THE FIRST CHAPTER
How Apuleius riding in Thessaly, fortuned to fall into company with two strangers, that reasoned together of the mighty power of Witches.
As I fortuned to take my voyage into Thessaly, about certaine affaires which I had to doe ( for there myne auncestry by my mothers side inhabiteth, descended of the line of that most excellent person Plutarch, and of Sextus the Philosopher his Nephew, which is to us a great honour) and after that by much travell and great paine I had passd over the high mountaines and slipperie vallies, and had ridden through the cloggy fallowed fields; perceiving that my horse did wax somewhat slow, and to the intent likewise that I might repose and strengthen my self (being weary with riding) I lighted off my horse, and wiping the sweat from every part of his body, I unbrideled him, and walked him softly in my hand, to the end he might pisse, and ease himself of his weariness and travell: and while he went grazing freshly in the field (casting his head sometimes aside, as a token of rejoycing and gladnesse) I perceived a little before me two companions riding, and so I overtaking them made a third. And while I listened to heare their communication, the one of them laughed and mocked his fellow, saying, Leave off I pray thee and speak no more, for I cannot abide to heare thee tell such absurd and incredible lies; which when I heard, I desired to heare some newes, and said, I pray you masters make me partaker of your talk, that am not so curious as desirous to know all your communication: so shall we shorten our journey, and easily pass this high hill before us, by merry and pleasant talke.
But he that laughed before at his fellow, said againe, Verily this tale is as true, as if a man would say that by sorcery and inchantment the floods might be inforced to run against their course, the seas to be immovable, the aire to lacke the blowing of windes, the Sunne to be restrained from his naturall race, the Moone to purge his skimme upon herbes and trees to serve for sorceries: the starres to be pulled from heaven, the day to be darkened and the dark night to continue still. Then I being more desirous to heare his talke than his companions, sayd, I pray you, that began to tell your tale even now, leave not off so, but tell the residue. And turning to the other I sayd, You perhappes that are of an obstinate minde and grosse eares, mocke and contemme those things which are reported for truth, know you not that it is accounted untrue by the depraved opinion of men, which either is rarely seene, seldome heard, or passth the capacitie of mans reason, which if it be more narrowly scanned, you shall not onely finde it evident and plaine, but also very easy to be brought to pass.
THE SECOND CHAPTER
How Apuleius told to the strangers, what he saw a jugler do in Athens.
The other night being at supper with a sort of hungry fellowes, while I did greedily put a great morsel of meate in my mouth, that was fried with the flower of cheese and barley, it cleaved so fast in the passage of my throat and stopped my winde in such sort that I was well nigh choked. And yet at Athens before the porch there called Peale, I saw with these eyes a jugler that swallowed up a two hand sword, with a very keene edge, and by and by for a little money that we who looked on gave him, hee devoured a chasing speare with the point downeward. And after that hee had conveyed the whole speare within the closure of his body, and brought it out againe behind, there appeared on the top thereof (which caused us all to marvell) a faire boy pleasant and nimble, winding and turning himself in such sort, that you would suppose he had neither bone nor gristle, and verily thinke that he were the naturall Serpent, creeping and sliding on the knotted staffe, which the god of Medicine is feigned to beare. But turning me to him that began his tale, I pray you (quoth I) follow your purpose, and I alone will give credit unto you, and for your paynes will pay your charges at the next Inne we come unto. To whom he answered Certes sir I thank you for your gentle offer, and at your request I wil proceed in my tale, but first I will sweare unto you by the light of this Sunne that shineth here, that those things shall be true, least when you come to the next city called Thessaly, you should doubt any thing of that which is rife in the mouthes of every person, and done before the face of all men. And that I may first make relation to you, what and who I am, and whither I go, and for what purpose, know you that I am of Egin, travelling these countries about from Thessaly to Etolia, and from Etolia to Boetia, to provide for honey, cheese, and other victuals to sell againe: and understanding that at Hippata (which is the principall city of all Thessaly), is accustomed to be soulde new cheeses of exceeding good taste and relish, I fortuned on a day to go thither, to make my market there: but as it often happeneth, I came in an evill houre; for one Lupus a purveyor had bought and ingrossed up all the day before, and so I was deceived.
