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Fable of the Day: De Divite Quodam et Servo

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

Title
: De Divite Quodam et Servo: A Rich Man and His Servant , by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vir erat dives servum habens tardi ingenii, quem regem stultorum solebat nuncupare. Ille his verbis saepius irritatus statuit hero par referre. Semel enim in herum conversus, "Utinam (inquit) rex stultorum essem: in toto enim terrarum orbe nullum meo latius esset imperium et tu quoque meo subesses imperio." Fabula indicat omnia plena esse stultorum.


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



Vir erat dives
servum habens tardi ingenii,
quem
regem stultorum
solebat nuncupare.
Ille
his verbis saepius irritatus
statuit
hero par referre.
Semel enim
in herum conversus,
"Utinam (inquit)
rex stultorum essem:
in toto enim terrarum orbe
nullum
meo latius esset imperium
et tu quoque
meo subesses imperio."
Fabula indicat
omnia
plena esse stultorum.

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



Translation:



There was a rich man who had a slow-witted servant whom he used to call "King of Fools." The servant, time and again annoyed by these words, resolved to pay his master back in kind. So on one occasion he turned to his master and said, "Ah, if only I really were the King of Fools. That way, in the whole world, there would be no kingdom greater than mine, and you too would be subject to my rule!" The fable shows that everything is full of fools.



[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 30 (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 Rich Man had a certain block-headed Fellow to his Servant, and the Master would be saying to him at every turn, Well! Thou art the very Prince of Fools! I would I were, says the Man, in a fawcy Huff once, for I would be the greatest Emperor upon the Face of the Earth then, and You yourself should be One of my Subjects.
The Only Universal Monarch is the King of Fools; for the whole Race of Mankind are his Subjects.

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