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Jean de la Fontaine (1621-95) freely plundered the works of Aesop, Phaedrus, Bidpai and others to transform the world's great fables into charming poems of astonishing originality, wit and verve. Here he depicts lions, frogs, donkeys, rats, insects, birds and wily foxes in situations that reveal the quirks, follies and frailties he observed in humankind. Sins of pride, greed and vanity come under humorous attack - a cunning fox tricks a crow out of his dinner, an arrogant hare loses a race to a steady tortoise, a merry cicada who sings all summer finds herself hungry in winter, and the goddess Juno scolds a peacock who covets a nightingale's song. But faith in human nature can also be found in poems such as those in which a wolf is saved from choking by a helpful stork, demonstrating an engaging belief in the possibilities of redemption.
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) French poet, whose FABLES rank among the masterpieces of world literature. His FABLES CHOISIES MISES EN VERS, usually called 'La Fontaine Fables', were published over the last 25 years of his life. The first volume appeared when the author was 47. The book includes some 240 poems and timeless stories of countryfolk, heroes from Greek mythology, and familiar beasts from the fables of Aesop. James Michie was born in 1927. His publications include translations of The Odes of Horace, The Poems of Catullus and The Epigrams of Martial.