Page:La Fontaine - The Original Fables Of, 1913.djvu/28

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IV

THE MAN AND HIS IMAGE

(Book I.—No. 11)

Once there was a man who loved himself very much, and who permitted himself no rivals in that love. He thought his face and figure the handsomest in all the world. Anything in the shape of a mirror that could show him his own likeness he took care to avoid; for he did not want to be reminded that perhaps he was over-rating his beauty. For this reason he hated looking-glasses and accused them of being false. He made a very great mistake in this respect; but that he did not mind, being quite content to live in the happiness the mistake afforded him.

To cure him of so grievous an error, officious Fate managed matters in such a way that wherever he turned his eyes they would fall on one of those mute little counsellors that ladies carry and appeal to when they are anxious about their appearance. He found mirrors in the houses; mirrors in the shops; mirrors in the pockets of gallants; mirrors even as ornaments on the waist-belts of ladies.

What was he to do— this poor Narcissus? He thought to avoid all such things by going far away from the haunts of mankind, where he should never have to face