Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Phaedrus - 41 AD

Translated into English
  by C. Smart - 1887

Source: The Fables of Phaedrus

Original title (Latin):
Ceruus ad Fontem

Country of origin: Italy


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The Stag at the Fountain

Phaedrus / C. Smart

FULL often what you now despise
Proves better than the things you prize;
Let Esop's narrative decide:
A Stag beheld, with conscious pride,
(As at the fountain-head he stood)
His image in the silver flood,
And there extols his branching horns,
While his poor spindle-shanks he scorns-
But, lo! he hears the hunter's cries,
And, frightened, o'er the champaign flies--
His swiftness baffles the pursuit:
At length a wood receives the brute,
And by his horns entangled there,
The pack began his flesh to tear:
Then dying thus he wail'd his fate:
"Unhappy me! and wise too late!
How useful what I did disdain!
How grievous that which made me vain!