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Fable of the Day: De Heremita et Milite

Title: De Heremita et Milite: The Hermit and The Soldier, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Heremita quidam vir sanctissimae vitae militem hortabatur ut relicta saeculi militia quam absque Dei offensa et animae discrimine pauci exercent, tandem se corporis traderet quieti et animae consuleret saluti. Cui miles: Faciam, inquit, quod mones pater. Verum enim est quod hoc tempore milites neque stipendia exigere valeant licet exigua sint neque praedari possint. Fabula indicat multos vitiis renuntiare quia illa amplius exercere non possunt.


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



Heremita quidam
vir sanctissimae vitae
militem hortabatur
ut
relicta saeculi militia
quam
absque Dei offensa et animae discrimine
pauci exercent,
tandem
se corporis traderet quieti
et animae consuleret saluti.
Cui miles:
Faciam, inquit,
quod mones pater.
Verum enim est
quod hoc tempore
milites
neque stipendia exigere valeant
licet exigua sint
neque praedari possint.
Fabula indicat
multos
vitiis renuntiare
quia
illa amplius exercere
non possunt.

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



Translation:



A certain hermit, a man of a most holy lifestyle, urged a soldier that he give up the warfare of this world, which few can manage to do without offending God and endangering their soul. Instead, he urged the soldier to consign himself to the rest of the body and to concern himself with the welfare of his soul. The soldier told the hermit: I will do what you advise, Father. The fact of the matter is that at this time soldiers are not able to collect their pay, meager as it is, nor are they able to get any good plunder. The fable shows that many people renounce wicked activities only because they are prevented from conducting them any longer.



[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 50 (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:



There was a Holy Man, that took a Soldier to task, upon the Subject of his Profession, and laid before him the Hazard, the Sins, and the Troubles that attend People of that Trade: Wherefore, says he, for your Soul's Sake, Sir, pray give it over. Well! Father, says the Soldier, I'll do as you bid me; for really we are so ill paid, and there's so little to be gotten by Pillage, that I fancy I had e'en as good betake myself to a godly Life.
When People can live no longer by their Sins, 'tis high time for them to mend their Manners.



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