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The Golden Asse by Lucius Apuleius

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How hee that was left behinde at Hippata did bring newes
concerning the robbery of Miloes house, came home and declared
to his Company, that all the fault was laid to one Apuleius his

A soone as night was past, and the cleare Chariot of the Sunne
had spred his bright beames on every coast, came one of the
company of the theeves, (for so his and their greeting together did
declare) who at the first entry into the Cave (after hee had
breathed himselfe, and was able to speake) told these tydings unto
his companions in this sort. Sirs, as touching the house of Milo of
Hippata, which we forcibly entred and ransackt the last day, we
may put away all feare and doubt nothing at all. For after that ye
by force of armes, had spoyled and taken away all things in the
house, and returned hither into our Cave; I (thrusting my selfe
amongst the presse of the people, and shewing my selfe as though I
were sad and sorrowful for the mischance) consulted with them for
the boulting out of the matter, and devising what meanes might be
wrought for the apprehension of the theeves, to the intent I might
learne and see all that was done to make relation thereof unto you
as you willed me, insomuch that the whole fact at length by
manifest and evident proofes as also by the common opinion and
judgement of the people, was laid to one Lucius Apuleius charge as
manifest author of this common robbery, who a few dayse before
by false and forged letters and colored honesty, fell so farre in
favour with this Milo, that he entertained him into his house, and
received him as a chiefe of his familiar friends, which Lucius after
that he had sojourned there a good space, and won the heart of
Miloes Maid, by fained love, did thoroughly learne the waies and
doores of all the house, and curiously viewed the cofers and chests,
wherein was laid the whole substance of Milo: neither was there
small cause given to judge him culpable, since as the very same
night that this robbery was done he fled away, and could not be
found in no place: and to the intent hee might cleane escape, and
better prevent such as made hew and crie after him, he tooke his
white horse and galloped away, and after this, his servant was
found in the house, who (accused as accessary to the fellony and
escape of his Master) was committed to the common gaole, and
the next day following was cruelly scourged and tormented till hee
was welnigh dead, to the intent hee should confesse the matter, but
when they could wreast or learne no such thing of him, yet sent
they many persons after, towardes Lucius Countrey to enquire him
out, and so to take him prisoner. As he declared these things, I did
greatly lament with my selfe, to thinke of mine old and pristine
estate, and what felicity I was sometimes in, in comparison to the
misery that I presently susteined, being changed into a miserable
Asse, then had I no small occasion to remember, how the old and
ancient Writers did affirme, that fortune was starke blind without
eies, because she alwaies bestoweth her riches upon evil persons,
and fooles, and chooseth or favoureth no mortall person by
judgement, but is alwaies conversent, especially with much as if she
could see, she should most shunne, and forsake, yea and that which
is more worse, she sheweth such evill or contrary opinions in men,
that the wicked doe glory with the name of good, and contrary the
good and innocent be detracted and slandred as evill. Furthermore
I, who by her great cruelty, was turned into a foure footed Asse, in
most vile and abject manner : yea, and whose estate seemed
worthily to be lamented and pittied of the most hard and stonie
hearts, was accused of theft and robbing of my deare host Milo,
which villany might rather be called parricide then theft, yet might
not I defend mine owne cause or denie the fact any way, by reason
I could not speake; howbeit least my conscience should seeme to
accuse me by reason of silence, and againe being enforced by
impatience I endevored to speake, and faine would have said,
Never did I that fact, and verely the first word, never, I cried out
once or twise, somewhat handsome, but the residue I could in no
wise pronounce, but still remaining in one voice, cried, Never,
never, never. howbeit I settled my hanging lips as round as I could
to speake the residue : but why should I further complaine of the
crueltie of my fortune, since as I was not much ashamed, by reason
that my servant and my horse, was likewise accused with me of
the robbery.

While I pondered with my selfe all these things, a great care
[came] to my remembrance, touching the death, which the theeves
provised for me and the maiden, and still as I looked downe to my
belly, I thought of my poore gentlewoman that should be closed
within me. And the theefe which a little before had brought the
false newes against me, drew out of the skirt of his coate, a
thousand crowns, which he had rifled from such as hee met, and
brought it into the common treasury. Then hee carefully enquired
how the residue of his companions did. To whom it was declared
that the most valiant was murdred and slaine in divers manners,
whereupon he perswaded them to remit all their affaires a certaine
season, and to seeke for other fellowes to be in their places, that by
the exercise of new lads, the terror of their martiall band might be
reduced to the old number, assuring them that such as were
unwilling, might be compelled by menaces and threatnings, and
such as were willing might be incouraged forward with reward.
Further be said, that there were some, which (seeing the profite
which they had) would forsake their base and servile estate, and
rather bee contented to live like tyrants amongst them. Moreover
he declared, that for his part he had spoken with a certaine tall
man, a valiant companion, but of young age, stout in body, and
couragious in fight, whom he had fully perswaded to exercise his
idle hands, dull with slothfullnesse, to his greater profit, and (while
he might) to receive the blisse of better Fortune, and not to hold out
his sturdy arme to begge for a penny, but rather to take as much
gold and silver as hee would. Then everyone consented, that hee
that seemed so worthy to be their companion, should be one of their
company, and that they would search for others to make up the
residue of the number, whereupon he went out, and by and by
(returning againe) brought in a tall young man (as he promised) to
whom none of the residue might bee compared, for hee was higher
then they by the head, and of more bignesse in body, his beard
began to burgen, but hee was poorely apparelled, insomuch that you
might see all his belly naked. As soone as he was entred in he said,
God speed yee souldiers of Mars and my faithfull companions, I
pray you make me one of your band, and I will ensure you, that you
shall have a man of singular courage and lively audacity : for I had
rather receive stripes upon my backe, then money or gold in my
hands. And as for death (which every man doth feare) I passe
nothing at all, yet thinke you not that I am an abject or a begger,
neither judge you my vertue and prowesse by ragged clothes, for I
have beene a Captaine of a great company, and subdued all the
countrey of Macedonia. I am the renowned theefe Hemes the
Thracian, whose name all countreys and nations do so greatly feare
: I am the sonne of Theron the noble theefe, nourished with humane
bloud, entertained amongst the stoutest; finally I am inheritour and
follower of all my fathers vertues, yet I lost in a short time all my
company and all my riches, by one assault, which I made upon a
Factor of the Prince, which sometime had beene Captaine of two
hundred men, for fortune was cleane against me; harken and I will
tell you the whole matter. There was a certaine man in the court
of the Emperour, which had many offices, and in great favour, who
at last by the envy of divers persons, was banished away and
compelled to forsake the court : his wife Platina, a woman of rare
faith and singular shamefastnes having borne ten children to her
husband, despised all worldly Pompe and delicacy, and determined
to follow her husband, and to be partaker of his perils and danger,
wherefore shee cut off her haire, disguised her selfe like a man,
and tooke with her all her treasure, passing through the hands of
the souldiers, and the naked swords without any feare, whereby
she endured many miseries, and was partaker of much affliction, to
save the life of her husband, such was her love which she bare
unto him. And when they had escaped many perillous dangers, as
well by land as by sea, they went together towards Zacynthe, to
continue there according as fortune had appointed. But when they
were arived on the sea coast of Actium (where we in our returne
from Macedony were roving about) when night came, they
returned into a house not far distant from their ship, where they lay
all night. Then we entred in and tooke away all their substance, but
verely we were in great danger : for the good matron perceiving us
incontinently by the noise of the gate, went into the chamber, and
called up every man by his name, and likewise the neighbors that
dwelled round about, insomuch that by reason of the feare that
every one was in, we hardly escaped away, but this most holy
woman, faithfull and true to her husband (as the truth must be
declared) returned to Caesar, desiring his aid and puissance, and
demanding vengeance of the injury done to her husband, who
granted all her desire : then went my company to wracke, insomuch
that every man was slaine, so great was the authority and word of
the Prince. Howbeit, when all my band was lost, and taken by
search of the Emperours army, I onely stole away and delivered
my selfe from the violence of the souldiers, for I clothed my selfe in
a womans attire, and mounted upon an Asse, that carryed barly
sheafes, and (passing through the middle of them all) I escaped
away, because every one deemed that I was a woman by reason I
lacked a beard. Howbeit I left not off for all this, nor did
degenerate from the glory of my father, or mine own vertue, but
freshly comming from the bloody skirmish, and disguised like a
woman, I invaded townes and castles alone to get some pray. And
therewithall he pulled out two thousand crownes, which he had
under his coate, saying : Hold here the dowry which I present unto
you, hold eke my person, which you shall alwayes find trusty and
faithfull, if you willingly receive me: and I will ensure you that in so
doing, within short space I wilt make and turne this stony house of
yours into gold. Then by and by every one consented to make him
their Captaine, and so they gave him better garments, and threw
away his old. When they had changed his attire, hee imbraced
them one after another, then placed they him in the highest roome
of the table, and drunk unto him in token of good lucke.


How the death of the Asse, and the Gentlewoman was stayed.

After supper they began to talke, and declare unto him the going
away of the Gentlewoman, and how I hare her upon my backe, and
what death was ordained for us two. Then he desired to see her,
whereupon the Gentlewoman was brought forth fast bound, whom
as soone as he beheld, he turned himselfe wringing his nose, and
blamed them saying : I am not so much a beast, or so rash a fellow
to drive you quite from your purpose, but my conscience will not
suffer me to conceale any thing that toucheth your profit, since I
am as carefull for you, howbeit if my counsell doe displease you,
you may at your liberty proceed in your enterprise. I doubt not but
all theeves, and such as have a good judgement, will preferre their
owne lucre and gain above all things in the world, and above their
vengeance, which purchaseth damage to divers persons.
Therefore if you put this virgin in the Asses belly, you shall but
execute your indignation against her, without all manner of profit;
But I would advise you to carry the virgin to some towne and to sell
her : and such a brave girle as she is, may be sold for a great
quantity of money. And I my selfe know certaine bawdy
Marchants, amongst whom peradventure one will give us summes
of gold for her. This is my opinion touching this affaire : but advise
you what you intend to do, for you may rule me in this case. In this
manner the good theefe pleaded and defended our cause, being a
good Patron to the silly virgin, and to me poore Asse. But they
staied hereupon a good space, with long deliberation, which made
my heart (God wot) and spirit greatly to quaile. Howbeit in the end
they consented to his opinion, and by and by the Maiden was
unloosed of her bonds, who seeing the young man, and hearing the
name of brothels and bawdy Merchants, began to wax joyfull, and
smiled with herself. Then began I to deeme evill of the generation
of women, when as I saw the Maiden (who was appointed to be
married to a young Gentleman, and who so greatly desired the
same) was now delighted with the talke of a wicked brothel house,
and other things dishonest. In this sort the consent and manners of
women depended in the judgement of an Asse.


