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Appendix 20. Aesopus et seruus profugus


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 548.


Seruus profugiens dominum naturae asperae
Aesopo occurrit, notus e uicinia.
"Quid tu confusus?" "Dicam tibi clare, pater,
hoc namque es dignus appellari nomine,
tuto querela quia apud te deponitur.
Plagae supersunt, desunt mihi cibaria.
Subinde ad uillam mittor sine uiatico.
Domi si cenat, totis persto noctibus;
siue est uocatus, iaceo ad lucem in semita.
emerui libertatem, canus seruio.
Vllius essem culpae mihi si conscius,
aequo animo ferrem. Nunquam sum factus satur,
et super infelix saeuum patior dominium.
Has propter causas et quas longum est promere
abire destinaui quo tulerint pedes."
"Ergo" inquit "audi: cum mali nil feceris,
haec experiris, ut refers, incommoda;
quid si peccaris? Quae te passurum putas?"
Tali consilio est a fuga deterritus.


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


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Here is the poem with meter marks:


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A slave who was running away from his cruel master happened to meet Aesop, who knew him as a neighbour. 'What's got you so excited?' asked Aesop. 'Father Aesop -- a name you well deserve since you are like a father to me -- I'm going to be perfectly frank, since you can be safely trusted with my troubles. There's plenty of whipping and not enough food. I'm constantly sent on errands out to the farm without any provisions for the journey. If the master dines at home, I have to wait on him all night long; if he is invited somewhere else, I have to lie outside in the gutter until dawn. I should have earned my freedom by now, but my hairs have gone gray and I'm still slaving away. If I had done anything to deserve this, I would stop complaining and suffer my fate in silence. But the fact is that I never get enough to eat and my cruel master is always after me. For these reasons, along with others that it would take too long to tell you, I've decided to go wherever my feet will lead me.' 'Well,' said Aesop, 'listen to what I say: if you must endure such hardship without having done anything wrong, as you say, then what is going to happen to you now that you really are guilty of something?' With these words of advice, Aesop scared the slave into giving up his plans of escape.




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