- Death and the Dying
- The Cobbler and the Financier
- The Lion, the Wolf, and the Fox
- The Power Of Fables
- The Man and the Flea
- The Women and the Secret
- The Dog That Carried His Master’s Dinner
- The Joker and the Fishes
- The Rat and the Oyster
- The Bear and the Amateur Gardener
- The Two Friends
- The Hog, the Goat, and the Sheep
- Thyrsis And Amaranth
- The Funeral of the Lioness
- The Rat and the Elephant
- The Horoscope
- The Ass and the Dog
- The Pashaw and the Merchant
- The Use Of Knowledge
- Jupiter and the Thunderbolts
- The Falcon and the Capon
- The Cat and the Rat
- The Torrent and the River
- The Two Dogs and the Dead Ass
- Democritus and the People Of Abdera
- The Wolf and the Hunter
A trading Greek, for want of law,
Protection bought of a pashaw;
And like a nobleman he paid,
Much rather than a man of trade—
Protection being, Turkish-wise,
A costly sort of merchandise.
So costly was it, in this case,
The Greek complained, with tongue and face.
Three other Turks, of lower rank,
Would guard his substance as their own,
And all draw less on his bank,
Than did the great pashaw alone.
The Greek their offer gladly heard,
And closed the bargain with a word.
The said pashaw was made aware,
And counseled, with a prudent care
These rivals to anticipate,
By sending them to heaven’s gate,
As messengers to Mahomet—
Which measure should he much delay,
Himself might go the self-same way,
By poison offered secretly,
Sent on, before his time, to be
Protector to such arts and trades
As flourish in the world of shades.
On this advice, the Turk—no gander—
Behaved himself like Alexander.
Straight to the merchant’s, firm and stable,
He went, and took a seat at table.
Such calm assurance there was seen,
Both in his words and in his mien,
That even that weasel-sighted Grecian
Could not suspect him of suspicion.
“My friend,” said he, “I know you’ve quit me,
And some think caution would befit me,
Lest to despatch me be your plan:
But, deeming you too good a man
To injure either friends or foes
With poisoned cups or secret blows,
I drown the thought, and say no more.
But, as regards the three or four
Who take my place,
I crave your grace
To listen to an apologue.
“A shepherd, with a single dog,
Was asked the reason why
He kept a dog, whose least supply
Amounted to a loaf of bread
For every day. The people said
He’d better give the animal
To guard the village seignior’s hall;
For him, a shepherd, it would be
A thriftier economy
To keep small curs, say two or three,
That would not cost him half the food,
And yet for watching be as good.
The fools, perhaps, forgot to tell
If they would fight the wolf as well.
The silly shepherd, giving heed,
Cast off his dog of mastiff breed,
And took three dogs to watch his cattle,
Which ate far less, but fled in battle.
His flock such counsel lived to rue,
As doubtlessly, my friend, will you.
If wise, my aid again you’ll seek—”
And so, persuaded, did the Greek.
Not vain our tale, if it convinces
Small states that It’s a wiser thing
To trust a single powerful king,
Than half a dozen petty princes.
An envoy of the Porte Sublime,As history says, once on a time,Before th' imperial Germ ...
The Pashaw and the Merchant by Jean de La Fontaine’s Fables in Book 8
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