The Deer Seeing Himself in the Water

In the clear water of a spring, A Deer gazing at himself one day Praised the beauty of his antlers And could hardly bear the sight Of his slender legs, Whose shape he saw vanish in the waters. “What a disproportion between my feet and my head!” He said, grieving when seeing their shadow, “My forehead reaches the top of the highest bushes, My feet are unworthy of me.” While he is speaking like this, A bloodhound makes him run away; He tries to save himself; Into the forest he bolts; His antlers, a vulnerable ornament, Impeding him at every moment, Hinder the use of his feet, Which his days depend upon. He then relents, and curses the gifts Which the Heavens make him every year. We value the beautiful, we despise the useful; And beauty often destroys us. This Deer blames his feet that render him agile; He esteems the antlers that do him harm.

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