The Wolf & The Lamb


My translation, direct from Jean de La Fontaine, complete with the most important parts emboldened and underlined:

The logic of the strongest is always the best

We will show this presently

A lamb was quenching his thirst

In the flow of a pure wave

A fasting wolf, looking for some adventure, shows up,

Attracted to these surroundings by hunger 

Who emboldened you so much that you disturbed my drink?

Said this animal full of rage:

You will be punished for your temerity.

Sire, responded the lamb, would it be that Your Majesty

Would not get angry;

But rather that She considers

That I am quenching my thirst

In the flow,

More than 20 paces below Her,

And thus consequently, in no way whatsoever,

Could I trouble Her drink.

You trouble it, retorted this cruel beast,

And I know that of me you spoke ill last year.

-How could I have done this, as I was not yet born?

Answered the Lamb, I am still at my mother’s breast.

-If it was not you, it was therefore your brother.

-I do not have any.

-It’s one of yours:

Because you do not spare me much,

You, your sheperds, and your dogs.

One has told me so: I must avenge myself.

Thereupon, in the depth of the forests

The Wolf carries him, and then devours him.

Without any other form of justice.


This fable captures the essence of the demonic mind. The desire to have one’s way is strong, even overwhelming, as it elevates to the sky the poisonous tendrils of the most perverse logic, while justice is flat and uninteresting.

The Wolf wants the Lamb, his desire itself is justice. The more the desire is denied, the more insistent it gets. Cruelty and rage ease the way of the Wolf’s desire. The tendency of making our want what universal justice enables is the ugliest, most irresistible device at the heart of man. The Lamb represents justice, it gets devoured.

So do not ask what plutocracy wants. It wants you. Bathing in gastric acid. Object in vain. It’s only justice.


Patrice Ayme

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10 Responses to “The Wolf & The Lamb”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Without in any way reducing the power of this particular fable’s message, you will be aware, undoubtedly, that there is a fable for every situation and circumstance that man can find himself in.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes Paul, but this particular fable goes to the heart of many of the ills affecting us today.

      For example, the Wolf repeats the lie that the water is troubled, affirming it again, and, right away, to leave that lie fully powered, changes logical dimension, with another lie “AND I KNOW that you spoke ill of me”.

      An earlier, shorter version of the fable is found in Aesop.

      Thus the connection between force, logic, demonicity and justice was no made yesterday. Athenian democracy fell to a pincer plutocratic attack: Antipater outside, winning naval battles (322 BCE), rich captains inside, looking up for an age of humiliating, yet wealthy subjection to the Macedonians.

      Athens became free again only by accessing to the European Union, 23 centuries later.


  2. NC Says:

    I like it.
    I am doing my best to shift to scripts.

    A producer of the BBC Natural History radio program on Radio 4 pointed out that people find the truth difficult…so while you can do news on the ozone layer hole and acid rain…you need stuff on Golden Eagles and rabbits. “Sugar the pill he called it.”

    I would love to see how we might put your brilliant and cohesive logic to scripts.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, sugarizing works, indeed. I love sugar too. However I work strongly at de-sugarizing me, sometimes. The point is, people have to acquire taste for what is hard. That’s what many sportsmen, extreme sportsmen, do. For example, mountain climbers.
      So hard is the way ahead, that only a taste for what’s hard will allow us to conquer it.


  3. Dominique Deux Says:

    In our time La Fontaine would eke out a living writing for satiric political weeklies, and be duly pooh-poohed by well-connected literati. Consider how, in “Les Grenouilles qui voulaient un roi”, he targeted today’s French presidential elections with unerring accuracy!

    In his time he sniped at many ridicules and wrongs, and for that, was subsidized by that horrible tyrant, Louis XIV…

    In this fable I do not think he was dissecting the logical process of the wolf/the higher classes. He was in fact showing how little brute force and privilege cared for logical thought, let alone fairness.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Maybe La Fontaine was not dissecting, but he was certainly showing. The trick of reasseting a lie and then annealing it by jumping into another one in another logical dimension is used all the time.
      I would say something cogent against Obamacare, and immediately be asked whether I was a racist.
      The same sort of game has long been played about Islam, by the way. Salafist Islam. Yet, one cannot fool all the people by the same trick all the time. This is why the extreme anti-Islamist political movements are going to gain momentum…

      The scary part is that Louis XIV, that abominable, cruel, demented, vicious, god crazy plutocrat did indeed do a lot for the progressive edge not just of the technological economy (Colbert) but also for science (Huyghens), thinking, critique (Moliere).

      This puts in a harsher light what’s going on today. This week, though I am happy Obama woke up aboyut antibitics and banks. A bit.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I have to re-read la Fontaine… Bought Aesop yesterday. Interesting how the recent (!) French improved on the ancient Greek…


  4. Roger Henry Says:

    As FDR said, Freedom, means different things depending on whether you are the rabbit or the fox. A social tension must exist between Plutocracy and Democracy reigning in the radicals and obsessed extremists of each persuasion. Democracy descends into anarchy without some form of laws, rules and order
    Plutocracy descends into mindless ego enhancement and paranoia of the rulers putting whole populations at risk of needless suffering and death.
    Latest exhibit , North Korea


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Roger: Indeed. Roosevelt himself had strong plutocratic capability (hence his refusal to join France into attacking Hitler: that was a pure, cold blooded plutocratic computation… His friend 4 star Admiral Leahy, his right hand man, said as much… oozing with contempt for FDR, when he let it be known later.)

      North Korea is a demented plutocracy. Were I president of the USA, I would require from the Pentagon a plan to take it out, at any moment, including with nuclear strikes if need be. The anti-ballistic missile system in place is obsolete and ineffectual (also defunded by Obama).

      Differently from the crazed Japanese military in 1941, which did not threaten to attack, North Korea has already threatened nuclear strikes on the USA, thus the necessity for readiness.


  5. Plutocracy Rising, Demos Sinking | Some of Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Intelligence at the core of humanism. « The Wolf & The Lamb […]


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