Another New Story, II

salvēte, amīcī et sodālēs! Today we’ll look at the second story in the sequence of “animal families” from Lectiō XVI. Yesterday, as you probably recall, we looked at this story about Ferox, Medusa, and their new puppies, and I left you with these questions:

  1. In general, we’ve tried to keep the animal and human worlds rather separate from each other – that is, the animals don’t talk to the people, and they don’t behave in people-like (or animal-fable-character-like) ways when the people are around. Does that make sense to you?
  2. Do you think we’ve accomplished that in this story? Or are the two worlds excessively or inappropriately mixed? Or, for that matter, do you disapprove of talking-animal stories and fables?
  3. To what extent have we addressed the themes of pietās and familia that we explored in last week’s posts?
  4. What other virtūtēs Rōmanae have we addressed – or, perhaps, failed to address?
  5. And what new insights, if any, into our characters do you have as a result of this story?

Just a few thoughts about each one before we move on to Ridiculus and Impigra’s new litter:

  1. There certainly are some interactions between anthropomorphic animals and humans in the fable tradition, but in general, it seems that the animals don’t talk to the people. I’ve tried to preserve that distinction in our stories – and, at the same time, I think we’re being faithful to a long line of talking-and-rational-animal stories where the animals don’t talk to the people.
  2. You may have noticed that Ferox and Medusa don’t talk to each other Latīnē when their owners are around – lātrant, sed nōn colloquuntur. Is that a problem for you, lectōrēs cārissimī? Do you want the animals to talk to the people, or do you prefer the separation?
  3. Regarding pietās and familia, I’m particularly interested in Ferox’s (very human) worries when Medusa goes into labor. I also thought you might like Caeliola’s plan to make bullas for the puppies, and I certainly wanted Ferox to acknowledge his children, as any Roman father would, by picking them up when they were laid at his feet. What else did you notice?
  4. Regarding the virtūtēs, it seemed to me that Ferox had a momentary loss of gravitās (but then he is a dog, so I guess that’s understandable) but recovered nicely at the end. What about dignitās? To what extent is it a factor for any of the animals – or humans – in this story?
  5. Regarding the characters, I was influenced a bit by my own dog, who did not display much gravitās or dignitās during a big thunderstorm we had on Monday. He’s convinced that thunder is the enemy, but he’s also convinced that he can drive it away if he only runs to the window fast enough, then barks or growls loud enough. (My cousin, who has two Dalmatians, admires his initiative and responsibility; she says her dogs, by contrast, expect her and her husband to drive the thunder away for them!) We’ll see more of Ferox’s pietās towards friends and, in a sense, clients in a later story in this sequence.

Today, though, let’s take a look at this second story, in which Ridiculus and Impigra are about to expand their family.  (Starting today, you’ll also be able to find it at this link at the Tres Columnae Version Alpha Wiki site.)  Unlike Medusa, Impigra does think it’s reasonable to call a midwife….

noctū in domō Valeriī festīnātur et exclāmātur. Impigra enim, uxor Rīdiculī māterque Rapidī et Rapidae, īnfantēs parturīre parat. Rīdiculus līberōs suōs arcessit et “vōbīs,” inquit, “tacendum et exeundum est. māter enim vestra etiam nunc īnfantēs gignere parat. quandō enim mātrēs īnfantēs gignunt līberōs haud decet adesse, haud decet clāmāre.”

infrā cavum Impigra, “mī Rīdicule,” clāmat, “cūr abes? cūr nōn in cavō adest obstētrix?” Rīdiculus īrātus, “mea Impigra,” respondet, “num mē oportet hoc iterum explicāre? num omnium verbōrum meōrum oblīvīsceris? hoc enim est cēnāculum, nōn cavus!”

Rapidus Rapidaque rīsibus et cachinnīs sē trādunt. Impigra īrāta, “marīte!” exclāmat, “quandō mātrēs partūriunt, patrēs haud decet adesse, haud decet rēs explicāre! tē oportet obstētrīcem per tōtam domum quaerere!”

Rīdiculus, “vērum dīcis, ut semper, Impigra mea,” respondet. subitō obstētrix per domum Valeriī perterrita currit. “vae! heu!” clāmat illa, “ista mustēla mē persequitur! līberōs tuōs oportet cavum intrāre mustēlam vītātum!”

Rīdiculus “ō obstētrix stultissima, nōlī cēnāculum meum contemnere!” inquit, sed obstētrix haec interpellat īrātissima: “Rīdiculus mūs! num mihi istum verbum “cēnāculum” prōnuntiāre in animō habēs? num rēs rīdiculās commemorās, quandō ista mustēla per domum saevit et uxor tua etiam nunc partūrit?! num tam audācem tamque impium tē praestās? tibi tacendum est!”

Rīdiculus attonitus tacet. obstētrix cavum celeriter ingreditur. Rapidus Rapidaque quoque intrant et rīsibus cachinnīsque iterum sē trādunt.

quid respondētis, amīcī?

  • As for virtūtēs, it seems to me that Ridiculus has pietās down, at least as it relates to his family, but struggles a bit with gravitās and dignitās. What do you think?
  • What new insights into Impigra, Rapidus, and Rapida do you gain from this story?
  • And what about the obstētrix? It seemed to me that we needed another strong, independent female character … and a mouse-midwife would certainly be all those things? What did you think of her response to Ridiculus’ um, ridiculous fussing about the “cēnāculum” under these circumstances? (Sorry – I just couldn’t resist the pun!)
  • And what role, if any, do you expect Sabīna mustēla to play in the next story? Keep in mind that, in the fable tradition, weasels tend to be rather bitter spinsters … the thought of a soft, fluffy little mouse-baby wouldn’t exactly gladden her heart.

Tune in next time, when we’ll find out how both Sabīna and Ferox respond to the baby mice. intereā, grātiās maximās omnibus iam legentibus et respondentibus.

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