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The Idea of Europe

 | 
Catriona Seth
, 
Rotraud von Kulessa

31. The Circulation of Riches

Texte intégral

1Tomás de Iriarte (1750–1791)i was a Spanish aristocrat brought up in a family which displayed great interest in French culture. He was to build on this tradition as he became a celebrated translator, in particular of French plays. His fables crossed the Pyrenees in the other direction since they greatly influenced Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, a late-eighteenth-century French fabulist. This text shows that no-one is a prophet in his or her own land, but also that what comes from elsewhere should always be made welcome.

Fable XLI–Tea and Sage

2Tea met Sage on the road from Imperial China. She said to him: ‘Where are you headed, kind sir?’ ‘I’ m going to Europe, kind lady, where I know they will spend a pretty penny to have me’.

3Sage replied: ‘I am going to China, where, for my flavour and medicine, they shall receive me with the greatest esteem. In Europe, they treat me like some weed, and I have never been able to make my fortune’.

4‘Fare thee well. Your journey will not be in vain, for there is no nation that does not shower praise and wealth upon any foreign thing’.

5Tomás de Iriarte, Literary Fables (1782).

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