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Fable of the Day: De sene et iuvene poma surripiente

Title: De sene iuvenem poma sibi surripientem saxis deiiciente: About the old man using rocks to dislodge the young man stealing his apples, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Senex quidam iuvenem sibi poma surripientem blandis orabat verbis ut ex arbore descenderet nec res suas vellet auferre. Sed cum incassum verba funderet, iuvene eius aetatem ac verba contemnente, non in verbis tantum, inquit, verum etiam in herbis audio esse virtutem. Herbas igitur vellere et in illum iacere coepit. Quod iuvenis conspicatus vehementer in risum effusus est et senem delirare arbitrabatur, qui crederet eum ex arbore herbis posse depellere. Tunc senex omnia experiri cupiens: quando, inquit, verborum et herbarum vires adversus raptorem mearum rerum nullae sunt, lapidibus agam, in quibus quoque dicunt esse virtutem: lapidesque, quibus gremium impleverat, in iuvenem iaciens, illum descendere et abire coegit. Haec fabula indicat omnia prius sapienti tentanda quam ad armorum confugiatur auxilium.


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



Senex quidam

iuvenem sibi poma surripientem
blandis orabat verbis
ut ex arbore descenderet
nec res suas vellet auferre.
Sed cum incassum verba funderet,
iuvene
eius aetatem ac verba contemnente,
non in verbis tantum, inquit,
verum etiam in herbis
audio esse virtutem.
Herbas igitur vellere
et in illum iacere coepit.
Quod iuvenis conspicatus
vehementer in risum effusus est
et senem delirare arbitrabatur,
qui crederet
eum ex arbore herbis posse depellere.
Tunc senex
omnia experiri cupiens:
quando, inquit,
verborum et herbarum vires
adversus raptorem mearum rerum
nullae sunt,
lapidibus agam,
in quibus quoque dicunt esse virtutem:
lapidesque,
quibus gremium impleverat,
in iuvenem iaciens,
illum descendere et abire coegit.
Haec fabula indicat
omnia prius sapienti tentanda
quam ad armorum confugiatur auxilium.


Translation:



There was an old man who tried using pleasant words in addressing the young man who was stealing his apples, asking him to come down from the tree and not to carry off his goods. But since he poured out these words in vain, the young man scorning both his age and his words, the old man finally said, "It is not only words that have power; I have heard that there is also power in grass." So he started to tear up the grass and to throw it at the young man. When the young man saw this he burst out into loud laughter and thought the old man had lost his mind, since he thought it was possible to drive him out of the tree by throwing grass at him. Then the old man, desperate to try anything, said, "Since the power of both words and grass do nothing against the robber of my goods, I'll try with rocks, in which there is also supposed to be some power." And so he gathered up whole armloads of rocks and threw them at the young man, and so forced him to come down and go away. This fable shows that the wise man should try all methods before he resorts to the use of weapons.



[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 91 (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:



An Old Fellow took a Boy Robbing his Orchard, Sirrah (says he) come down the Tree, and don't steal my Apples. The Lad never minded him, but went on with his Work. Well (says the Master of the Ground) they say there are Charms in Herbs as well as in Words, and so he threw a Handful of Grass at him; which was so ridiculous, that the Young Thief took the Old Man to be Mop'd. But in Conclusion, if neither Words, nor Herbs will do, says he, I'll try what may be done with Stones; for they say there's Vertue in Them too; and that Way he did his Work.
Those that will not be reclaimd's by Instruction, must be brought to a Sense of their Duty by Feeling.

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