Fairy tales for the Yuletide season!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lafontaine's Fable: The Stag Who Saw His Reflection in the Pool



The Stag Who Saw His Reflection in the Pool

In a deep crystalline pool of water a stag gazed
lovingly at his own reflection.
The beauty of his antler array  
impressed him.
But his slender legs
vanishing in the water
tortured his inner thoughts.

He vainly stood  there  
in satisfied self-regard.
Only his slender legs did not speak to
what a fine fellow he was.
“What dumb luck!” said he
“that I should bear such branches on my proud head,
as if I had robbed a tree, yet
my legs are spindle-thin!”
While the stag was thus complaining bitterly
came panting a wild hunting dog.
The stag by running into the
wooded preserve thought to save himself.
But his antler piece – treacherous ornamentation –
stopped him in his tracks.
His legs would save his life,
but his antlers became tangled  in the bush,
where he did curse aloud those very gifts,
that heaven had bestowed so plenteously year for year.


Beauty corrupts; what is useful we forget.
We call marvelous what brings us down.
The stag abjures his legs that make him mobile.
It’s his antlers, he thinks, that make him noble.
 

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