Short Story #133: La Fontaine's First Fable by Alexandre Dumas

Title:  La Fontaine's First Fable

Author:  Alexandre Dumas


Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943When the superintendent of France, Froquet mismanages his finances to the point where he is likely to lose his estate, his friends come together to try to cover the costs.  At the meeting of the friends, Fontaine is asked about his money to put in but unfortunately, his initial chances to gather the money did not pan out.  He explains that all his ideas did not work but he does have one that he will go forward with.  He offers to write and publish poetry in France to get the funds.  The others balk at this as the censorship around spiteful poetry (the kind he proposed) is pretty strong.  They find the idea ridiculous but Fontaine insists.  They continue to count the money there and the superintendent shows himself who is beside himself by the gesture of his friends.  He looks to Fontaine and thanks him for his efforts.  Fontaine swears that if the creditors will just be patient he will write until all the debts are paid.  


The story has a bit of The Gift of the Magi to it in the give and take between friends.  The title itself wouldn't have made much sense to me a few years ago, but I had read a book of Fontaine's fables in my quest last year to read 365 books.  In fact, I found the anthology at a bookstore in Zwolle and read it while on the trip.  The idea that this was the reason why Fontaine set forth to write all of his fables is amusing in that context.  

Short Story #133 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  5/8/2014
Source:  Great French Short Stories edited by M. E. Speare.  The World Publishing Company, 1943.  You can find this story and others in this anthology at this resource. 

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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