Saturday, January 03, 2009

Fable 70: Nutrix et Lupus

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 70 in the book: De Nutrice et Lupo. For more information about this fable, see the Discussion Forum for this fable at the Aesopus Ning.
Nutrix minatur Puerum plorantem: ni taceat, se Lupo illum tradituram. Lupus praeteriens id forte audit et spe praedae manet ad fores. Puer tandem, obrepente somno, silescit. Regreditur Lupus in silvas, ieiunus et inanis. Lupa obviam illi habens sciscitatur ubi sit praeda. Cui gemebundus Lupus: “Verba (inquit) mihi data sunt. Puerum plorantem abiicere Nutrix minabatur, sed fefellit.”
Nutrix minatur Puerum plorantem:
= The deponent verb minatur is transitive and takes a direct object in the accusative.

ni taceat,
= The word ni here stands for nisi, "unless."

se Lupo illum tradituram.
= Accusative plus infinitive construction in indirect statement: se illum tradituram (esse), with se as the accusative subject (referring back to the nutrix who is the subject of the main verb), and illum (puerum) as the object.

Lupus praeteriens
= Here we meet the other main character of the fable, a wolf, who just happens to be passing by.

id forte audit
= The pronoun id refers to the nurse's threat.

et spe praedae manet ad fores.
= The noun praedae is an objective genitive, complementing spe (“in hopes of”).

Puer tandem, obrepente somno,
= Ablative absolute construction.

= Note the inchoative verb: silescere, "to grow silent" (from the root verb, silere, "to be silent").

Regreditur Lupus in silvas, ieiunus et inanis.
= The word inanis means literally empty (empty-handed, perhaps, or "empty-pawed" since he is a wolf), but it also has a whole range of negative metaphorical connotations: "foolish, ineffectual," etc.

= Here we meet an unexpected character: it is Mrs. Wolf!

obviam illi habens
= The phrase obviam habere means “to meet, run into,” and takes a dative complement, illi (lupo).

= The verb is derived from the same root as scire, to know.

ubi sit praeda.
= The interrogative ubi introduces an indirect question with the subjunctive.

Cui gemebundus Lupus:
= The referent of the relative pronoun is lupa in the previous sentence: cui (lupae) lupus (inquit).

"Verba (inquit) mihi data sunt.
= The phrase verba dare means “to cheat, deceive,” with a dative complement: mihi verba data sunt, “I was deceived.”

Puerum plorantem abiicere Nutrix minabatur,
= See the infinitive construction used with minatur above.

sed fefellit.”
= The verb fallere shares the same root as the word falsus (notice the fourth principle part of the verb), so you could think of it meaning "to play someone false."

Here is the illustration of the fable by Francis Barlow:

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