“The Dancing Fish”, Fable by Ivan. A. Krylov

Russian Fable

Krylov and his fables

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

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The Dancing Fish

HAVING waters as well as woods in his dominions, the Lion called the beasts together to a council, to consider who should be appointed governor of the Fish.

They gave their votes in the usual manner, and the Fox was chosen. Well, the Fox sat in the governor’s seat, and visibly waxed fat. He had a Moujik as friend, kinsman, and gossip, and the two used to lay their heads together. The Fox conducted business and pronounced legal decisions on the shore ; and meantime his gossip angled after the Fish, and, like a trusty comrade, shared what he caught with his friend.

But rogues do not always succeed. The Lion somehow grew suspicious, from rumours it heard, that the scales had been falsified in its law courts; so, having found a leisure time, it determined to investigate the state of its dominions.

Having gone to the shore, it found that the good gossip had caught some fish, and had kindled a fire by the riverside, intending to feast on them with his comrade. The poor fish were bounding into the air to get away from the heat, each one to the best of its power : each one, seeing its end close at hand, flung itself about, gaping at the Moujik.

” Who are you, and what are you doing ? ” angrily asked the Lion.

” Great king ! ” answers the chief rogue — the Fox always has a trick in reserve — ” great king ! this is my chief secretary here, who is esteemed for his probity by all the nation ; and these are carp, all inhabitants of the waters. We have all come here to congratulate you, our good king, on your arrival.”

” Well, how is justice dispensed here ? Is your district content ? ”

” Great king ! here they do not merely live ; they are in Paradise. If only your royal life may be prolonged !” (All this time the fish were leaping about in the pan.)

“But tell me,” said the Lion, “why do they fling themselves about topsy-turvy in this manner?”

” О wisе Lion,” replied the Fox, ” they are dancing for joy at seeing you.”

Not being able to stand such a manifest fiction as this, the Lion, in order that there should be some music for its subjects to dance to, made the secretary and the governor both sing out under its claws.

[This fable, as originally written by Krilof, ended as follows :

” О wise Lion,” replied the Fox, ” they are dancing for joy at seeing you.” Then the Lion, tapping the Starost kindly on the breast, proceeded on his journey.

But the censor objected that this seemed like a reflection on the Emperor Alexander, who was then — it was in the year 1824 — making what was destined to be his last journey through Russia. Krilof at first refused to make any alteration ; but eventually he modified the fable, and added the lines with which it now concludes.

There is a tradition that, during one of his travels in the interior, the Emperor Alexander I. spent a night, in some city or other, in the governor’s house. The next morning, just as he was on the point of continuing his journey, he happened to look out of window, and saw a great crowd collected in front of the house. The governor, being asked what was the cause of it, replied that it was a deputation of the inhabitants, who wished to thank the Emperor for the happy lives they led. As the Emperor was in a hurry to get away, he declined to receive the deputation, and drove off”.

Afterwards it turned out that the people had come to complain of their governor, who oppressed them terribly.]

< < < The Wolf And Its Cub
The Pike > > >

Russian LiteratureChildren BooksRussian PoetryIvan. A. KrylovContents

Copyright holders –  Public Domain Book

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