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Appendix 30. Fiber


Parallels: For parallel versions, see Perry 118.


Canes effugere cum iam non possit fiber

(Graeci loquaces quem dixerunt castorem

et indiderunt bestiae nomen dei,

illi qui iactant se verborum copia),

abripere morsu fertur testiculos sibi,

quia propter illos sentiat sese peti.

Divina quod ratione fieri non negem;

venator namque simul invenit remedium,

omittit ipsum persequi et revocat canes.

Hoc si praestare possent homines, ut suo

vellent carere, tuti posthac viverent;

haud quisquam insidias nudo faceret corpori.


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


Cum fiber

iam non possit effugere canes

(loquaces Graeci dixerunt fibrum


et indiderunt bestiae nomen dei,

illi qui iactant se copia verborum),

fertur morsu abripere sibi testiculos,

quia sentiat

sese peti propter illos.

Non negem

hoc fieri divina ratione;

namque venator simul invenit remedium,

omittit persequi ipsum,

et revocat canes.

Si homines possent praestare hoc:

ut vellent carere suo,

posthac tuti viverent;

quisquam haud faceret insidias

nudo corpori.


Here is the poem with meter marks:


Canes ~ effug'~re cum ~ iam non ~ possit ~ fiber

(Graeci ~ loqua~ces quem ~ dixe~runt cas~torem

et in~dide~runt bes~tiae ~ nomen ~ dei,

illi ~ qui iac~tant se ~ verbo~rum co~pia),

abrip'~re mor~su fer~tur tes~tic'los ~ sibi,

qui' prop~ter il~los sen~tiat ~ sese ~ peti.

Divi~na quod ~ ratjo~ne fje~ri non ~ negem;

vena~tor nam~que sim'~l inven't ~ reme~dium,

omit~tit ip~sum per'~s'qu(i) et re~vocat ~ canes.

Hoc si ~ praesta~re pos~sent hom'~nes, ut ~ suo

vellent ~ care~re, tu~ti post~hac vi~verent;

haud quis~qu(am) insid~jas nu~do fac'~ret cor~pori.




When the beaver can no longer escape the dogs (those loud-mouthed Greeks call beavers "castors," giving the name of a god to an animal - those Greeks who are so proud of their abundant words), he supposedly tears off his testicles with a bite because he is aware that he is hunted for them. I do not deny that this happens by some superhuman understanding: as soon as the hunter gets the medicine, he stops chasing the beaver and calls off his dogs. If only people would take the same approach, agreeing to be deprived of their possessions, they would live safely ever after. No one would set a trap for someone stripped to the skin.


[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.]




Here is an illustration from an early printed edition; click on the image for a larger view.




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