Wherefore towards night being very weary, I went to the Baines to refresh my selfe, and behold, I fortuned to espy my companion Socrates sitting upon the ground, covered with a torn and course mantle; who was so meigre and of so sallow and miserable a countenance, that I scantly knew him: for fortune had brought him into such estate and calamity, that he verily seemed as a common begger that standeth in the streets to crave the benevolence of the passrs by. Towards whom (howbeit he was my singular friend and familiar acquaintance, yet half in despaire) I drew nigh and said, Alas my Socrates, what meaneth this? how faireth it with thee? What crime hast thou committed? verily there is great lamentation and weeping for thee at home: Thy children are in ward by decree of the Provinciall Judge: Thy wife (having ended her mourning time in lamentable wise, with face and visage blubbered with teares, in such sort that she hath well nigh wept out both her eyes) is constrained by her parents to put out of remembrance the unfortunate losse and lacke of thee at home, and against her will to take a new husband. And dost thou live here as a ghost or hogge, to our great shame and ignominy?
Then he answered he to me and said, O my friend Aristomenus, now perceive I well that you are ignorant of the whirling changes, the unstable forces, and slippery inconstancy of Fortune: and therewithall he covered his face (even then blushing for very shame) with his rugged mantle insomuch that from his navel downwards he appeared all naked.
But I not willing to see him any longer in such great miserie and calamitie, took him by the hand and lifted him up from the ground: who having his face covered in such sort, Let Fortune (quoth he) triumph yet more, let her have her sway, and finish that which shee hath begun. And therewithall I put off one of my garments and covered him, and immediately I brought him to the Baine, and caused him to be anointed, wiped, and the filthy scurfe of his body to be rubbed away; which done, though I were very weary my selfe, yet I led the poore miser to my Inne, where he reposed his body upon a bed, and then I brought him meat and drinke, and so wee talked together: for there we might be merry and laugh at our pleasure, and so we were, untill such time as he (fetching a pittifull sigh from the bottom of his heart, and beating his face in miserable sort), began to say.
THE THIRD CHAPTER
How Socrates in his returne from Macedony to Larissa was spoyled and robbed, and how he fell acquainted with one Meroe a Witch.
Alas poore miser that I am, that for the onely desire to see a game of triall of weapons, am fallen into these miseries and wretched snares of misfortune. For in my returne from Macedonie, wheras I sould all my wares, and played the Merchant by the space of ten months, a little before that I came to Larissa, I turned out of the way, to view the scituation of the countrey there, and behold in the bottom of a deep valley I was suddenly environed with a company of theeves, who robbed and spoiled me of such things as I had, and yet would hardly suffer me to escape. But I beeing in such extremity, in the end was happily delivered from their hands, and so I fortuned to come to the house of an old woman that sold wine, called Meroe, who had her tongue sufficiently instructed to flattery: unto whom I opened the causes of my long peregrination and careful travell, and of myne unlucky adventure: and after that I had declared to her such things as then presently came to my remembrance, shee gently entertained mee and made mee good cheere; and by and by being pricked with carnall desire, shee brought me to her own bed chamber; whereas I poore miser the very first night of our lying together did purchase to my selfe this miserable face, and for her lodging I gave to her such apparel as the theeves left to cover me withall.
The I understanding the cause of his miserable estate, sayd unto him, In faith thou art worthy to sustaine the most extreame misery and calamity, which hast defiled and maculated thyne owne body, forsaken thy wife traitorously, and dishonoured thy children, parents, and friends, for the love of a vile harlot and old strumpet. When Socrates heard mee raile against Meroe in such sort, he held up his finger to mee, and as halfe abashed sayd, Peace peace I pray you, and looking about lest any body should heare, I pray you (quoth he) I pray you take heed what you say against so venerable a woman as shee is, lest by your intemperate tongue you catch some harm. Then with resemblance of admiration, What (quoth I) is she so excellent a person as you name her to be? I pray you tell me. Then answered hee, Verily shee is a Magitian, which hath power to rule the heavens, to bringe downe the sky, to beare up the earth, to turne the waters into hills and the hills into running waters, to lift up the terrestrial spirits into the aire, and to pull the gods out of the heavens, to extinguish the planets, and to lighten the deepe darknesse of hell. Then sayd I unto Socrates, Leave off this high and mysticall kinde of talke, and tell the matter in a more plaine and simple fashion. Then answered he, Will you hear one or two, or more of her facts which she hath done, for whereas she enforceth not onely the inhabitants of the countrey here, but also the Indians and the Ethiopians the one and the other, and also the Antictons, to love her in most raging sort, such as are but trifles and chips of her occupation, but I pray you give eare, and I will declare of more greater matters, which shee hath done openly and before the face of all men.
