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Aliquid mali propter vicinum malum.[1]

Misfortune caused by a bad neighbour


Raptabat torrens ollas, quarum una metallo,
Altera erat figuli terrea facta manu.
Hanc igitur rogat illa, velit sibi proxima ferri,
Iuncta ut praecipites utraque sistat aquas.
Cui lutea, Haud nobis tua sunt commercia curae,
Ne mihi proximitas haec mala multa ferat.
Nam seu te nobis, seu nos tibi conferat unda;
Ipsa ego te fragilis sospite sola terar.

A stream was carrying along two pots, one of which was made of metal, the other formed by the potter’s hand of clay. The metal pot asked the clay one whether it would like to float along close beside it, so that each of them, by uniting with the other, could resist the rushing waters. The clay pot replied: The arrangement you propose does not appeal to me. I am afraid that such proximity will bring many misfortunes upon me.. For whether the wave washes you against me or me against you, I only, being breakable, will be shattered, while you remain unharmed.


1.  See Avianus, Fables 11; Erasmus, Adagia 32, Aliquid mali propter vicinum malum.

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