Two weeks ago I received a package in the mail. A good friend and fellow Latin teacher had bundled together a parcel of Latin novellas and sent them to me in the mail. There was Marcus et Imagines Suae Bonae, Piso Ille Poetulus, Fabella de Petro Cuniculo and Brando Brown Canem Vult. They are all fantastic.
I began to read Brando Brown Canem Vult walking home from work. It’s about a twenty-five-minute walk, and I guess I read about half of it. But when I got home, I couldn’t put it down. This is a very simple reader, but it has a compelling story and a humorous style. I think I am correct saying that the story was originally written in Spanish by Carol Gaab. This Latin translation, anyhow, was written by Justin Slocum Bailey, whom you may know from the podcast quomodo dicitur. (And if you don’t know it, you should check it out here.)
I found this story of particular interest because Brando Brown, like Scipio, wants a dog for his birthday. Brando’s mother, however, is not as forthcoming as Scipio’s father with the gift. Brando takes matters into his own hands and, well, I won’t ruin the story. But here is the opening paragraph and, if you want more, this link will take you to the first seventeen pages.
Brandō canem vult. Magnum canem vult. Maximum canem vult! Maximum canem vult similem canī ‘Clifford’, sed nōn vult canem rūfum. Brandō nōn vult canem rūfum; vult canem colōris nātūrālis.Canem album vult, vel canem ātrum. Maximum canem colōris nātūrālis vult!
Soror eius, Catarīna, mūrem habet, sed Brandō nōn vult mūrem.
Mūrēs sunt molestī! Mūrēs albī sunt molestī. Mūrēs ātrī sunt molestī. Omnēs mūrēs sunt mo- lestī. Brandō nōn vult mūrem molestum. Brandō vult canem!
Finally, Keith Toda wrote a review of the book on his website Todally Comprehensible Latin. You can check that out here. And if you don’t know Keith’s work you’ll probably want to have a wider look around, while you are there.
Then Scipio notices a small dog. ‘I recently found this dog in the street,’ the shopkeeper says. ‘There is need to him of a new home. Are you able to give a home to him?’