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Fable of the Day: De equo inculto sed veloci

Title: De equo inculto sed veloci et ceteris eum irridentibus: About the shabby, but speedy, horse, and the other horses who mocked him, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Equi complures ad circenses ludos fuerant adducti pulcherrimis phaleris ornati, praeter unum, quem ceteri ut incultum et ad huiusmodi certamen ineptum irridebant, nec umquam victorem futurum opinabantur. Sed ubi currendi tempus advenit et dato tubae signo cuncti e carceribus exiliere, tum demum innotuit quanto hic paulo ante irrisus ceteros velocitate superaret. Omnibus enim aliis post se longo intervallo relictis, palmam assecutus est. Fabula indicat non ex habitu sed ex virtute homines iudicandos.


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



Equi complures

ad circenses ludos fuerant adducti
pulcherrimis phaleris ornati,
praeter unum,
quem ceteri
ut incultum et ad huiusmodi certamen ineptum
irridebant,
nec umquam victorem futurum opinabantur.
Sed ubi currendi tempus advenit
et dato tubae signo
cuncti e carceribus exiliere,
tum demum innotuit
quanto hic
paulo ante irrisus
ceteros velocitate superaret.
Omnibus enim aliis
post se longo intervallo relictis,
palmam assecutus est.
Fabula indicat
non ex habitu
sed ex virtute
homines iudicandos.


Translation:



Quite a few horses had been brought to the race track, all adorned with elaborate accoutrements, all except for one, so the other horses made fun of him for being so shabby and unsuited to this type of competition, and they concluded that he would not ever be a winner. But when the time for the running of the race arrived and the trumpet blew the signal to start, all the horses leaped from their starting cages, and only then did it become clear how much the horse who had just been made fun of actually outdistanced the rest of the horses with his speed. When all the others had been left far behind, that horse won the palm of victory. This fable shows that people should be judged not by their apperance but by their ability.



[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 88 (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 were a great many brave Sightly Horses with Rich Trappings that were brought out one Day to the Course, and only One Plain Nag in the Company that made sport for all the rest. But when they came at last to Trial, This was the Horse that ran the whole Field out of Distance, and Won the Race.
Our Senses are no competent Judges of the Excellencies of the Mind.

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