THE FOURTH CHAPTER
How Meroe the Witch turned divers persons into miserable beasts.
In faith Aristomenus to tell you the truth, this woman had a certaine Lover, whom by the utterance of one only word she turned into a Bever, because he loved another woman beside her: and the reason why she transformed him into such a beast is, for that it is his nature, when hee perceiveth the hunters and hounds to draw after him, to bite off his members, and lay them in the way, that the hounds may be at a stop when they find them, and to the intent it might so happen unto him (for that he fancied another woman) she turned him into that kind of shape.
Semblably she changed one of her neighbours, being an old man and one that sold wine, into a Frog, in that he was one of her occupation, and therefore she bare him a grudge, and now the poore miser swimming in one of his pipes of wine, and well nigh drowned in the dregs, doth cry and call with an hoarse voice, for his old guests and acquaintance that pass by. Like wise she turned one of the Advocates of the Court (because he pleaded and spake against her in a rightful cause) into a horned Ram, and now the poore Ram is become an Advocate. Moreover she caused, that the wife of a certain lover that she had should never be delivered of her childe, but according to the computation of all men, it is eight yeares past since the poore woman first began to swell, and now shee is encreased so big, that shee seemeth as though she would bring forth some great Elephant: which when it was knowne abroad, and published throughout all the towne, they tooke indignation against her, and ordayned that the next day shee should most cruelly be stoned to death. Which purpose of theirs she prevented by the vertue of her inchantments, and as Medea (who obtained of King Creon but one days respit before her departure) did burn all his house, him, and his daughter: so she, by her conjurations and invocations of spirits, (which she useth in a certaine hole in her house, as shee her selfe declared unto me the next day following) closed all the persons in the towne so sure in their houses, and with such violence of power, that for the space of two dayes they could not get forth, nor open their gates nor doore, nor break downe their walls, whereby they were inforced by mutuall consent to cry unto her, and to bind themselves strictly by oaths, that they would never afterwards molest or hurt her: and moreover, if any did offer her any injury they would be ready to defend her. Whereupon shee, mooved by their promises, and stirred by pitty, released all the towne. But shee conveyed the principal Author of this ordinance about midnight, with all his house, the walls, the ground, and the foundation, into another towne, distant from thence an hundred miles, scituate and beeing on the top of an high hill, and by reason thereof destitute of water, and because the edifices and houses were so nigh built together, that it was not possible for the house to stand there, she threw it downe before the gate of the towne. Then I spake and said O my friend Socrates you have declared unto me many marvellous things and strange chances, and moreover stricken me with no small trouble of minde, yea rather with great feare, lest the same old woman using the like practice, should fortune to heare all our communication. Wherefore let us now sleepe, and after that we have taken our rest, let us rise betimes in the morning, and ride away hence before day, as far as we can possible.
THE FIFTH CHAPTER
How Socrates and Aristomenus slept together in one Chamber, and how they were handled by Witches.
In speaking these words, and devising with my selfe of our departing the next morrow, lest Meroe the witch should play by us as she had done by divers other persons, it fortuned that Socrates did fall asleepe, and slept very soundly, by reason of his travell and plenty of meat and wine wherewithall hee had filled him selfe. Wherefore I closed and barred fast the doores of the chamber, and put my bed behinde the doore, and so layed mee downe to rest. But I could in no wise sleepe, for the great feare which was in my heart, untill it was about midnight, and then I began to slumber. But alas, behold suddenly the chamber doores brake open, and locks, bolts, and posts fell downe, that you would verily have thought that some Theeves had been presently come to have spoyled and robbed us. And my bed whereon I lay being a truckle bed, fashioned in forme of a Cradle, and one of the feet broken and rotten, by violence was turned upside downe, and I likewise was overwhelmed and covered lying in the same. Then perceived I in my selfe, that certaine affects of the minde by nature doth chance contrary. For as teares oftentimes trickle downe the cheekes of him that seeth or heareth some joyfull newes, so I being in this fearfull perplexity, could not forbeare laughing, to see how of Aristomenus I was made like unto a snail [in] his shell. And while I lay on the ground covered in this sort, I peeped under the bed to see what would happen. And behold there entred in two old women, the one bearing a burning torch, and