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Fable of the Day: De Rustico et Mure

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

Title
: De Rustico et Mure: The Country-man and The Mouse, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Rusticus quidam erat admodum pauper, sed adeo facetus, ut ne calamitatis quidem tempore nativi leporis oblivisceretur. Is, cum villam suam casu igne iniecto ita ardentem videret ut aliquo modo ignem extinguere posse diffideret, maestus spectabat incendium. Interim cernit murem quendam, qui villa egressus periculum quam ocissime fugiebat. Oblitus damnorum rusticus cucurrit ad murem, corripiens illum in medium iecit incendium, dicens: "Ingratum animal, tempore felicitatis mecum habitasti, nunc, quia fortuna mutata est, villam meam deseruisti." Fabula indicat eos non esse veros amicos, qui arridente fortuna a latere tuo non discedunt, turbata autem praecipiti abeunt cursu.


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



Rusticus quidam
erat admodum pauper,
sed adeo facetus,
ut ne calamitatis quidem tempore
nativi leporis oblivisceretur.
Is,
cum villam suam
casu igne iniecto
ita ardentem videret
ut
aliquo modo
ignem extinguere posse
diffideret,
maestus spectabat incendium.
Interim
cernit murem quendam,
qui villa egressus
periculum
quam ocissime fugiebat.
Oblitus damnorum
rusticus
cucurrit ad murem,
corripiens illum
in medium iecit incendium,
dicens:
"Ingratum animal,
tempore felicitatis
mecum habitasti,
nunc,
quia fortuna mutata est,
villam meam deseruisti."
Fabula indicat
eos
non esse veros amicos,
qui
arridente fortuna
a latere tuo non discedunt,
turbata autem
praecipiti abeunt cursu.

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



Translation:



A certain country-man was quite poor, but had such a good sense of humor that even at a time of disaster he did not forget his natural wit. When the man's farmhouse had accidentally caught on fire, he saw that it was burning so badly that he despaired of being able by any means to put out the fire. He sadly watched the conflagration and, as he did so, he noticed a certain mouse who had come out of the farmhouse and was fleeing the danger as quickly as possible. Forgetting his personal losses, the country-man ran over to the mouse, snatched it up, and threw the mouse into the middle of the flames, saying, "You ungrateful creature! In a time of prosperity you lived with me and now, when my luck has changed, you abandon my house!" The fable shows that they are not true friends who do not leave our side so long as luck is smiling but who run away at a fast pace as soon when our luck goes bad.



[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 28 (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 pleasant sort of a Poor Fellow had his House a-Fire; but his Misfortunes did not make him lose his good Humour. As it was all in a Flame, out bolts a Mouse from the Ruins to save her self: The Man catches her, and throws her back again. Why thou Ungrateful Wretch (says he) to leave thy Friend now in Adversity, that gave thee Bread in Prosperity.
'Tis a Barbarous Faculty, an Ill-natur'd Wit; that will rather expose the very Life and Reputation of a Friend, than lose the Opportunity of a Jest.

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