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Fable of the Day: De Aquila et Pica

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

Title
: De Aquila et Pica: Eagle and Magpie, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Pica aquilam rogabat ut se inter suos familiares et domesticos acciperet, quando id mereretur cum corporis pulchritudine, tum ad mandata peragenda linguae volubilitate. Cui aquila, "Hoc facerem (respondit), ni vererer, ne quae intra tegulas fiunt, tua loquacitate cuncta efferres." Haec fabula monet linguaces et garrulos domi non habendos.


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



Pica aquilam rogabat
ut se
inter suos familiares et domesticos
acciperet,
quando id mereretur
cum corporis pulchritudine,
tum
ad mandata peragenda
linguae volubilitate.
Cui aquila,
"Hoc facerem (respondit),
ni vererer,
ne quae
intra tegulas fiunt,
tua loquacitate
cuncta efferres."
Haec fabula monet
linguaces et garrulos
domi non habendos.

Crossword Puzzle: There is no crossword puzzle for the fable today since I did a Roman Emperors crossword puzzle instead!

Translation:



A magpie asked the eagle to receive her among the eagle's household and servants, since the magpie deserved this both by the beauty of her body, and also by the speed of her tongue in carrying out orders. The eagle replied: "I would do this, if I were not afraid that everything which happens beneath my roof would be reported by your chattering." This fable warns that Chatty-Cathys and babblers should not be kept in your house.



About "Chatty Cathy" - I chose this for the translation when I looked up the etymology of magpie in English! it is a Maggie-pie (Margaret-pie) - the pie comes from Latin "pica," and the mag really is short for Margaret, the idea being that this bird was a chattering "Margaret," which made me think of the Chatty Cathy doll. If you look up "magpie" in an English dictionary, one of the definitions is "a person who chatters." :-)



[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 26 (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:



There was a pert-dapper Spark of a Mag-Pye, that fancy'd the Birds would never be well govern'd till he himself should come to sit at the Helm. In this Freak he petition'd the Eagle to take him into his Cabinet; for, says he, I have no ill turn of a Body for't. I have my Tongue and my Heels at command; and can make as much Noise and Bussle, to as little Purpose, as any He perhaps that flies between a Pair of Wings. He was going on in the History of his Qualifications, when the Eagle graciously told him, how sensible he was of the Volubility both of his Tongue, and of his Manners, and so of his Faculties and good Breeding; but, says he, you are so confoundedly given to Squirting up and down, and Chattering, that the World would be apt to say, I had chosen a Jack Pudding for a Prime Minister.
Great Babblers, or Talkers are a sort of People not fit either for Trust, Business or Conversation.

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