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Jean de La Fontaine was born on the 8th of July, 1621, at Chateau-Thierry, and his family held a respectable position there. His education was neglected, but he had received that genius which makes amends for all. While still young the tedium of society led him into retirement, from which a taste for independence afterwards withdrew him. He had reached the age of twenty-two, when a few sounds from the lyre of Malherbe, heard by accident, awoke... more...

The Two Mules (Book I.—No. 4) There were two heavily-laden mules making a journey together. One was carrying oats and the other bore a parcel of silver money collected from the people as a tax upon salt. This, we learn, was a tax which produced much money for the government, but it bore very hard upon the people, who revolted many times against it. The mule that carried the silver was very proud of his burden, and would not have been... more...

INTRODUCTION Bernard Mandeville's first extant book in English, Some Fables after the Easie and Familiar Method of Monsieur de la Fontaine, was published in 1703; it reappeared with additional fables in 1704 as Aesop Dress'd. Neither title reveals that, except for two original fables by Mandeville, the book consists entirely of verse translations from the twelve books of La Fontaine's Fables (1668-1694). It is the first book-length translation... more...