Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fable 19: Vulpecula et Ciconia

Here's the next fable with a kind of running commentary that is not entirely possible within the confines of the forthcoming book from Bolchazy-Carducci. This will be Fable 19 in the book: De Vulpecula et Ciconia. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Vulpecula ad cenam invitavit Ciconiam, obsoniumque in mensam effundit et, cum liquidum esset, lingua lingebat, quod Ciconia frustra rostro tentavit. Abit elusa Avis, pudet pigetque iniuriae. Paucis diebus interlapsis, invitat ad cenam Vulpeculam. Vitreum vas situm erat, obsonii plenum. Quod cum esset arti gutturis, Vulpeculae licuit obsonium videre, gustare non licuit. Ciconia enim rostro facile exhausit.
= As usual, we meet the main characters right away: the fox is first (vulpecula is a diminutive of the usual vulpes).

ad cenam invitavit Ciconiam,
= Here is the other main character: the stork.

obsoniumque in mensam effundit
= Since the fox is the host for this dinner, she has prepared a meal that suits her, with the food poured right out on the table top.

et, cum liquidum esset,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the fox is going to lick the food with her tongue.

lingua lingebat,
= The noun lingua is in the ablative case (“with her tongue, by means of her tongue”).

quod Ciconia frustra rostro tentavit.
= The relative pronoun quod connects back to the previous part of the sentence, referring to the general situation described there, i.e. the fox licking up the liquid food. The stork tried to do that herself, but she failed!

Abit elusa Avis,
= Presumably the author has said avis here instead of ciconia for the nice sound-play in the Latin!

pudet pigetque iniuriae.
= The verbs each take a genitive complement to express the cause of the feeling.

Paucis diebus interlapsis,
= Ablative absolute construction.

invitat ad cenam Vulpeculam.
= Now the fox is the object of the invitation, a dinner guest at the house of the stork.

Vitreum vas situm erat,
= You can see a lovely depiction of this glass container in Barlow's illustration to the fable.

obsonii plenum.
= The adjective here takes a genitive complement (“full of”).

Quod cum esset
= The referent of the relative pronoun is vas in the previous sentence: quod (vas) cum esset; the subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information about why the fox could not eat the food.

arti gutturis,
= The genitive phrase is used like an adjective in the predicate, “of a narrow neck” = “narrow-necked.”

Vulpeculae licuit obsonium videre,
= The verb licuit takes a dative complement, along with an infinitive complement.

gustare non licuit.
= Note the parallel construction: (Vulpeculae obsonium) gustare non licuit.

Ciconia enim rostro facile exhausit.
= The postpositive particle is in second position, just as you would expect.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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