Jean de La Fontaine was born in Chateau-Thierry, Champagne, in central France, the son of a government official. He went to Paris to study medicine and theology, but was drawn to the whirls of social life.
La Fontaine qualified as a lawyer but he returned home in 1647 and assisted his father, a superintendent of forests. He held a number of gove ...
The Country Justice
TWO lawyers to their cause so well adhered,
A country justice quite confused appeared,
By them the facts were rendered so obscure
With which the truth remained he was not sure.
At length, completely tired, two straws he sought
Of diff'rent lengths, and to the parties brought.
These in his hand he held:--the plaintiff drew
(So fate decreed) the shortest of the two.
On this the other homeward took his way,
To boast how nicely he had gained the day.
THE bench complained: the magistrate replied
Don't blame I pray--'tis nothing new I've tried;
Courts often judge at hazard in the law,
Without deciding by the longest straw.