How all the Theeves were brought asleepe by their new

Then the young man spake againe, saying, Masters, why goe wee
not about to make our prayers unto Mars, touching this selling of
the Maiden, and to seeke for other companions. But as farre as I
see, here is no other manner of beast to make sacrifice withall, nor
wine sufficient for us to drinke. Let me have (quoth hee) tenne
more with me, and wee will goe to the next Castle, to provide for
meat and other things necessary. So he and tenne more with him,
went their way : In the meane season, the residue made a great fire
and an Alter with greene turfes in the honour of Mars. By and by
after they came againe, bringing with them bottles of wine, and a
great number of beasts, amongst which there was a big Ram Goat,
fat, old, and hairy, which they killed and offered unto Mars. Then
supper was prepared sumptuously, and the new companion said
unto the other, You ought to accompt me not onely your Captaine
in robbery and fight, but also in pleasures and jolity, whereupon by
and by with pleasant cheere he prepared meat, and trimming up the
house he set all things in order, and brought the pottage and dainty
dishes to the Table: but above all he plyed them wel with great pots
and jugs of wine. Sometimes (seeming to fetch somewhat) hee
would goe to the Maiden and give her pieces of meate, which he
privily tooke away, and would drinke unto her, which she willingly
tooke in good part. Moreover, hee kissed her twice or thrice
whereof she was well pleased but I (not well contented thereat)
thought in my selfe : O wretched Maid, thou hast forgotten thy
marriage, and doest esteeme this stranger and bloudy theefe above
thy husband which thy Parents ordained for thee, now perceive I
well thou hast no remorse of conscience, but more delight to tarry
and play the harlot heere amongst so many swords. What?
knowest thou not how the other theeves if they knew thy
demeanour would put thee to death as they had once appointed,
and so worke my destruction likewise? Well now I perceive thou
hast a pleasure in the dammage and hurt of other. While I did
angerly devise with my selfe all these things, I perceived by
certaine signes and tokens (not ignorant to so wise an Asse) that he
was not the notable theefe Hemus, but rather Lepolemus her
husband, for after much communication he beganne to speake
more franckly, not fearing at all my presence, and said, Be of good
cheere my sweete friend Charites, for thou shalt have by and by all
these thy enemies captive unto thee. Then hee filled wine to the
theeves more and more, and never ceased, till as they were all
overcome with abundance of meat and drinke, when as hee
himselfe abstained and bridled his owne appetite. And truely I did
greatly suspect, least hee had mingled in their cups some deadly
poyson, for incontinently they all fell downe asleepe on the ground
one after an other, and lay as though they had beene dead.


How the Gentlewoman was carried home by her husband while the
theeves were asleepe, and how much Apuleius was made of.

When the theeves were all asleepe by their great and immoderate
drinking, the young man Lepolemus took the Maiden and set her
upon my backe, and went homeward. When we were come
home, all the people of the Citie, especially her Parents, friends, and
family, came running forth joyfully, and the children and Maidens of
the towne gathered together to see this virgin in great triumph
sitting upon an Asse. Then I (willing to shew as much joy as I
might, as present occasion served) I set and pricked up my long
eares, ratled my nosethrils, and cryed stoutly, nay rather I made the
towne to ring againe with my shrilling sound : when wee were
come to her fathers house, shee was received in a chamber
honourably : as for me, Lepolemus (accompanied with a great
number of Citizens) did presently after drive me backe againe with
other horses to the cave of the theeves, where wee found them all
asleepe lying on the ground as wee left them; then they first
brought out all the gold, and silver, and other treasure of the house,
and laded us withall, which when they had done, they threw many
of the theeves downe into the bottome of deepe ditches, and the
residue they slew with their swords : after this wee returned home
glad and merry of so great vengeance upon them, and the riches
which wee carried was commited to the publike treasurie. This
done, the Maid was married to Lepolemus, according to the law,
whom by so much travell he had valiantly recovered : then my good
Mistresse looked about for me, and asking for me commanded the
very same day of her marriage, that my manger should be filled
with barly, and that I should have hay and oats aboundantly, and
she would call me her little Camell. But how greatly did I curse
Fotis, in that shee transformed me into an Asse, and not into a
dogge, because I saw the dogges had filled their paunches with the
reliks and bones of so worthy a supper. The next day this new
wedded woman (my Mistresse) did greatly commend me before
her Parents and husband, for the kindnesse which I had shewed
unto her, and never leaved off untill such time as they promised to
reward me with great honours. Then they called together all their
friends, and thus it was concluded : one said, that I should be closed
in a stable and never worke, but continually to be fedde and fatted
with fine and chosen barly and beanes and good littour, howbeit
another prevailed, who wishing my liberty, perswaded them that it
was better for me to runne in the fields amongst the lascivious
horses and mares, whereby I might engender some mules for my
Mistresse : then he that had in charge to keepe the horse, was
called for, and I was delivered unto him with great care, insomuch
that I was right pleasant and joyous, because I hoped that I should
carry no more fardels nor burthens, moreover I thought that when I
should thus be at liberty, in the spring time of the yeere when the
meddows and fields were greene, I should find some roses in some
place, whereby I was fully perswaded that if my Master and
Mistresse did render to me so many thanks and honours being an
Asse, they would much more reward me being turned into a man :
but when he (to whom the charge of me was so straightly
committed) had brought me a good way distant from the City, I
perceived no delicate meates nor no liberty which I should have,
but by and by his covetous wife and most cursed queane made me
a mill Asse, and (beating me with a cudgill full of knots) would
wring bread for her selfe and her husband out of my skinne. Yet
was she not contented to weary me and make me a drudge with
carriage and grinding of her owne corne, but I was hired of her
neighbours to beare their sackes likewise, howbeit shee would not
give me such meate as I should have, nor sufficient to sustaine my
life withall, for the barly which I ground for mine owne dinner she
would sell to the Inhabitants by. And after that I had laboured all
day, she would set before me at night a little filthy branne, nothing
cleane but full of stones. Being in this calamity, yet fortune worked
me other torments, for on a day I was let loose into the fields to
pasture, by the commandement of my master. O how I leaped for
joy, how I neighed to see my selfe in such liberty, but especially
since I beheld so many Mares, which I thought should be my wives
and concubines; and I espied out and chose the fairest before I
came nigh them; but this my joyfull hope turned into otter
destruction, for incontinently all the stone Horses which were well
fedde and made strong by ease of pasture, and thereby much more
puissant then a poore Asse, were jealous over me, and (having no
regard to the law and order of God Jupiter) ranne fiercely and
terribly against me; one lifted up his forefeete and kicked me
spitefully, another turned himselfe, and with his hinder heeles
spurned me cruelly, the third threatning with a malicious neighing,
dressed his eares and shewing his sharpe and white teeth bit me on
every side. In like sort have I read in Histories how the King of
Thrace would throw his miserable ghests to be torne in peeces and
devoured of his wild Horses, so niggish was that Tyrant of his
provender, that he nourished them with the bodies of men.


How Apuleius was made a common Asse to fetch home wood, and
how he was handled by a boy.

After that I was thus handled by horses, I was brought home
againe to the Mill, but behold fortune (insatiable of my torments)
had devised a new paine for me. I was appointed to bring home
wood every day from a high hill, and who should drive me thither
and home again, but a boy that was the veriest hangman in all the
world, who was not contented with the great travell that I tooke in
climbing up the hill, neither pleased when he saw my hoofe torne
and worne away by sharpe flintes, but he beat me cruelly with a
great staffe, insomuch that the marrow of my bones did ake for
woe, for he would strike me continually on the right hip, and still in
one place, whereby he tore my skinne and made of my wide sore a
great hole or trench, or rather a window to looke out at, and
although it runne downe of blood, yet would he not cease beating
me in that place : moreover he laded me with such great burthens
of wood that you would thinke they had been rather prepared for
Elephants then for me, and when he perceived that my wood
hanged more on one side then another, (when he should rather take
away the heavy sides, and so ease me, or else lift them up to make
them equall with the other) he laid great stones upon the weaker
side to remedy the matter, yet could be not be contented with this
my great misery and immoderate burthens of wood, but when hee
came to any river (as there were many by the way) he to save his
feete from water, would leape upon my loynes likewise, which was
no small loade upon loade. And if by adversity I had fell downe in
any dirty or myrie place, when he should have pulled me out either
with ropes, or lifted me up by the taile, he would never helpe me,
but lay me on from top to toe with a mighty staffe, till he had left no
haire on all my body, no not so much as on mine eares, whereby I
was compelled by force of blowes to stand up. The same hangman
boy did invent another torment for me : he gathered a great many
sharp thornes as sharp as needles and bound them together like a
fagot, and tyed them at my tayle to pricke me, then was I afflicted
on every side, for if I had indeavoured to runne away, the thornes
would have pricked me, if I had stood still, the boy would have
beaten mee, and yet the boy beate mee to make me runne,
whereby I perceived that the hangman did devise nothing else save
only to kill me by some manner of meanes, and he would sweare
and threaten to do me worse harme, and because hee might have
some occasion to execute his malicious minde, upon a day (after
that I had endeavoured too much by my patience) I lifted up my
heeles and spurned him welfavouredly. Then he invented this
vengeance against me, after that he had well laded me with shrubs
and rubble, and trussed it round upon my backe, hee brought me out
into the way : then hee stole a burning coale out of a mans house of
the next village, and put it into the middle of the rubbell; the rubbell
and shrubs being very dry, did fall on a light fire and burned me on
every side. I could see no remedy how I might save my selfe, and
in such a case it was not best for me to stand still but fortune was
favourable towards me, perhaps to reserve me for more dangers,
for I espyed a great hole full of raine water that fell the day before,
thither I ranne hastily and plunged my selfe therein, in such sort that
I quenched the fire, and was delivered from that present perill, but
the vile boy to excuse himselfe declared to all the neighbours and
shepheards about, that I willingly tumbled in the fire as I passed
through the village. Then he laughed upon me saying : How long
shall we nourish and keepe this fiery Asse in vaine?


