Cattus, cum pistoris domum ingressus est, quam plurimos invenit Mures et, nunc unum nunc alterum devorando, tam caute patrifamilias providebat ut paucos relinqueret. Mures interim, cum ante oculos habuissent diuturnam illorum caedem, consilium ceperunt quo pacto Cattum vorabundum evitarent. Post varias disceptationes concludebant tandem ut in locis occultis altissimisque remanerent, ne descendendo in praedam Catto venirent. Cattus, hoc consilio intellecto, se mortuum fingebat, cum unus ex Murium senioribus ab alto exclamavit, “Euge, amice! Non Catto credendum est, ne mortuo quidem.”Cattus,
= As usual, we meet one of the main characters of the fable in the opening word.
cum pistoris domum ingressus est,
= The deponent verb ingressus est is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.
quam plurimos invenit Mures
= The phrase quam plurimos mures means “as many as could be” or “very many indeed.”
et, nunc unum nunc alterum devorando,
= The gerund here takes an accusative object.
tam caute patrifamilias providebat
= The word patrifamilias is the dative form of paterfamilias, a compound of two words, pater + familias, of which only the first word declines. (Historically, the second part - familias - represents an archaic genitive form: the father of the family.)
ut paucos relinqueret.
= The adjective refers to the mice: ut paucos (mures) reliqueret (cattus).
= Just as the cat was the subject of the first sentence, now the mice get to be the subject of the second sentence!
cum ante oculos habuissent diuturnam illorum caedem,
= The subjunctive, introduced by cum, gives causal background information; this is why the mice needed to come up with a plan.
= The idiom consilium capere means "to form a plan, to take up a proposal, to decide."
quo pacto Cattum vorabundum evitarent.
= The interrogative phrase quo pacto introduces an indirect question with the subjunctive.
Post varias disceptationes concludebant tandem
= Note the nice play on words: they faced some dis-cep-tationes in their attempt to consilium capere; the word disceptatio shares the same root as the verb capere.
ut in locis occultis altissimisque remanerent,
= Note the use of the superlative with a specific term of comparison, meaning extremely high places, the highest possible places.
ne descendendo in praedam Catto venirent.
= The gerund is in the ablative case.
Cattus, hoc consilio intellecto,
= Note the ablative absolute construction, which you might choose to translate with a finite verb instead: "The cat, after he had understood their plan, ..."
se mortuum fingebat,
= Accusative plus infinitive construction, introduced by fingebat: se mortuum (esse).
cum unus ex Murium senioribus
= The word senior is a comparative form of the word senex meaning "old," although in English you have a choice of two words you can use here: older, or elder. Which do you think is the better choice?
ab alto exclamavit,
= Notice too that the mouse has followed the rules and stayed up high somewhere, safely, without coming down!
= Since the word euge is Greek in origin, there might be good reason to use the Italian "bravo!" as the translation, since "bravo!" is a foreign word which has been adopted into English usage.
Non Catto credendum est,
= The future passive participle combined with the verb est results in a future passive periphrastic, also known as a “gerundive of necessity." The subject is impersonal, hence the neuter singular form. To introduce a personal subject, you would use another dative: non catto credendum est nobis, "we should not put our trust in a cat."
ne mortuo quidem.”
= The phrase ne . . . quidem puts a strong emphasis on the word mortuo, referring to the cat who is not to be trust: mortuo (catto).
There is no Barlow illustration for this fable, but you can see illustrations to other versions of the fable by checking out some of the links to illustrated fables online here.
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