The Wolf and the Lamb

Otto Dix, Der Krieg

Traduzione da Fedro / Translation from Phaedrus

Ad rivum eundem lupus et agnus venerant,
siti compulsi. Superior stabat lupus,
longeque inferior agnus. Tunc fauce improba
latro incitatus iurgii causam intulit;
'Cur' inquit 'turbulentam fecisti mihi
aquam bibenti?' Laniger contra timens
'Qui possum, quaeso, facere quod quereris, lupe?
A te decurrit ad meos haustus liquor'.
Repulsus ille veritatis viribus
'Ante hos sex menses male' ait 'dixisti mihi'.
Respondit agnus 'Equidem natus non eram'.
'Pater hercle tuus' ille inquit 'male dixit mihi';
atque ita correptum lacerat iniusta nece.
Haec propter illos scripta est homines fabula
qui fictis causis innocentes opprimunt.

A Wolf and a Lamb, who longed to slake their thirst, happened to came to one brooklet. Upstream did the Wolf take his stance, and further down the Lamb rested.

Quoth the Wolf: «Wherefore art thou muddling the water to my drinking?» For a mischievous hunger preyed upon him, and therefore he sought pretences of feud.

The Lamb faltered: «How could I, pray, be guilty of such a thing as the one with which thou reproachest me, O Wolf? For the water floweth to me after passing there, where thou art.»

Then the Wolf, who could not deny the truth, rejoined: «Not so much as six months have passed away, since thou spokest ill of me.» And: «To be sure—the Lamb endeavoured to defend himself—I had not even been born.» «Thy father then, by Jove, spoketh ill of me.»

And by and by the Wolf caught hold of the Lamb, and slew him with wicked hand.

This fable is written for those who oppress the innocent by means of Janus-faced reasons.