How Apuleius was accused of Lechery by the boy.

A few dayes after, the boy invented another mischiefe: For when
he had sold all the wood which I bare, to certaine men dwelling in a
village by, he lead me homeward unladen : And then he cryed that
he was not able to rule me, and that hee would not drive mee any
longer to the hill for wood, saying : Doe you not see this slow and
dulle Asse, who besides all the mischiefes that he hath wrought
already, inventeth daily more and more. For he espyeth any woman
passing by the way, whether she be old or marryed, or if it be a
young child, hee will throw his burthen from his backe, and runneth
fiercely upon them. And after that he hath thrown them downe, he
will stride over them to commit his buggery and beastly pleasure,
moreover hee will faine as though hee would kisse them, but he will
bite their faces cruelly, which thing may worke us great
displeasure, or rather to be imputed unto us as a crime : and even
now when he espyed an honest maiden passing by die high way, he
by and by threw downe his wood and runne after her : And when
he had throwne her down upon the ground, he would have ravished
her before the face of all the world, had it not beene that by reason
of her crying out, she was succored and pulled from his heeles, and
so delivered. And if it had so come to passe that this fearefull maid
had beene slaine by him, what danger had we beene in? By these
and like lies, he provoked the shepheards earnestly against me,
which grieved mee (God wot) full sore that said nothing. Then one
of the shepheards said : Why doe we not make sacrifice of this
common adulterous Asse? My sonne (quoth he) let us kill him and
throw his guts to the dogges, and reserve his flesh for the labourers
supper. Then let us cast dust upon his skinne, and carry it home to
our master, and say that the Woolves have devoured him. The boy
that was my evill accuser made no delay, but prepared himselfe to
execute the sentence of the shepheard, rejoycing at my present
danger, but O how greatly did I then repent that the stripe which I
gave him with my heele had not killed him. Then he drew out his
sword and made it sharp upon the whetstone to slay me, but
another of the shepheards gan say, Verely it is a great offence to
kill so faire an Asse, and so (by accusation of luxurie and lascivious
wantonnesse) to lack so necessarie his labour and service, where
otherwise if ye would cut off his stones, he might not onely be
deprived of his courage but also become gentle, that we should be
delivered from all feare and danger. Moreover he would be
thereby more fat and better in flesh. For I know my selfe as well
many Asses, as also most fierce horses, that by reason of their
wantonnesse have beene most mad and terrible, but (when they
were gelded and cut) they have become gentle and tame, and
tractable to all use. Wherefore I would counsell you to geld him.
And if you consent thereto, I will by and by, when I go to the next
market fetch mine irons and tooles for the purpose : And I ensure
you after that I have gelded and cut off his stones, I will deliver him
unto you as tame as a lambe. When I did perceive that I was
delivered from death, and reserved to be gelded, I was greatly
sorrie, insomuch that I thought all the hinder part of my body and
my stones did ake for woe, but I sought about to kill my selfe by
some manner of meanes, to the end if I should die, I would die with
unperished members.


How the boy that lead Apuleius to the field, was slaine in the wood.

While I devised with my selfe in what manner I might end my life,
the roperipe boy on the next morrow lead me to the same hill
againe, and tied me to a bow of a great Oke, and in the meane
season he tooke his hatchet and cut wood to load me withall, but
behold there crept out of a cave by, a marvailous great Beare,
holding out his mighty head, whom when I saw, I was sodainly
stroken in feare, and (throwing all the strength of my body into my
hinder heeles) lifted up my strained head and brake the halter,
wherewith I was tied. Then there was no need to bid me runne
away, for I scoured not only on foot, but tumbled over the stones
and rocks with my body till I carne into the open fields, to the intent
I would escape from the terrible Beare, but especially from the boy
that was worse than the Beare. Then a certaine stranger that
passed by the way (espying me alone as a stray Asse) tooke me up
and roade upon my backe, beating me with a staffe (which he bare
in his hand) through a wide and unknowne lane, whereat I was
nothing displeased, but willingly went forward to avoid the cruell
paine of gelding, which the shepherds had ordained for me, but as
for the stripes I was nothing moved, since I was accustomed to be
beaten so every day. But evill fortune would not suffer me to
continue in so good estate long : For the shepheards looking about
for a Cow that they had lost (after they had sought in divers places)
fortuned to come upon us unwares, who when they espied and
knew me, they would have taken me by the halter, but he that rode
upon my backe resisted them saying, O Lord masters, what intend
you to do? Will you rob me? Then said the shepheards, What?
thinkest thou we handle thee otherwise then thou deservest, which
hast stollen away our Asse? Why dost thou not rather tell us
where thou hast hidden the boy whom thou hast slaine? And
therewithall they pulled him downe to the ground, beating him with
their fists, and spurning him with their feete. Then he answered
unto them saying, titathat he saw no manner of boy, but onely found
the Asse loose and straying abroad, which he tooke up to the intent
to have some reward for the finding of him and to restore him
againe to his Master. And I would to God (quoth he) that this Asse
(which verely was never seene) could speake as a man to give
witnesse of mine innocency : Then would you be ashamed of the
injury which you have done to me. Thus (reasoning for Himselfe)
he nothing prevailed, for they tied the halter about my necke, and
(maugre his face) pulled me quite away, and lead me backe againe
through the woods of the hill to the place where the boy
accustomed to resort. And after they could find him in no place, at
length they found his body rent and torne in peeces, and his
members dispersed in sundry places, which I well knew was done
by the cruell Beare : and verely 1 would have told it if I might have
spoken, but (which I could onely do) I greatly rejoiced at his death,
although it came too late. Then they gathered together the peeces
of his body and buried them. By and by they laid the fault to my
new Master, that tooke me up by the way, and (bringing him home
fast bound to their houses) purposed on the next morrow to accuse
him of murther, and to lead him before the Justices to have
judgement of death.


How Apuleius was cruelly beaten by the Mother of the boy that
was slaine.

In the meane season, while the Parents of the boy did lament and
weepe for the death of their sonne, the shepheard (according to his
promise) came with his instruments and tooles to geld me. Then
one of them said, Tush we little esteeme the mischiefe he did
yesterday, but now we are contented that to morrow his stones
shall not onely be cut off, but also his head. So was it brought to
passe, that my death was delayed till the next morrow, but what
thanks did I give to that good boy, who (being so slaine) was the
cause of my pardon for one short day. Howbeit I had no time then
to rest my selfe, for the Mother of the boy, weeping and lamenting
for his death, attired in mourning vesture, tare her haire and beat
her breast, and came presently into the stable, saying, Is it reason
that this carelesse beast should do nothing all day but hold his head
in the manger, filling and belling his guts with meat without
compassion of my great miserie, or remembrance of the pittiful
death of his slaine Master : and contemning my age and infirmity,
thinketh that I am unable to revenge his mischiefs, moreover he
would perswade me, that he were not culpable. Indeed, it is a
convenient thing to looke and plead for safety, when as the
conscience doeth confesse the offence, as theeves and malefactors
accustome to do. But O good Lord, thou cursed beast, if thou
couldest utter the contents of thine owne mind, whom (though it
were the veriest foole in all the world) mightest thou perswade that
this murther was voide or without thy fault, when as it lay in thy
power, either to keepe off the theeves with thy heeles, or else to
bite and teare them with thy teeth? Couldest not thou (that so often
in his life time diddest spurne and kicke him) defend him now at the
point of death by the like meane? Yet at least, thou shouldest have
taken him upon thy backe, and so brought him from the cruell hands
of the theeves : where contrary thou runnest away alone, forsaking
thy good Master, thy pastor and conductor. Knowest thou not, that
such as denie their wholsome help and aid to them which lie in
danger of death, ought to be punished, because they have offended
against good manners, and the law naturall? But I promise thee,
thou shalt not long rejoyce at my harmes, thou shalt feele the smart
of thy homicide and offence, I will see what I can doe. And
therewithall she unclosed her apron, and bound all my feete
together, to the end I might not help my selfe, then she tooke a
great barre, which accustomed to bar the stable doore, and never
ceased beating me till she was so weary that the bar fell out of her
hands, whereupon she (complaining of the soone faintnesse of her
armes) ran to her fire and brought a firebrand and thrust it under
my taile, burning me continually, till such time as (having but one
remedy) I arayed her face and eies with my durty dunge, whereby
(what with the stinke thereof, and what with the filthinesse that fell
in her eies) she was welnigh blinded : so I enforced the queane to
leave off, otherwise I had died as Meleager did by the sticke, which
his mad mother Althea cast into the fire.



How a young man came and declared the miserable death of
Lepolemus and his wife Charites.

