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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 comercia 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.

Notes:

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


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A MINIMIS QUOQUE
timendum.

Beware of even the weakest foe

Bella gerit scarabaeus & hostem provocat ultro,
Robore & inferior consilio superat.
Nam plumis aquilae clam se neque cognitus abdit,
Hostilem ut nidum summa per astra petat.
Quaqua [=Ovaque] confodiens prohibet spem crescere prolis,
Hocque modo illatum dedecus ultus abit.[1]

The scarab beetle is waging war and takes the challenge to its foe. Though inferior in physical strength, it is superior in strategy. It hides itself secretly in the eagle’s feathers without being felt, in order to attack its enemy’s nest across the lofty skies. It bores into the eggs and prevents the hoped-for offspring from developing. And then it departs, having thus avenged the insult inflicted on it.

Notes:

1. áFor the feud between the eagle and the beetle, see Aesop, Fables 4; Erasmus, Adagia 2601, Scarabaeus aquilam quaerit.


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