Monday, December 29, 2008

Fable 65: Ursus et Duo Viatores

Here's the next fable with a kind of running commentary that is not entirely possible within the confines of the forthcoming book from Bolchazy-Carducci. This will be Fable 65 in the book: De Urso et Duobus Viatoribus. For more information Fable about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Amici duo, facto foedere, iter inceptantes, Urso obviam dabant. Alter ex Amicis trepidus arborem conscendit. Alter autem, constratus humi, se mortuum simulabat et spiritum totum compressit. Accedens Ursus, ad faciem os admovens et mortuum credens, abibat, intactum relinquens. Tandem descendebat ex arbore Amicus et, Socium accedens, percontatus est quid illi susurraverat Ursus. Cui ille respondit, “Monebat me Ursus, ut de falsis et perfidis Amicis in posterum caverem.”
Amici duo,
= In the opening words, we meet the two of the main characters of the story: the two friends.

facto foedere,
= Ablative absolute construction.

iter inceptantes,
= The participle here takes a direct object in the accusative case, iter.

Urso obviam dabant.
= The phrase obviam dare means “to meet, run into,” and it takes a dative complement: urso.

Alter ex Amicis
= The double use of alter is equivalent to the English construction, “the one . . . the other."

trepidus arborem conscendit.
= The adjective trepidus agrees with the subject of the verb.

Alter autem, constratus humi,
= See the note about alter... alter... above. Note the postpositive particle in second position, as you would expect. The word humi is a locative form of the noun humus, meaning “on the ground.”

se mortuum simulabat
= Accusative plus infinitive construction: se mortuum (esse) simulabat.

et spiritum totum compressit.
= The meaning of spiritus here is "breath," rather than "spirit."

Accedens Ursus,
= Now that one of the men is up in the tree, while the other man is still on the ground, we will see what the bear will do!

ad faciem os admovens
= The phrase ad faciem refers to the face of the man who is lying on the ground.

et mortuum credens,
= Accusative plus infinitive construction, with the man lying on the ground as the implied subject of the infinitive: (eum) mortuum (esse) credens.

abibat, intactum relinquens.
= The adjective intactum has a predicative function: leaving (the man) untouched.

Tandem descendebat ex arbore Amicus
= The adverb tandem suggests that the man up in the tree has waited until the bear has left them far behind.

et, Socium accedens, percontatus est
= The deponent verb percontatus est introduces a question.

quid illi susurraverat Ursus.
= Although you would normally expect a subjunctive here for indirect question, you can sometimes find the indicative used for questions of fact (as here), especially in early Latin and in poetry, as well as in later Latin, as you see here.

Cui ille respondit,
= The referent of the relative pronoun cui is amicus in the previous sentence: cui (amico) ille respondit.

“Monebat me Ursus,
= The verb monebat introduces an ut clause.

ut de falsis et perfidis Amicis
= An explanation of the etymology of the adjective perfidus assumes that it comes from the expression per fidem fallit.

in posterum caverem.”
= The subjunctive caverem completes the ut clause.

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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