About midnight came a young man, which seemed to be one of the
family of the good woman Charites, who sometimes endured so
much misery and calamity with mee amongst the theeves, who
after that hee had taken a stoole, and sate downe before the
fireside, in the company of the servants, began to declare many
terrible things that had happened unto the house of Charites, saying:
O yee house-keepers, shepheards and cowheards, you shall
understand that wee have lost our good mistris Charites miserably
and by evill adventure: and to the end you may learne and know all
the whole matter, I purpose to tell you the circumstances of every
point, whereby such as are more learned then I (to whom fortune
hath ministred more copious stile) may painte it out in paper in
forme of an History. There was a young Gentleman dwelling in the
next City, borne of good parentage, valiant in prowesse, and riche
in substance, but very much given and adicted to whorehunting, and
continuall revelling. Whereby he fell in company with Theeves, and
had his hand ready to the effusion of humane blood; his name was
Thrasillus. The matter was this according to the report of every
man. Hee demanded Charites in marriage, who although he were
a man more comely then the residue that wooed her, and also had
riches abundantly, yet because he was of evill fame, and a man of
wicked manners and conversation, he had the repulse and was put
off by Charites, and so she married with Lepolemus. Howbeit this
young man secretly loved her, yet moved somewhat at her refusall,
hee busily searched some meanes to worke his damnable intent.
And (having found occasion and opportunity to accomplish his
purpose, which he had long time concealed) brought to passe, that
the same day that Charites was delivered by the subtill meane and
valiant audacity of her husband, from the puissance of the Theeves,
he mingled himselfe among the assembly, faining that he was glad
of the new marriage, and comming home againe of the maiden,
Whereby (by reason that he came of so noble parents) he was
received and entertained into the house as one of their chiefe and
principall friends : Howbeit under cloake of a faithfull welwiller, hee
dissimuled his mischievous mind and intent : in continuance of time
by much familiarity and often conversation and banketting together,
he fell more and more in favour, like as we see it fortuneth to
Lovers, who first doe little delight themselves in love : till as by
continuall acquaintance they kisse and imbrace each other.
Thrasillus perceiving that it was a hard matter to breake his minde
secretly to Charites, whereby he was wholly barred from the
accomplishment of his luxurious appetite, and on the other side
perceiving that the love of her and her husband was so strongly
lincked together, that the bond betweene them might in no wise be
dissevered, moreover, it was a thing impossible to ravish her,
although he had consented thereto, yet was hee still provoked
forward by vehement lust, when as hee saw himselfe unable to
bring his purpose to passe. Howbeit at length the thing which
seemed so hard and difficill, thorough hope of his fortified love, did
now appeare easie and facill : but marke I pray you diligently to
what end the furious force of his inordinate desire came. On a day
Lepolemus went to the chase with Thrasillus, to hunt for Goates,
for his wife Charites desired him earnestly to meddle with no other
beasts, which were of more fierce and wilde nature. When they
were come within the chase to a great thicket fortressed about with
bryers and thornes, they compassed round with their Dogs and
beset every place with nets : by and by warning was given to let
loose. The Dogs rushed in with such a cry, that all the Forrest rang
againe with the noyse, but behold there leaped out no Goat, nor
Deere, nor gentle Hinde, but an horrible and dangerous wild Boare,
hard and thicke skinned, bristeled terribly with thornes, foming at
the mouth, grinding his teeth, and looking direfully with fiery eyes.
The Dogs that first set upon him, he tare and rent with his tuskes,
and then he ranne quite through the nets, and escaped away.
When wee saw the fury of this beast, wee were greatly striken
with feare, and because wee never accustomed to chase such
dreadfull Boares, and further because we were unarmed and
without weapons, we got and hid our selves under bushes and
trees. Then Thrasillus having found opportunity to worke his
treason, said to Lepolemus : What stand we here amazed? Why
show we our selves like dastards? Why leese we so worthy a prey
with our feminine hearts? Let us mount upon our Horses, and
pursue him incontinently : take you a hunting staffe, and I will take
a chasing speare. By and by they leaped upon their Horses, and
followed the beast. But hee returning against them with furious
force, pryed with his eyes, on whom hee might first assayle with his
tuskes : Lepolemus strooke the beast first on the backe with his
hunting staffe. Thrasillus faining to ayde and assist him, came
behind, and cut off the hinder legges of Lepolemus Horse, in such
sort that hee fell downe to the ground with his master : and
sodainely the Boare came upon Lepolemus and furiously tare and
rent him with his teeth. Howbeit, Thrasillus was not sufficed to see
him thus wounded, but when he desired his friendly help, he thrust
Lepolemus through the right thigh with his speare, the more
because he thought the wound of the speare would be taken for a
wound of the Boars teeth, then he killed the beast likewise, And
when he was thus miserably slaine, every one of us came out of
our holes, and went towards our slaine master. But although that
Thrasillus was joyfull of the death of Lepolemus, whom he did
greatly hate, yet he cloked the matter with a sorrowfull
countenance, he fained a dolorous face, he often imbraced the body
which himselfe slew, he played all the parts of a mourning person,
saving there fell no teares from his eyes. Thus hee resembled us in
each point, who verily and not without occasion had cause to
lament for our master, laying all the blame of this homicide unto the
Boare. Incontinently after the sorrowfull newes of the death of
Lepolemus, came to the eares of all the family, but especially to
Charites, who after she had heard such pitifull tydings, as a mad
and raging woman, ran up and down the streets, crying and howling
lamentably. All the Citizens gathered together, and such as they
met bare them company running towards the chasse. When they
came to the slaine body of Lepolemus, Charites threw her selfe
upon him weeping and lamenting grievously for his death, in such
sort, that she would have presently ended her life, upon the corps of
her slaine husband, whom shee so entirely loved, had it not beene
that her parents and friends did comfort her, and pulled her away.
The body was taken up, and in funerall pompe brought to the City
and buried. In the meane season, Thrasillus fained much sorrow
for the death of Lepolemus, but in his heart he was well pleased
and joyfull. And to counterfeit the matter, he would come to
Charites and say : O what a losse have I had of my friend, my
fellow, my companion Lepolemus? O Charites comfort your selfe,
pacifie your dolour, refraine your weeping, beat not your breasts :
and with such other and like words and divers examples he
endeavoured to suppresse her great sorrow, but he spake not this
for any other intent but to win the heart of the woman, and to
nourish his odious love with filthy delight. Howbeit Charites after
the buriall of her husband sought the meanes to follow him, and (not
sustaining the sorrows wherein she was Wrapped) got her secretly
into a chamber and purposed to finish her life there with dolour and
tribulation. But Thrasillus was very importunate, and at length
brought to passe, that at the intercession of the Parents and friends
of Charites, she somewhat refreshed her fallen members with
refection of meate and baine. Howbeit, she did it more at the
commandement of her Parents, then for any thing else : for she
could in no wise be merry, nor receive any comfort, but tormented
her selfe day and night before the Image of her husband which she
made like unto Bacchus, and rendred unto him divine honours and
services. In the meane season Thrasillus not able to refraine any
longer, before Charites had asswaged her dolor, before her troubled
mind had pacified her fury, even in the middle of all her griefes,
while she tare her haire and rent her garments, demanded her in
marriage, and so without shame, he detected the secrets and
unspeakeable deceipts of his heart. But Charites detested and
abhorred his demand, and as she had beene stroken with some clap
of thunder, with some storme, or with the lightning of Jupiter, she
presently fell downe to the ground all amazed. Howbeit when her
spirits were revived arid that she returned to her selfe, perceiving
that Thrasillus was so importunate, she demanded respite to
deliberate and to take advise on the matter. In the meane season,
the shape of Lepolemus that was slaine so miserably, appeared to
Charites saying, O my sweet wife (which no other person can say
but I) I pray thee for the love which is betweene us two, if there he
any memorie of me in thy heart, or remembrance of my pittifull
death, marry with any other person, so that thou marry not with the
traitour Thrasillus, have no conference with him, eate not with him,
lie not with him, avoid the bloudie hand of mine enemie, couple not
thy selfe with a paricide, for those wounds (the bloud whereof thy
teares did wash away) were not the wounds of the teeth of the
Boare, but the speare of Thrasillus, that deprived me from thee.
Thus spake Lepolemus, unto his loving wife, and declared the
residue of the damnable fact. Then Charites, awaking from sleepe,
began to renew her dolour, to teare her garments, and to beate her
armes with her comely hands, howbeit she revealed the vision
which she saw to no manner of person, but dissimuling that she
knew no part of the mischiefe, devised with her selfe how she
might be revenged on the traitor, and finish her owne life to end and
knit up all sorrow. Incontinently came Thrasillus, the detestable
demander of sodaine pleasure, and wearied the closed eares of
Charites with talke of marriage, but she gently refused his
communication, and coloring the matter, with passing craft in the
middest of his earnest desires gan say, Thrasillus you shall
understand that yet the face of your brother and my husband, is
alwayes before mine eies, I smell yet the Cinamon sent of his
pretious body, I yet feele Lepolemus alive in my heart : wherefore
you shall do well if you grant to me miserable woman, necessarie
time to bewaile his death, that after the residue of a few moneths,
the whole yeare may be expired, which thing toucheth as well my
shame as your wholsome profit, lest peradventure by your speed
and quicke marriage we should justly raise and provoke the spirit of
my husband to worke our destruction. Howbeit, Thrasillus was not
contented with this promise, but more and more came upon her :
Insomuch, that she was enforced to speake to him in this manner :
My friend Thrasillus, if thou be so contented untill the whole yeare
be compleate and finished, behold here is my bodie, take thy
pleasure, but in such sort and so secret that no servant of the house
may perceive it. Then Thrasillus trusting to the false promises of
the woman, and preferring his inordinate pleasure above all things
in the world, was joyfull in his heart and looked for night, when as
he might have his purpose. But come thou about midnight (quoth
Charites) disguised without companie, and doe but hisse at my
chamber doore, and my nourse shall attend and let thee in. This
counsell pleased Thrasillus marveilously, who (suspecting no
harme) did alwaies looke for night, and the houre assigned by
Charites. The time was scarce come, when as (according to her
commandement) he disguised himselfe, and went straight to the
chamber, where he found the nourse attending for him, who (by the
appointment of her Mistresse) fed him with flattering talke, and
gave him mingled and doled drinke in a cup, excusing the absence
of her Mistresse Charites, by reason that she attended on her
Father being sick, untill such time, that with sweet talke and
operation of the wine, he fell in a sound sleepe: Now when he lay
prostrate on the ground readie to all adventure, Charites (being
called for) came in, and with manly courage and bold force stood
over the sleeping murderer, saying: Behold the faithfull companion
of my husband, behold this valiant hunter; behold me deere spouse,
this is the hand which shed my bloud, this is the heart which hath
devised so many subtill meanes to worke my destruction, these be
the eies whom I have ill pleased, behold now they foreshew their
owne destinie: sleepe carelesse, dreame that thou art in the hands
of the mercifull, for I will not hurt thee with thy sword or any other
weapon: God forbid that I should slay thee as thou slewest my
husband, but thy eies shall faile thee, and thou shalt see no more,
then that whereof thou dreamest: Thou shalt thinke the death of
thine enemie more sweet then thy life: Thou shalt see no light, thou
shalt lacke the aide of a leader, thou shalt not have me as thou
hopest, thou shalt have no delight of my marriage, thou shalt not die,
and yet living thou shalt have no joy, but wander betweene light and
darknesse as an unsure Image: thou shalt seeke for the hand that
pricked out thine eies, yet shalt thou not know of whom thou
shouldest complaine: I will make sacrifice with the bloud of thine
eies upon the grave of my husband. But what gainest thou through
my delay? Perhaps thou dreamest that thou embracest me in thy
armes: leave off the darknesse of sleepe and awake thou to receive
a penall deprivation of thy sight, lift up thy face, regard thy
vengeance and evill fortune, reckon thy miserie; so pleaseth thine
eies to a chast woman, that thou shall have blindnesse to thy
companion, and an everlasting remorse of thy miserable
conscience. When she had spoken these words, she tooke a great
needle from her head and pricked out both his eies: which done, she
by and by caught the naked sword which her husband Lepolemus
accustomed to weare, and ranne throughout all the Citie like a mad
woman towards the Sepulchre of her husband. Then all we of the
house, with all the Citizens, ranne incontinently after her to take the
sword out of her hand, but she clasping about the tombe of
Lepolemus, kept us off with her naked weapon, and when she
perceived that every one of us wept and lamented, she spake in this
sort : I pray you my friends weepe not, nor lament for me, for I
have revenged the death of my husband, I have punished
deservedly the wicked breaker of our marriage; now is it time to
seeke out my sweet Lepolemus, and presently with this sword to
finish my life. And therewithall after she had made relation of the
whole matter, declared the vision which she saw and told by what
meane she deceived Thrasillus, thrusting her sword under her right
brest, and wallowing in her owne bloud, at length with manly
courage yeelded up the Ghost. Then immediately the friends of
miserable Charites did bury her body within the same Sepulchre.
Thrasillus hearing all the matter, and knowing not by what meanes
he might end his life, for he thought his sword was not sufficient to
revenge so great a crime, at length went to the same Sepulchre,
and cryed with a lowd voice, saying: o yee dead spirites whom I
have so highly and greatly offended, vouchsafe to receive me,
behold I make Sacrifice unto you with my whole body : which said,
hee closed the Sepulchre, purposing to famish himselfe, and to
finish his life there in sorrow. These things the young man with
pitifull sighes and teares, declared unto the Cowheards and
Shepheards, which caused them all to weepe : but they fearing to
become subject unto new masters, prepared themselves to depart


