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Fable of the Day: De Coriario et Urso

Title: De Coriario emente pellem ursi a venatore nondum capti, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Coriarius ad venatorem accedens, emit ab eo pellem ursi pecuniamque pro ea protulit. Ille sibi in praesentia pellem ursi non esse, ceterum postridie venatum profecturum, ursoque interfecto, pellem eius ei se daturum pollicetur. Coriarius animi gratia cum venatore in silvam profectus altissimam arborem ascendit, ut inde ursi venatorisque certamen prospiceret. Venator intrepidus ad antrum, ubi ursus latebat, profectus, immissis canibus illum exire compulit, qui evitato venatoris ictu eum postravit humi. Tunc venator sciens hanc feram in cadavera non saevire, anhelitu retento, se mortuum simulabat. Ursus naribus admotis olfaciens, cum illum nec naso nec corde spirantem deprehenderet, decessit. Coriarius, cum feram abiisse prospiceret, ad venatorem, qui nondum surgere audebat, accedens, illum ut surgeret monebat, interrogavit deinde, quid ad aurem ei ursus locutus esset. Cui venator, Monuit me, inquit, ne deinceps ursi pellem vendere velim, nisi eum prius ceperim. Haec fabula indicat incerta pro certis non habenda.


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



Coriarius
ad venatorem accedens,
emit ab eo pellem ursi
pecuniamque pro ea protulit.
Ille
sibi
in praesentia
pellem ursi non esse,
ceterum postridie
venatum profecturum,
ursoque interfecto,
pellem eius
ei se daturum pollicetur.
Coriarius
animi gratia
cum venatore
in silvam profectus
altissimam arborem ascendit,
ut inde
ursi venatorisque certamen
prospiceret.
Venator intrepidus
ad antrum,
ubi ursus latebat,
profectus,
immissis canibus
illum exire compulit,
qui
evitato venatoris ictu
eum postravit humi.
Tunc venator
sciens
hanc feram
in cadavera non saevire,
anhelitu retento,
se mortuum simulabat.
Ursus
naribus admotis
olfaciens,
cum
illum
nec naso nec corde spirantem
deprehenderet,
decessit.
Coriarius,
cum
feram abiisse
prospiceret,
ad venatorem,
qui nondum surgere audebat,
accedens,
illum
ut surgeret monebat,
interrogavit deinde,
quid ad aurem ei
ursus locutus esset.
Cui venator,
Monuit me, inquit,
ne deinceps
ursi pellem vendere velim,
nisi eum prius ceperim.
Haec fabula indicat
incerta pro certis non habenda.

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



Translation:



A tanner went to a hunter and bought from him the skin of a bear, advancing him the money for the skin. The hunter did not at present have the bear skin at his disposal, but the next day he was going to go hunting and after he killed the bear, he promised that he would give the tanner the bear's skin. The tanner, to satisfy his mind's curiosity, went with the hunter into the woods and climbed the tallest tree in order to watch from that height the contest between the bear and the hunter. The fearless hunter went to a cave where the bear was hiding and let loose his dogs to drive the bear out. The bear, having avoided the hunter's blow, knocked the hunter down on the ground. Then the hunter, who knew that this wild beast would not attack a dead man, held his breath and pretended to be dead. The bear pressed his snout against the man and sniffed, and when he could not sniff or discern that the man was breathing, the bear went away. The tanner, when he saw that the bear was gone, went up to the hunter, who still did not dare to get up from the ground. The tanner told the hunter to get up and then he asked him what the bear had whispered in his ear. The hunter replied; The bear warned me that in the future I should not plan on selling a bear skin until after I have managed to catch the bear. This fable shows that things unsure should not be considered as sure.



[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 49 (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 Currier bought a Bear-Skin of a Hunts-man, and laid him down ready Money for't. The Hunts-man told him that he would kill a Bear next day and he should have the Skin. The Currier, for his Curiosity, went out with the Hunts-man to the Chace; and mounted a tree, where he might see the Sport. The Hunts-man advanc'd very bravely up to the Den where the Bear lay, and threw in his Dogs upon him. He Rustled out immediately, and the Man missing his Aim, the Bear overturn'd him. So the Fellow held his Breath, and lay Stone still, as if he were dead. The Bear snuffled, and smelt to him; and took him for a Carcass, and so left him. When the Bear was gone, and the Danger over, down comes the Currier from the Tree, and bad the Hunts-Man Rise. Heark ye, my Friend, says the Currier, the Bear whisper'd somewhat in your Ear. What was it, I prithee? Oh (says the Hunts-Man) he bad me have a care for the future, so make sure of the Bear, before I sell his Skin.
Let no Man undertake for more than he is able to make good.



[Note: You can find more of these fables at the old blog address for Latin Via Fables.]
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