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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.).


Persequebatur Pisciculum Delphinus. Hunc ut vitaret, Pisciculus ad rupem confugit. Quem ut captaret, Delphinus tam violento sequebatur impetu, ut arenis illideret et haerens morti succumberet. Quod cum vidisset Pisciculus, sibi paululum consolatus est, moribundulus inquiens, “Dulcior mihi profecto mea mors futura est quod prius auctorem meae mortis defunctum prae oculis viderim.”


Translation: A dolphin was chasing a little fish. In order to escape the dolphin, the little fish fled towards the rocks. In order to catch the fish, the dolphin chased him with such a violent rush that he hit the sand, got stuck there and succumbed to death. When the little fish saw this, he felt a little better and as he was dying he said: "My death is going to be sweeter for me after all, because before dying I saw the maker of my death dead before my eyes."


[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 dolphin in this picture definitely does not look the way you would expect a dolphin to look. Throughout the Renaissance and the early modern period, dolphins were often depicted as quite vicious-looking creatures, which of course fits the role that the dolphin plays in this story! In addition to the characters from the story, the dolphin and the little fish, you can also see the objects littering the shore (shells, a starfish, a crab), along with the sea birds in the sky and a ship tossed by the ocean's wave in the distance.