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Fable of the Day: De Sacerdote et piris

Title: De Sacerdote et piris: The Priest and The Pears, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Sacerdos quidam gulosus extra patriam ad nuptias profisciscens, ad quas fuerat invitatus, reperit in itinere pirorum acervum, quorum ne unum quidem attigit, quamvis magna affectus fame: quin potius ea ludibrio habens lotio conspersit, indignabatur enim huiusmodi cibos in itinere offerri, qui ad lautas accedebat epulas. Sed cum in itinere torrentem quendam ita imbribus auctum offendisset, ut sine vitae periculo eum transire non posset, domum redire constituit. Revertens autem ieiunus, tanta est oppressus fame, ut nisi pira illa, quae urina consperserat, comesset, cum aliud non inveniret, extingueretur. Haec fabula monet, nihil esse contemnendum, cum nihil sit tam vile et abiectum, quod aliquando usui esse non possit.


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



Sacerdos quidam gulosus
extra patriam
ad nuptias profisciscens,
ad quas fuerat invitatus,
reperit in itinere
pirorum acervum,
quorum ne unum quidem attigit,
quamvis magna affectus fame:
quin potius ea ludibrio habens
lotio conspersit,
indignabatur enim
huiusmodi cibos
in itinere offerri,
qui ad lautas accedebat epulas.
Sed cum in itinere
torrentem quendam
ita imbribus auctum
offendisset,
ut sine vitae periculo
eum transire non posset,
domum redire constituit.
Revertens autem ieiunus,
tanta est oppressus fame,
ut nisi pira illa,
quae urina consperserat, comesset,
cum aliud non inveniret,
extingueretur.
Haec fabula monet,
nihil esse contemnendum,
cum nihil sit tam vile et abiectum,
quod aliquando
usui esse non possit.

Crossword Puzzle: You can play a crossword puzzle based on the vocabulary in this fable.



Translation:



There was a certain gluttonous priest who had set out on a journey far from home to a wedding to which he had been invited. On the way he found a heap of pears, but he didn't touch so much as a single one of them, although he was feeling very hungry; rather, he made a mockery of them and sprinkled them with piss, for he resented that food of this sort was offered to him on his journey when he was on his way to a splendid wedding feast. But when along the way he ran into a certain river, it was so swollen with rain that he could not cross it without losing his life, and so he decided to go back home. On the way home, starving, he was oppressed by such great hunger that if he had not eaten those very pears, on which he had pissed, he would have died. This fable warns us that nothing should be condemned, since there is nothing so worthless and humble that it cannot at some time or another prove to be useful.



[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 46 (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 Jolly Gutling Priest, that was invited to a Wedding-Dinner, stumbled upon a parcel of Pears by the way. That Man was sharp enough to set to have made a Breakfast of them; but so was taken up with the thought of the Wedding-Chear, that he only piss'd upon the Pears in contempt, and so went his Way. He was to cross a River, it seems; but finding the Waters so high, that there was no passing, he was e'ev glad to trudge back again as wise as he came, and to make a Meal upon those very Pears that he had Piss'd upon and despis'd.
Hunger's the Best Sauce.
[Note: You can find more of these fables at the old blog address for Latin Via Fables.]
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