Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Jean de La Fontaine - 1668

Translated into English
  by Walter Thornbury - 1885

Source: The Fables of La Fontaine

Translated from (French):
Le Rat de ville et le Rat des champs

Country of origin: France

Story type: Town Mouse and Country Mouse (ATU 112)

Based on The Town Mouse and the City Mouse (Aesop)


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English - aligned

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The Town Rat and the Country Rat

Jean de La Fontaine / Walter Thornbury

A rat from town, a country rat
Invited in the civilest way;
For dinner there was just to be
Ortolans and an entrement.
Upon a Turkey carpet soft
The noble feast at last was spread;
I leave you pretty well to guess
The merry, pleasant life they led.
Gay the repast, for plenty reigned,
Nothing was wanting to the fare;
But hardly had it well begun
Ere chance disturbed the friendly pair.
A sudden racket at the door
Alarmed them, and they made retreat;
The city rat was not the last,
His comrade followed fast and fleet.
The noise soon over, they returned,
As rats on such occasions do;
"Come," said the liberal citizen,
"And let us finish our ragout."
"Not a crumb more," the rustic said;
"Tomorrow you shall dine with me;
Don't think me jealous of your state,
Or all your royal luxury;
But then I eat so quiet at home,
And nothing dangerous is near;
Good-bye, my friend, I have no love
For pleasure when it's mixed with fear."