the other a sponge and a naked sword; and so in this habit they stood about Socrates being fast asleep. Then shee which bare the sword sayd unto the other, Behold sister Panthia, this is my deare and sweet heart, which both day and night hath abused my wanton youthfulnesse. This is he, who little regarding my love, doth not only defame me with reproachfull words, but also intendeth to run away. And I shall be forsaken by like craft as Vlysses did use, and shall continually bewaile my solitarinesse as Calipso. Which said, shee pointed towards mee that lay under the bed, and shewed me to Panthia. This is hee, quoth she, which is his Counsellor, and perswadeth him to forsake me, and now being at the point of death he lieth prostrate on the ground covered with his bed, and hath seene all our doings, and hopeth to escape scot-free from my hands, but I will cause that hee will repente himselfe too late, nay rather forthwith, of his former intemperate language, and his present curiosity. Which words when I heard I fell into a cold sweat, and my heart trembled with feare, insomuch that the bed over me did likewise rattle and shake. Then spake Panthia unto Meroe and said, Sister let us by and by teare him in pieces or tye him by the members, and so cut them off. Then Meroe (being so named because she was a Taverner, and loved wel good wines) answered, Nay rather let him live, and bury the corpse of this poore wretch in some hole of the earth; and therewithall shee turned the head of Socrates on the other side and thrust her sword up to the hilts into the left part of his necke, and received the bloud that gushed out, into a pot, that no drop thereof fell beside: which things I saw with mine own eyes, and as I thinke to the intent that she might alter nothing that pertained to sacrifice, which she accustomed to make, she thrust her hand down into the intrals of his body, and searching about, at length brought forth the heart of my miserable companion Socrates, who having his throat cut in such sort, yeelded out a dolefull cry, and gave up the ghost. Then Panthia stopped up the wide wound of his throat with the Sponge and said, O sponge sprung and made of the sea, beware that thou not pass by running river. This being said, one of them moved and turned up my bed, and then they strid over mee, and clapped their buttocks upon my face, and all bepissed mee until I was wringing wet. When this was over they went their wayes, and the doores closed fast, the posts stood in their old places, and the lockes and bolts were shut againe. But I that lay upon the ground like one without soule, naked and cold, and wringing wet with pisse, like to one that were more than half dead, yet reviving my selfe, and appointed as I thought for the Gallowes, began to say Alass what shall become of me to morrow, when my companion shall be found murthered here in the chamber? To whom shall I seeme to tell any similitude of truth, when as I shall tell the trueth in deed? They will say, If thou wert unable to resist the violence of the women, yet shouldest thou have cried for help; Wouldst thou suffer the man to be slaine before thy face and say nothing? Or why did they not slay thee likewise? Why did they spare thee that stood by and saw them commit that horrible fact? Wherefore although thou hast escaped their hands, yet thou shalt not escape ours. While I pondered these things with my selfe the night passd on, and so I resolved to take my horse before day, and goe forward on my journey.
Howbeit the wayes were unknown to me, and thereupon I tooke up my packet, unlocked and unbarred the doors, but those good and faithfull doores which in the night did open of their owne accord, could then scantly be opened with their keyes. And when I was out I cried, O sirrah Hostler where art thou? Open the stable doore for I will ride away by and by. The Hostler lying behinde the stable doore upon a pallet, and half asleepe, What (quoth hee) doe you not know that the wayes be very dangerous? What meane you to rise at this time of night? If you perhaps guilty of some heynous crime, be weary of your life, yet thinke you not that we are such Sots that we will die for you. Then said I, It is well nigh day, and moreover, what can theeves take from him that hath nothing? Doest thou not know (Foole as thou art) if thou be naked, if ten Gyants should assaile thee, they could not spoyle or rob thee? Whereunto the drowsie Hostler half asleepe, and turning on the other side, answered, What know I whether you have murthered your Companion whom you brought in yesternight, or no, and now seeke the means to escape away? O Lord, at that time I remember the earth seemed ready to open, and me thought I saw at hell gate the Dog Cerberus ready to devour mee, and then I verily beleeved, that Meroe did not spare my throat, mooved with pitty, but rather cruelly pardoned mee to bring mee to the Gallowes. Wherefore I returned to my chamber, and there devised with my selfe in what sort I should finish my life. But when I saw that fortune should minister unto mee no other instrument than that which my bed profered me, I said, O bed, O bed, most