The Old Cat and the Young Mouse

La Fontaine January 17, 2015
French
Easy
1 min read
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    A young and inexperienced mouse
    Had faith to try a veteran cat,—
    Raminagrobis, death to rat,
    And scourge of vermin through the house,—
    Appealing to his clemency
    With reasons sound and fair.
    “Pray let me live; a mouse like me
    It were not much to spare.
    Am I, in such a family,
    A burden? Would my largest wish
    Our wealthy host impoverish?
    A grain of wheat will make my meal;
    A nut will fat me like a seal.
    I’m lean at present; please to wait,
    And for your heirs reserve my fate.”
    The captive mouse thus spake.
    Replied the captor, “You mistake;
    To me shall such a thing be said?
    Address the deaf! address the dead!
    A cat to pardon!—old one too!
    Why, such a thing I never knew.
    Thou victim of my paw,
    By well-establish’d law,
    Die as a mousling should,
    And beg the sisterhood
    Who ply the thread and shears,
    To lend thy speech their ears.
    Some other like repast
    My heirs may find, or fast.”
    He ceased. The moral’s plain.
    Youth always hopes its ends to gain,
    Believes all spirits like its own:
    Old age is not to mercy prone.

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