How Apuleius was lead away by the Horsekeeper : and what
danger he was in.

By and by the Horsekeeper, to whom the charge of me was
committed, brought forth all his substance, and laded me and other
Horses withall, and so departed thence : we bare women, children,
pullets, sparrowes, kiddes, whelpes, and other things which were
not able to keepe pace with us, and that which I bare upon my
backe, although it was a mighty burthen, yet seemed it very light
because I was driven away from him that most terribly had
appointed to kill me. When we had passed over a great mountaine
full of trees, and were come againe into the open fields, behold we
approached nigh to a faire and rich Castell, where it was told unto
us that we were not able to passe in our journey that night, by
reason of the great number of terrible Wolves which were in the
Country about, so fierce and cruell that they put every man in
feare, in such sort that they would invade and set upon such which
passed by like theeves, and devoure both them and their beasts.
Moreover, we were advertised that there lay in the way where we
should passe, many dead bodies eaten and torne with wolves.
Wherefore we were willed to stay there all night, and on the next
morning, to goe close and round together, whereby we might passe
and escape all dangers. But (notwithstanding this good counsell)
our caitife drivers were so covetous to goe forward, and so
fearefull of pursuite, that they never stayed till the morning : But
being welnigh midnight, they made us trudge in our way apace.
Then I fearing the great danger which might happen, ran amongst
the middle of the other Horses, to the end I might defend and save
my poore buttocks from the Wolves, whereat every man much
marvelled to see, that I scowred away swifter then the other
Horses. But such was my agility, not to get me any prayse, but
rather for feare: at that time I remembered with my selfe, that the
valiant Horse Pegasus did fly in the ayre more to avoyd the danger
of dreadful Chimera, then for any thing else. The shepheards
which drave us before them were well armed like warriours: one
had a speare, another had a sheepehooke, some had darts, some
clubbes, some gathered up great stones, some held up their sharp
Javelings, and some feared away the Woolves with light firebrands.
Finally wee lacked nothing to make up an Army, but onely
Drummes and Trumpets. But when we had passed these dangers,
not without small feare, wee fortuned to fall into worse, for the
Woolves came not upon us, either because of the great multitude of
our company, or else because [of] our firebrands, or peradventure
they were gone to some other place, for wee could see none, but
the Inhabitants of the next villages (supposing that wee were
Theeves by reason of the great multitude) for the defence of their
owne substance, and for the feare that they were in, set great and
mighty masties upon us, which they had kept and nourished for the
safety of their houses, who compassing us round about leaped on
every side, tearing us with their teeth, in such sort that they pulled
many of us to the ground: verily it was a pittifull sight to see so
many Dogs, some following such as flyed, some invading such as
stood still, some tearing those which lay prostrate, but generally
there were none which escaped cleare: Behold upon this another
danger ensued, the Inhabitants of the Towne stood in their garrets
and windowes, throwing great stones upon our heads, that wee
could not tell whether it were best for us to avoyd the gaping
mouthes of the Dogges at hand or the perill of the stones afarre,
amongst whome there was one that hurled a great flint upon a
woman, which sate upon my backe, who cryed out pitiously,
desiring her husband to helpe her. Then he (comming to succour
and ayd his wife) beganne to speake in this sort: Alas masters,
what mean you to trouble us poore labouring men so cruelly? What
meane you to revenge your selves upon us, that doe you no harme?
What thinke you to gaine by us? You dwell not in Caves or
Dennes: you are no people barbarous, that you should delight in
effusion of humane blood. At these words the tempest of stones did
cease, and the storme of the Dogges vanished away. Then one
(standing on the toppe of a great Cypresse tree) spake unto us
saying : Thinke you not masters that we doe this to the intent to
rifle or take away any of your goods, but for the safeguard of our
selves and family : now a Gods name you may depart away. So we
went forward, some wounded with stones, some bitten with Dogs,
but generally there was none which escaped free.


How the shepheards determined to abide in a certaine wood to
cure their wounds.

When we had gone a good part of our way, we came to a certaine
wood invironed with great trees and compassed about with pleasant
meddowes, whereas the Shepheards appointed to continue a
certaine space to cure their wounds and sores; then they sate
downe on the ground to refresh their wearie minds, and afterwards
they sought for medicines, to heale their bodies: some washed
away their blood with the water of the running River: some stopped
their wounds with Spunges and cloutes, in this manner every one
provided for his owne safety. In the meane season wee perceived
an old man, who seemed to be a Shepheard, by reason of the
Goates and Sheep that fed round about him. Then one of our
company demanded whether he had any milke, butter, or cheese to
sell. To whom he made answere saying : Doe you looke for any
meate or drinke, or any other refection here? Know you not in
what place you be?

And therewithall he tooke his sheepe and drave them away as fast
as he might possible. This answere made our shepheards greatly to
feare, that they thought of nothing else, but to enquire what Country
they were in : Howbeit they saw no manner of person of whom
they might demand. At length as they were thus in doubt, they
perceived another old man with a staffe in his hand very weary
with travell, who approaching nigh to our company, began to weepe
and complaine saying : Alas masters I pray you succour me
miserable caitife, and restore my nephew to me againe, that by
following a sparrow that flew before him, is fallen into a ditch
hereby, and verily I thinke he is in danger of death. As for me, I
am not able to helpe him out by reason of mine old age, but you that
are so valiant and lusty may easily helpe me herein, and deliver me
my boy, my heire and guide of my life. These words made us all to
pity him. And then the youngest and stoutest of our company, who
alone escaped best the late skirmish of Dogges and stones, rose up
and demanded in what ditch the boy was fallen : Mary (quod he)
yonder, and pointed with his finger, and brought him to a great
thicket of bushes and thornes where they both entred in. In the
meane season, after we cured our wounds, we tooke up our packs,
purposing to depart away. And because we would not goe away
without the young man our fellow : The shepheards whistled and
called for him, but when he gave no answer, they sent one out of
their company to seeke him out, who after a while returned againe
with a pale face and sorrowfull newes, saying that he saw a terrible
Dragon eating and devouring their companion : and as for the old
man, hee could see him in no place. When they heard this,
(remembring likewise the words of the first old man that shaked his
head, and drave away his sheep) they ran away beating us before
them, to fly from this desart and pestilent Country.


How a woman killed her selfe and her child, because her husband
haunted harlots.

