Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bishop Daniel's Fables, XII

The Geese (I. A. Krylov, "Gusi")
With a long reed a farmer drove
His geese to market in a drove
To sell at a market place
And drove them at a lively pace.
What he was after was a ‘buck’ –
With that in mind, who spares his flock?
(When gain’s in sight, some people then
Don’t even spare their fellow-men!)
With his behavior I find
No fault; the birds were of a mind
Far different and, having met
A passer-by along the way,
They turned to him and they beset
Him with complaints and this did say:
“Oh, how unhappy is our lot,
How miserable! Is it not?
The fellow tries to tyrannize
His geese; he does not realize

That he is bound to show respect
To us, his geese, for, in effect,
We trace our line from ancient Rome:
It was our old ancestral home.
Our ancestors were famous geese,
For they have saved from enemies
The City, and there was a feast
Ordained to honor them. At least
No one drove them, nor gave offense...
And now this fool is shouting at us!” –
“You found your claim to higher status
On nothing else, or no pretense
Save the antiquity of line?” –
“But our forbears...” – “All this is fine,
I read it all, but tell me, please,
What are you good for, by the way?” –
“We are descendants of the geese
Who once saved Rome.” – “I heard you say
This more than once. But haven’t you
Done some good deeds, if only few,
Done something noble on your own?” –
“We? Not a thing!” – “Then leave alone
Your ancestors: they had deserved
Their honors and the feasts ordained,
But you, my friends, ought to be served
As roast.” This tale could be explained
More fully yet; but let’s not tease
And anger our illustrious geese.

+++

“What he was after was a ‘buck’ –
WIth that in mind, who spares his flock?”
These lines could serve (please, do not laugh)
Some clerics for an epitaph.

1 comment:

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