dear to me at this present, which hast abode and suffered with me so many miseries, judge and arbiter of such things as were done here this night, whome onely I may call to witnesse for my innocency, render (I say) unto me some wholesome weapon to end my life, that am most willing to dye. And therewithal I pulled out a piece of the rope wherewith the bed was corded, and tyed one end thereof about a rafter by the window, and with the other end I made a sliding knot, and stood upon my bed, and so put my neck into it, and leaped from the bed, thinking to strangle my selfe and so dye, behold the rope beeing old and rotten burst in the middle, and I fell down tumbling upon Socrates that lay under: And even at that same very time the Hostler came in crying with a loud voyce, and sayd, Where are you that made such hast at midnight, and now lies wallowing abed? Whereupon (I know not whether it was by my fall, or by the great cry of the Hostler) Socrates as waking out of sleepe, did rise up first and sayd, It is not without cause that strangers do speake evill of all such Hostlers, for this Catife in his comming in, and with his crying out, I thinke under a colour to steale away something, hath waked me out of a sound sleepe. Then I rose up joyfull with a merry countenance, saying, Behold good Hostler, my friend, my companion and my brother, whom thou didst falsly affirme to be slaine by mee this might. And therewithall I embraced my friend Socrates and kissed him: but hee smelling the stinke of the pisse wherewith those Hagges had embrued me, thrust me away and sayd, Clense thy selfe from this filthy odour, and then he began gently to enquire, how that noysome sent hapned unto mee. But I finely feigning and colouring the matter for the time, did breake off his talk, and tooke him by the hand and sayd, Why tarry we? Why lose wee the pleasure of this faire morning? Let us goe, and so I tooke up my packet, and payed the charges of the house and departed: and we had not gone a mile out of the Towne but it was broad day, and then I diligently looked upon Socrates throat, to see if I could espy the place where Meroe thrust in her sword: but when I could not perceive any such thing, I thought with my selfe, What a mad man am I, that being overcome with wine yester night, have dreamed such terrible things? Behold I see Socrates is sound, safe and in health. Where is his wound? Where is the Sponge? Where is his great and new cut? And then I spake to him and said, Verily it is not without occasion, that Physitians of experience do affirme, That such as fill their gorges abundantly with meat and drinke, shall dreame of dire and horrible sights: for I my selfe, not tempering my appetite yester night from the pots of wine, did seeme to see this night strange and cruel visions, that even yet I think my self sprinkled and wet with human blood: whereunto Socrates laughing made answer and said, Nay, thou art not wet with the blood of men, but art embrued with stinking pisse; and verily I dreamed that my throat was cut, and that I felt the paine of the wound, and that my heart was pulled out of my belly, and the remembrance thereof makes me now to feare, for my knees do so tremble that I can scarce goe any further, and therefore I would faine eat somewhat to strengthen and revive my spirits. Then said I, behold here thy breakefast, and therewithall I opened my script that hanged upon my shoulder, and gave him bread and cheese, and we sate downe under a greate Plane tree, and I eat part with him; and while I beheld him eating greedily, I perceived that he waxed meigre and pale, and that his lively colour faded away, insomuch that beeing in great fear, and remembring those terrible furies of whom I lately dreamed, the first morsell of bread that I put in my mouth (that was but very small) did so stick in my jawes, that I could neither swallow it downe, nor yet yeeld it up, and moreover the small time of our being together increased my feare, and what is hee that seeing his companion die in the high-way before his face, would not greatly lament and bee sorry? But when that Socrates had eaten sufficiently hee waxed very thirsty, for indeed he had well nigh devoured a whole Cheese: and behold evill fortune! There was behind the Plane tree a pleasant running water as cleere as Crystal, and I sayd unto him, Come hither Socrates to this water and drinke thy fill. And then he rose and came to the River, and kneeled downe on the side of the banke to drinke, but he had scarce touched the water with lips, when as behold the wound in his throat opened wide, and the Sponge suddenly fell out into the water, and after issued out a little remnant of bloud, and his body being then without life, had fallen into the river, had not I caught him by the leg and so pulled him up. And after that I had lamented a good space the death of my wretched companion, I buried him in the Sands there by the river.
Which done, in great feare I rode through many Outwayes and desart places, and as culpable of the death of Socrates, I forsooke my countrey, my wife, and my children, and came to Etolia where I married another Wife.
