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

Title
: De Caponibus pinguibus et macro: About the Fat Capons and the Thin One, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Vir quidam complures capones in eodem ornithoboscio inclusos largo nutricaverat cibo, qui pingues effecti sunt omnes praeter unum, quem ut macilentum irridebant fratres. Dominus, nobiles hospites lauto et sumptuoso accepturus convivio, imperat coco ut ex his interimat coquatque quos pinguiores invenerit. Hoc audientes corpulenti sese afflictabat dicentes, "Quanto praestitisset nos macilentos esse." Haec fabula in pauperum solamen conficta est, quorum vita tutior quam divitum.


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



Vir quidam
complures capones
in eodem ornithoboscio inclusos
largo nutricaverat cibo,
qui
pingues effecti sunt omnes
praeter unum,
quem
ut macilentum
irridebant fratres.
Dominus,
nobiles hospites
lauto et sumptuoso accepturus convivio,
imperat coco
ut ex his interimat
coquatque
quos pinguiores invenerit.
Hoc audientes
corpulenti
sese afflictabat dicentes,
"Quanto praestitisset
nos macilentos esse."
Haec fabula
in pauperum solamen
conficta est,
quorum vita tutior
quam divitum.

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



Translation:



A certain man kept many capons (castrated roosters) in the same chicken-coop, and he fed them with generous food. The capons all grew fat, except one, and his brothers made fun of him for being skinny. The master, who was going to entertain noble guests at a lavish and sumptuous banquet, ordered the cook to kill and cook those among the capons who were fatter than the others. When the fat capons heard this, they were upset and said, "How much better it would have been for us to be skinny." This fable is devised for the consolation of the poor, whose life is safer than the life of the rich.



[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 10 (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 were a great many Cramm'd Capons together in a Coop, some of 'em very Fair and Fat, and Others again did not thrive upon Feeding. The Fat Ones would be ever and anon making sport with the Lean, and calling them Starvelings; 'till in the End, the Cook was order'd to dress so many Capons for Supper, and to be sure to take the best in the Pen: When it came to that once, they that had most Flesh upon their Backs, wish'd they had had less, and 'twould have been better for 'em.
Prosperity makes People Proud, Fat, and Wanton; but when a Day of Reckoning comes, They are the First still that go to Pot.

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