Friday, September 24, 2010

"Jeannot and Colin." Voltaire.

A fable. Jeannot and Colin are schoolboy friends. Then Jeannot’s parents get lucky and make a fortune. They become peers and Jeannot becomes a marquise and no longer recognizes Colin as a friend. Jeannot’s parents try to decide what their son should know and learn. They hire a tutor . The tutor suggests that all worldly topics, including science, math, Latin, etc. are a waste of time when one is going to spend life in society.

So Jeannot learns nothing and spends money and his parents lose theirs from spending it to keep up their son’s social standing. When they are bankrupt, their house is taken by creditors, Jeannot runs to his wealthy friends for help, but, of course, they no longer recognize him as a member of their society. In despair, Jeannot stands by the side of the road, when Colin comes by driving a wagon loaded with copper, tin and iron from which he has become wealthy by manufacturing metal goods in a factory. Colin treats Jeannot magnanimously, gives him a job, makes him a partner and bales out Jeannot’s parents. A fable.

Fifty Great European Short Stories. Ed. Edward and Elizabeth Huberman. New York: Bantam Books. 1971.

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