The Fables of Florian (tr. Phelps)/The Monkey and the Ape


A young ape one day found a nut,
Which straight into his mouth he put,
And set his teeth on't for a bite.
He tried it o'er and o'er again,

But finding all his efforts vain,
Threw it away with spite.
"My mother must have lied," he said,
"To say she had on such things fed—
       That they were good and sweet,
              And fit to eat.
What fools are young folks to believe
Old women's tales—they but deceive!
       The devil take such fruit,
       And granny too, to boot!"
A monkey seizing on the prize,
Thus to the foolish ape replies:—
"See here! my friend, I'll show to you,
That your good mother told you true."
Then with a stone the nut he breaks,
And therefrom all the kernel takes.
              And as he eats
              Its luscious sweets—
"You see," says he, "for food 'tis fit,
If you'll take pains to open it.
No good in this life one e'er gains,
Without some labor, care, and pains."