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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 11 years, 11 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.).


Agitabat Coriarius quidam una Equum et Asinum onustum. Sed in via fatiscens, Asinus rogabat Equum ut sibi succurreret et velit portiunculam oneris tanti tolerare. Recusabat Equus et mox Asinus oneri totus succubuit et halitum clausit supremum. Herus accedens mortuo Asino sarcinam detraxit et, pelle superaddita excoriata, omnia Equo imposuit. Quod cum sensisset Equus, ingemuit, inquiens, “Quam misellus ego, qui, cum portiunculam oneris socii ferre recusaverim, iam totam sarcinam cogar tolerare.”


Translation: A certain tanner was driving a horse together with a laden donkey. But on the way the donkey grew weak, and he asked the horse to help him, if he would be willing to bear a tiny portion of the donkey's huge burden. The horse refused and soon the donkey collapsed completely under the weight and breathed out his last breath. The owner approached and dragged the burden off the dead donkey; to this he also added the stripped off hide of the donkey, putting it all on top of the horse. When the horse felt the burden he groaned and said, "What a wretched creature I am: because I refused to carry a little portion of my partner's burden,  now I am compelled to bear the whole load."


[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.]


The Moral of the Story:



infortunium et imprudentiam eorum,


cum possint pro pecuniola,

vel minutulo pretio,

mala incumbentia exurere, opportunitate illa posthabita,

in damna graviora inciderint.


Illustration: Here is an illustration from this edition, by the renowned artist Francis Barlow; click on the image for a larger view. The image shows the moment in the story when the donkey collapses under the weight of the load. Notice that while the donkey is heavily burdened, and even the man is carrying a bundle of his own, the horse does not carry any load at all. Soon enough, though, the horse will be carrying all the load of the donkey, plus the donkey's carcass too!


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