Translated from French by Elizur Wright
Based on Aesop's fable of the same name.
A fox, almost with hunger dying,
Clarifications: Russet is a reddish-brown color.
Summary: A starving fox comes across ripe grapes beyond his reach. But rather than bemoan the fact that he can't reach them, he rationalizes that they're unfit for consumption.
In the last line, De La Fontaine asks the reader to consider whether the fox is better off lying to himself in this way or whining over the fact that he can't get to the darn grapes!
Comparison to Aesop: Aesop's version may depict a fox in somewhat less dire straits. Read George Fyler Townsend's translation of Aesop's version:
A famished fox saw some clusters of ripe black grapes hanging from a trellised vine. She resorted to all her tricks to get at them, but wearied herself in vain, for she could not reach them. At last she turned away, hiding her disappointment and saying: "The Grapes are sour, and not ripe as I thought."
Webmaster's note: There's a delightful modern picture book adaptation of The Fox and the Grapes. Read our review of Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes.
More de la Fontaine fables.
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