The Rat and the Oyster

A Rat living in a field, a Rat with a small brain, has one day had enough of the paternal Gods. He abandons the field, the grain, and the stubble, Quits his burrow to roam the countryside. As soon as he is outside of his home: “How vast and wide is the world!” he says. Here are the Apennines, and here the Caucasus.” The least molehill was a mountain in his view. After a few days, the traveler arrives In a certain district where Tethys had left Many Oysters on a shore; and our Rat, at first Thought he saw, in seeing them, tall ships. “My father was indeed a poor fellow,” he says, “He didn’t dare travel, being extremely fearful. For myself, I’ve already seen the maritime empire; I’ve crossed deserts, but we didn’t drink.” From a certain pedant, the Rat took these details And blathered about them, Not being one of those Rats who gnawing on books Become learned up to their teeth. Among so many Oysters closed tight, One had opened itself, and yawning in the Sun, Delighted by a mild Zephyr, Sniffed the air, breathed, spread out, White, plump, and, to the eye, incomparable. As soon as the Rat sees, from quite a distance, this yawning Oyster: “What am I perceiving?” he says, “It must be some delicious food; And, if I’m not misled by the color, I must feast today, or never.” Whereupon Mr. Rat, full of anticipation, Gets near the shell, extends his neck a little, Feels trapped as in a snare; for the Oyster suddenly Closes. And this is what comes of ignorance. Our Fable contains more than one lesson. We see first of all That those who have no experience of the world Are by the slightest things amazed; And also we

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