The Heron (French Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, French Folk Tales3314


One day,–no matter when or where,:

A long-legg”d heron chanced to fare

By a certain river”s brink,

With his long, sharp beak

Helved on his slender neck;

“Twas a fish-spear, you might think.

The water was clear and still,

The carp and the pike there at will

Pursued their silent fun,

Turning up, ever and anon,

A golden side to the sun.

With ease might the heron have made

Great profits in his fishing trade.

So near came the scaly fry,

They might be caught by the passer-by.

But he thought he better might

Wait for a better appetite:

For he lived by rule, and could not eat,

Except at his hours, the best of meat.

Anon his appetite return”d once more;

So, approaching again the shore,

He saw some tench taking their leaps,

Now and then, from their lowest deeps.

With as dainty a taste as Horace”s rat,

He turn”d away from such food as that.

“What, tench for a heron! poh!

I scorn the thought, and let them go.”

The tench refused, there came a gudgeon;

“For all that,” said the bird, “I budge on.

I'll ne”er open my beak, if the gods please,

For such mean little fishes as these.”

He did it for less; | For it came to pass,

That not another fish could he see;

And, at last, so hungry was he,

That he thought it of some avail

To find on the bank a single snail.

Such is the sure result

Of being too difficult.

Would you be strong and great

Learn to accommodate.



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