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IV.4. Equus et Aper


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 269.


Equus sedare solitus quo fuerat sitim,

dum sese aper volutat turbavit vadum.

Hinc orta lis est. Sonipes, iratus fero,

auxilium petiit hominis; quem dorso levans

rediit ad hostem laetus. Hunc telis eques

postquam interfecit, sic locutus traditur:

"Laetor tulisse auxilium me precibus tuis;

nam praedam cepi et didici quam sis utilis."

Atque ita coegit frenos invitum pati.

Tum maestus ille: "Parvae vindictam rei

dum quaero demens, servitutem repperi."

Haec iracundos admonebit fabula

inpune potius laedi quam dedi alteri.


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


Dum aper volutat sese

turbavit vadum

quo equus solitus fuerat sedare sitim.

Hinc lis orta est.

Sonipes, iratus fero,

petiit auxilium hominis;

levans hominem dorso

laetus rediit ad hostem.

Postquam interfecit hostem telis,

eques traditur locutus esse sic:

"Laetor me tulisse auxilium

precibus tuis;

nam cepi praedam

et didici

quam sis utilis."

Atque ita coegit invitum pati frenos.

Tum ille maestus:

"Dum demens

quaero vindictam parvae rei,

repperi servitutem."

Haec fabula admonebit iracundos

potius laedi inpune

quam dedi alteri.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Equus ~ seda~re sol'~tus quo ~ fverat ~ sitim,

dum se~s(e) aper ~ volu~tat tur~bavit ~ vadum.

Hinc or~ta lis ~ est. Son'~pes, i~ratus ~ fero,

auxil~jum pe~tjit hom'~nis; quem ~ dorso ~ levans

redjit ~ ad hos~tem lae~tus. Hunc ~ telis ~ eques

postqu(am) in~terfe~cit, sic ~ locu~tus tra~ditur:

"Laetor ~ tulis~s(e) auxil~jum me ~ prec'bus ~ tuis;

nam prae~dam ce~p(i) et did'~ci quam ~ sis u~tilis."

Atqu(e) i~ta coe~git fre~nos in~vitum ~ pati.

Tum maes~tus il~le: "Par~vae vin~dictam ~ rei

dum quae~ro de~mens, ser~vitu~tem rep~peri."

Haec i~racun~dos ad~mone~bit fa~bula

inpu~ne po~tjus lae~di quam ~ ded(i) al~teri.




While a boar was wallowing, he stirred up the stream where a horse had been accustomed to alleviate his thirst. This led to a quarrel. The horse, angry at the wild boar, asked for help from a man; bearing the man on his back, he happily returned to his enemy. After he had killed the enemy with his weapons, the knight is supposed to have spoken these words: "I am glad that I could offer help as you requested, because I have caught this boar as my prize and I have learned how useful you are." And thus he compelled the unwilling horse to suffer the reins. Then the horse sadly said: "While I foolishly sought revenge for a trifle, I have ended up a slave." This fable warns angry people that it is better to be let injuries go by unpunished rather than being given over into the power of another person."


[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 Horse and Boar (trans. C. Smart)

A Wild-Boar wallow'd in the flood,

And troubled all the stream with mud,

Just where a horse to drink repair'd-

He therefore having war declared,

Sought man's alliance for the fight,

And bore upon his back the knight;

Who being skill'd his darts to throw,

Despatched the Wild-Boar at a blow.

Then to the steed the victor said,

" I'm glad you came to me for aid,

For taught how useful you can be,

I've got at once a spoil and thee."

On which the fields he made him quit,

To feel the spur and champ the bit.

Then he his sorrow thus express'd:

"I needs must have my wrongs redress'd,

And making tyrant man the judge,

Must all my life become a drudge."

This tale the passionate may warn,

To bear with any kind of scorn;

And rather all complaint withdraw

Than either go to war or law.




Here is an illustration from an early printed edition; click on the image for a larger view. Note that this is an illustration of a version of the story where the horse is angry at a stag, not a wild boar.




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