Vulpes et Caper sitibundi in quendam puteum descendebant. In quo cum perbibissent, Vulpes dixit circumspicienti reditum Capro, “Bono animo esto, Caper! Excogitavi etenim quo pacto uterque reduces simus.” Obtemperavit consilio Caper, et Vulpes, ex puteo prosiliens, prae gaudio in margine cursitabat. Ceterum, cum ab Hirco ut foedifraga incusaretur, respondit, “Enimvero, Hirce, si tantum tibi sensus esset in mente, quantum est saetarum in mento, non prius in puteum descendisses, quam de reditu exploravisses.”Vulpes et Caper sitibundi
= We meet the two main characters of the fable here in the opening words - the fox and the goat - and they are both thirsty!
in quendam puteum descendebant.
= The adjective quidam is one of those tricky words with a suffix that does not decline: quendam = quem+dam, masculine accusative singular, agreeing with puteum.
In quo cum perbibissent,
= The referent of the relative pronoun quo is puteum in the previous sentence: in quo (puteo); the subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information as to why they were ready to get out of the well now.
Vulpes dixit circumspicienti reditum Capro,
= The fox spoke to the goat, with the phrase circumspicienti reditum modifying the goat (a participle, like a verb, can take a direct object).
“Bono animo esto, Caper!
= The form esto is the future imperative of sum, with the predicate ablative bono animo functioning like a predicate adjective, meaning something like “good-spirited, optimistic.”
= The verb excogitavi will introduce the fox's thoughts in the form of indirect statement.
quo pacto uterque reduces simus.”
= The word quo introduces an indirect question with the subjunctive; reduces is a predicate adjective, masculine nominative plural. The pronoun uterque is grammatically singular, but logically plural, referring to uterque (nostrum), “each of us two, both of us," hence the plural verb, simus.
Obtemperavit consilio Caper,
= The verb obtemperavit takes a dative complement; the plan refers to the fox using the goat’s horns to climb up and get out, so that he could then (supposedly) help the goat in turn to get out.
et Vulpes, ex puteo prosiliens,
= The fox was able to leap out of the well because he was able to get a good start by jumping up onto the horns of the goat.
prae gaudio in margine cursitabat.
= The verb cursitare is an intensive iterative form based on the standard verb currere (you can see that the iterative verb is formed using the supine stem, curs-).
= The adverb ceterum introduces the second phase of the story... which, much to the goat's disappointment, does not involve his rescue from the well!
cum ab Hirco ut foedifraga incusaretur,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the fox insulted the goat.
= The implied subject of this verb is the fox, vulpes, who was the subject of the main verb of the previous sentence (cursitabat).
= Unlike the particle enim, which is usually found in second position, the form enimvero (= enim + vero) is usually found in first position, as here.
si tantum tibi sensus esset in mente,
= The word sensus is genitive singular, in a partitive genitive construction: tantum (so much) sensus (of wit), "so much wit." The imperfect subjunctive introduces a hypothetical that is contrary to fact: if only the goat had some wit.. but he doesn't!
quantum est saetarum in mento,
= Parallel construction, with partitive genitives: tantum (so much) sensus (of wit), quantum (as much) saetarum (of whiskers) = “as much wit as whiskers.”
non prius in puteum descendisses,
= The adverbial prius anticipates a quam clause, expressing the comparison.
quam de reditu exploravisses.”
= The quam follows up on the prius in the previous clause. Although we do not use the expression "before... than..." in English, you might think of a comparative construction "earlier in time... than..." to see how the prius... quam... construction works in Latin.
Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:
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