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Title: De Asino, qui hero ingrato serviebat: The Donkey, who served an ungrateful master, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Asinus, qui viro cuidam ingrato multos annos inoffenso pede servierat, semel, ut fit, dum sarcina pressus gravi et salebrosa incedit via, sub onere ceciderat. Tum dominus implacabilis multis verberibus surgere compellebat, pigrum animal et ignavum nuncupans. At ille miser inter verbera haec secum dicebat: Infelix ego quam ingratum sortitus sum herum. Num quamvis ei multo tempore sine offensa servierim, tamen non hoc unum delictum tot meis pristinis beneficiis compensat. Haec fabula in eos conficta est, qui, beneficiorum sibi collatorum immemores, etiam minimam benefactoris sui in se offensam atroci poena prosequuntur.


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



Asinus,
qui viro cuidam ingrato
multos annos
inoffenso pede servierat,
semel, ut fit,
dum sarcina pressus gravi
et salebrosa incedit via,
sub onere ceciderat.
Tum dominus implacabilis
multis verberibus
surgere compellebat,
pigrum animal et ignavum
nuncupans.
At ille miser
inter verbera haec
secum dicebat:
Infelix ego
quam ingratum sortitus sum herum.
Num quamvis ei
multo tempore
sine offensa servierim,
tamen non hoc unum delictum
tot meis pristinis beneficiis
compensat.
Haec fabula
in eos conficta est,
qui,
beneficiorum
sibi collatorum
immemores,
etiam
minimam benefactoris sui in se offensam
atroci poena prosequuntur.

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



Translation:



A donkey had served a certain ungrateful master for many years, his pace never failing. Once, however, as it happened, when the donkey was weighed down with a heavy load and walking along a rugged path, he fell beneath the weight. The the master, showing no mercy, forced the donkey to rise up by whipping him again and again, calling him a lazy and worthless beast. The poor donkey, as he was being whipped, said to himself: Woe is me, having been allotted to such an ungrateful master. For even though I served him for a long time with no cause for complaint, now not even a single failing can be compensated for by all my former good deeds. This fable is made for those who, unmindful of the many good deeds done for them, persecute with a savage punishment the least offense done to them by their benefactor.



[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 68 (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. Normally I would provide L'Estrange's translation, but he did not include this fable, perhaps because he saw this as too similar to the traditional fable of the old dog and his master.



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