The Miser and the Monkey (French Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, French Folk Tales3220


A Man amass”d. The thing, we know,

Doth often to a frenzy grow.

No thought had he but of his minted gold:

Stuff void of worth when unemploy”d, I hold.

Now, that this treasure might the safer be,

Our miser”s dwelling had the sea

As guard on every side from every thief.

With pleasure, very small in my belief,

But very great in his, he there

Upon his hoard bestow”d his care.

No respite came of everlasting

Recounting, calculating, casting;

For some mistake would always come

To mar and spoil the total sum.

A monkey there, of goodly size,:

And than his lord, I think, more wise,:

Some doubloons from the window threw,

And render”d thus the count untrue.

The padlock”d room permitted

Its owner, when he quitted,

To leave his money on the table.

One day, bethought this monkey wise

To make the whole a sacrifice

To Neptune on his throne unstable.

I could not well award the prize

Between the monkey”s and the miser”s pleasure

Derived from that devoted treasure.

One day, then, left alone,

That animal, to mischief prone,

Coin after coin detach”d,

A gold jacobus snatch”d,

Or Portuguese doubloon,

Or silver ducatoon,

Or noble, of the English rose,

And flung with all his might

Those discs, which oft excite

The strongest wishes mortal ever knows.

Had he not heard, at last,

The turning of his master”s key,

The money all had pass”d

The same short road to sea;

And not a single coin but had been pitch”d

Into the gulf by many a wreck enrich”d.

Now, God preserve full many a financier

Whose use of wealth may find its likeness here!



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