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Title: De Gliribus quercum eruere volentibus: The Dormice Who Wanted to Fell an Oak Tree, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Glires quercum arborem glandiferam dentibus eruere destinaverunt, quo paratiorem haberent cibum, ne victus gratia toties ascendere et descendere cogerentur. Sed quidam ex his qui aetate et usu rerum ac prudentia ceteros longe anteibat, eos absterruit, dicens, "Si nutricem nostram nunc interfecerimus, quis futuris annis nobis ac posteris nostris alimenta praebebit?" Fabula haec monet virum prudentem debere non modo praesentia intueri, verum etiam futura longe prospicere.


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



Glires
quercum arborem glandiferam
dentibus eruere
destinaverunt,
quo
paratiorem haberent cibum,
ne victus gratia
toties ascendere et descendere
cogerentur.
Sed quidam ex his
qui
aetate et usu rerum ac prudentia
ceteros longe anteibat,
eos absterruit,
dicens,
"Si nutricem nostram
nunc interfecerimus,
quis futuris annis
nobis ac posteris nostris
alimenta praebebit?"
Fabula haec monet
virum prudentem
debere
non modo
praesentia intueri,
verum
etiam futura longe prospicere.

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



Translation:



The dormice decided to use their teeth to bring down the acorn-bearing oak tree so that they would have food that was more readily available to them, and so that they would not be compelled, for the sake of their supper, to continually climb up and down the tree. But one of the dormice, who far exceeded the others in age and skill and wisdom, deterred from this plan, saying, "If we were to kill our nurse now, who in the years to come will offer food to us and to our descendants?" This fable advises us that the wise man should not only consider present circumstances but indeed he should also anticipate events in the distant future.



[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 35 (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:



The Mice found it so troublesome to be still climbing the Oak for every Bit they put in their Bellies, that they were once to set their Teeth to't, and bring the Acorns down to them; but some wiser than some, and a Grave Experienc'd Mouse, bade them have a care what they did; for it we destroy our Nurse at present, who shall feed us hereafter?
Resolution without Foresight is but a Temerarious Folly: And the Consequences of Things are the first Point to be taken into Consideration.

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


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