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Fable of the Day: De Vulpe et Mulieribus

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

Title
: De Vulpe et Mulieribus gallinam edentibus: The Fox and the Chicken-Eating Women, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vulpes iuxta villam quandam transiens, conspexit catervam mulierum plurimas gallinas opipare assatas alto silentio comedentem, ad quas conversa: "Qui clamores (inquit) et canum latratus contra me essent, si ego facerem quod vos facitis!" Cui respondens quaedam anus, "Pessima animalium, (inquit) nos quae nostra sunt comedimus; tu aliena furaris." Haec fabula nos admonet ne putemus nobis in aliena licere, quod propriis domibus licet.


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



Vulpes
iuxta villam quandam transiens,
conspexit catervam mulierum
plurimas gallinas opipare assatas
alto silentio comedentem,
ad quas conversa:
"Qui clamores (inquit)
et canum latratus
contra me essent,
si ego facerem
quod vos facitis!"
Cui respondens quaedam anus,
"Pessima animalium, (inquit)
nos
quae nostra sunt
comedimus;
tu
aliena furaris."
Haec fabula nos admonet
ne putemus
nobis in aliena licere,
quod propriis domibus licet.

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

Translation:



A fox was walking by a certain farm and saw a crowd of women who, in total silence, were eating many sumptuously roasted chickens. The fox turned to the women and said, "What shouts there would be against me, and what howling of dogs, if I were to do what you are doing!" A certain old woman said, "Most wretched creature! We are eating those things which are ours; you take your pleasure in things that belong to others." This fable warns us not to conclude that we are allowed to do to other people's things what is permitted to them in their own houses.



[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 9 (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.) Compare also the fable alluded to in Plutarch.



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 Fox was taking a Walk one Night cross a Village, spy'd a Bevy of Jolly, Gossiping Wenches, making merry over a Dish of Pullets. Why ay, says he; Is not this a brave World now? A poor innocent Fox cannot so much as peep into a Hen-Roost, though but to keep Life and Soul together, and what a bawling do you make on't presently with your Dogs, and your Bastards! And yet You your selves can lie stuffing your Guts with your Hens and your Capons, and not a Word of the Pudding. How now Bold-Face, cries an old Trot, Sirrah, we eat our Own Hens, I'd have you to know; and what you eat, you steal.
There are Men of Prey, as well as Beasts of Prey, that account Rapine as good a Title as Propriety.

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