Il castagno e il fico

Di Leonardo Da Vinci

Vedendo il castagno l’uomo sopra il fico, il quale piegava inverso sé i sua rami, e di quelli ispiccava i maturi frutti, e quali metteva nell’aperta bocca disfacendoli e disertandoli coi duri denti, crollando i lunghi rami e con temultevole mormorio disse:

“O fico, quanto se’ tu men di me obrigato alla natura! Vedi come in me ordinò serrati i mia dolci figlioli, prima vestiti di sottile camicia, sopra la quale è posta la dura e foderata pelle, e non contentandosi di tanto beneficarmi, ch’ell’ha fatto loro la forte abitazione, e sopra quella fondò acute e folte spine, a ciò che le mani dell’homo non mi possino nuocere”.

Allora il fico cominciò insieme co’ sua figlioli a ridere, e ferme le risa, disse:

”Conosci l’omo essere di tale ingegno, che lui ti sappi colle pertiche e pietre e sterpi, tratti infra i tua rami, farti povero de’ tua frutti, e quelli caduti, peste co’ piedi e co’ sassi, in modo ch’e frutti tua escino stracciati e storpiati fora dell’armata casa; e io sono con diligenza tocco dalle mani, e non come te da bastoni e da sassi”.

The chestnut and fig trees

By Leonardo Da Vinci

A chestnut tree watched on as a man climbed a nearby fig tree, pulled at its branches, picked its fleshy fruit and munched noisily. With a shake of its foliage, it uttered boisterously:

“Oh fig, you surely owe nature much less than I do! Can’t you see how she enclosed my sweet offspring? How she first wrapped it in a fine skin, then in a sturdy coat, and, still not satisfied with the attention she had lavished on me, a strong involucre on which she planted numerous sharp prickles so that the hands of man could not get to it?”

The fig tree and its lovely offspring laughed heartily at this, saying:

“You most certainly know how ingenious man is! He will use sticks and stones and twigs and beat your offspring off your branches until you are naked; then he will crush the chestnuts with his feet and rocks until the seed, tattered and torn, spills from the bur-like involucre. My fruit, on the other hand, is picked gently, and I am touched by fingers alone, never sticks or stones like you.”

Translation by ©Matilda Colarossi

Leonardo’s work can be found here: http://www.liberliber.it/libri/l/leonardo/index.php
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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