Saturday, April 25

The Wolf and the Sow




From the Fables of Marie De France—a 12th-Century poetess, I have selected The Wolf and the Sow, translated by Harriet Spiegel (1987), reprinted in The Norton Anthology of English Literature.(7th ed., vol I.)



The Wolf and the Sow

Once long ago a wolf strolled down
A path and chanced to come upon
A sow who was with piglets big.
He hastily approached the pig.
He’d give her peace, he told the sow,
If quickly she’d bear piglets now—
Her piglet babes he wished to have.
With wisdom, this response she gave:
“My lord, how can you hurry me?
When you, so close to me u see,
I cannot bear my young outright;
I’m so ashamed when in your sight.
Do you not sense the implication?
All women suffer degradation
If male hands should dare to touch
At such a time, or even approach!”
With this the wolf hid in retreat
Who’d sought the baby pigs to eat.
The mother pig could now proceed
Who through her cleverness was freed.
All women ought to hear this tale.
And should remember it as well:
Merely to avoid a lie,
They should not let their children die
!

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