Asinus, in silvam veniens, exuvias leonis offendit. Quibus indutus, in pascua redit, greges et armenta territans fugansque. Herus autem, qui vagum fallacemque Asinum perdiderat, occurrit. Asinus, viso Hero, cum rugitu obviam fecit. At Herus, prehensis quae extabant auriculis, “Alios licet (inquit) fallas; ego te probe novi.”Asinus, in silvam veniens,
= As usual, we meet one of the main characters in the story here in the opening lines: the donkey.
exuvias leonis offendit.
= Just how there happened to be a lion skin lying around the woods is something that Aesop does not feel a need to explain!
= The referent of this relative pronoun quibus is exuvias in the previous sentence: quibus (exuviis) indutus.
in pascua redit,
= Since no new subject has been stated, we can safely assume that the subject of this verb is the same as the subject of previous verb: the donkey.
greges et armenta territans fugansque.
= The participles agree with the subject of the main verb, the donkey.
= Now we meet the other main character of the fable: the master. Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect.
qui vagum fallacemque Asinum perdiderat,
= The relative clause lets us know just what the master knows about his donkey: the donkey is prone to wander around, and is a deceitful creature as well - two traits that are embodied in the plot of this fable!
= We use a similar idiom in English: the man "ran into" the donkey.
= Now we will discover what the donkey is going to do now that the master has arrived on the scene!
= Ablative absolute construction.
cum rugitu obviam fecit.
= The phrase obviam facere means “to meet, run towards.” The rugitus of the donkey here is presumably his best attempt to roar at his master, and terrify the man just as he has been terrifying the other animals.
= The adversative at lets us know the master's reaction is going to be different from that of the terrified animals.
prehensis quae extabant auriculis,
= The phrase prehensis...auriculis is an ablative absolute construction using the diminutive auriculis - an ironic diminutive, of course, since the donkey’s ears are hardly little! The referent of the relative pronoun quae is the noun auriculis.
“Alios licet (inquit) fallas;
= The hypothetical subjunctive is introduced by licet, meaning “even if, although."
ego te probe novi.”
= Note the emphatic use of the personal pronoun in the nominative case; the subject is already implied in the verb, but the use of the pronoun adds emphasis and creates a contrast with the accusative pronoun, te.
Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:
The Aesopus Ning is now open for business - so, for more fables and to share your questions and comments with others, come visit the Ning!