In foveam incidit Vulpecula inde, cauda detruncata, occurrit multis Vulpeculis. Quas cum indignabunde conspexerat, inquit, “Fraterculi, quo vaditis?” “Ad leonis basilicam eundum est nobis,” respondebant. “Ad leonis basilicam?” inquit Vulpes. “Profecto ego ab ea nuperrime redii et mos iamiam novellus est, ut omnes ferae detruncent caudas.” Quibus auditis, illico detruncabant illae suas caudas. Quas cum vidit Vulpes, irrisit et consolabatur se socios, si non periculi, saltem pudoris, creavisse.In foveam incidit Vulpecula
= In the opening words, we meet the main character of the fable, a particular fox who has fallen into a trap.
= You can take this adverb as an expression of place or as an expression of time, referring to what happened after the fox got out of the trap.
= Ablative absolute construction.
occurrit multis Vulpeculis.
= The verb occurrit takes a dative complement.
Quas cum indignabunde conspexerat,
= The referent of the relative pronoun quas is vulpeculis in the previous sentence: quas (vulpeculas) cum conspexerat.
inquit, “Fraterculi, quo vaditis?”
= The grammatical gender of the fox is feminine, but the fox addresses “his” fellow foxes as fraterculi, “little brothers." So, even though the fox's grammatical gender is feminine, this particular author is thinking of these foxes as males.
“Ad leonis basilicam eundum est nobis,”
= The dative nobis is used to express agency with the future passive periphrastic, eundum est.
= Notice that this verb is being used with direct quoted speech, rather than with indirect speech.
“Ad leonis basilicam?” inquit Vulpes.
= The verb inquit is also being used with direct quoted speech.
“Profecto ego ab ea nuperrime redii
= The pronoun refers to the lion’s palace, ab ea (basilica). The adverb nuperrime is the superlative form of the adverb, nuper.
et mos iamiam novellus est,
= Note the diminutive adjective, novellus, from the standard form, novus.
ut omnes ferae detruncent caudas.”
= As often, the Latin ut clause is equivalent to an English infinitive: the latest custom is for animals to cut off their tails.
= The relative pronoun quibus connects back to the previous sentence, referring to the things that the fox has just said.
illico detruncabant illae suas caudas.
= The pronoun illae refers to those other foxes - the ones who, until just now, still had their tails!
Quas cum vidit Vulpes,
= The referent of the relative pronoun quas is the pronoun illae (vulpeculae) in the previous sentence: quas (vulpeculas) cum vidit. Note also the use of the indicative verb with cum.
irrisit et consolabatur
= The verb consolabatur introduces an indirect statement, explaining the comforting thoughts which went through the fox's mind.
= The reflexive pronoun is the accusative subject of the accusative plus infinitive clause, introduced by consolabatur.
socios, si non periculi, saltem pudoris, creavisse.
= The accusative socios provides the object of the infinitive, creavisse, whose subject is se. The genitives periculi and pudoris are parallel: socios (partners) periculi (of danger) = “partners in danger,” and socios pudoris, “partners in shame.”
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!