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Title: De Asino laborum finem non inveniente: The Donkey not finding any end to his labors, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Asinus hiberno tempore plurimum angebatur, quod nimio afficeretur frigore et durum palearum haberet victum, quare vernam temperiem et teneras herbas optabat. Sed cum ver advenisset, cogereturque a domino qui figulus erat, argillam in aream et ligna ad fornacem indeque lateres imbrices tegulas ad diversa loca deferre, praetaesus veris, in quo tot labores tolerabat, aestatem omnibus votis expetebat, ut dominus messe impeditus, eum quiescere paterentur. Sed tunc quoque, cum messem in aream et inde domum triticum ferre compelleretur nec quieti locus sibi esset, autumnum saltem laborum finem fore sperabat. Sed ubi ne tunc quoque malorum terminum adesse cernebat, cum quotidie vinum, poma, ligna portanda essent, rursus hiemis nives et glaciem efflagitabat, ut tunc saltem aliqua sibi requies a tantis laboribus concederetur. Haec fabula indicat, nulla esse praesentis vitae tempora, quae non perpetuis sint subiecta laboribus.


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



Asinus
hiberno tempore
plurimum angebatur,
quod nimio afficeretur frigore
et durum palearum haberet victum,
quare
vernam temperiem et teneras herbas
optabat.
Sed cum ver advenisset,
cogereturque a domino
qui figulus erat,
argillam in aream
et ligna ad fornacem
indeque lateres imbrices tegulas
ad diversa loca deferre,
praetaesus veris,
in quo tot labores tolerabat,
aestatem omnibus votis expetebat,
ut dominus messe impeditus,
eum quiescere paterentur.
Sed tunc quoque,
cum
messem in aream
et inde domum triticum ferre
compelleretur
nec quieti locus sibi esset,
autumnum saltem laborum finem fore
sperabat.
Sed ubi
ne tunc quoque
malorum terminum adesse
cernebat,
cum quotidie
vinum, poma, ligna portanda essent,
rursus
hiemis nives et glaciem efflagitabat,
ut tunc saltem
aliqua sibi requies
a tantis laboribus
concederetur.
Haec fabula indicat,
nulla esse
praesentis vitae tempora,
quae
non perpetuis sint subiecta laboribus.


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



Translation:



A donkey was suffering terrible during the winter time because he was affected by the extreme cold and he had tough chaff fodder. Therefore, he was hoping for the moderation of spring and its tender grasses. But when spring came, he was compelled by his master (who was a potter) to carry the clay into the work area, to carry wood for the oven, and from there to carry the bricks, tiles and roof-tiles to various places. Completely tired of spring, in which season he had to endure so much hard work, he was asking in all his prayers for summer to come, so that his master would be busy with the harvest and they would allow him to rest. But then too, when he was compelled to carry the harvest to the threshing-floor and from there to carry the wheat into the house, and there was not place of rest for him, the donkey was hoping that at least autumn would be an end of his labors. But not even at that time did the donkey see an end of his troubles, since every day there was wood, apples and wine to be carried, so again he begged for the snow and ice of winter, so that at least there would be some rest allotted to him from so much hard work. This fable shows that there is no time in the present life which is not subject to endless hard work.



[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 66 (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:



An Ass was wishing in a hard Winter, for a little warm Weather, and a Mouthful of fresh Grass to knap upon, in Exchange for a heartless Truss of Straw, and a cold Lodging. In good time, the warm Weather, and the fresh Grass comes on; but so much Toil and Bus'ness along with it, that the Ass grows quickly as sick of the Spring, as he was of the Winter. His next Longing is for Summer; but what with Harvest-Work, and other Drudgeries of that Season, he is worse now than he was in the Spring and then he fancies he shall never be well 'till Autumn comes: But there again, what with carrying Apples, Grapes, Fewel, Winter-Provisions, etc. he finds himself in a greater Hurry than ever. In fine, when he has trod the Circle of the Year in a Course of restless Labour, his last Prayer is for Winter again; and that he may but take up his Rest where he began his Complaint.
The Life of an unsteady Man runs away in a Course of vain Wishes, and unprofitable Repentance: An unsettled Mind can never be at rest. There's no Season without its Bus'ness.



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