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Fable of the Day: De Legato et Tubicinibus

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

Title
: De Legato avaro tubicines decipiente: The Ambassador Who Tricked His Trumpeters, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Quidam avarus pro patria legatus in aliam urbem profectus erat. Cui tubicines praesto affuerunt, ut illius aures tubarum clangore, loculos autem suos pecunia implerent. Quibus ille renunciari iubet non esse nunc locum cantibus, se in summo luctu et maerore constitutum, matrem enim suam obiisse. Tubicines autem frustrati et maesti abeunt. Amicus quidam legati audiens luctum, ad eum visendum consolandumque accedit interrogatque quam diu mater eius obiisset. "Quadraginta iam anni sunt," inquit. Tunc amicus intellecta legati stropha in risum effusus est. Haec fabula ad avaros facit, qui omni arte student conservare pecuniam.


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



Quidam avarus
pro patria legatus
in aliam urbem profectus erat.
Cui tubicines praesto affuerunt,
ut illius aures
tubarum clangore,
loculos autem suos
pecunia
implerent.
Quibus
ille renunciari iubet
non esse nunc locum cantibus,
se
in summo luctu et maerore constitutum,
matrem enim suam
obiisse.
Tubicines autem
frustrati et maesti
abeunt.
Amicus quidam legati
audiens luctum,
ad eum
visendum consolandumque
accedit
interrogatque
quam diu mater eius obiisset.
"Quadraginta iam anni sunt,"
inquit.
Tunc amicus
intellecta legati stropha
in risum
effusus est.
Haec fabula
ad avaros facit,
qui omni arte student
conservare pecuniam.

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 penny-pinching man appointed as the ambassador for his country who had been sent to another city. There were trumpeters attending him, always at the ready, hoping that as they filled his ears with the blare of the trumpets he would fill their pockets with money. The ambassador ordered them to stop playing because, he said, it was not the time or place for songs, since he was in a state of deepest grief and mourning because his mother had passed away. So the trumpeters went away, frustrated and sorrowful. A certain friend of the ambassador, hearing of his grief, went to see him to offer consolation. He asked when the ambassador's mother had passed away, and the ambassador told him, "It's now forty years ago." Then, having understood the ambassador's trick, broke out in laughter. This fable is made for penny-pinching people who by every stratagem strive to save their money.



[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 22 (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:



A Certain Ambassador that was still pester'd with Drums and Trumpets every where upon the Way of his Embassy, was willing to save his Money, and so had them put off still with This Answer: That his Excellency was in deep Mourning for his Mother, and in no Humour for Musick. The Drums and Trumpets were at least as much troubled at the Tidings, as the Ambassador Himself. This News came to the Ear of a Person of Honour, who presently made him a condoling Visit. Pray, my Lord (says the Nobleman) how long may your Mother have been death? Why, says the Ambassador, 'tis now a Matter of Forty Years; which expounded the Riddle, and put an End to that Controversy.
There is a Certain Agreeable Way of Fooling betwixt Jest and Earnest that carries both Pleasure and Profit along with it; for it saves a Man's Money One way, and his Credit another.

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