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Fable of the Day: De Iuvene et Sene

[Note: You can find more of these fables at the old blog address for Latin Via Fables.]

Title
: De Iuvene Senis curvitatem irridente: The Youth Who Mocked The Old Man's Bent Back, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Iuvenis quidam conspicatus senem in arcus tensi similitudinem curvum, interrogavit an sibi arcum vellet vendere. Cui ille, "Ecquid est tibi opus pecuniam amittere? Si enim ad meam perveneris aetatem, absque pecunia arcum tibi natura concedet." Haec fabula indicat minime irridenda vitia senilis aetatis, quam nemo vivendo effugere potest.


Here is a segmented version to help you see the grammatical patterns:



Iuvenis quidam
conspicatus senem
in arcus tensi similitudinem curvum,
interrogavit
an sibi arcum vellet vendere.
Cui ille,
"Ecquid est tibi opus
pecuniam amittere?
Si enim
ad meam perveneris aetatem,
absque pecunia
arcum tibi natura concedet."
Haec fabula indicat
minime irridenda
vitia senilis aetatis,
quam
nemo vivendo effugere potest.

Crossword Puzzle: You can play a crossword puzzle based on the vocabulary in this fable.



Translation:



A certain young man, have seen an old man who was bent like a drawn bow, asked the old man whether he would sell him that bow. The old man said to him, "Is there any need for you to waste your money? The fact is, if you reach my age, nature will give you a bow for free." This fable shows that you should never make fun of the feelings of old age, which is something that no one can escape if they go on living.



[This translation is meant as a help in understanding the story, not as a "crib" for the Latin. I have not hesitated to change the syntax to make it flow more smoothly in English, altering the verb tense consistently to narrative past tense, etc.]



Source: Abstemius 24 (You can see a 1499 edition of Abstemius online, but I am doing my transcription from the 1568 edition of Aesopi fabulae in the EEBO catalog.)



Another English translation. Sir Roger L'Estrange included the fables of Abstemius in his amazing 17th-century edition of Aesop's fables. So, here is L'Estrange's translation:



A Gibing Young Knave happen'd to meet an Old Man, whose Age and Infirmity had brought his Body to the Shape of a Bent Bow. Pray Father (says he) will you sell your Bow? Save your Money ye fool you, says T'other; for when You come to my Years, you shall have such a Bow for Nothing.
He that would not live to be Old, had best be Hang'd when he's Young.

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