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Fable of the Day: De rustico et haedulo

Title: De rustico per vocem haedi ad iuriscultum admisso: About the farmer who was admitted to the lawyer's office thanks to the voice of a goat, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Rusticus quidam, gravi lite implicitus, ad quendam iurisconsultum accesserat, ut eo patrono sese explicaret. At ille, negotiis impeditus, renuntiari iubet, se non posse nunc illi vacare, quare abiret alias rediturus. Rusticus, qui huic ut veteri fidoque amico plurimum fidebat, pluries rediens, nunquam admissus est. Tandem haedum adhuc lactantem et pinguem secum deferens, ante aedes iurisperiti stabat et haedum vellicans illum balare cogebat. Ianitor, qui ex praecepto heri dona portantes statim admittere solebat, audita haedi voce, ianuam illico aperiens hominem introire iubet. Tunc Rusticus, ad haedum conversus, gratias, inquit, ago, haedule mi, qui tam faciles mihi has effecisti fores. Fabula indicat nullas res tam duras difficilesque esse quas munera non aperiant.


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



Rusticus quidam,

gravi lite implicitus,
ad quendam iurisconsultum accesserat,
ut eo patrono sese explicaret.
At ille, negotiis impeditus,
renuntiari iubet,
se non posse nunc illi vacare,
quare abiret alias rediturus.
Rusticus,
qui huic
ut veteri fidoque amico
plurimum fidebat,
pluries rediens,
nunquam admissus est.
Tandem
haedum adhuc lactantem et pinguem
secum deferens,
ante aedes iurisperiti stabat
et haedum vellicans
illum balare cogebat.
Ianitor,
qui ex praecepto heri
dona portantes statim admittere solebat,
audita haedi voce,
ianuam illico aperiens
hominem introire iubet.
Tunc Rusticus,
ad haedum conversus,
gratias, inquit, ago, haedule mi,
qui tam faciles
mihi has effecisti fores.
Fabula indicat
nullas res tam duras difficilesque esse
quas munera non aperiant.



Translation:



There was a certain farmer who had gotten tangled up in a serious lawsuit. He had gone to a certain lawyer so that the lawyer could act as his representative in clearing the matter up. But the lawyer, occupied with many affairs, ordered that the man be dismissed, it was not possible for the lawyer ot make time for him, so he would need to go away and come back another time. The farmer, who placed a lot of trust in this lawyer as an old and faithful acquaintance, came back repeatedly but he was never admitted. Finally, taking with him a tender young goat, fat and still nursing, he stood before the lawyer's doors and by plucking the goat's hair he made it bleat. The doorkeeper, who on his master's orders was accustomed to immediately admit anyone baring gifts, when he heard the sound of the goat, he opened the door without delay and ordered the man to come in. The farmer then turned to the goat and said, "Thank you, my little goat, who has made these doors so easy for me to enter." The fable shows that there are no affairs so difficult and hard that gifts cannot fail to open them.



[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 89 (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 Country-man that was hamper'd in a Law Suit, had a near Friend and Kinsman, it seems, that was a Lawyer, and to him he went again and again, for Advice upon the Point; but he was still so busy, and busy, that he must come another time. The poor Fellow took a delicate Fat Kid with him next Bout, and the Lawyers Clark, upon hearing the Voice of it at the Door; let the Man in, and carry'd him to his Master, where he laid Open his Case, Took his Opinion; made Two Legs, One to the Counsel for Receiving of him; T'other to the Kid for Introducing him, and so went his Way.
Money is a Passe-par-Tout.

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