Monday, July 19, 2010

The Farmer and the Rushing River

The Farmer and the Rushing River. A farmer had to cross a rushing river which was swollen from the rains. He looked for a ford where he could cross. At first he tried a place in the river which seemed more calm and peaceful, but he found the water there deeper than he had thought. So then he found a place that was safer and more shallow, where the river's flowing waters splashed noisily. The farmer then said to himself, "How much more safely we can entrust our life to these loud waters than to those silent and still waters." We are warned by this fable that we should fear less those people who threaten with great bluster than those people who are silent.

Rusticus et Torrens. Rusticus, torrentem transiturus qui forte imbribus excreverat, quaerebat vadum. Et, cum primum eam fluminis partem tentasset quae quietior placidiorque videbatur, reperit eam altiorem quam animo erat opinatus. Rursus ibi breviorem tutioremque adinvenit, ubi maiore aquarum strepitu fluvius decurrebat. Tum secum "Quam tutius," inquit, "clamosis aquis, quam quietis et silentibus vitam nostram credere possumus." Morale. Hac admonemur fabula ut minus verbosos et minaces quam quietos extimescamus.

Notes. This is Abstemius 5. For reasons that are not at all clear to me, Perry did single this out as one of the few Abstemius fables he included in his inventory, where it is number 723. I'm guessing that Abstemius was inspired by the saying about still waters that run deep when he composed this little fable! In Latin the saying is Aqua profunda est quieta.

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