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Title: De Asino aegrotante et Lupis visitantibus: About the Donkey who is ill and the wolves who come to visit, by Abstemius

** Update: Crossword Puzzle added. **

Latin Text:



Asinus aegrotabat, famaque exierat eum cito moriturum; ad eum igitur visendum cum lupi canesque venissent, peterentque a filio, quomodo pater eius se haberet, ille per ostii rimulam respondit: Melius quam velletis. Haec indicat fabula, quod multi fingunt moleste ferre mortem aliorum, quos tamen cupiunt celeriter interire.


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



Asinus aegrotabat,
famaque exierat
eum cito moriturum;
ad eum igitur visendum
cum lupi canesque venissent,
peterentque a filio,
quomodo pater eius se haberet,
ille per ostii rimulam respondit:
Melius quam velletis.
Haec indicat fabula,
quod multi fingunt
moleste ferre mortem aliorum,
quos tamen
cupiunt celeriter interire.

Crossword Puzzle: Here is a Crossword Puzzle based on this fable.



Translation:



There was a donkey who was ill, and the story went out that he was soon going to die, so when the wolves and the dogs came to visit him and asked his son how his father was feeling, the son replied through a crack in the door: Better than you wish. This fable shows that many pretend to be concerned about some people's demise, when however what they want is for those people to die and do it quickly!



[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 64 (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 - but note that L'Estrange is not really translating Abstemius! Instead, he has provided a version here of the traditional Aesop's fable about the sick donkey and the wolf. This is not a version of Abstemius's actual story, as you can see!



There was a certain Wolf, that in a Qualm of wonderful Charity, made a Visit to an Ass, that lay ill of a violent Fever. He felt his Pulse very gingerly; and pray, my good Friend, says he, whereabouts is your greatest Pain? Oh, gently, says the Ass, for it pricks me just there still where you lay your Finger.
The Charity of our Death-Bed Visits from one another, is much at a Rate, (generally speaking) with that of a Carrion-Crow to a Sheep; we smell a Carcass.



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