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  #1  
Old 08-18-2005, 03:36 PM
Chance the Gardener Chance the Gardener is offline
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Ancient Roman poem about a dog and two bones.

In Devo's song Freedom of Choice there's a part that goes, "In ancient Rome there was a poem about a dog who had two bones. He picked at one, he licked the other, he went in circles 'till he dropped dead."

So... what is this poem? I've heard reference to it in other places, but for some reason I never caught the source material, or the author. I've been googling it, but it's been fruitless. I'd like to know its original context. Ideally I'd like an English translation accompanied with the original Latin, but whatever anyone can dig up, I'd appreciate. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 08-18-2005, 04:49 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is offline
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I thought it was a reference to Aesop's fable of the dog who, while carrying a bone, saw his reflection in the water, thought he was seeing another dog with a bone, and when he tried to steal that dog's bone, he lost his own in the water.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:06 PM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
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The Aesop fable was also the first thing that came to my mind. There's a version of it on this site. Scroll down to the fifteenth fable, entitled The Dog and the Shadow.
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Old 08-18-2005, 05:58 PM
Slithy Tove Slithy Tove is offline
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Pretty sure it was originally a Greek parable about a donkey between two bales of hay who starved, but since "Rome" and "Bone" more or less rhyme, there's the lyric.
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Old 08-18-2005, 06:00 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slithy Tove
Pretty sure it was originally a Greek parable about a donkey between two bales of hay who starved, but since "Rome" and "Bone" more or less rhyme, there's the lyric.
Mark Mothersbaugh knew what he was doing... it just wouldn't sound right:

In ancient Greece
There was a parable
About a donkey
who found two bales ooooof haaay-ay.

Nah, it's just not working right with the melody...
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  #6  
Old 07-14-2010, 06:31 AM
aldosyrt aldosyrt is offline
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I guess Im five years too late on the thread...
The parable of the donkey, Buridan's dilemna, concerns the philosophical concept of choice.
A donkey standing at equal distance of two identical bayles of hay cannot choose which one to feed from, and dies as a result. the parable shows us that reason cannot always help us to choose.
On the other hand, the parable of the dog with two bones concerns day to day wisdom: don't be too greedy, and sometimes be content with what you already have.
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  #7  
Old 07-14-2010, 06:51 AM
Koxinga Koxinga is offline
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These Google-searching, zombie-waking n00bs are quite the coming thing, aren't they?

ETA: Welcome to the Straight Dope and all that.

Last edited by Koxinga; 07-14-2010 at 06:52 AM..
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