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Fable of the Day: De praetore repetundarum damnato

Title: De praetore repetundarum damnato: About the praetor condemned for extortion, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Praetor qui provinciam cui praefuerat expilaverat, repetundarum damnatus fuerat. Cumque aegre ablata restitueret, dicebat quidam e provincialibus, hic noster praetor mulieres imitatur, quae foetus concipientes mira voluptate afficiuntur, cum autem eos emittunt, incredibili dolore torquentur. Fabula significat aliena non esse surripienda, ne illa deponere coacti, maerore conficiamur.


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



Praetor

qui provinciam cui praefuerat expilaverat,
repetundarum damnatus fuerat.
Cumque aegre ablata restitueret,
dicebat quidam e provincialibus,
hic noster praetor
mulieres imitatur,
quae
foetus concipientes
mira voluptate afficiuntur,
cum autem eos emittunt,
incredibili dolore torquentur.
Fabula significat
aliena non esse surripienda,
ne illa deponere coacti,
maerore conficiamur.


Translation:



A praetor, who had plundered the province which was under his command, was found guilty of extortion. When he reluctantly restored what he had taken, one of the people of province said: "Our praetor is like women who experience amazing pleasure in conceiving a child, but who are tormented with terrible pain when it comes time to bring them forth." This fable shows that we should not steal other people's things, because when we are compelled to give them up, we are consumed with grief.



[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 98 (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 Certain Governour of a Province that had a long Time Pill'd, and Oppress'd the People under his Charge, was call'd to Account in the Conclusion for Receiving of Bribes; and sentenc'd to Refund what he had wrongfully Taken. He came as unwillingly to the Point, as a Bear to the Stake, which gave Occasion to some Body's saying, that it was with this Man and his Money, as it is with Women and their Children; He was well enough pleased in the Getting of it; but it went to the very Heart of him when he Parted with it.
Great Officers are but like Sponges; they suck 'till they are full, and when they come once to be squeez'd, the very Heart's Blood of them come away with their Money.

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