This tale told Aristomenus, and his fellow which before obstinatly would give no credit unto him, began to say, Verily there was never so foolish a tale, nor a more absurd lie told than this. And then he spake unto me saying, Ho sir, what you are I know not, but your habit and countenance declareth that you should be some honest Gentleman, (speaking to Apuleius) doe you beleeve this tale? Yea verily (quoth I), why not? For whatsoever the fates have appointed to men, that I beleeve shall happen. For may things chance unto me and unto you, and to divers others, which beeing declared unto the ignorant be accounted as lies. But verily I give credit unto his tale, and render entire thankes unto him, in that by the pleasant relation thereof we have quickly passd and shortned our journey, and I thinke that my horse was also delighted with the same, and hath brought me to the gate of this city without any paine at all. Thus ended both our talk and our journey, for they two turned on the left hand to the next villages, and I rode into the city.
THE SIXTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius came unto a city named Hipate, and was lodged in one Milos house, and brought him letters from one Demeas of Corinth.
After that those two Companions were departed I entred into the City: where I espied an old woman, of whom I enquired whether that city was called Hipata, or no: Who answered, Yes. Then I demaunded, Whether she knew one Milo an Alderman of the city: Whereat she laughed and said: Verily it is not without cause that Milo is called an Elderman, and accounted as chiefe of those which dwel without the walls of the City. To whom I sayd againe, I pray thee good mother do not mocke, but tell me what manner of man he is, and where he dwelleth. Mary (quoth shee) do you see these Bay windowes, which on one side abut to the gates of the city, and on the other side to the next lane? There Milo dwelleth, very rich both in mony and substance, but by reason of his great avarice and insatiable covetousnes, he is evill spoken of, and he is a man that liveth all by usurie, and lending his money upon pledges. Moreover he dwelleth in a small house, and is ever counting his money, and hath a wife that is a companion of his extreame misery, neither keepeth he more in his house than onely one maid, who goeth apparelled like unto a beggar. Which when I heard, I laughed in my self and thought, In faith my friend Demeas hath served me well, which hath sent me being a stranger, unto such a man, in whose house I shall not bee afeared either of smoke or of the sent of meat; and therewithall I rode to the doore, which was fast barred, and knocked aloud. Then there came forth a maid which said, Ho sirrah that knocks so fast, in what kinde of sort will you borrow money? Know you not that we use to take no gage, unless it be either plate or Jewels? To whom I answered, I pray you maid speak more gently, and tel me whether thy master be within or no? Yes (quoth shee) that he is, why doe you aske? Mary (said I) I am come from Corinth, and have brought him letters from Demeas his friend. Then sayd the Maid, I pray you tarry here till I tell him so, and therewithall she closed fast the doore, and went in, and after a while she returned againe and sayd, My master desireth you to alight and come in. And so I did, whereas I found him sitting upon a little bed, going to supper, and his wife sate at his feet, but there was no meat upon the table, and so by appointment of the maid I came to him and saluted him, and delivered the letters which I had brought from Demeas. Which when hee had read hee sayd, Verily, I thanke my friend Demeas much, in that hee hath sent mee so worthy a guest as you are. And therewithall hee commanded his wife to sit away and bid mee sit in her place; which when I refused by reason of courtesie, hee pulled me by my garment and willed me to sit downe; for wee have (quoth he) no other stool here, nor no other great store of household stuffe, for fear of robbing. Then I according to his commandement, sate down, and he fell in further communication with me and sayd, Verily I doe conjecture by the comly feature of your body, and by the maidenly shamefastnesse of your face that you are a Gentleman borne, as my friend Demeas hath no lesse declared the same in his letters. Wherfore I pray you take in good part our poore lodging, and behold yonder chamber is at your commaundement, use it as your owne, and if you be contented therewithall, you shall resemble and follow the vertuous qualities of your good father Theseus, who disdained not the slender and poore Cottage of Hecades.
And then he called his maid which was named Fotis, and said, Carry this Gentlemans packet into the chamber, and lay it up safely, and bring water quickly to wash him, and a towel to rub him, and other things necessary, and then bring him to the next Baines, for I know that he is very weary of travell.
These things when I heard, I partly perceived the manners of Milo, and endeavouring to bring my selfe further into his favour, I sayd, Sir there is no need of any of these things, for they have been everywhere ministred unto mee by the way, howbeit I will go into the Baines, but my chiefest care is that my horse be well looked to, for hee brought mee hither roundly, and therefore I pray thee Fotis take this money and buy some hay and oats for him.
THE SEVENTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius going to buy fish, met with his companion Pythias.
