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Fable of the Day: Panthera et Pastores (Phaedrus)

Title: Panthera et Pastores: The Panther and The Shepherds. From Phaedrus. For parallel versions, see Perry 494.

Solet a despectis par referri gratia.
Panthera inprudens olim in foveam decidit.
Videre agrestes; alii fustes congerunt,
alii onerant saxis; quidam contra miseriti
periturae quippe, quamvis nemo laederet,
misere panem ut sustineret spiritum.
Nox insecuta est; abeunt securi domum,
quasi inventuri mortuam postridie.
At illa, vires ut refecit languidas,
veloci saltu fovea sese liberat
et in cubile concito properat gradu.
Paucis diebus interpositis provolat,
pecus trucidat, ipsos pastores necat,
et cuncta vastans saevit irato impetu.
Tum sibi timentes qui ferae pepercerant
damnum haud recusant, tantum pro vita rogant.
At illa: "Memini quis me saxo petierit,
quis panem dederit; vos timere absistite;
illis revertor hostis qui me laeserunt."

Here is the poem in a more prose-like word order for easy reading:

Par gratia solet referri a despectis.
Olim panthera inprudens decidit in foveam.
Agrestes videre;
alii congerunt fustes,
alii onerant saxis;
quidam contra
miseriti pantherae -
periturae quippe,
quamvis nemo laederet -
misere panem
ut sustineret spiritum.
Nox insecuta est;
securi abeunt domum,
quasi inventuri mortuam postridie.
At illa,
ut refecit languidas vires,
liberat sese fovea
veloci saltu
et properat in cubile
concito gradu.
Paucis diebus interpositis
panthera provolat,
trucidat pecus,
necat ipsos pastores,
et vastans cuncta
saevit irato impetu.
Tum qui pepercerant ferae
timentes sibi
haud recusant damnum,
tantum rogant pro vita.
At illa:
quis petierit me saxo,
quis dederit panem;
vos absistite timere;
revertor hostis illis
qui laeserunt me."


Equal thanks are usually returned by people who have been scorned. Once upon a time a panther recklessly fell into a pit. The farm folk saw her; some attacked her with sticks, others loaded her with stones; but certain people on the other hand felt sorry for the panther, since she was going to die although no one had been hurt, and they dropped her some bread in order to keep her alive. Night came on; the villagers confidently went home, as if they would find the panther dead the next day. But the panther, when she renewed her failed strength, freed herself from the pit with a quick leap and hurried into her lair at a quick pace. After a few days had passed, the panther rushed up, slaughtered the sheep and killed the shepherds themselves, and destroyed everything as she raged with a manic attack. Then those who had shown mercy to the wild beast, fearing for themselves, did not protest the damage, but only asked for their lives. The panther said: "I remember who attacked me with stones and who gave me bread; you can stop being afraid; I've returned as an enemy to those who harmed me."

[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.]

Illustration:Here is an illustration from an early printed edition:

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