Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bishop Daniel's Fables, II

The second of the late Bishop Daniel's translations of Eastern fables is "The Wolf and the Lamb" (I. A. Krylov, Volk i janionok):
The mighty ones find fault with the more weak.
From history we could enough examples cite
How they do take advantage of the meek –
But history we do not write.
For this is just a fable book.

On a hot day a lamb came to a brook
To have a drink, but there, as it turned out,
A hungry wolf was roaming round about.
He sees the lamb. What does he next?
He wants to use some good pretext,
That, while appearing to be just,
He may indulge his greed and lust.
He shouts: "How do you dare to guzzle
My water with your unclean muzzle?
To stir it up, pollute it and...
To mix my drink with mud and sand?" –
"May I report, with your most gracious leave:
I drink some hundred paces, I believe,
Below the place
At which your grace
Enjoy your drink – the lamb replied –
Your anger is not justified,
I cannot spoil your grace's drink." –
"Then I'm a liar? Do you think
To get away with this? Last year
You did insult me here!
You think that I forgot and you are getting bold!" –
"I beg your pardon, sir, I'm less than one year old",
The lamb replied. – "It must have been your brother." –
"I have no brothers, sir." – "Oh, then it must have been
Your uncle or your friend, or someone of your kin.
You all, your shepherds and your dogs, you have no other
Desire, but to destroy me and see me dead.
For all their sins you'll pay me with your head." –
"But I am innocent!" – "You keep your big mouth shut!
I'm tired of your talk, you cub, for I do not
Have time to see, who's guilty and who's right!
'Tis guilt enough that I have appetite!"
He said and dragged the lamb into the wood –
Apparently, for good.

Those who show mercy to the wolves do not
Care about the lambs, or, maybe, they forgot
That sparing just one killer they
Are killing hundreds of his prey.

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