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Fable by Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Fable" is a poem written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. A "fable" is a short tale to teach a lesson. A "prig" is someone who is self-righteous. In this tale, Emerson tells us to not judge others and try to understand that people unlike us also have qualities that we don't have. For example, the mountain may be able to carry forrests on his back but he can't crack a nut like a squirrel.

"Fable" is written as one stanza with 19 lines. The rhyme scheme is AABCBDDEEFFGHHIJKJK. As you can see, not all the lines rhyme. This is Emerson's way to put importance on a line and change the rhythm to change emotion.



The mountain and the squirrel
Had a quarrel;
And the former called the latter "Little Prig."
Bun replied,
"You are doubtless very big;
But all sorts of things and weather
Must be taken in together
To make up a year
And a sphere.
And I think it's no disgrace
To occupy my place.
If I'm not so large as you,
You are not so small as I,
And not half so spry.
I'll not deny you make
A very pretty squirrel track;
Talents differ: all is well and wisely put;
If I cannot carry forests on my back,
Neither can you crack a nut

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Literary Movement
Transcendentalism, 19th Century

Animal, Nature

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