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Fable of the Day: De Anu daemonem accusante

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

Title
: De Anu daemonem accusante: The Old Woman Accusing A Demon, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Volunt homines ut plurimum, quando sua culpa aliquid sibi acciderit adversi, in fortunam vel in daemonem culpam conferre, ut se crimine exuant, adeo omnes sibi indulgent. Hoc daemon aegre ferens, cum videret anum quandam arborem ascendentem, ex qua illam ruituram, et in se culpam collaturam praeviderat, accitis testibus dixit: "Videte anum illam absque meo consilio arborem ascendentem, unde eam casuram esse prospicio. Estote mihi testes, me ei non suasisse, ut soleata illic ascenderet. Mox anus cecidit, et cum interrogaretur, cum soleata arborem ascendisset, "Daemon (inquit) me impulit." Tunc daemon adductis testibus probavit id ab anu absque suo factum esse consilio. Fabula indicat homines minime venia dignos, qui, cum libere peccent, fortunam vel daemonem accusant.


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



Volunt homines ut plurimum,
quando
sua culpa
aliquid sibi acciderit adversi,
in fortunam
vel in daemonem
culpam conferre,
ut se crimine exuant,
adeo omnes sibi indulgent.
Hoc
daemon aegre ferens,
cum videret anum
quandam arborem ascendentem,
ex qua illam ruituram,
et
in se culpam collaturam
praeviderat,
accitis testibus dixit:
"Videte anum illam
absque meo consilio
arborem ascendentem,
unde eam casuram esse
prospicio.
Estote mihi testes,
me
ei non suasisse,
ut soleata illic ascenderet.
Mox anus cecidit,
et cum interrogaretur,
cum soleata arborem ascendisset,
"Daemon (inquit) me impulit."
Tunc daemon
adductis testibus
probavit
id
ab anu
absque suo factum esse consilio.
Fabula indicat
homines
minime venia dignos,
qui,
cum libere peccent,
fortunam vel daemonem accusant.

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



Translation:



Whenever through their own fault something bad happens to them, people in general put the blame either on luck or on the devil; in fact, everybody acts this way on their own behalf in order to shed the blame. The devil doesn't like this! It happened that he noticed an old woman climbing a tree, he could anticipate that she was going to fall out of the tree and that she would put the blame on him. So he summoned witnesses and said: "Look at that old woman climbing the tree, not at my recommendation; I can tell she is going to fall out of that tree. So you be my witnesses that I di dnot persuade her to climb up there in her shoes." Soon encough the old woman fell down and when she was asked why she had climbed a tree wearing her shoes she said, "The devil made me do it." Then the devil called forward his witnesses and provided that this thing had been done by the old woman not at his recommendation. The fable shows that people are hardly worthy of forgiveness when they make a mistake at will and then put the blame on luck or on the devil.



[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 33 (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. Alas, Sir Roger L'Estrange omitted this fable from his translations of Abstemius!


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