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Title: De Leone et Mure: The Lion and The Mouse, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Leo laqueo captus in silva, cum se ita irretitum videret ut nullis viribus se inde posse explicare confideret, murem rogavit ut, abroso laqueo, eum liberaret, promittens tanti beneficii non immemorem futurum. Quod cum mus prompte fecisset, leonem rogavit ut filiam eius sibi traderet in uxorem. Nec abnuit leo ut benefactori suo gratum faceret. Nova autem nupta ad virum veniens eum, cum non videret casu illum, pressit atque contrivit. Haec indicat fabula matrimonia et cetera consortia improbanda quae ab imparibus contrahuntur.


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



Leo
laqueo captus in silva,
cum
se ita irretitum
videret
ut
nullis viribus
se inde posse explicare
confideret,
murem rogavit
ut,
abroso laqueo,
eum liberaret,
promittens
tanti beneficii non immemorem
futurum.
Quod
cum mus prompte fecisset,
leonem rogavit
ut filiam eius sibi traderet
in uxorem.
Nec abnuit leo
ut benefactori suo
gratum faceret.
Nova autem nupta
ad virum veniens eum,
cum non videret casu illum,
pressit atque contrivit.
Haec indicat fabula
matrimonia et cetera consortia
improbanda
quae ab imparibus contrahuntur.

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



Translation:



A lion was captured by a net in the woods and when he saw that he was so entrapped that he could not trust even all his strength to get him out of there, he begged a mouse to set him free by gnawing on the net, promising that he would not in the future forget such a great favor. When the mouse readily did this, he then asked the lion to give him his daughter as a wife. The lion did not refuse to do this favor for hsi benefactor. When, however, the new bride came to her husband, she did not happen to see where he was, and so stepped on him and ground him to a pulp. This afble shows that marriage and other alliances are not to be approved which are contracted between unequal parties.



[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 52 (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.) You can also find this story included in Barlow's Aesop, with an illustration showing the mouse underfoot!



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 Lion that found himself hamper'd in a Net, call'd to a Mouse that was passing by, to help him out of the Snare, and he'd never forget the Kindness, he said. The Mouse gnaw'd the Threads to pieces, and when he had set the Lion at Liberty, desir'd him in requital to give him his Daughter. The Lion was too generous to deny him any thing; but most unluckily as the new Bride was just about to step into the Marriage-Bed, she happen'd to set her Foot upon her Husband at unawares, and crush'd him to Death.
The Folly of an Inconsiderate Love. The Force of Gratitude, and good Nature, and the Misery that accompanies Unequal Matches.



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