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Title: De Asino et Scurra: The Donkey and The Buffoon, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Asinus indigne ferens scurram quendam honorari et pulchris vestibus amiciri quia magnos ventris edebat sonos, ad magistratus accessit petens ne se minus quam scurram honorare vellent. Et cum magistratus admirantes eum interrogarent cur se ita honore dignum duceret, inquit: "Quia maiores quam scurra crepitus ventris emitto eosque absque foetore." Haec fabula eos arguit qui in rebus levissimis suas pecunias profundunt.


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



Asinus
indigne ferens
scurram quendam honorari
et pulchris vestibus amiciri
quia magnos ventris edebat sonos,
ad magistratus accessit
petens
ne se
minus quam scurram
honorare vellent.
Et cum
magistratus
admirantes eum
interrogarent
cur
se ita honore dignum
duceret,
inquit:
"Quia
maiores quam scurra
crepitus ventris emitto
eosque absque foetore."
Haec fabula eos arguit
qui in rebus levissimis
suas pecunias profundunt.

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



Translation:



A donkey was frustrated that a certain buffoon was given a public office and was wrapped in elegant clothes because he was able to make loud noises come out of his gut. So the donkey went to the city officials, asking that they would honor him no less than they had done the buffoon. When the city officials, surprised at the donkey's request, asked him why he considered himself worthy of such honor, the donkey said: "Because I emit even louder farts than the buffoon does, and what's more they don't stink." This story indicts those who waste their money in foolish affairs.



[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 56 (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 was a bantering Droll got himself into a very good Equipage and Employment, by an admirable Faculty he had in Farting. The Success of this Buffoon encourag'd an Ass to put in for a Place too; for, says he, I'll fart with that Puppy for his Commission, and leave it to the Judgment of those that preferr'd him, which has the Clearer, and better scented Pipe of the Two.
Where Publick Ministers encourage Buffoonery, 'tis no wonder if Buffoons set up for Publick Ministers.



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