Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Phaedrus - 41 AD

Translated into English
  by C. Smart - 1887

Source: The Fables of Phaedrus

Original title (Latin):
Arbores in Deorum Tutela

Country of origin: Italy


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The Trees Protected

Phaedrus / C. Smart

The gods took certain trees (th' affair
Was some time since) into their care.
The oak was best approved by Jove,
The myrtle by the queen of love;
The god of music and the day
Vouchsafed to patronise the bay;
The pine Cybele chanced to please,
And the tall poplar Hercules.
Minerva upon this inquired
Why they all barren trees admired ?
" The cause," says Jupiter, "is plain,
Lest we give honour up for gain."
" Let every one their fancy suit,
I choose the olive for its fruit."
The sire of gods and men replies,
" Daughter, thou shalt be reckon'd wise
By all the world, and justly too;
For whatsover things we do,
If not a life of useful days,
How vain is all pretence to praise !"
Whate'er experiments you try,
Have some advantage in your eye.