Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bishop Daniel’s Fables, VIII

The Cat and the Cook (I. A. Krylov, “Kot i povar”)

A cook, who had some education,
Deliberately left his station
And went – he didn’t go too far –
Around the corner, to the bar,
For he was pious in a way
And mourned somebody on that day.
To guard the food against the mice
He thought his Tabby should suffice.
When he returned, what did he ‘spy?
A piece of a half-eaten pie
Lay on the ground; he heard some sound,
And looked behind a cask, and found
His Tabby working on a chicken.
The cook’s heartbeat began to quicken:
“You are a glutton! You’re a crook!”
Began to shout at him the cook.
“Aren’t you ashamed of neighbors all.
Or even of this kitchen-wall?”
(And Tabby puts away the roast)
“‘An honest cat’ I used to boast.
You were indeed an honest cat!
And now, how did it come to that?
And now, my Tabby, what a shame!
Now you have lost your honest name!
Now all the neighbors, they will say:
‘Don’t trust this cat in any way!
He is a scoundrel and a thief,
He is corrupt beyond belief,
He’s a rapacious predator!
Don’t let him come close to your door!
He steals, he lies, deceives and cheats!”
(And while he listens, Tabby eats)
“He is a plague, a pestilence!”
Elated by his eloquence
Our preacher can’t stop moralizing,
And while he spoke (is it surprising?)
His cat fulfilled its dearest wish
And finished the delicious dish.

To those who preach like this on similar occasion
I’d like to say: “Put this into your head:
Don’t waste your words in useless persuasion
When force is to be used instead.”

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