The Lion Going to War (French Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, French Folk Tales3373


The lion had an enterprise in hand;

Held a war-council, sent his provost-marshal,

And gave the animals a call impartial:

Each, in his way, to serve his high command.

The elephant should carry on his back

The tools of war, the mighty public pack,

And fight in elephantine way and form;

The bear should hold himself prepared to storm;

The fox all secret stratagems should fix;

The monkey should amuse the foe by tricks.

“Dismiss,” said one, “the blockhead asses,

And hares, too cowardly and fleet.”

“No,” said the king; “I use all classes;

Without their aid my force were incomplete.

The ass shall be our trumpeter, to scare

Our enemy. And then the nimble hare

Our royal bulletins shall homeward bear.”

A monarch provident and wise

Will hold his subjects all of consequence,

And know in each what talent lies.

There”s nothing useless to a man of sense.



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