Canis et Gallus rus obambulabant. Nocte appropinquante, Gallus altam ascendebat arborem, Canis autem ad pedem arboris securus dormiebat. Intempesta nocte, Gallus canoram vocem edidit. Vulpes praeteriens audit accurritque et inter salutandum promisit quod optimam doceret novamque oden, si ab arbore descenderet. “Descendam subito,” respondebat Gallus. “Saltem a te peto ut Comitem expergiscaris meum, qui infra in utramque aurem dormit.” Vulpes, novae praedae avida, Canem expergiscitur. Canis subito in eam irruens apprehendit laniatque.Canis et Gallus rus obambulabant.
= Here we meet two of the main characters of the story, the dog and the rooster, who are friends. Notice that rus, a neuter noun, is the object of the verb: they were strolling around the countryside.
= Ablative absolute construction.
Gallus altam ascendebat arborem,
= The phrase altam arborem wraps around the verb.
= Note the postpostive particle in second position, as you would expect.
ad pedem arboris securus dormiebat.
= The adjective securus modifies the subject of the verb, so you might want to translate it as an adverb, rather than an adjective.
= The phrase means “in the dead of night.”
Gallus canoram vocem edidit.
= You can see the etymology of the verb edo, edere from the clue given in the perfect form: edidit, which has a reduplicated stem as in the root verb do, dare with dedit as the perfect form. So, edere is from ex-dare, "to give out, to give forth."
= The other main character of the story has arrived on the scene: the fox.
= Although the fox was just passing by, the sound of the rooster has attracted her attention!
et inter salutandum promisit
= The use of the gerund with the preposition inter indicates “while” something is happening: “while greeting (the rooster) the fox promised...”
quod optimam doceret novamque oden,
= Note the use of quod to introduce a subordinate clause, which is a development of later Latin that you can see in the modern Romance languages. The phrase optimam novamque oden wraps around the verb; oden is a Greek noun in the accusative case with a Greek accusative ending.
si ab arbore descenderet.
= This the condition that the fox puts upon her promise to teach the rooster a new song.
= Although the form descendam is ambiguously future or present subjunctive, I like the idea that this is future: "I'll be right there," said the rooster!
= Notice that the verb respondebat is being used here with direct quoted speech, rather than indirect speech.
“Saltem a te peto
= The root of the adverb saltem is from the root salv-, in the sense of "save for, except for."
ut Comitem expergiscaris meum,
= The phrase comitem meum wraps around the verb; the deponent verb is being used here with a transitive meaning and takes a direct object in the accusative.
qui infra in utramque aurem dormit.”
= The phrase dormire in utramque aurem means “to sleep soundly.”
Vulpes, novae praedae avida,
= The adjective avida takes a genitive complement.
= As noted above, the deponent verb is transitive, and takes a direct object in the accusative.
Canis subito in eam irruens
= The pronoun eam refers to the fox: in eam vulpem.
= Such then is the fate of that fox: she is the implied object of both of these verbs!
Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:
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