"The Craftsman By His Work Is Known"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The quotation above is the moral to this fable, entitled "The Drones and the Honey-Bees." It appears before the story, commenting upon it and yet not an integral part of it. In the much older fables of Aesop, the moral is always at the end of the story, and separate from it. La Fontaine does not hold to that practice. He puts the moral where he feels it fits best, sometimes within the text of the fable. Sometimes, when the lesson is clear, he dispenses with stating it explicitly for the reader. In the fable which follows this moral, both the drones and the honeybees claim the same honeycombs. When neither the wasps nor a swarm of ants can settle the conflicting claims, a wise honeybee suggests that both the honeybees and the drones go to work to see which can build cells and fill them with the honey all love. The drones refuse the experiment and so prove themselves incompetent. As a result, the wasp awards all to the honeybees. The literal translation of the French is:

One recognizes the artisan in his work.