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Fable of the Day: De Nautis et Sanctis

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

Title
: De Nautis sanctorum auxilium implorantibus: The Sailors, Imploring the Help of the Saints, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Nauta quidam in mari subita et atra tempestate deprehensus, ceteris eius sociis diversorum divorum auxilium implorantibus: "Nescitis (inquit) quid petatis. Ante enim quam sancti isti ad deum pro nostra liberatione se conferant, hac imminenti procella obruemur. Ad eum igitur confugiendum censeo, qui absque alterius adminiculo a tantis malis nos poterit liberare." Invocato igitur Dei omnipotentis auxilio, ilico procella cessavit. Fabula indicat ubi potentioris auxilium haberi potest ad imbecilliores non confugiendum.


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



Nauta quidam
in mari
subita et atra tempestate deprehensus,
ceteris eius sociis
diversorum divorum auxilium implorantibus:
"Nescitis (inquit)
quid petatis.
Ante enim quam sancti isti
ad deum
pro nostra liberatione
se conferant,
hac imminenti procella obruemur.
Ad eum igitur confugiendum
censeo,
qui absque alterius adminiculo
a tantis malis
nos poterit liberare."
Invocato igitur
Dei omnipotentis auxilio,
ilico procella cessavit.
Fabula indicat
ubi potentioris auxilium haberi potest
ad imbecilliores non confugiendum.

Crossword Puzzle: While I am in the process of moving to North Carolina, I may be slow to add the crossword puzzled, but I'll get caught up eventually. If you subscribe to the Bestiaria Latina round-up, you can find out when new materials are added.



Translation:



There was a certain sailor who was caught up in a sudden, dark storm at sea. As the rest of his fellows were begging for help from various holy ones, he said, "You don't know what you're asking. The fact is that efore those saints of yours make their way to God on behalf of our rescue, we will be overwhelmed by this threatening tempest. Therefore, I think we should have recourse to the one who, without anybody else's help, will be able to rescue us from such great dangers." Thus when the help of the almighty God was invoked, immediately the tempest ceased. The fable shows that when the help of someone more powerful can be obtained, one ought not to have recourse to those who are less effective.



[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 19 (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:



It blew a terrible tempest at Sea once, and there was one Seaman took notice that the rest of his Fellows were praying severally to so many Saints. Have a care my Masters, says he, what you do; for what if we should all be drown'd now before the Messenger can deliver his Errand? Would it not be better without going so far about, to pray to Him that can save us without Help? Upon this, they turn'd their Prayers to God himself, and the Wind presently fell.
The Shortest and Surest Way of doing Business is Best.

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