After that we had passed a great part of our journey, we came to
a village where we lay all night, but harken, and I will tell you what
mischiefe happened there : you shall understand there was a
servant to whom his Master had committed the whole government
of his house, and was Master of the lodging where we lay : this
servant had married a Maiden of the same house, howbeit he was
greatly in love with a harlot of the towne, and accustomed to resort
unto her, wherewith his wife was so highly displeased and became
so jealous, that she gathered together all her husbands substance,
with his tales and books of account, and threw them into a light fire
: she was not contented with this, but she tooke a cord and bound
her child which she had by her husband, about her middle and cast
her selfe headlong into a deepe pit. The Master taking in evill part
the death of these twaine, tooke his servant which was the cause
of this murther by his luxurie, and first after that he had put off all
his apparell, he annointed his body with honey, and then bound him
sure to a fig-tree, where in a rotten stocke a great number of
Pismares had builded their neasts, the Pismares after they had felt
the sweetnesse of the honey came upon his body, and by little and
little (in continuance of time) devoured all his flesh, in such sort,
that there remained on the tree but his bare bones : this was
declared unto us by the inhabitants of the village there, who greatly
sorrowed for the death of this servant : then we avoiding likewise
from this dreadfull lodging incontinently departed away.


How Apuleius was cheapned by divers persons, and how they
looked in his mouth to know his age.

After this we came to a faire Citie very populous, where our
shepheards determined to continue, by reason that it seemed a
place where they might live unknowne, far from such as should
pursue them, and because it was a countrey very plentifull of corne
and other victuals, where when we had remained the space of
three dayes, and that I poore Asse and the other horses were fed
and kept in the stable to the intent we might seeme more saleable,
we were brought out at length to the market, and by and by a crier
sounded with his horne to notifie that we were to be sold : all my
companion horses were bought up by Gentlemen, but as for me I
stood still forsaken of all men. And when many buiers came by
and looked in my mouth to know mine age, I was so weary with
opening my jawes that at length (unable to endure any longer)
when one came with a stinking paire of hands and grated my
gummes with his filthy fingers, I bit them cleane off, which thing
caused the standers by to forsake me as being a fierce and cruell
beast: the crier when he had gotten a hoarse voice with crying, and
saw that no man would buy me, began to mocke me saying, To
what end stand we here with this wilde Asse, this feeble beast, this
slow jade with worne hooves, good for nothing but to make sives of
his skin? Why do we not give him to some body for he earneth not
his hay? In this manner he made all the standers by to laugh
exceedingly, but my evill fortune which was ever so cruell against
me, whom I by travell of so many countreys could in no wise
escape, did more and more envie me, with invention of new
meanes to afflict my poore body in giving me a new Master as
spitefull as the rest. There was an old man somewhat bald, with
long and gray haire, one of the number of those that go from door
to door, throughout all the villages, bearing the Image of the
goddesse Syria, and playing with Cimbals to get the almes of good
and charitable folks, this old man came hastely towards the cryer,
and demanded where I was bred : Marry (quoth he) in Cappadocia
: Then he enquired what age I was of, the cryer answered as a
Mathematician, which disposed to me my Planets, that I was five
yeares old, and willed the old man to looke in my mouth : For I
would not willingly (quoth he) incur the penalty of the law Cornelia,
in selling a free Citizen for a servile slave, buy a Gods name this
faire beast to ride home on, and about in the countrey : But this
curious buier did never stint to question of my qualities, and at
length he demanded whether I were gentle or no : Gentle (quoth
the crier) as gentle as a Lambe, tractable to all use, he will never
bite, he will never kicke, hut you would rather thinke that under the
shape of an Asse there were some well advised man, which verely
you may easily conject, for if you would thrust your nose in his taile
you shall perceive how patient he is : Thus the cryer mocked the
old man, but he perceiving his taunts and jests, waxed very angry
saying, Away doting cryer, I pray the omnipotent and omniparent
goddesse Syria, Saint Sabod, Bellona, with her mother Idea, and
Venus, with Adonis, to strike out both thine eies, that with taunting
mocks hast scoffed me in this sort : Dost thou thinke that I will put
a goddesse upon the backe of any fierce beast, whereby her divine
Image should be throwne downe on the ground, and so I poore
miser should be compelled (tearing my haire) to looke for some
Physition to helpe her? When I heard him speake thus, I thought
with my selfe sodainly to leap upon him like a mad Asse, to the
intent he should not buy me, but incontinently there came another
Marchant that prevented my thought, and offered 17 Pence for me,
then my Master was glad and received the money, and delivered
me to my new Master who was called Phelibus, and he caried his
new servant home, and before he came to his house, he called out
his daughters saying, Behold my daughters, what a gentle servant I
have bought for you : then they were marvailous glad, and comming
out pratling and shouting for joy, thought verely that he had brought
home a fit and conveniable servant for their purpose, but when they
perceived that it was an Asse, they began to provoke him, saying
that he had not bought a servant for his Maidens, but rather an
Asse for himselfe. Howbeit (quoth they) keepe him not wholly for
your owne riding, but let us likewise have him at commandement.
Therewithall they led me into the stable, and tied me to the manger
: there was a certaine yong man with a mighty body, wel skilled in
playing on instruments before the gods to get money, who (as
soone as he had espied me) entertained me verie well, for he filled
my racke and maunger full of meat, and spake merrily saying, O
master Asse, you are very welcome, now you shall take my office
in hand, you are come to supply my roome, and to ease me of my
miserable labour : but I pray God thou rnaist long live and please
my Master well, to the end thou maist continually deliver me from
so great paine. When I heard these words I did prognosticate my
miserie to come.

The day following I saw there a great number of persons
apparelled in divers colours, having painted faces, mitres on their
heads, vestiments coloured like saffron, Surplesses of silke, and on
their feet yellow shooes, who attired the goddesse in a robe of
Purple, and put her upon my backe. Then they went forth with their
armes naked to their shoulders, bearing with them great swords and
mightie axes, and dancing like mad persons. After that we had
passed many small villages, we fortuned to come to one Britunis
house, where at our first entrie they began to hurle themselves
hither and thither, as though they were mad. They made a
thousand gestures with their feete and their hands, they would bite
themselves, finally, every one tooke his weapon and wounded his
armes in divers places.

Amongst whom there was one more mad then the rest, that let
many deepe sighes from the bottome of his heart, as though he had
beene ravished in spirite, or replenished with divine power. And
after that, he somewhat returning to himselfe, invented and forged
a great lye, saying, that he had displeased the divine majesty of the
goddesse, by doing of some thing which was not convenable to the
order of their holy religion, wherefore he would doe vengeance of
himselfe : and therewithall he tooke a whip, and scourged his owne
body, that the bloud issued out aboundantly, which thing caused me
greatly to feare, to see such wounds and effusion of bloud, least the
same goddesse desiring so much the bloud of men, should likewise
desire the bloud of an Asse. After they were wearie with hurling
and beating themselves, they sate downe, and behold, the
inhabitants came in, and offered gold, silver, vessels of wine, milke,
cheese, flower, wheate and other things : amongst whom there was
one, that brought barly to the Asse that carried the goddesse, but
the greedie whoresons thrust all into their sacke, which they
brought for the purpose and put it upon my backe, to the end I
might serve for two purposes, that is to say, for the barne by reason
of my corne, and for the Temple by reason of the goddesse. In this
sort, they went from place to place, robbing all the Countrey over.
At length they came to a certaine Castle where under colour of
divination, they brought to passe that they obtained a fat sheepe of
a poore husbandman for the goddesse supper and to make sacrifice
withall. After that the banket was prepared, they washed their
bodies, and brought in a tall young man of the village, to sup with
them, who had scarce tasted a few pottage, when hee began to
discover their beastly customes and inordinate desire of luxury. For
they compassed him round about, sitting at the table, and abused
the young man, contrary to all nature and reason. When I beheld
this horrible fact, I could not but attempt to utter my mind and say,
O masters, but I could pronounce no more but the first letter O,
which I roared out so valiantly, that the young men of the towne
seeking for a straie Asse, that they had lost the same night, and
hearing my voice, whereby they judged that I had beene theirs,
entred into the house unwares, and found these persons committing
their vile abhomination, which when they saw, they declared to all
the inhabitants by, their unnatural villany, mocking and laughing at
this the pure and cleane chastity of their religion. In the meane
season, Phelibus and his company, (by reason of the bruit which
was dispersed throughout all the region there of their beastly
wickednesse) put all their trumpery upon my backe, and departed
away about midnight. When we had passed a great part of our
journey, before the rising of the Sun, we came into a wild desart,
where they conspired together to slay me. For after they had taken
the goddesse from my backe and set her gingerly upon the ground,
they likewise tooke off my harnesse, and bound me surely to an
Oake, beating me with their whip, in such sort that all my body was
mortified. Amongst whom there was one that threatened to cut off
my legs with his hatchet, because by my noyse I diffamed his
chastity, but the other regarding more their owne profit than my
utility, thought best to spare my life, because I might carry home
the goddesse. So they laded me againe, driving me before them
with their naked swords, till they came to a noble City: where the
principall Patrone bearing high reverence unto the goddesse, Came
in great devotion before us with Tympany, Cymbals, and other
instruments, and received her, and all our company with much
sacrifice and veneration. But there I remember, I thought my selfe
in most danger, for there was one that brought to the Master of the
house, a side of a fat Bucke for a present, which being hanged
behind the kitchin doore, not far from the ground, was cleane eaten
up by a gray hound, that came in. The Cooke when he saw the
Venison devoured, lamented and wept pitifully. And because
supper time approached nigh, when as he should be reproved of too
much negligence, he tooke a halter to hang himselfe: but his wife
perceiving whereabout he went, ran incontinently to him, and taking
the halter in both her hands, stopped him of his purpose, saying, O
husband, are you out of your writs? pray husband follow my
counsel, cary this strange Asse out into some secret place and kill
him, which done, cut off one of his sides, and sawce it well like the
side of the Bucke, and set it before your Master. Then the Cooke
hearing the counsell of his wife, was well pleased to slay me to
save himselfe: and so he went to the whetstone, to sharpe his tooles



How Apuleius saved himselfe from the Cooke, breaking his halter,
and of other things that happened.

