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Fable of the Day: De muliere ignem ferente

Title: De muliere ignem in mariti domum ferente: About the woman bringing a fire into her husband's house, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vir quidam prudens uxorem ducebat. Interrogatus autem ab amicis, quid sibi vellet facula illa, quam nova nupta accensam a paterna domo effert, rursusque mariti domum ingressura accendit et introfert. Significat, inquit, me hodie ignem a soceri mei aedibus ablatum in domum meam inferre. Fabula significant saepenumero mulieres ignem quendam esse, qui mariti bona comburit.


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



Vir quidam prudens

uxorem ducebat.
Interrogatus autem ab amicis,
quid sibi vellet facula illa,
quam
nova nupta
accensam a paterna domo effert,
rursusque mariti domum
ingressura
accendit et intro fert.
Significat, inquit,
me hodie
ignem a soceri mei aedibus ablatum
in domum meam inferre.
Fabula significant
saepenumero mulieres
ignem quendam esse,
qui mariti bona comburit.


Translation:



A certain sensible man had gotten married. When he was asked by his friends what he made of that torch which, blazing, his new wife was bringing from her father's house, and, about to go into her husband's house in turn, she set on fire and brought inside. He replied: It means that today I have brought into my own house a fire transferred from my father-in-law's house into my own abode. The fable means that women habitually are like a sort of fire which burns up their husband's goods.



[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 97 (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:



The Question was put to an honest Man newly marry'd, What might be the Meaning of his New Bride's bringing a Torch out of her Father's House into her Husband's? Why this, says he; I have eas'd my Father-in-law of a Fire-brand, to set my own House in a Flame.
A Contentious Woman puts all into a Flame, wherever she comes.

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