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Latin Book Club — Perrault’s Diamonds & Toads in Latin

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Introduction

Have you heard the sto­ry about the girl who met an old woman by the well and was grant­ed a mag­i­cal gift? This is Charles Per­rault’s “Les Fées,” known to most Eng­lish speak­ers as “Dia­monds and Toads.”

The sto­ry comes from Perrault’s book of fairy­tales, His­toires ou con­tes du temps passé, or, Sto­ries or Tales from Past Times, pub­lished in 1697.

You may have read it in French or Eng­lish, but since we focus on help­ing peo­ple with read­ing and learn­ing Latin, we shall today read the sto­ry in Latin.

You see, we recent­ly pub­lished a beau­ti­ful trans­la­tion of eight of Perrault’s fairy­tales. Now you can read them in the great­est lan­guage of them all: Latin.

So, let’s have a cup of tea or cof­fee, and read “Dia­monds and Toads”, in Latin. 

Video in Latin

Watch and lis­ten to the sto­ry read in Latin by teacher Daniel Pettersson.

Audio only

Lis­ten to this episode in your pod­cast app or here on Latinitium.com

Latin Text

Fuit ōlim vid­ua, cui duæ erant fīliæ ; quārum major nātū indole vultūque eī tam sim­ilis erat ut quī hanc vidēret effigiem mātris ante sē habēre putāret. Et māter et fīlia adēo jūrgiōsæ super­bæque erant ut nēmō cum iīs vīvere pos­set. Fīlia altera autem nōn modo amœnitāte pro­bitāteque patrī simil­li­ma, vērum eti­am īnsig­nis pul­chritū­di­nis erat. At quo­ni­am æquālis, ut ajunt, æquālem dēlec­tat, māter fīliam majōrem ārden­ter amā­bat, minōrem con­trā male ōder­at cōgē­batque in culīnā cēnāre et con­ti­nen­ter labōrāre.

Inter alia jubēbā­tur misel­la bis in diē aquā­tum īre ad fontem amplius duōbus mīl­libus pas­su­um ā domō dis­tan­tem, ind­eque urnam aquæ plē­nam reportāre. Quō­dam autem diē, cum ad fontis ōram sedēret, mulierem pau­per­ri­mam cōn­spex­it quæ propius acces­sit ōrāvitque ut sibi bibere daret. Cui bel­la puel­la “Anus amā­bilis,” inquit, “liben­ter dabō !”. 

Urnā pūrgātā, anuī aquam ex opti­mō fontis locō haus­tam min­istrāvit, usque urnam sustinēns, quō facil­ius ex eā bibere pos­set. Quō fac­tō anic­u­la “Mea puel­la,” inquit, “tam pul­chra, tam bona, tam pro­ba es, ut nōn pos­sim tibi aliq­uid dōnō nōn dare.” (Maga enim erat, quæ speciem pāgānæ pau­peris eō cōn­sil­iō imitā­ta erat ut experīrē­tur quan­tum pro­bitātis in illā vir­gine esset.) Pergēns maga : “Hoc tibi dōnō dō ut, quot fēceris ver­ba, tot flōrēs aut gem­mæ tibi ex ōre cadant.” 

Bel­la puel­la domum vix per­vēn­er­at cum ā mātre objūrgā­ta est, quod tam sērō ā fonte redīret. Tum mis­era “Ō māter,” inquit, “obse­crō moram meam ignōscās.” At simul atque hæc dīx­it, mar­garītæ duæ et rosæ duæ, mag­næque gem­mæ duæ eī excidērunt ex ōre. Tum māter attoni­ta : “Quid hoc reī est ? Sānē crēdō mar­garītās gem­māsque istī ex ōre cadere. Quī fit, mea fīlia ?” (Numquam ante­hāc fīliam allocū­ta erat fīliæ nōmine.) Misel­la sim­plex et incau­ta omnia nār­rāvit quæ accider­ant, īnfīnī­tam gem­mārum mul­ti­tūdinem effundēns. “Mecas­tor,” inquit māter, “fīlia mea ad eun­dem locum mit­ten­da est. Ō Fran­cis­cu­la mea, venī vīsum quid sorōrī tuæ loquen­tī exeat ex ōre ! Nōnne lætāberis, sī idem dōnum habēbis ? Proinde sīc tibi facien­dum est : ītō ad fontem aquā­tum ac, ubi pau­per­cu­la pos­tulāver­it, cōmiter bibere datō.” Cui soror maligna cachin­nāns “Ō quid jūcundius,” respon­dit, “quam aquā­tum īre…” Sed māter eī : “Imperō tibi ut eās, atque āctūtum !” 

