Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/111

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.



(Book XI.—No. 5)

King Lion, thinking that he would govern better if he took a few lessons in moral philosophy, had a monkey brought to him one fine day who was a master of arts in the monkey tribe. The first lesson he gave was as follows:—

"Great King, in order to govern wisely a prince should always consider the good of the country before yielding to that feeling which is commonly known as self-love, for that fault is the father of all the vices one sees in animals. To rid oneself of this sentiment is not an easy thing to do, and is not to be done in a day. Indeed, merely to moderate it is to achieve a good deal, and if you succeed so far you will never tolerate in yourself anything ridiculous or unjust."

"Give me," commanded the king, "an example of each of those faults."

"Every species of creature," continued the philosopher, "esteems itself in its heart above all the others. These others it regards as ignoramuses, calling them by many hard names which, after all, hurt nobody. At the same time this self-love, which sneers at other tribes and other kinds of beasts, induces the individual to heap praise