The Two Mules

: A Hundred Fables Of La Fontaine

Two mules were bearing on their backs,

One, oats; the other, silver of the tax.

The latter glorying in his load,

March'd proudly forward on the road;

And, from the jingle of his bell,

'Twas plain he liked his burden well.

But in a wild-wood glen

A band of robber men

Rush'd forth upon the twain.

Well with the silver pleased,

They by the bridle seized

The treasure mule so vain.

Poor mule! in struggling to repel

His ruthless foes, he fell

Stabb'd through; and with a bitter sighing,

He cried, "Is this the lot they promised me?

My humble friend from danger free,

While, weltering in my gore, I'm dying?"

"My friend," his fellow-mule replied,

"It is not well to have one's work too high.

If thou hadst been a miller's drudge, as I,

Thou wouldst not thus have died."