Sitibunda Cornix reperit urnam aqua plenam, sed erat urna profundior quam ut exhauri a Cornice possit. Conatur igitur vano molimine aquam effundere, sed non valet. Lectos igitur ex arena lapillulos iniectat. Hoc modo aqua levatur et Cornix bibit.Sitibunda Cornix
= There are lots of these marvelous adjectives in -bundus to be found in these Aesop texts: fremebundus, gemebundus, gloriabundus, indignabundus, laetabundus, supplicabundus, vorabundus. In terms of borrowing into English, there are not so many - moribund is the only one that comes to mind!
reperit urnam aqua plenam,
= Note the ablative as a complement to the adjective, which sometimes take a genitive complement, and sometimes an ablative, as here.
sed erat urna profundior
= The comparative adjective sets up a comparison, so you are wanting an ablative or a quam to go with that.
quam ut exhauri a Cornice possit.
= And there you have it: the quam you were hoping for. Since the term of comparison is a verbal phrase, the quam is required, rather than a simple ablative for expressing the comparison: the jug is deeper than could be drained by the crow - or, using a more typical active rather than passive construction English: deeper than the crow could reach to drink.
= There's a very nice postpositive particle, indicating the beginning of a new sentence, and letting us know that what is about to happen is a logical consequence of the prior statement. The verb needs an infinitive complement, so we are hoping for an infinitive.
vano molimine aquam effundere,
= And here comes the infinitive, just what we wanted. Although the word molimen might not be familiar, it is a typical noun formation from a verbal stem, as likewise in acumen, agmen, certamen, flumen, nomen. Of those, nomen is my favorite: the name is a "knowing" of something.
sed non valet.
= As often, Latin does not repeat words unnecessarily - so you can supply the complementary infinitive here from before: effundere non valet.
Lectos igitur ex arena lapillulos
= Another logical consequence, marked by the postpositive particle. We've got an accusative noun phrase, which conveys what would be a clause on its own in English: after the crow gathered little stones from the sand... (main verb). We're still waiting for the main verb, of course; this accusative noun phrase needs to be the object of something. Notice also the lovely diminutive, not just a single diminutive (lapillus), but a double diminutive: lapillulus, what we might call gravel, teeny-tiny pebbles.
= Perfect! This is the verb that we need for the accusative noun phrase.
Hoc modo aqua levatur
= There is no postpositive particle weaving this sentence into the previous sentence: instead we have a bold declarative phrase: "in THIS way (i.e., not effortlessly, and not by sheer force) the water is raised up."
et Cornix bibit.
= This simple statement provides a perfect finale for a story which started with the phrase sitibunda Cornix.
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!