In this manner the traiterous Cooke prepared himselfe to slay me :
and when he was ready with his knives to doe his feat, I devised
with my selfe how I might escape the present perill, and I did not
long delay : for incontinently I brake the halter wherewith I was
tied, and flinging my heeles hither and thither to save my selfe, at
length I ran hastily into a Parlour, where the Master of the house
was feasting with the Priests of the goddesse Syria, and disquieted
all the company, throwing downe their meats and drinks from the
table. The Master of the house dismayed at my great disorder,
commanded one of his servants to take me up, and locke me in
some strong place, to the end I might disturb them no more. But I
little regarded my imprisonment, considering that I was happily
delivered from the hands of the traiterous Cooke. Howbeit fortune,
or the fatall disposition of the divine providence, which neither can
be avoided by wise counsell, neither yet by any wholesome
remedie, invented a new torment, for by and by a young ladde
came running into the Parlour all trembling, and declared to the
Master of the house, that there was a madde Dog running about in
the streetes, which had done much harme, for he had bitten many
grey hounds and horses in the Inne by: And he spared neither man
nor beast. For there was one Mitilius a Mulettour, Epheseus, a
Cooke, Hyppanius a chamberlaine, and Appolonius a Physition,
who (thinking to chase away the madde Dogge) were cruelly
wounded by him, insomuch that many Horses and other beasts
infected with the venyme of his poysonous teeth became madde
likewise. Which thing caused them all at the table greatly to feare,
and thinking that I had beene bitten in like sort, came out with
speares, Clubs, and Pitchforks purposing to slay me, and I had
undoubtedly beene slaine, had I not by and by crept into the
Chamber, where my Master intended to lodge all night. Then they
closed and locked fast the doores about me, and kept the chamber
round, till such time as they thought that the pestilent rage of
madnesse had killed me. When I was thus shutte in the chamber
alone, I laid me downe upon the bed to sleepe, considering it was
long time past, since I lay and tooke my rest as a man doth. When
morning was come, and that I was well reposed, I rose up lustily.
In the meane season, they which were appointed to watch about
the chamber all night, reasoned with themselves in this sort, Verely
(quoth one) I think that this rude Asse be dead. So think I (quoth
another) for the outragious poyson of madness hath killed him, but
being thus in divers opinions of a poore Ass, they looked through a
crevis, and espied me standing still, sober and quiet in the middle of
the chamber; then they opened the doores, and came towards me,
to prove whether I were gentle or no. Amongst whom there was
one, which in my opinion, was sent from Heaven to save my life,
that willed the other to set a bason of faire water before me, and
thereby they would know whether I were mad or no, for if I did
drinke without feare as I accustomed to do, it was a signe that I
was whole, and in mine Assie wits, where contrary if I did flie and
abhorre the tast of the water, it was evident proofe of my madness,
which thing he said that he had read in ancient and credible books,
whereupon they tooke a bason of cleere water, and presented it
before me: but I as soone as I perceived the wholesome water of
my life, ran incontinently, thrusting my head into the bason, drank as
though I had beene greatly athirst; then they stroked me with their
hands, and bowed mine eares, and tooke me by the halter, to prove
my patience, but I taking each thing in good part, disproved their
mad presumption, by my meeke and gentle behaviour: when I was
thus delivered from this double danger, the next day I was laded
againe with the goddesse Siria, and other trumpery, and was
brought into the way with Trumpets and Cymbals to beg in the
villages which we passed by according to our custome. And after
that we had gone through a few towns and Castles, we fortuned to
come to a certaine village, which was builded (as the inhabitants
there affirme) upon the foundation of a famous ancient Citie. And
after that we had turned into the next Inne, we heard of a prettie
jest committed in the towne there, which I would that you should
know likewise.


Of the deceipt of a Woman which made her husband Cuckold.

There was a man dwelling in the towne very poore, that had
nothing but that which he got by the labour and travell of his hands:
his wife was a faire young woman, but very lascivious, and given to
the appetite and desire of the flesh. It fortuned on a day, that while
this poore man was gone betimes in the morning to the field about
his businesse, according as he accustomed to doe, his wives lover
secretly came into his house to have his pleasure with her. And so
it chanced that during the time that shee and he were basking
together, her husband suspecting no such matter, returned home
praising the chast continency of his wife, in that hee found his
doores fast closed, wherefore as his custome was, he whistled to
declare his comming. Then his crafty wife ready with shifts,
caught her lover and covered him under a great tub standing in a
corner, and therewithall she opened the doore, blaming her husband
in this sort : Commest thou home every day with empty hands, and
bringest nothing to maintaine our house? thou hast no regard for our
profit, neither providest for any meate or drinke, whereas I poore
wretch doe nothing day and night but occupie my selfe with
spinning, and yet my travell will scarce find the Candels which we
spend. O how much more happy is my neighbour Daphne, that
eateth and drinketh at her pleasure and passeth the time with her
amorous lovers according to her desire. What is the matter (quoth
her husband) though Our Master hath made holiday at the fields,
yet thinke not but I have made provision for our supper; doest thou
not see this tub that keepeth a place here in our house in vaine, and
doth us no service? Behold I have sold it to a good fellow (that is
here present) for five pence, wherefore I pray thee lend me thy
hand, that I may deliver him the tub. His wife (having invented a
present shift) laughed on her husband, saying : What marchant I
pray you have you brought home hither, to fetch away my tub for
five pence, for which I poore woman that sit all day alone in my
house have beene proffered so often seaven : her husband being
well apayed of her words demanded what he was that had bought
the tub : Looke (quoth she) he is gone under, to see where it be
sound or no : then her lover which was under the tub, began to
stirre and rustle himselfe, and because his words might agree to the
words of the woman, he sayd : Dame will you have me tell the
truth, this tub is rotten and crackt as me seemeth on every side.
And then turning to her husband sayd : I pray you honest man light
a Candle, that I may make cleane the tub within, to see if it be for
my purpose or no. for I doe not mind to cast away my money
wilfully : he by and by (being made a very Oxe) lighted a candle,
saying, I pray you good brother put not your selfe to so much paine,
let me make the tub cleane and ready for you. Whereupon he put
off his coate, and crept under the tub to rub away the filth from the
sides. In the meane season this minion lover cast his wife on the
bottome of the tub and had his pleasure with her over his head, and
as he was in the middest of his pastime, hee turned his head on this
side and that side, finding fault with this and with that, till as they
had both ended their businesse, when as he delivered seaven pence
for the tub, and caused the good man himselfe to carry it on his
backe againe to his Inne.


How the Priests of the goddesse Siria were taken and put in prison,
and how Apuleius was sold to a Baker.

After that we had tarried there a few dayes at the cost and
charges of the whole Village, and had gotten much mony by our
divination and prognostication of things to come: The priests of the
goddesse Siria invented a new meanes to picke mens purses, for
they had certaine lotts, whereon were written :

Coniuncti terram proscindunt boves ut in futurum loeta germinent

That is to say : The Oxen tied and yoked together, doe till the
ground to the intent it may bring forth his increase : and by these
kind of lottes they deceive many of the simple sort, for if one had
demanded whether he should have a good wife or no, they would
say that his lot did testifie the same, that he should. be tyed and
yoked to a good woman and have increase of children. If one
demanded whether he should buy lands and possession, they said
that he should have much ground that should yeeld his increase. If
one demanded whether he should have a good and prosperous
voyage, they said he should have good successe, and it should be
for the increase of his profit. If one demanded whether hee should
vanquish his enemies, and prevaile in pursuite of theeves, they said
that this enemy should be tyed and yoked to him: and his pursuits
after theeves should be prosperous. Thus by the telling of fortunes,
they gathered a great quantity of money, but when they were
weary with giving of answers, they drave me away before them
next night, through a lane which was more dangerous and stony
then the way which we went the night before, for on the one side
were quagmires and foggy marshes, on the other side were falling
trenches and ditches, whereby my legges failed me, in such sort
that I could scarce come to the plaine field pathes. And behold by
and by a great company of inhabitants of the towne armed with
weapons and on horsebacke overtooke us, and incontinently
arresting Philebus and his Priests, tied them by the necks and beate
them cruelly, calling them theeves and robbers, and after they had
manacled their hands: Shew us (quoth they) the cup of gold, which
(under the colour of your solemne religion) ye have taken away,
and now ye thinke to escape in the night without punishment for
your fact. By and by one came towards me, and thrusting his hand
into the bosome of the goddesse Siria, brought out the cup which
they had stole. Howbeit for all they appeared evident and plaine
they would not be confounded nor abashed, but jesting and laughing
out the matter, gan say: Is it reason masters that you should thus
rigorously intreat us, and threaten for a small trifling cup, which the
mother of the Goddesse determined to give to her sister for a
present? Howbeit for all their lyes and cavellations, they were
carryed backe unto the towne, and put in prison by the Inhabitants,
who taking the cup of gold, and the goddesse which I bare, did put
and consecrate them amongst the treasure of the temple. The next
day I was carryed to the market to be sold, and my price was set at
seaven pence more then Philebus gave for me. There fortuned to
passe by a Baker of the next village, who after that he had bought
a great deale of corne, bought me likewise to carry it home, and
when he had well laded me therewith, be drave me through a
thorny and dangerous way to his bake house; there I saw a great
company of horses that went in the mill day and night grinding of
corne, but lest I should be discouraged at the first, my master
entertained me well, for the first day I did nothing but fare daintily,
howbeit such mine ease and felicity did not long endure, for the
next day following I was tyed to the mill betimes in the morning
with my face covered, to the end in turning amid winding so often
one way, I should not become giddy, but keepe a certaine course,
but although when I was a man I had seen many such horsemills
and knew well enough how they should be turned, yet feining my
selfe ignorant of such kind of toile, I stood still and would not goe,
whereby I thought I should be taken from the mill as an Asse
unapt, and put to some other light thing, or else to he driven into the
fields to pasture, but my subtility did me small good, for by and by
when the mill stood still, the servants came about me, crying and
beating me forward, in such sort that I could not stay to advise my
selfe, whereby all the company laughed to see so suddaine a
change. When a good part of the day was past, that I was not able
to endure any longer, they tooke off my harnesse, and tied me to
the manger, but although my bones were weary, and that I needed
to refresh my selfe with rest and provender, yet I was so curious
that I did greatly delight to behold the bakers art, insomuch that I
could not eate nor drinke while I looked on.

