Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Illustrated: Vulpecula et Tintinnabulum

M0039 - M0040 - M0041
40. Vulpecula et Tintinnabulum. Vulpecula habitabat iuxta flumen; non procul inde alligatum arbori tintinnabulum erat, quo ventis impulso omnia circum loca resonabant. Vulpecula, cui ignota vox illa esset, metuebat ne quid ferae et immanis bestiae tales sonos ederet. Tandem sensim et placide arrepens, perspectaque tintinnabuli inanitate, cuius strepitibus nihil subesset virium, “Nunc deinceps non facile,” inquit, “specie et opinione percelli animum meum patiar.” Multa opinione magnifiunt, quibus praesentibus nihil est contemptibilius.

Vulpes et Tympana

Click here for a SLIDESHOW of all the Kalila-wa-Dimna images from this manuscript. As you can see, in this version, the fox finds a drum, not a bell.

M0040 (not in Perry). Source: Camerarius 377. This fable is not in Perry’s catalog; it is a story that comes from the Panchatantra tradition, where the fox hears a drum, not a bell. For another story about misleading sounds, see the story of the lion and the frog, #600.


  1. Did the Romans have bells? For some reason I guessed this wasn't Aesopic.

  2. Not Greco-Roman; this is one of the stories that enters the Latin fable tradition from a Middle Eastern source like it says there in the note; the illustration shows a drum rather than a bell. Wikipedia has some bits about Greek and Roman bells: BELL.

  3. I love cross fertilisation between distant cultures. I have a book of Berber stories (a great tradition) and many, I realise now, are Aesopic in tradition.

  4. YES! That is my own personal obsession right now, choosing trails to follow through the folklore world. Aesop's fables are a great trail to follow, Buddhist jataka tales are another, and now my main interest are the African folktales that spread throughout the Americas; I worked on Brer Rabbit last summer, and I am working on Anansi this summer. :-)

  5. Cool! Do you have any Anansi or Brer Rabbit tales in Latin??

    1. I have indeed toyed with that idea! :-)
      There were lots of great translations into Latin from Indian and Middle Eastern fables...animal fables from Africa would fit right in! :-)