Monday, June 15, 2009

Aesopus Simplicissimus: Formica et Cicada

The Tar Heel Reader project has inspired me to start writing some fables I'm labeling Aesopus Simplicissimus. I'll be publishing those fables here - sometimes with an accompanying reader at Tar Heel, and sometimes just the text on its own. You can read more about this "Simplicissimus" project in this earlier post, and see all the "Simplicissimus" fables here.

For today, the fable is Formica et Cicada, the story of the hard-working ant and the carefree grasshopper. You can find materials and resources for this fable at the Aesopus Wiki - including Tar Heel Reader versions (one all in Latin, and one bilingual, along with some poetry based on this fable, too):

Ecce Formíca! Formíca negotiósa est, et prudens. In aestáte, Formíca labórat, cólligens fruméntum. Colléctum fruméntum trahit in cavérnam suam. Cibum repónit in aestáte, ut cómedat in híeme.

Ecce Cicáda! Cicáda otiósa est, et imprúdens. In aestáte, Cicáda cantat, et non labórat. Sed mox tempus híemis ádvenit cum magno frígore. Formíca in cavérna sua manet, cómedens cibum suum. Sed Cicáda cibum non habet.

Auxílium quaerens, Cicáda venit ad Formícae iánuam. Famélica Cicáda clamat: "O Formíca, te implóro: da mihi cibum! Cópiam habes tu, et ego nihil. Fame iam moritúra sum!"

Sed Formíca Cicádam intérrogat: "Ego tota aestáte laborábam, cólligens fruméntum. Dum ego sic laborábam, quid agébas tu?

Cicáda respóndet: "Per flores errábam, et per grámina. Cármina cantábam ómnibus, gratis. Hoc erat mihi opus aestívum."

Formíca ridet et iánuam claudit: "Si aestáte cantábas híeme nunc salta!"

Fábula docet: Sine labóre, non erit panis in ore.

Here's an illustration for the fable (image source):

Aesop's Fables in Latin now available at

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