When this was done, and all my things brought into the Chamber, I walked towards the Baines; but first I went to the market to buy some victuals for my supper, whereas I saw great plenty of fish set out to be sould: and so I cheapened part thereof, and that which they at first held at an hundred pence, I bought at length for twenty. Which when I had done, and was departing away, one of myne old acquaintance, and fellow at Athens, named Pithias, fortuned to pass by, and viewing me at a good space, in the end brought me to his remembrance, and gently came and kissed mee, saying, O my deare friend Lucius, it is a great while past since we two saw one another, and moreover, from the time that wee departed from our Master Vestius, I never heard any newes from you. I pray you Lucius tell me the cause of your peregrination hither. Then I answered and sayd, I will make relation thereof unto you tomorrow: but I pray you tell me, what meaneth these servitors that follow you, and these rods or verges which they beare, and this habit which you wear like unto a magistrate, verily I thinke you have obtained your own desire, whereof I am right glad. Then answered Pithias, I beare the office of the Clerke of the market, and therfore if you will have any pittance for your supper speake and I will purvey it for you. Then I thanked him heartily and sayd I had bought meat sufficient already. But Pithias when hee espied my basket wherein my fish was, tooke it and shaked it, and demanded of me what I had payd for all my Sprots. In faith (quoth I), I could scarce inforce the fishmonger to sell them for twenty pence. Which when I heard, he brought me backe again into the market, and enquired of me of whom I bought them. I shewed him the old man which sate in a corner, whome by and by, by reason of his office, hee did greatly blame, and sayd, Is it thus you serve and handle strangers, and specially our friends? Wherefore sell you this fish so deare, which is not worth a halfepenny? Now perceive I well, that you are an occasion to make this place, which is the principall city of all Thessaly, to be forsaken of all men, and to reduce it into an uninhabitable Desart, by reasone of your excessive prices of victuals, but assure yourself that you shall not escape without punishment, and you shall know what myne office is, and how I ought to punish such as offend. Then he took my basket and cast the fish on the ground, and commanded one of his Sergeants to tread them under his feet. This done he perswaded me to depart, and sayd that onely shame and reproach done unto the old Caitife did suffice him, So I went away amazed and astonied, towards the Baines, considering with myself and devising of the grace of my companion Pythias. Where when I had well washed and refreshed my body, I returned againe to Milos house, both without money and meat, and so got into my chamber. Then came Fotis immediately unto mee, and said that her master desired me to come to supper. But I not ignorant of Milos abstinence, prayed that I might be pardoned since as I thought best to ease my wearied bones rather with sleepe and quietnesse, than with meat. When Fotis had told this to Milo, he came himselfe and tooke mee by the hand, and while I did modestly excuse my selfe, I will not (quoth he) depart from this place, until such time as you shall goe with me: and to confirm the same, hee bound his words with an oath, whereby he enforced me to follow him, and so he brought me into his chamber, where hee sate him downe upon the bed, and demaunded of mee how his friend Demeas did, his wife, his children, and all his family: and I made answer to him every question, specially hee enquired the causes of my peregrination and travell, which when I had declared, he yet busily demanded of the state of my Countrey, and the chief magistrates there, and principally of our Lievtenant and Viceroy; who when he perceived that I was not only wearied by travell, but also with talke, and that I fell asleep in the midst of my tale, and further that I spake nothing directly or advisedly, he suffered me to depart to my chamber. So scaped I at length from the prating and hungry supper of this rank old man, and being compelled by sleepe and not by meat, and having supped only with talke, I returned into my chamber, and there betook me to my quiet and long desired rest.
THE EIGHTH CHAPTER
How Apuleius fortuned to meet with his Cousin Byrrhena.
