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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 14 years, 9 months ago


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Online Forum: At the Aesopus Ning Forum, you can ask questions about this fable. You will also  find links there to additional learning materials to help you in reading the Latin (vocabulary, grammar commentary, simplified version, quizzes, macrons, etc.).


Anus quaedam domi habebat complures Ancillas, quas quotidie, antequam lucesceret, ad Galli gallinacei, quem domi alebat, cantum excitabat ad opus. Ancillae tandem, quotidiani negotii commotae taedio, Gallum obtruncant, sperantes iam, necato illo, sese in medios dormituras dies. Sed haec spes miseras frustrata est. Hera enim, ut interemptum Gallum rescivit, Ancillas intempesta nocte surgere deinceps iubet.


Translation: A certain old lady had in her house several maids. Every day, before it was light out, she roused them to work at the song of the rooster which she kept at the house. Finally the maids, prompted by the weariness of their daily tasks, cut off the rooster's head, hoping that now, with the rooster dead, they would be able to sleep until noon. But this hope deceived the wretched maids, for when their mistress learned the rooster had been killed, she then ordered them to wake up in the dead of night.


[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 this edition, by the renowned artist Francis Barlow; click on the image for a larger view. The central scene shows the maids about to chop off the rooster's head, with a very realistic-looking axe. The rooster looks none too happy. The household dog is standing by, looking out towards us, the viewers, as if ready to snarl and keep us away. Meanwhile, the old lady herself is peeping out from a window, witnessing the scene. Two scenes, as usual, are depicted here; the foreground shows the rooster just as he is about to be executed, while in the background you can see the rooster in happier days, standing on the fence and crowing at the break of dawn, with the sun beaming in the sky. The old woman's house is equipped with a visible bell, which is presumably the instrument of torment with which she summons the poor maids to their tasks.



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