Validiore vento effracta Quercus huc illuc in amnem praecipitata fluitat et, ramis suis in Arundine forte fixis, haeret miraturque Arundinem in tanto turbine stare incolumem. Arundo respondet cedendo et declinando se esse tutam; inclinare se etenim ad Boream, ad Notum, ad Eurum, denique ad omnem flatum; nec mirum esse si Quercus exciderit, quae non cedere, sed resistere molita est.Validiore vento effracta Quercus
= In the opening lines we meet one of the main characters: an oak tree, quercus, a feminine noun. The comparative is used here to indicate “very strong, quite strong,” without an explicit comparison.
huc illuc in amnem praecipitata
= With this participle, we learn what has happened to the shattered oak tree.
= The verb is an frequentative intensive form of the root verb, fluere.
et, ramis suis in Arundine forte fixis,
= Inside this ablative absolute construction we meet the other main character in the story: a reed. The reflexive pronoun refers back to the subject of the main verb, the oak tree.
= The subject of the verb is the oak tree: after being tossed in the water, the shattered tree is now stuck in the reeds.
= As the oak considers her own situation, she wonders about the reed. The verb miratur introduces an indirect statement: the oak tree is amazed that . . .
Arundinem in tanto turbine stare incolumem.
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with arundinem as the accusative subject and incolumem as a predicate adjective.
= The oak tree must have done her wondering out loud, since the reed is now responding to her!
cedendo et declinando se esse tutam;
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with se as the accusative subject (the reed) and tutam as the predicate adjective. The gerunds are in the ablative case, explaining how the reed stayed safe.
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement, with se referring back to the subject of the main verb, the reed.
etenim ad Boream, ad Notum, ad Eurum,
= These are the names of the North Wind, South Wind, and the East Wind. The West Wind, Zephyrus (Latin Favorinus), is a gentle wind by comparison, and so the reed has not included him in the list.
denique ad omnem flatum;
= In addition to the winds of the four cardinal directions, there were also other winds, such as Caurus, the northwest wind.
nec mirum esse
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in the continuing indirect statement; you can replace the word nec with the words et non: et non mirum esse, “and it is not strange.”
si Quercus exciderit,
= While the oak was amazed that the reed was still standing, the reed does not find it strange at all if the oak has been destroyed; her reasoning will be explained in the following clause.
= The reference of the relative pronoun is the oak, quercus (feminine).
non cedere, sed resistere molita est.
= The verb molita est takes a complementary infinitive: non cedere, sed resistere.
Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:
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