HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Jean de la Fontaine, born 8 July 1621
“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”
I recently visited the Jean de la Fontaine museum in Chateau-Thierry in France. It is a wonderful old house and the guide is really excellent. Fontaine’s fables are well known in France, but in the English-speaking world we know better those of Aesop. He also wrote licentious tales, which were hugely popular and these are fun to read. It is easy to find his fables translated into English on the web. You may like to try The Grasshopper and the Ant, for example.
Fontaine was an interesting man. He was supported by Nicolas Fouquet, and when Fouquet fell from royal favour and was sent to prison, Fontaine bravely tried to defend his patron.
He was a notoriously absent-minded man and once paid a call on a friend whose funeral he had attended the week before, completely forgetting the man had died!
Jean de la Fontaine died on 13 April 1695, aged 73.
How do you think Jean de la Fontaine’s fables rate against Aesop? Tell me your thoughts in the comment area below.
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