a pearl


Le Coq et la Perle

Un jour un Coq détourna
Une Perle, qu’il donna
Au beau premier Lapidaire.
“Je la crois fine, dit-il ;
Mais le moindre grain de mil 
Serait bien mieux mon affaire. ”

Un ignorant hérita
D’un manuscrit, qu’il porta
Chez son voisin le Libraire.
“Je crois, dit-il, qu’il est bon ;
Mais le moindre ducaton
Serait bien mieux mon affaire. ”


Choix de Fables de La Fontaine, Illustree par un Groupe des Meilleurs Artistes de Tokio, Sous la Direction of P. Barboutau (1894) arrived in the post. It’s wrapped in plastic but I know what’s inside, because I’ve seen pictures on the Web. I’m not going to open it, because it’s a present for a Japanese friend who lives here in France. I think she will like it. The pictures are so subtle, understated. Grey, watery. (As it happened, some pearls also arrived in the post. But I’m not so interested in those.)

A cock scratch’d up, one day,
A pearl of purest ray,
Which to a jeweller he bore.
‘I think it fine,’ he said,
‘But yet a crumb of bread
To me were worth a great deal more.’

So did a dunce inherit
A manuscript of merit,
Which to a publisher he bore.
”Tis good,’ said he, ‘I’m told,
Yet any coin of gold
To me were worth a great deal more.’


1 Comment »

  1. […] had a name: wabi sabi. It was there in the Japanese illustrations of La Fontaine’s fables that I mentioned before. It’s there in haikus, in their quiet minimal holding of a moment in time, in nature. […]

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