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La Cigale et la fourmi

La Cigale et la fourmi

La Cigale, ayant chanté tout l’été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue.
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu’à la saison nouvelle.
Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l’août, foi d’animal,
Intérêt et principal.
La Fourmi n’est pas prêteuse;
C’est là son moindre défaut.
Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud?
Dit-elle à cette emprunteuse.
Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
Vous chantiez? j’en suis fort aise:
Et bien! dansez maintenant.

The Cicada and the Ant

The Cicada, having sung all summer long,
Found herself most destitute,
When the North Wind came.
Not a morsel to her name
Of either fly or worm.
She blurted out her tale of want
To her neighbour Mistress Ant,
And begged her for a loan
Of grain to last her
Till the coming spring.
‘I shall pay you’, were her words,
‘On insect oath, before the fall,
Interest and principal.’
Mistress Ant is not a lender—
That’s the last thing to reproach her with!
‘Tell me how you spent the summer?’
Was what she asked the borrower.
‘Night and day, to every comer,
I sang, so please you ma’am.’
‘You sang? I’m delighted.
Now off you go and dance!’
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

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Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French composer, organist, conductor, and pianist of the Romantic era. A musical prodigy, he gave his first concert at only 10 years old, before studying at the Paris Conservatoire.

Information from Wikipedia. Click here for more information.

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Jean de La Fontaine (8 September 1621 – 13 April 1695) was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.

After a long period of royal suspicion, he was admitted to the French Academy and his reputation in France has never faded since. Evidence of this is found in the many pictures and statues of the writer, as well as later depictions on medals, coins and postage stamps.

Taken from Wikipedia. You can read the full article here.

You can read or download Fontaine's Fables for free here on Gutenberg Press.

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