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Title: De Cochlea petente ab Iove ut suam domum secum ferre posset: About the Snail, petitioning Zeus so that she could carry her house along with her, by Abstemius


Latin Text:



Cum Iupiter ab exordio mundi singulis animalibus munera quae petissent elargiretur, cochlea ab eo petiit, ut domum suam posset circumferre. Interrogata a Iove, quare tale ab eo munus exposceret, quod illi grave et molestum futurum erat. Malo, inquit, tam grave onus perpetuo ferre, quam, cum mihi libuerit, malum vicinum non posse vitare. Fabula indicat, malorum vicinitatem omni incommodo fugiendam.


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



Cum Iupiter
ab exordio mundi
singulis animalibus
munera quae petissent
elargiretur,
cochlea ab eo petiit,
ut domum suam posset circumferre.
Interrogata a Iove,
quare tale ab eo munus
exposceret,
quod illi grave et molestum
futurum erat.
Malo, inquit,
tam grave onus perpetuo ferre,
quam,
cum mihi libuerit,
malum vicinum
non posse vitare.
Fabula indicat,
malorum vicinitatem
omni incommodo fugiendam.

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



Translation:



When at the dawn of the world Zeus was in the habit of bestowing on the individual animals the gifts which they asked of him, the snail asked him that she be able to carry around her house. She was asked by Zeus why she asked such a gift from him, which was going to be so heavy and annoying for her. The snail said: I prefer to carry this so heavy burden constantly, rather than not be able to avoid a wicked neighbor whenever it pleases me. This fable shows that having bad people as neighbors is to be avoided at any cost.



[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 71 (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:



In old time, when Jupiter was in the Humour of granting Petitions, a Cockle made it his Request, that his House and his Body might be all of a piece. Jupiter made him Answer, that it would be a Burden to him instead of a Favour. Yes, says the Cockle, but it will be such a Burden as I had rather bear, than life expos'd to ill Neighbours.
Impertinent Visits are the Plague of a Sober Man's Life, and therefore 'tis a happy thing when a Body may be at Home, or not at Home, as he pleases.



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