Of animals, the human kind
Are to excess the most inclined.
On low and high we make the charge,
Indeed, on the race at large.
There lives not the soul select
That sins not in this respect.
Of “Nothing too much,” the fact is,
All preach the truth, none practice.
-From Nothing Too Much
Happy Birthday to Jean who was born 391 years ago today, in 1621. What better way to kick off our redesigned blog, rethinkedLab, than on the birthday of Jean de La Fontaine, a regular of the 17th century Parisian salons.
De La Fontaine is perhaps the best-known French fabulist and poet of the 17th century. He is most famous for his Comtes which is a collection of roughly 240 fables, each whimsical, with speaking animals, a deep concern for every day human experiences and a moral lesson embedded in the story.
De La Fontaine is a household name in France where virtually every French child knows by heart the story of La Fourmi et La Cigale (The Grasshopper & The Ant ~ Book 1, Fable 1) and Le Corbeau et Le Renard (The Raven & The Stork ~ Book 1, Fable 2) ; the former demonstrating the consequences of procrastination and not planning ahead, while the latter warns of the perils of vanity.
Here are some charming retro illustrations done by Raoul Auger which were printed in a 1962 French edition of the Fables. (Click the link under the image to read the fable in English.)
To learn more about Jean de La Fontaine visit the Musée Jean de La Fontaine where you can enjoy a selection of the fables online and take a virtual tour of Chateau Thierry where de La Fontaine was born and lived for most of his life.
One of our favorite fables is that of The Oak and the Reed (Book 1, Fable 22) as we aspire to and identify with the reed’s nimbleness, resilience, and adaptability.
Happy Sunday rethinkers!
L’Ane Portant Des Reliques
(The Ass Carrying Relics ~ Book 5, Fable 14)
(The Oyster and The Litigants Book 9, Fable 9)
(The Wallet ~ Book 1, Fable 7 )
La Genisse, La Chévre & La Brebis en Société Avec Le Lion
(The Heifer, the Goat and the Sheep, In Company With the Lion ~ Book 1, Fable 6)
La Laitière Et Le Pot Au Lait
(The Dairy Woman and The Pot of Milk ~ Book 7, Fable 11)
La Vieille Et Les Deux Servantes
(The Old Woman and Her Two Servants ~ Book 5, Fable 6)
Le Chameau Et Le Batons Flottants
(The Camel And The Floating Stick ~, Book 4, Fable 10)
Le Chat, La Belette & Le Petit Lapin
(The Cat, the Weasel & The Little Rabbit ~ Book 7, Fable 17)
Le Cheval S’étant Voulu Venger Du Cerf
(The Horse Wishing to Be Revenged on The Stag ~ Book 4, Fable 13)
Le Coq & Le Renard
(The Cock & The Fox ~ Book 2, Fable 15)
Le Paon Se Plaignant A Junon
(The Peacock Complaining to Juno ~ Book 2, Fable17)
Le Singe & Le Dauphin
(The Monkey & The Dolphin ~ Book 4, Fable 7)
(The Old Man and His Sons Book 4, Fable 18)
Les Animaux Malades de La Peste
(The Animals Sick of the Plague ~ Book 7, Fable 2)
La Tortue & Les Deux Canards
(The Tortoise and the Two Ducks ~ Book 10, Fable, 2)
Les Oreilles Du Lièvre
(The Ears of the Hare ~ Book 5, Fable 4)
Fables De La Fontaine 1962 Edition from la Bibliotheque Rouge Et Or
Illustrated by Raoul Auger