Monday, August 2, 2021

DPL: Iuvenis et Abbas

I've got another experiment for the Microfiction workshop for the Digital Pedagogy Lab; it's a story from Odo of Cheriton, who also wrote lots of animal fables, as well as fables about monastic life like this one.

You can find more Latin stories at,
and more Tiny Tales at

Centum Verba: Iuvenis et Abbas

Quidam iuvenis voluit claustralem vitam ducere. 
Quaesivit abbas, "O iuvenis, videsne acervum hunc ossium mortuorum?"
Respondit, "Video."
Abbas ei dixit, "Laudes haec ossa et benedicas."
Laudavit igitur ossa et benedixit. 
Quo facto, quaesivit abbas, “Benedixisti ossibus?” 
Iuvenis respondit, “Benedixi.” 
Tunc abbas, “Quid ossa responderunt?” 
Respondit iuvenis, “Nihil responderunt.” 
Iterum abbas, “Ossa maledicas et vituperes.” 
Quod sic fecit iuvenis quantum potuit. 
Et ait ei abbas, “Maledixisti ossibus?” 
Et ait iuvenis, “Maledixi.” 
Et quaesivit abbas, “Quid ossa responderunt?” 
Et ait iuvenis, “Nihil responderunt.” 
Ait abbas, “Frater, si verus monachus vis fieri, talem te oportet esse, ut ita benedictionibus et maledictionibus nihil respondeas."

Notes: You can find this story in Hervieux. Odo's version was a little bit under 100 words, so I was able to expand a little and also change up some of the sentences to make them easier reading. 

Here's a 100-word version in English; it's not exactly a translation from the Latin. There's more you can do with 100 words in Latin than in English because there are no definite/indefinite articles, etc. in English. 

The Young Man and the Abbot

A man wanted to become a monk.
The abbot pointed down into the ossuary. "Go down," he said, "and bless those bones."
The man did as the abbot said.
"Did you bless the bones?" The man nodded.
"What did the bones say?" asked the abbot.
"Nothing," the man replied.
"Now go curse the bones."
The man did as the abbot said.
"Did you curse the bones?" The man nodded.
"What did they say?"
The abbot said, "Brother, that is how you must behave if you want to become a monk: regard blessings and curses the same, and say nothing."