Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.

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“Literature is the most agreeable way of ignoring life.”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

 

Antoni Arissa Untitled 1930-1936“Antoni Arissa Untitled 1930-1936 ”

 

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No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop

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If we help someone without expecting anything in return, the simple act of kindness is not wasted. And there may come a time when that act of kindness can be repaid in unexpected ways. We can make a very loyal friend by being kind and selfless.

Aesop was fond of this notion, and used it in the fable of Androcles and the Lion, and also the Mouse and the Lion.

Androcles

A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled
to the forest.  As he was wandering about there he came upon a
Lion lying down moaning and groaning.  At first he turned to flee,
but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and
went up to him.  As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which
was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge
thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain.  He pulled
out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able
to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog.  Then the Lion
took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat
from which to live.  But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the
Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to
the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several
days.  The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle,
and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena.  Soon the
Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring
towards his victim.  But as soon as he came near to Androcles he
recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands
like a friendly dog.  The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned
Androcles to him, who told him the whole story.  Whereupon the
slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native
forest.

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.

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  The Lion and the Mouse

A LION was awakened from sleep by a Mouse running over his
face. Rising up angrily, he caught him and was about to kill
him, when the Mouse piteously entreated, saying:  “If you
would only spare my life, I would be sure to repay your
kindness.”  The Lion laughed and let him go.  It happened
shortly after this that the Lion was caught by some hunters,
who bound him by strong ropes to the ground.  The Mouse,
recognizing his roar, came and gnawed the rope with his teeth
and set him free, exclaiming:

“You ridiculed the idea of my ever being able to help you,
expecting to receive from me any repayment of your favor; now
you know that it is possible for even a Mouse to con benefits
on a Lion.”

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted – Aesop.

Donkey-Skin by Charles Perrault: Curiosity made him put his eye to the keyhole

“Donkey-Skin” Illustration by Harry Clarke

“It was with difficulty that he withdrew from this gloomy little alley, intent on discovering who the inmate of the tiny room might be. He was told that it was a scullion called Donkey-skin because of the skin which she always wore, and that she was so dirty and unpleasant that no one took any notice of her, or even spoke to her; she had just been taken out of pity to look after the geese.”

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“Curiosity made him put his eye to the keyhole”

Donkey Skin  (French: Peau d’Âne) is a French literary fairytale written in verse by Charles Perrault. It was first published in 1695 in a small volume and republished in 1697 in Perrault’s Histoires ou contes du temps passé

It’s an unsettling tale of a King who wanted to marry his daughter, after his wife’s death>

“A king had a beautiful wife and a rich castle, including a marvelous donkey whose droppings were gold. One day his wife died, after making him promise not to marry except to a woman whose beauty and attributes equaled hers. The king grieved, but was, in time, persuaded to seek another wife. It became clear that the only woman who would fit the promise was his daughter.

She went to her fairy godmother who advised her to make impossible demands as a condition of her consent: a dress as bright as the sun, a dress the colour of the moon, a dress all the colours of the sky, and finally, the hide of his marvelous donkey (which produced gold, and thus was the source of his kingdom’s wealth). Such was the king’s desire to marry her that he granted all of them. The fairy godmother gave her a marvelous chest to contain all she owned and told her that the donkeyskin would make an excellent disguise.

Illustration by Gustave Doré

The princess fled and eventually found a royal farm where they let her work in the kitchen, despite her ugliness in the donkeyskin. On feast days, she would dress herself in the fine gowns her father had given her, and one such day, the prince came by her room and peeped through the keyhole. He fell in love at once, fell ill with his longing, and declared that nothing would cure him but a cake baked by Donkeyskin, and nothing they could say of what a dirty creature she was dissuaded him.

When Donkeyskin baked the cake, a ring of hers fell in it. The prince found it and declared that he would marry only the woman whose finger it fit. Every other woman having failed, he insisted that Donkeyskin try, and it fit. When she had dressed herself in her fine gowns, his parents were reconciled with the match. Donkeyskin later found that her father had remarried to a beautiful widow and everyone lived happily ever after.

 

It was also a 1970 French musical film directed by Jacques Demy. It is also known by the English titles Once Upon a Time and The Magic Donkey.  It stars Catherine Deneuve and Jean Marais, with music by Michel Legrand. Donkey Skin also proved to be Demy’s biggest success in France.

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For the full Perrault story, and the rest of his fairy tales, read them online or download here:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29021/29021-h/29021-h.htm#Donkey-skin