In La Fontaine’s telling, Bertrand the monkey persuades Raton the cat to pull les fables de Jean de La Fontaine PDF from the embers amongst which they are roasting, promising him a share. As the cat scoops them from the fire one by one, burning his paw in the process, the monkey gobbles them up. They are disturbed by a maid entering and the cat gets nothing for its pains.
Ce recueil renferme l’intégralité des fables célèbres et moins connues de Jean de La Fontaine.
However, the earliest surviving texts relating the story date from the mid-16th century and some of these have a puppy in place of a cat as the monkey’s victim. Which shewes, when as ambition fowle doth prick The hartes of kinges, then there is no remorce, But oftentimes, to aunswere theire desire, The subjectes feele both famine, sworde and fire. One of the channels through which the fable was taken to be Aesop’s was its inclusion among the hydraulic statues in the labyrinth of Versailles in 1669. When the former painting was put up for auction in January 2011, U.
Christie’s recorded that ‘The subject of the present painting is taken from the ancient fable traditionally ascribed to Aesop’. No more are the princes, by flattery paid For furnishing help in a different trade, And burning their fingers to bring More power to some mightier king, and was later followed in this by political cartoonists. The cat’s paw title was to be used once again in a cartoon relating to the political maneuvering that preceded the passing of the English Reform Act in 1832. In France the fable was often used to satirise the ambitious sacrificing the life of others for their own ends. The cartoon Bertrand avec Raton s’amusent à tirer les marrons du feu, dating from Napoleonic times, pictures a red uniformed monkey marshall guiding a blue-uniformed infantryman in the task. The French dramatist Eugène Scribe gave the same title to his social comedy of 1833.
In the Netherlands the words of Vondel’s Den aap en de katte were set for a cappella male chorus by Sem Dresden to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Dutch Choir in 1953. Painting of the fable by Tommaso Salini c. Edwin Henry Landseer, The Cat’s Paw, c. Whitney’s Choice of Emblemes 58 – Non dolo, sed vi ».