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Fable of the Day: De nuce, asino et muliere

Title: Quod nuci, asino et mulieri prosunt verbera: Walnut, Donkey and Woman Whipped, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Mulier quaedam interrogabat nucem secus viam natam quae a praetereunte populo saxis impetebatur, quare esset ita amens ut quo pluribus maioribusque verberibus caederetur eo plures praestantioresque fructus procrearet? Cui iuglans: es ne, inquit, proverbii immemor ita dicentis? Nux, asinus, mulier, simili sunt lege ligati, Haec tria nil recte faciunt si verbera cessent. Haec fabula innuit, saepe homines propriis iaculis se solere confodere.


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



Mulier quaedam
interrogabat nucem
secus viam natam
quae a praetereunte populo
saxis impetebatur,
quare esset ita amens
ut
quo pluribus maioribusque verberibus
caederetur
eo plures praestantioresque fructus
procrearet?
Cui iuglans:
es ne, inquit,
proverbii immemor
ita dicentis?
Nux, asinus, mulier,
simili sunt lege ligati,
Haec tria nil recte faciunt
si verbera cessent.
Haec fabula innuit,
saepe homines
propriis iaculis
se solere confodere.

Crossword Puzzle: No crossword puzzle again today, I am afraid (the beginning of the semester is just so busy!).



Translation:



A certain woman asked a nut tree, which had grown up along the road and was struck with stones by the people passing by, why the nut tree was so foolished as to give more and better nuts when the tree was struck by more and stronger blows? The walnut tree said to her: Have you forgotten about the proverb that goes: Nut tree, donkey and woman are bound by a similar law; these three things do nothing right if you stop beating them. This fable indicates that often people are accustomed to stab themselves with their own barbs.



[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 65 (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 Good Woman happen'd to pass by, as a Company of Young Fellows were Cudgelling a Wallnut-Tree, and ask'd them what they did that for? This is only by the Way of Discipline, says one of the Lads, for 'tis natural for Asses, Women, and Wallnut-Trees to Mend upon Beating.
Spur a Jade a Question, and he'll Kick ye an Answer.



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