The Original Fables of La Fontaine/Love and Folly

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For works with similar titles, see Love and Folly.



(Book XII.—No. 14)

Everything to do with love is mystery. Cupid's arrows, his quiver, his torch, his boyhood: it is more than a day's work to exhaust this science. I make no pretence here of explaining everything. My object is merely to relate to you, in my own way, how the blind little god was deprived of his sight, and what consequences followed this evil which perchance was a blessing after all. On the latter point I will decide nothing, but will leave it to lovers to judge upon.

One day as Folly and Love were playing together, before the boy had lost his vision, a dispute arose. To settle this matter Love wished to lay his cause before a council of the gods; but Folly, losing her patience, dealt him a furious blow upon the brow. From that moment and for ever the light of heaven was gone from his eyes.

Venus demanded redress and revenge, the mother and the wife in her asserting themselves in a way which I leave you to imagine. She deafened the gods with her cries, appealing to Jupiter, Nemesis, the judges from Hades, in fact all who would be importuned. She represented the seriousness of the case, pointing out in
that her son could now not make a step without a stick. No punishment, she urged, was heavy enough for so dire a crime, and she demanded that the damage should be repaired.

When the gods had each well considered the public interest on the one hand and the complainant's demands upon the other, the supreme court gave as its verdict that Folly was condemned for ever more to serve as a guide for the footsteps of Love.


A guide for the footsteps of love.