Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fable 30: Lupus et Grus

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 30 in the book: De Lupo et Grue. For more information about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Lupus, osse in gutture retento, cum multum cruciaretur, Grui pretium obtulit, si illud e gutture extraheret. Grus autem, cum os e gutture Lupi extraxerat, pretium sibi promissum postulat. Cui Lupus, subridens simulque dentes acuens, dixit, “Satis pretii tibi esse debet quod ex meo ore caput sine capitis iactura eduxeris.”
= As often, we meet one of the main characters in the opening word of the fable.

osse in gutture retento,
= Ablative absolute construction. See the note below for os, meaning "bone."

cum multum cruciaretur,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the wolf needed the crane’s help.

Grui pretium obtulit,
= Now we meet the other main character of the fable, the crane, to whom the wolf has offered a reward.

si illud e gutture extraheret.
= The pronoun refers to the bone: illud (os). The throat, of course, is the wolf's, and the crane is the implied subject of the verb.

Grus autem,
= Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.

cum os e gutture Lupi extraxerat,
= Note the use of cum plus an indicative verb.

pretium sibi promissum postulat.
= The reflexive pronoun refers to the subject of the verb, the crane - it is the prize promised to him, the crane, by the wolf.

Cui Lupus,
= The referent of the relative pronoun cui is grus in the previous sentence.

subridens simulque dentes acuens,
= It's bad enough if a wolf smiles when he speaks to you, but if he is at the same time sharpening his teeth, you better watch out!

= This verb of speaking is going to introduce direct quoted speech, the wolf's own words, rather than indirect speech.

“Satis pretii tibi esse debet
= The noun pretii is a partitive genitive: satis (enough) pretii (of a reward) = “enough reward.”

= The implied subject of the verb debet provides the referent of the relative pronoun: “(It) should be reward enough for you that . . .”

ex meo ore
= Be careful with the nouns os meaning "mouth," as here, as opposed to os meaning "bone," which you saw earlier. They are both third-declension nouns, but with different stems: the stem of the word for mouth is or-, as you can see here, while the stem for bone is oss-, as you saw earlier.

caput sine capitis iactura eduxeris.”
= The subjunctive gives causal background information; according to the wolf, this is the reason why the crane has received enough of a reward already. The word caput means literally "head," and it metaphorically means "life" - so here the crane extracted its "head" (caput) at no cost to its "life" (caput). You can see this sense of caput in the English expression "capital punishment," which means the person being punished loses their life!

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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