The fox and the crow

The fabulist Jean de la Fontaine (1621-95) has his statue in the Ranelagh Gardens (see previous post). The present statue from 1984 replaces a statue from 1891 which among many others disappeared during WWII - the metal was required by the occupants for other use. (The stand is the original one.)

The present statue refers more particularly to the fable “The Fox and the Crow” and we can see that the fox and the crow were represented already on the previous statue.

The fable which of course serves as a warning against listening to flattery was published in 1668 in an illustrated version in the first of 12 volumes of fables.  Jean de la Fontaine made no secret of the fact that he often based his fables on existing ones. This fable is already attributed to the Greek fabulist Aesop (620-564 BC) and exists also in other cultures, e.g. in India.

Here you can read La Fontaine’s fable in its French and a translated English version. 

La Fontaine is buried, close to his friend Molière, at the Père Lachaise cemetery (see previous post). (Their remains were brought there in 1817 in order to attract interest for the cemetery, then newly opened and by people considered to be too far from the city centre.)


martinealison said...

Bonjour cher Peter,

Je ne savais pas et je ne suis jamais passée par là pour admirer cette statue.
Une très belle oeuvre des héros de l'une des fable de Jean de La Fontaine.
J'ai tant appris de fables de lui.
Je me souviens encore petite avoir illustré de nombreuses de ses fables sur mon cahier de poésies.

Plus tard, j'ai offert à mes enfants de nombreux livres merveilleusement bien illustrés de La Fontaine.
Des fables qui symbolisent l'exemple.

Merci cher Peter pour ce joli billet.

Jeanie said...

I've always loved that fable and it makes me smile that it's on the streets of Paris.

Studio at the Farm said...

They are both beautiful statues, Peter, though I prefer the old one. How sad that it was destroyed for the war effort.

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claude said...

Ne serait-ce pas la fable la plus célèbre de La Fontaine. Dans le parc du Puy du Fou il y est fait référence également.
Un jour je l'ai entendu en argot, ça valait son pesant de cacahuètes.

Thirtytwo degrees said...

This is a wonderful fable which is a favorite of George Washington's too. I saw it in Fredricsburg, Va. years ago and have not forgotten the message. Fancy that you should show it here now...so pleased that you did. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Alain said...

Les fables de La Fontaine sont, certes, moralisatrices, mais on peut remarquer que les "méchants" - la cigale imprévoyante ou le renard flatteur et fourbe - par exemple, sont quand même plus sympathiques que la fourmi - avare et peu charitable - ou le corbeau - orgueilleux et sot. Peut-être parce que La Fontaine était lui même flatteur et imprévoyant.

Catherine said...

Love the literary connections here...

Anonymous said...

¡Mi fabula favorita!

La estatua es preciosa...

Gracias Peter.