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Fable of the Day: De Ove pastori convitiante

Title: De Ove pastori convitiante: The sheep criticizing the shepherd, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Ovis conviciabatur pastori, quod non contentus lacte, quod in usum suum filiorumque ab ea mulgebat, insuper eam vellere denudaret. Tunc pastor iratus filium eius trahebat ad mortem. Ecquid, inquit ovis, peius mihi facere potes? Ut te, inquit pastor, occidam et lupis canibusque proiiciam devorendam: siluit ovis maiora adhuc mala formidans. Haec fabula indicat, non debere homines in Deum excandescere, si divitias, si filios ipsis permittat auferri, cum etiam maiora et viventibus et mortuis possit inferre supplicia.


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



Ovis conviciabatur pastori,

quod non contentus lacte,
quod
in usum suum filiorumque
ab ea mulgebat,
insuper
eam vellere denudaret.
Tunc pastor iratus
filium eius trahebat ad mortem.
Ecquid, inquit ovis,
peius mihi facere potes?
Ut te, inquit pastor, occidam
et lupis canibusque proiiciam devorendam:
siluit ovis
maiora adhuc mala formidans.
Haec fabula indicat,
non debere homines
in Deum excandescere,
si divitias, si filios
ipsis permittat auferri,
cum etiam maiora
et viventibus et mortuis
possit inferre supplicia.


Translation:



A sheep was criticizing the shepherd because he was not content with her milk, which he took from her for his own consumption and that of his children, but that in addition to the milk, he stripped her of her fleece. Then the shepherd got angry and dragged off one of the sheep's lambs to be killed. Indeed, said the sheep, is there anything worse you can do to me? The shepherd replied: I could kill you and throw you to the wolves and dogs to devour you." The sheep fell silent, fearing these still greater evils. The fable shows that people should not get hot-tempered with God, if he allows their money or their children to be carried off, when God could inflict still worse punishments on them, both in life and in death.



[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 83 (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 Sheep that was to be shorn, took it very ill of the Shepherd that he should not satisfy himself with the Milk she gave him, without stripping her of her Wool too. The Shepherd, upon this, without any more Words, took one of the Lambs in a Rage, and put it to death. Well, says the Sheep, and now y'ave done your Worst, I hope: No, says the Shepherd, when that's done, I can cut your Throat too, If I have a mind to't, and throw ye to the Dogs, or to the Wolves at pleasure. The Sheep said not one Word more, for fear of a worse Mischief to come.
When People will not submit to Reason by fair Means, they must be brought to't by foul.

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