Multilingual Folk Tale Database


Author: Ivan Krylov - 1806

Translated into English
  by Charles Fillingham Coxwell - 1856

Source: Kriloff's Fables (nr. 021)

Original title (Russian):
Муха и пчела

Country of origin: Russia


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The Fly and the Bee

Ivan Krylov / Charles Fillingham Coxwell

In Spring, along a waving stalk, a fly
Ascending sees set high
Above her on a flower,
A bee, ensconced as in a bower ;
And haughtily remarks : — " A busy state is yours
That all the day from morn to eve, duU work endures !
Called to vexatious toil, I might indeed have fainted.
Leading, toward labour coy.
In paradise, a life of joy,
I am with such a care acquainted
As flying 'mongst the guests at balls.
Where gracefully I publish how my sole connections
Are in the town's superior sections.
But you should know what glorious feasting to me falls
At any rout or birthday party.
Whither I surely come the first
And eat off dainty porcelain. Next I quench my thirst.
Sipping choice wines from crystal, so that I feel hearty.
Before the other guests
I sate my needs ; with me to try the sweets it rests.
I force my way where'er a maid is,
Among the youthful beauties mix :
Yes, moments of inaction fix
On rosy cheek or snowy neck, among the ladies."
" All this I know full well," replies the modest bee,
" But there have reached me ugly rumours : —
You are from folk's affections free.
Even at weddings, plague with selfish humours ;
And so, if e'er they find you scheming in the home.
They drive you forth to roam."
" No matter," says the fly, " they cannot my sort smother.
Being through one door chased, I enter by another."