about being liked?"
"I beg you - tell me your secret."

The squirrel, who thought the parrot pathetic,
said wisely:

"My chatty friend,
I'm never feared,
I'm playful
- and always mute."


Le Perroquet et l'écureuil 


                                                     par Jean de La Fontaine                             

Un jeune perroquet parlait plus qu'une femme.
Peut-être parlait-il quelquefois encore mieux.
Le traître, disait-on, a sûrement une âme,
Le fripon sait parler des yeux.
Cependant il n'eut point le rare don de plaire.
Quoiqu'on admirât son caquet,
Partout, dans la maison entière,
On haïssait le perroquet.
Tandis qu'un écureuil agile,
Et par ses sauts et par ses bonds,
Plaisait partout, en singe habile,
Il plaisait jusqu'aux marmitons.

Le perroquet lui dit, compère,
Dis-moi, comment fais-tu pour plaire?
De grâce, apprends-moi ton secret.
L'écureuil, qui trouva le babillard à plaindre,
Répondit sagement: je ne me fais point craindre,
Je badine, et je suis muet.

Original text source: http://forum.animogen.com/viewtopic.php?t=663#p9971

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