eLatin eGreek eLearn

More wired than a Roman Internet café

Fable of the Day: De asino tubicine et lepore tabellario

Title: De asino tubicine et lepore tabellario: The Donkey Trumpeter and the Rabbit Courier, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Leo, rex quadrupedum, adversus volucres pugnaturus, suorum acies instruebat. Interrogatus autem ab urso, quid ei asini inertia aut leporis timiditas ad victoriam conferre possent, quos ibi inter ceteros milites adesse cernebat, respondit: asinus tubae suae clangore milites ad pugnam concitabit, lepus vero ob pedum celeritatem tabellarii fungetur officio. Fabula significat neminem adeo contemptibilem qui aliqua re nobis prodesse non possit.


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



Leo, rex quadrupedum,

adversus volucres pugnaturus,
suorum acies instruebat.
Interrogatus autem ab urso,
quid ei
asini inertia aut leporis timiditas
ad victoriam conferre possent,
quos ibi inter ceteros milites adesse cernebat,
respondit:
asinus
tubae suae clangore
milites ad pugnam concitabit,
lepus vero
ob pedum celeritatem
tabellarii fungetur officio.
Fabula significat
neminem adeo contemptibilem
qui aliqua re nobis prodesse non possit.


Translation:



Lion, the king of the four-footed beasts, about to go to war against the birds, was arranging the lines of his soldiers. When he was asked by the bear for what the laziness of the donkey or the timidity of the rabbit could contribute to his victory (for the bear saw those animals were there amidst the rest of the soldiers), the lion replied: The donkey will rouse the soldiers to the fight by the blare of his trumpet, while the rabbit, thanks to being fleet of foot, will serve as my courier. Thie fable shows that no one is so contemptible that he cannot be of use to us in some way.



[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 95 (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:



Upon the breaking out of a War betwixt the Birds and the Beasts, the Lion summon'd all his Subjects from Sixteen to Sixty, to appear in Arms, at such a certain Time and Place, upon Pain of his high Displeasure; and there were a World of Asses and Hares at the Rendezvouz among the Rest. Several of the Commanders were for turning 'em off, and discharging 'em, as Creatures entirely unfit for Service. Do not mistakes your self (says the Lion) the Asses will do very well for Trumpeters, and the Hares will make Excellent Letter-Carriers.
God and Nature made nothing in vain. There is no Member of a Political Body so Mean and Inconsiderable, but it may be useful to the Publick in some Station or other.


Keep up with the latest Bestiaria Latina blog posts... Subscribe by Email. I also post a daily round-up of all the Bestiaria Latina blogs: fables, proverbs, audio, etc.

Views: 74

Comment

You need to be a member of eLatin eGreek eLearn to add comments!

Join eLatin eGreek eLearn

Badge

Loading…

© 2019   Created by Andrew Reinhard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service