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Aesop's Fables: Phaedrus

Book III - XIII. Apes et Fuci Vespa Iudice (Perry 504)

Apes in alta fecerant quercu fauos.
Hos fuci inertes esse dicebant suos.
Lis ad forum deducta est, uespa iudice;
quae, genus utrumque nosset cum pulcherrime,
legem duabus hanc proposuit partibus:
"Non inconueniens corpus et par est color,
in dubium plane res ut merito uenerit.
Sed, ne religio peccet inprudens mea,
aluos accipite et ceris opus infundite,
ut ex sapore mellis et forma faui,
de quis nunc agitur, auctor horum appareat."
Fuci recusant, apibus condicio placet.
Tunc illa talem rettulit sententiam:
"Apertum est quis non possit et quis fecerit.
Quapropter apibus fructum restituo suum."
Hanc praeterissem fabulam silentio,
si pactam fuci non recusassent fidem.

The Bees and the Drone (trans. C. Smart)

Up in a lofty oak the Bees
Had made their honey-combs: but these
The Drones asserted they had wrought.
Then to the bar the cause was brought
Before the wasp, a learned chief,
Who well might argue either brief,
As of a middle nature made.
He therefore to both parties said:
"You're not dissimilar in size,
And each with each your color vies,
That there's a doubt concerning both:
But, lest I err, upon my oath,
'Hives for yourselves directly choose,
And in the wax the work infuse,
That, from the flavor and the form,
We may point out the genuine swarm."
The Drones refuse, the Bees agree-
Then thus did Justice Wasp decree:
" Who can, and who cannot, is plain,
So take, ye Bees, your combs again."
This narrative had been suppress'd
Had not the Drones refused the test.

Latin text from Phaedrus at The Latin Library (Ad Fontes), English translations from The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse by Christopher Smart (London: 1913). Ben Perry, Babrius and Phaedrus (Loeb), contains the Latin texts of Phaedrus, with a facing English translation, along with a valuable appendix listing all the Aesop's fables attested in Greek and/or in Latin. Invaluable.