Thursday, June 11, 2009

Aesopus Simplicissimus: Gallus et Gemma

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 Gallus et Gemma, the story of the rooster who found a jewel in the manure. 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):

Ecce Gallus! Gallus famélicus est. Ecce stercus! Gallus in stércore escam quaerit. Quid Gallus cómedit? Gallus trítici grana cómedit. Gallus hórdei grana cómedit. Gallus etiam vermes cómedit.

Ex improvíso, dum escam quaerit, Gallus gemmam in stércore ínvenit. Gemma res rara est! Gemma res pulchra est! Gemma res pretiósa est! Sed Gallo gemma non placet.

Gallus frustrátus est et dicit: "Gemma mihi non placet! Gemma mihi non prodest! Escam quaero, non gemmas! Gemmas comédere non possum. O gemma, mísera es quod in stércore iaces. Ego quoque miser sum quod escam non hábeo. Unum granum escae mélius mihi est quam omnes gemmae pretiosae. Ergo: hanc gemmam pretiósam frustra invéni." Fábula docet: Cuique suum.

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

Aesop's Fables in Latin now available at

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