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Cignus et Cancer

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The story of The Swan and The Crab is adapted from the Liber Kalilae et Dimnae.

You can read some background information about the origins of the Kalila-wa-Dimna tradition in this background page about the Hitopadesha (another book in the Kalila-wa-Dimna tradition). You might also want to look at the Kalilag and Damnag article at wikipedia.

   Use this Study Guide to organize your learning activities.

Dictum est
quod quidam cignus
habitabat apud stagna
multitudinem piscium habentia,
et exsenivit
et ob senectutem
piscari non poterat.

piscari: complementary infinitive with poterat

Unde fame coactus
abiit in montana,
et cum ascendisset,
tristis et humiliatus,
obviavit cancro.

coactus...abiit: participle plus verb
(he was compelled... and went away)

ascendisset: subjunctive with cum

 

Et ait cigno cancer:
Quare apparuisti mihi
tristis et demissus?
Et cignus respondit:
Tristem decet me esse
et dimissum.

esse: complementary infinitive, with decet (and accusative subject me)

Primo quod mansi
a pueritia mea
in his stagnis
copiose nutritus
ex multitudine piscium
ibi manentium,
et hodie vidi
duos piscatores
adinvicem loquentes
et capientes consilium
qualiter omnes pisces
de ipsis stagnis
capiant.
capiant: subjunctive in indirect question
Audiens haec
cancer cucurrit
et annuntiavit piscibus.
audiens...cucurrit: participle plus verb
(the crab heard... and ran...)
Pisces vero venerunt
ad cignum
et rogaverunt eum
dicentes:
Ecce opus habemus
et de consilio tuo indigemus,
nam vir sapientissimus
debet consiliari
cum inimico suo;
quandoque consilium
utrique auxiliatur.

vero: postpositive

rogaverunt...dicentes: participle plus verb
(they asked him... and said....)

consiliari: complementary infinitive with debet

Ait cignus:
Non enim est
aliud consilium
nisi ut recedamus hinc;
scio enim alia loca stagnosa,
valde magna
et ad ambulandum
fortissima.

enim: postpositive

recedamus: subjunctive with ut

 

Dicunt illi:
Transfer nos
ad locum illum.
 
Et cignus respondit:
Dubito,
antequam vos omnes transferam,
piscatores venient,
sed tamen
pro posse meo
incipiam.

transferam: subjunctive with ante...quam

posse: infinitive is used as a noun ("my power")

tamen: postpositive

Et incepit ducere
unoquoque die
quosdam de piscibus
ad ripam montis
et eos ibi comedere;

ducere...comedere: complementary infinitives with incepit

reliqui vero pisces
putabant
ut illi ducerentur
ad locum promissum.

reliqui...pisces: split phrase
vero: postpositive

ducerentur: subjunctive with ut

Quodam vero die
cancer rogavit cignum
ut portaret eum
ad illum locum
sicuti unum
de illis piscibus
.

quodam...die: split phrase
vero: postpositive
portaret: subjunctive with ut

Quem capiens
cignus duxit eum
ad ripam montis
ubi pisces comedebat,
volens eum comedere.

quem: relative pronoun, with antecedent cancer

capiens...duxit: participle plus verb
(he seized... and took...)

comedere: complementary infinitive with volens

Videns autem cancer
spinas piscium
quos comederat,
existimavit
se subiturum malam mortem.

videns...existimavit: participle plus verb
(he saw... and realized)

quos: relative pronoun, with antecedent piscium

subiturum (esse): infinitive in indirect statement (introduced by existimavit, subject se)

Dixit intra se:
Si cigno me subiugavero,
moriar;
si cum eo luctatus fuero
et vicerit me,
mortuus ero.
Melius est autem
honorifice mori
quam inhonorifice vivere.
Et subito
eum apprehendens in gutture
necavit cignum.

autem: postpositive

mori...vivere: infinitives as nouns

apprehendens...necavit: participle plus verb
(he grabbed... and killed...)


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