The Sugar Quill
Author: Elucreh  Story: Quid Quid Latine Dictum Sit, Altum Viditur: Anything Said in Latin  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

This is for Andrea, who forgets about trees when flying but sure as heck knows how to stabilize ginger ale...and plan a party.

WARNING: This fic contains humorous and well-intentioned male-bashing. No offense is intended. THESE ARE JOKES, PEOPLE.


Quid Quid Latine Dictum Sit, Altum Viditur: Anything Said in Latin Sounds Profound.

Rowena Ravenclaw was sitting in the Great Hall, sick of the conversation. The clouds overhead, as though to reflect her mood, spat rain at the ground and occasionally growled in temper.

“I know it has to be today, Helga,” she replied impatiently. “But the fact is that we still haven’t the faintest idea what we want our motto to be.”

“We’ve thought about it—“Helga protested.

“Ha! Fought about it is what you mean. And we’ve got nowhere.” Rowena tapped her fingers impatiently on the table.

“The men have said they don’t care anymore, the two of us can think of something,” her best friend pleaded.

“But what? We’ve spent hours on this…something profound, something practical, something to reflect the history of the school…” Rowena rolled her eyes toward her hat brim.

“But not too profound. I mean, yes, ‘O curas hominum! O quantum est in rebus inane!’ (Ah, human cares! Ah, how much futility in the world!) speaks deeply of human existence and all that, but it isn’t very cheerful.”

“I know…and the poor children! How can anybody grow up optimistic with that kind of thing hanging over their heads? Literally…” Rowena glanced at the wall over the teachers’ dais at the other end of the room. The arms of the individual houses hung in a circle…around a blank space.

Helga smiled. “So…not too depressing. Historical?”

“What? Something about the day we decided to build here?”

“Brogovi sunt macresculi momi rasti strugitant, (All mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths outgrabe) perhaps?”

“Helga…” Rowena couldn’t help smiling.

“Well, they were. What a noise! No wonder the poor borogroves were mimsy.” Now they were both laughing, at the idea and at the memory. Then Helga sighed. “But that isn’t solving our problem.”

“How about something to help our future teachers? ‘Praeceptores suos adulescens veneratur et suspicit’? ( A young man respects and looks up to his teachers)”

“Rowena, we can’t use an untruth to represent this school for the next few thousand years,” Helga pointed out.

Rowena mock-glared, “Are you implying that they don’t?”

“Darling, maybe a few of the girls do, but the young wizards…”

“All right, all right! Perhaps, just to be sure of being correctly interpreted by history, we ought to make it ‘Dux Femina Facti’.” (The leader of the enterprise was a woman)

“Rowena! You know Godric and Salazar would never let us get away with that!” Helga protested, looking as though she wished they would.

“Well…they granted us full power. Salazar decided they were sick of thinking about it, said we could choose whatever we wished, and took Godric off on some draconic experiment.”

“Oh, is that where they’ve been all day? Do you know how long they’ll be gone? I wanted Godric to help me with the tables in that classroom in the west wing.”

“No...I think it’ll depend on how far away the beast is and how badly it reacts to whatever they’re plotting.”

Struck by a sudden thought, Helga pulled an enchanted bell from her pocket and rung it. A house-elf appeared at her side with a loud crack. “Mistresses?”

“Tansy, will you bring me my herb kit?”

“Yes, Mistress,” the tiny creature replied, disappearing with another crack.

“Probably wise,” Rowena said with a smile.

“We couldn’t use a motto like, ‘Men are incurably stupid,’ could we? What is that in Latin, again?”

“Hmmm…Homo insanabilis socordis.”

“Why are we so obsessed with having it in Latin, anyway?” Helga demanded. “Breton is a good strong language.”

“Huh-uh…" Rowena shook her head. "You know the old saying, Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum viditur (Anything said in Latin sounds profound).”

Her friend mused on that for awhile, staring down at the weathered oak of the table. “Well, in that case…it doesn’t really have to be profound at all, does it? So it really just leaves us with practicality and historical significance.”

“Well, what qualifies as ‘historical’? It’s early days yet...and nothing really ‘significant’ and ‘practical’ has happened or been said. Maybe something will come up.”

“The armorer wants to know what the coat will say now, Rowena. We’re out of—“

The thunder growled again, drowning out Helga’s next words. When it had died, Godric Gryffindor had appeared on the dais, one arm raised with his sword in his hand, the other still clutching one of their Portkey necklaces.

“Godric!” Both women scurried towards him. He dropped the necklace and managed to gasp out, in a hoarse voice, “Never--ticklea--sleeping...dragon,” just before he collapsed in a clash of armor, face forward, a singed smell still emanating from him.

Helga bent over him, lifting his head to take his pulse. Then what he had said sank in, and she dropped him with a clang of his breastplate. The witches’ eyes met in dawning delight.

“Never… tickle…” Rowena breathed.

“It’s historical—“ Helga pointed out.

“And practical—“ her best friend chimed in.

“And given today’s events, it undeniably gives the message, ‘Men are incurably stupid,’” she said, pointedly looking down at the comatose knight.

Tansy appeared with the medicinal satchel and handed it to Helga, who once more bent over her fallen friend. “Nothing to worry about,” she murmured, “Just singed…”

Rowena turned away from the familiar sight of her friend playing ministering angel to a feckless man, still turning the idea in her head.

She smiled. She liked it.

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandos...


Acknowledgements to the following websites: for the latinized version of Jabberwocky (and special thanks to Ashfae for using it in JPYOC and pointing me to thelatinlibrary),
Legacy of the Light fic/site, for the "Anything said in Latin..." quote,
Forum Romanum for most of the other things in Latin, and
The Latin Dictionary for the rather dubious translation of "men are incurably stupid."

Just so you all know, that translation is almost definitely far from grasping more than the basic idea I wanted to convey, but I don't start taking Latin until next semester, so you'll have to forgive that. And if anyone has a good free Latin translation site, PLEASE let me know so this won't have to happen again.

As always, thanks to Zsenya for preventing a major disaster: in this case, giant human arms hanging from the ceiling.

*stares innocently at the ceiling* You know, reviews are nice...
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