Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Jean de La Fontaine - 1668

Translated into English
  by Frederick Colin Tilney - 1913

Original title (French):
L'Amour et la Folie

Country of origin: France


English - aligned

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Love and Folly

Jean de La Fontaine / Frederick Colin Tilney

Everything to do with love is mystery. Cupid's arrows, his
quiver, his torch, his boyhood: it is more than a day's work to exhaust
this science. I make no pretence here of explaining everything. My
object is merely to relate to you, in my own way, how the blind little
god was deprived of his sight, and what consequences followed this evil
which perchance was a blessing after all. On the latter point I will
decide nothing, but will leave it to lovers to judge upon.

One day as Folly and Love were playing together, before the boy had lost
his vision, a dispute arose. To settle this matter Love wished to lay
his cause before a council of the gods; but Folly, losing her patience,
dealt him a furious blow upon the brow. From that moment and for ever
the light of heaven was gone from his eyes.

Venus demanded redress and revenge, the mother and the wife in her
asserting themselves in a way which I leave you to imagine. She deafened
the gods with her cries, appealing to Jupiter, Nemesis, the judges from
Hades, in fact all who would be importuned. She represented the
seriousness of the case, pointing out that her son could now not make a
step without a stick. No punishment, she urged, was heavy enough for so
dire a crime, and she demanded that the damage should be repaired.

When the gods had each well considered the public interest on the one
hand and the complainant's demands upon the other, the supreme court
gave as its verdict that Folly was condemned for ever more to serve as a
guide for the footsteps of Love.