Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Little Moral Lesson in Latin

I printed this story from the National Latin Exam's site.  It was part of last year's exam for beginning students of Latin, of which I am one.  Last night, I had a jolly time translating it and answering the questions.  It's a cute story, so I thought I'd post it here, with my translation.

A Slave, a Cook, and Their Master
Rūfus erat servus bonus et in agrīs semper labōrābat. Nunc servus post magnam vīllam cum equīs habitat. Dominus et līberī in magnā vīllā habitant. Dominus est poēta optimus et multam pecūniam habet. Rūfus equōs dominī cūrat. Sed dominus est vir sevērus et Rūfum nōn laudat. Dominus in culīnam intrat et clāmat, “Parā mihi cēnam!” Coquus est in culīnā et cibum parat. Coquus magnam cēnam laetē parat. Cēna est optima. Rūfus ad iānuam culīnae ambulat et cibum videt.

Servus Rūfus cibum nōn habet. Rūfus culīnam intrāre timet. Coquus rogat, “Exspectāsne, Rūfe, cibum?”  “Ubi est cēna mea?” dominus in trīclīniō clāmat.
Coquus dominō cēnam dat.
Dominus clāmat, “Da mihi vīnum!”
“Quis est in culīnā?” dominus coquum rogat. 
“Rūfus ad iānuam cibum exspectat,” coquus respondet.
“Vocā Rūfum!” dominus clāmat. “Nōs servīs cibum iam dedimus!”

Dum dominus cēnam cōnsūmit, coquus Rūfum vocat. Dominus multum cibum habet sed Rūfus nūllum cibum habet.
Dominus clāmat, “Cūr octō equōs meōs in agrīs nōn cūrās? Cūr cibum exspectās? Nōs servīs cibum iam dedimus.”
Rūfus respondet, “Quod ego equam gravidam heri cūrābam,cēnam nōn habēbam. Hodiē ego equōs īnfirmōs cūrābam et iterum nōn ēdī.”
“Sed quis octō equōs meōs nunc cūrat?” dominus rogat.
“Hodiē sunt decem equī, domine,” Rūfus respondet. “Heri equa geminōs peperit. Geminī erant īnfirmī et ego eōs cūrābam. Hodiē decem equōs pulchrōs habēs!”
“Tū es bonus servus!” dominus clāmat. “Tū numerum equōrum meōrum auxistī. Ego tibi cibum laetē dō, quod tū bene labōrās.”

My Translation:
Rufus was a good servant and was always working in the fields.  Now, he lives behind the large estate house with the horses.  The lord and his books live inside the large house.  The lord is a great poet/playwright and has a lot of money.  Rufus cares for the lord's horses, but the lord is a severe man and does not praise Rufus.

The lord enters the kitchen and yells, "Prepare me dinner!"  The cook is in the kitchen and prepares the food.  The cook happily prepares a large meal -- the meal is the best!  Rufus walks to the kitchen doorway and looks at the food.

The servant, Rufus, does not have food; he is afraid to enter the kitchen.  The cook asks, "Are you waiting for food, Rufus?"

"Where is my dinner?" the lord yells from the dining room.  The cook gives the lord his dinner.

The lord yells, "Give me wine!" "Who is in the kitchen?" the lord asks the cook.

"Rufus is waiting for food in the doorway," the cook replies.

"Call Rufus in here!," the lord yells.  "We have already given our servants food."

While the lord is eating his meal, the cook calls Rufus.  The lord has a lot of food, but Rufus has no food.

The lord yells, "Why did you leave my eight horses in the fields without care? Why do you wait for food?  We have already given our servants food."

Rufus replies, "When I was caring yesterday for a pregnant mare, I did not have dinner. Today, I had to care for weak horses, and again I did not eat."

"But who is caring for my eight horses now?" the lord asks.

"Today, you have ten horses, master," Rufus replies.  "Yesterday your mare gave birth to twins.  The twins were so weak that I had to care for them.  Today, you have ten beautiful horses!"

"You are a good servant!" the lord exclaims. "You have increased the number of my horses.  I will happily give my food to you, because you have done good work."

Question 40 on this exam was as follows:

40. The lesson illustrated by this story is A) good work brings rewards B) secrets are hard to keep C) beware of strangers bearing gifts D) a simple life is best

I think we can all agree that it is "A."  Now, wasn't that a cute story?  Didn't you like how the lord was always yelling?

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