Fīlia maligna, usque sēcum nesciō quid mur­murāns, in viam sē ded­it, ampul­lam argen­team fer­ēns quam ēle­gan­tis­si­mam domī invenīre poterat.

Ad fontem vix­dum per­vēn­er­at cum fēmi­nam gen­erōsam apparātēque vestī­tam cōn­spex­it, quæ forte ē nemore prōdī­bat. Quæ, cum propius ad puel­lam acces­sis­set, paulum aquæ ab eā poposc­it. (Maga scīlicet eadem erat quæ ā sorōre vīsa erat. Jam vērō nōbilis­simæ fēminæ speciem vestemque induer­at, eō ūnicō cōn­sil­iō ut experīrē­tur quan­tum impro­bitātis in istā vir­gine esset.) Cui super­ba puel­la malignē “Ō muli­er amplis­si­ma,” inquit, “num tibi aquam min­istrā­tum hūc usque vēnī ? Ideō hanc ampul­lam argen­team afferō ut tibi pōtum imper­tiar. Sānē et liben­ter qui­dem : bibe ex eā, si tibi libet.” Cui maga æquō ani­mō “Puel­la haud pro­ba es,” respon­dit. “Ergō, quandōqui­dem omnīnō carēs hūmānitāte, hoc tibi dōnō dō ut, quot fēceris ver­ba, tot anguēs vel būfōnēs tibi ex ōre cadant.”

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Māter sim­u­latque eam rede­un­tem cōn­spex­it, clāmāvit “Quid ergō, fīlia mea ?” Cui fīlia maligna “Quid ergō, māter mea ?” et hīs ver­bīs anguēs ac būfōnēs bīnōs in humum exspuit. Et māter exclāmāns “Dī bonī, quid­nam videō ? Tua soror in culpā est : faxō pœnās mihi sol­vet !” Et sta­tim cucur­rit puel­lam castīgā­tum mis­er­am, quæ in sil­vās prox­imās cōnfūgit.

Atque fīlius rēgis, cum ē vēnātiōne redīret, forte puel­lam invēnit ; pul­chritūdinem ejus ani­mad­ver­tit rogāvitque quid­ nam ibi sōla ageret et quā dē causā flēret. “Ēheu, domine,” inquit illa, “quod domō expul­sa sum ā mātre.” Rēgis fīlius, cum quīnque vel sex mar­garītās toti­dem que gem­mās ex ōre puel­læ cadere vīdis­set, ōrāvit ut tan­tī por­ten­tī causam explicāret. Illa igi­tur omnia nār­rāvit quæ sibi accider­ant. Adulēscēns rēgius repen­tīnō amōre cap­tus sēcum reputāvit tāle dōnum plūris valēre quam dōtem quæ max­i­ma spōn­sō ā spōn­sā numerārī pos­set, eamque in pater­nam rēgiam trādūx­it, sibique mātrimōniō jūnx­it. Quod vērō ad sorōrem attinet, adeō in odi­um incur­rit ut ā pro­priā mātre domō expul­sa sit. Mis­era igi­tur, cum diū cucur­ris­set nec quemquam invēnis­set quī sē hos­pi­tiō recipere vel­let, ad ōram alicu­jus sil­væ lūcem relīquit.

Daniel Pettersson

Daniel Pettersson

Teacher and author Daniel Pettersson, M.A., is co-founder of Latinitium and is currently teaching Latin at Stockholm University, where he is also working on his Ph.D. dissertation on Humanist Colloquia. Daniel believes in the importance of Latin literature in the modern world and that you can teach yourself Latin with the right motivation, method, and material.
Written by Daniel Pettersson

Written by Daniel Pettersson

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