As soone as night was past, and the day began to spring, I fortuned to awake, and rose out of my bed as halfe amazed, and very desirous to know and see some marvellous and strange things, remembring with my selfe that I was in the middle part of all Thessaly, whereas by the common report of all the World, the Sorceries and Inchauntments are most used, I oftentimes repeated with my self the tale of my companion Aristomenus touching the manner of this City, and being mooved by great desire, I viewed the whole scituation thereof, neither was there any thing which I saw there, but that I did beleeve to be the same which it was indeed, but every thing seemed unto me to be transformed and altered into other shapes, by the wicked power of Sorcerie and Inchantment, insomuch that I thought that the stones which I found were indurate, and turned from men into that figure, and that the birds which I heard chirping, and the trees without the walls of the city, and the running waters, were changed from men into such kinde of likenesses. And further I thought that the Statues, Images and Walls could goe, and the Oxen and other brute beasts could speake and tell strange newes, and that immediately I should see and heare some Oracles from the heavens, and from the gleed of the Sun. Thus being astonied or rather dismayed and vexed with desire, knowing no certaine place whither I intended to go, I went from street to street, and at length (as I curiously gazed on every thing) I fortuned unwares to come into the market place, whereas I espied a certaine woman, accompanied with a great many servants, towards whom I drew nigh, and viewed her garments beset with gold and pretious stone, in such sort that she seemed to be some noble matron. And there was an old man which followed her, who as soon as he espied me, said to himself, Verily this is Lucius, and then he came and embraced me, by and by he went unto his mistresse and whispered in her eare, and came to mee againe saying, How is it Lucius that you will not salute your deere Cousin and singular friend? To whom I answered, Sir I dare not be so bold as to take acquaintance of an unknown woman. Howbeit as halfe ashamed I drew towards her, and shee turned her selfe and sayd, Behold how he resembleth the very same grace as his mother Salvia doth, behold his countenance and stature, agreeing thereto in each poynt, behold his comely state, his fine slendernesse, his Vermilion colour, his haire yellow by nature, his gray and quicke eye, like to the Eagle, and his trim and comely gate, which do sufficiently prove him to be the naturall childe of Salvia. And moreover she sayd, O Lucius, I have nourished thee with myne owne proper hand: and why not? For I am not onely of kindred to thy mother by blood, but also by nourice, for wee both descended of the line of Plutarch, lay in one belly, sucked the same paps, and were brought up together in one house. And further there is no other difference betweene us two, but that she is married more honourably than I: I am the same Byrrhena whom you have often heard named among your friends at home: wherfore I pray you to take so much pains as to come with me to my house, and use it as your owne. At whose words I was partly abashed and sayd, God forbid Cosin that I should forsake myne Host Milo without any reasonable cause; but verily I will, as often as I have occasion to pass by thy house, come and see how you doe. And while we were talking thus together, little by little wee came to her house, and behold the gates of the same were very beautifully set with pillars quadrangle wise, on the top wherof were placed carved statues and images, but principally the Goddesse of Victory was so lively and with such excellencie portrayed and set forth, that you would have verily have thought that she had flyed, and hovered with her wings hither and thither. On the contrary part, the image of the Goddesse Diana was wrought in white marble, which was a marvellous sight to see, for shee seemed as though the winde did blow up her garments, and that she did encounter with them that came into the house. On each side of her were Dogs made of stone, that seemed to menace with their fiery eyes, their pricked eares, their bended nosethrils, their grinning teeth in such sort that you would have thought they had bayed and barked. An moreover (which was a greater marvel to behold) the excellent carver and deviser of this worke had fashioned the dogs to stand up fiercely with their former feet, and their hinder feet on the ground ready to fight. Behinde the back of the goddesse was carved a stone in manner of a Caverne, environed with mosse, herbes, leaves, sprigs, green branches and bowes, growing in and about the same, insomuch that within the stone it glistered and shone marvellously, under the brim of the stone hanged apples and grapes carved finely, wherein Art envying Nature, shewed her great cunning. For they were so lively set out, that you would have thought if Summer had been come, they might have bin pulled and eaten; and while I beheld the running water, which seemed to spring and leap under the feet of the goddesse, I marked the grapes which hanged in the water, which were like in every point to the grapes of the vine, and seemed to move and stir by the violence of the streame. Moreover, amongst the branches of the stone appeared the image of Acteon: and how that Diana (which was carved within the same stone, standing in the water) because he did see her naked, did turne him into an hart, and so he was torne and slaine of his owne hounds. And while I was greatly delighted with the view of these things, Byrrhena spake to me and sayd, Cousin all things here be at your commandement. And therewithall shee willed secretly the residue to depart: who being gone she sayd, My most deare Cousin Lucius, I do sweare by the goddesse Diana, that I doe greatly tender your safety, and am as carefull for you as if you were myne owne naturall childe, beware I say, beware of the evil arts and wicked allurements of that Pamphiles who is the wife of Milo, whom you call your Host, for she is accounted the most chief and principall Magitian and Enchantresse living, who by breathing out certain words and charmes over bowes, stones and other frivolous things, can throw down all the powers of the heavens into the deep bottome of hell, and reduce all the whole world againe to the old Chaos. For as soone as she espieth any comely yong man, shee is forthwith stricken with his love, and presently setteth her whole minde and affection on him. She soweth her seed of flattery, she invades his spirit and intangleth him with continuall snares of unmeasurable love.