O good Lord what a sort of poore slaves were there; some had
their skinne blacke and blew, some had their backes striped with
lashes, some were covered with rugged sackes, some had their
members onely hidden: some wore such ragged clouts, that you
might perceive all their naked bodies, some were marked and
burned in the heads with hot yrons, some had their haire halfe
clipped, some had lockes of their legges, some very ugly and evill
favoured, that they could scarce see, their eyes and face were so
blacke and dimme with smoake, like those that fight in the sands,
and know not where they strike by reason of dust : And some had
their faces all mealy. But how should I speake of the horses my
companions, how they being old and weake, thrust their heads into
the manger : they had their neckes all wounded and worne away :
they rated their nosethrilles with a continuall cough, their sides were
bare with their harnesse and great travell, their ribs were broken
with beating, their hooves were battered broad with incessant
labour, and their skinne rugged by reason of their lancknesse.
When I saw this dreadfull sight, I began to feare, least I should
come to the like state : and considering with my selfe the good
fortune which I was sometime in when I was a man, I greatly
lamented, holding downe my head, and would eate no meate, but I
saw no comfort or consolation of my evill fortune, saving that my
mind was somewhat recreated to heare and understand what every
man said, for they neither feared nor doubted my presence. At that
time I remembred how Homer the divine author of ancient Poetry,
described him to be a wise man, which had travelled divers
countries and nations, wherefore I gave great thanks to my Asse
for me, in that by this meanes I had seene the experience of many
things, and was become more wise (notwithstanding the great
misery and labour which I daily sustained) : but I will tell you a
pretty jest, which commeth now to my remembrance, to the intent
your eares may be delighted in hearing the same.


How Apuleius was handled by the Bakers wife, which was a

The Baker which bought me was an honest and sober man; but his
wife was the most pestilent woman in all the world, insomuch that
he endured many miseries and afflictions with her, so that I my
selfe did secretly pitty his estate, and bewaile his evill fortune : for
she had not one fault alone, but all the mischiefes that could be
devised : shee was crabbed, cruell, lascivious, drunken, obstinate,
niggish, covetous, riotous in filthy expenses, and an enemy to faith
and chastity, a despise of all the Gods, whom other did honour, one
that affirmed that she had a God by her selfe, wherby she deceived
all men, but especially her poore husband, one that abandoned her
body with continuall whoredome. This mischievous queane hated
me in such sort, that shee commanded every day before she was
up, that I should he put into the mill to grind : and the first thing
which she would doe in the morning, was to see me cruelly beaten,
and that I should grind when the other beasts did feed and take
rest. When I saw that I was so cruelly handled, she gave me
occasion to learne her conversation and life, for I saw oftentimes a
yong man which would privily goe into her chamber whose face I
did greatly desire to see, but I could not by reason mine eyes were
covered every day. And verily if I had beene free and at liberty, I
would have discovered all her abhomination. She had an old
woman, a bawd, a messenger of mischiefe that daily haunted to her
house, and made good cheere with her to the utter undoing and
impoverishment of her husband, but I that was greatly offended
with the negligence of Fotis, who made me an Asse, in stead of a
Bird, did yet comfort my selfe by this onely meane, in that to the
miserable deformity of my shape, I had long eares, whereby I might
heare all things that was done : On a day I heard the old bawd say
to the Bakers wife :

Dame you have chosen (without my counsell) a young man to your
lover, who as me seemeth, is dull, fearefull, without any grace, and
dastardlike coucheth at the frowning looke of your odious husband,
whereby you have no delight nor pleasure with him : how farre
better is the young man Philesiterus who is comely, beautifull, in the
flower of his youth, liberall, courteous, valiant and stout against the
diligent pries and watches of your husband, whereby to embrace
the worthiest dames of this country, and worthy to weare a crowne
of gold, for one part that he played to one that was jealous over his
wife. Hearken how it was and then judge the diversity of these
two Lovers : Know you not one Barbarus a Senator of our towne,
whom the vulgar people call likewise Scorpion for his severity of
manners? This Barbarus had a gentlewoman to his wife, whom he
caused daily to be enclosed within his house, with diligent custody.
Then the Bakers wife said, I know her very well, for we two
dwelleth together in one house: Then you know (quoth the old
woman) the whole tale of Philesiterus? No verily (said she) but I
greatly desire to know it : therefore I pray you mother tell me the
whole story. By and by the old woman which knew well to babble,
began to tell as followeth.


How Barbarus being jealous over his wife, commanded that shee
should be kept close in his house, and what happened.

You shall understand that on a day this Barbarus preparing
himselfe to ride abroad, and willing to keepe the chastity of his wife
(whom he so well loved) alone to himselfe, called his man Myrmex
(whose faith he had tryed and proved in many things) and secretly
committed to him the custody of his wife, willing him that he should
threaten, that if any man did but touch her with his finger as he
passed by, he would not onely put him in prison, and bind him hand
and foote, but also cause him to be put to death, or else to be
famished for lacke of sustenance, which words he confirmed by an
oath of all the Gods in heaven, and so departed away : When
Barbarus was gone, Myrmex being greatly astonied of his masters
threatnings, would not suffer his mistresse to goe abroad, but as she
sate all day a Spinning, he was so carefull that he sate by her;
when night came he went with her to the baines, holding her by the
garment, so faithfull he was to fulfill the commandement of his
master : Howbeit the beauty of this matron could not be hidden
from the burning eyes of Philesiterus, who considering her great
chastity and how she was diligently kept by Myrmex, thought it
impossible to have his purpose, yet (indeavouring by all kind of
meanes to enterprise the matter, and remembring the fragility of
man, that might be intised and corrupted with money, since as by
gold the adamant gates may be opened) on a day, when he found
Myrmex alone, he discovered his love, desiring him to shew his
favour, (otherwise he should certainly dye) with assurance that he
need not to feare when as he might privily be let in and out in the
night, without knowledge of any person. When he thought, with
these and other gentle words to allure and prick forward the
obstinate mind of Myrmex he shewed him glittering gold in his
hand, saying that he would give his mistresse twenty crowns and
him ten, but Myrmex hearing these words, was greatly troubled,
abhorring in his mind to commit such a mischiefe: wherfore he
stopped his eares, and turning his head departed away: howbeit the
glittering view of these crownes could never be out of his mind, but
being at home he seemed to see the money before his eyes, which
was so worthy a prey, wherefore poore Myrmex being in divers
opinions could not tell what to doe, for on the one side lie
considered the promise which he made to his master, and the
punishment that should ensue if he did contrary. On the other side
he thought of the gaine, and the passing pleasure of the crownes of
gold; in the end the desire of the money did more prevaile then the
feare of death, for the beauty of the flowrishing crownes did so
sticke in his mind, that where the menaces of his master compelled
him to tarry at home, the pestilent avarice of gold egged him out a
doores, wherefore putting all shame aside, without further delay, he
declared all the whole matter to his Mistresse, who according to the
nature of a woman, when she heard him speake of so great a
summe she bound chastity in a string, and gave authority to
Myrmex to rule her in that case. Myrmex seeing the intent of his
Mistresse, was very glad, and for great desire of the gold, he ran
hastily to Philesiterus, declaring that his Mistresse was consented to
his mind, wherefore he demanded the gold which he promised.
Then incontinently Philesiterus delivered him tenne Crownes, and
when night came, Myrmex brought him disguised into his
mistresses Chamber. About Midnight when he and she were
naked together, making sacrifice unto the Goddesse Venus, behold
her husband (contrary to their expectation) came and knocked at
the doore, calling with a loud voice to his Servant Myrmex : whose
long tarrying increased the suspition of his Master, in such sort that
he threatned to beat Myrmex cruelly : but he being troubled with
feare, and driven to his latter shifts, excused the matter saying : that
he could not find the key : by reason it was so darke. In the meane
season Philesiterus hearing the noise at the doore, slipt on his coat
and privily ran out of the Chamber. When Myrmex had opened the
doore to his Master that threatned terribly, and had let him in, he
went into the Chamber to his wife : In the mean while Myrmex let
out Philesiterus, and barred the doores fast, and went againe to
bed. The next morning when Barbarus awaked, he perceived two
unknown slippers lying under his bed, which Philesiterus had
forgotten when he went away. Then he conceived a great suspition
and jealousie in mind, howbeit he would not discover it to his wife,
neither to any other person, but putting secretly the slippers into his
bosome, commanded his other Servants to bind Myrmex
incontinently, and to bring him bound to the Justice after him,
thinking verily that by the meane of the slippers he might boult out
the matter. It fortuned that while Barbarus went towards the
Justice in a fury and rage, and Myrmex fast bound, followed him
weeping, not because he was accused before his master, but by
reason he knew his owne conscience guilty : behold by adventure
Philesiterus (going about earnest businesse) fortuned to meet with
them by the way, who fearing the matter which he committed the
night before, and doubting lest it should be knowne, did suddainly
invent a meane to excuse Myrmex, for he ran upon him and beate
him about the head with his fists, saying : Ah mischievous varlet
that thou art, and perjured knave. It were a good deed if the
Goddesse and thy master here, would put thee to death, for thou art
worthy to be imprisoned and to weare out these yrons, that stalest
my slippers away when thou werest at my baines yester night.
Barbarus hearing this returned incontinently home, and called his
servant Myrmex, commanding him to deliver the slippers againe to
the right owner.

The old woman had scant finished her tale when the Bakers wife
gan say : Verily she is blessed and most blessed, that hath the
fruition of so worthy a lover, but as for me poore miser, I am fallen
into the hands of a coward, who is not onely afraid of my husband
but also of every clap of the mill, and dares not doe nothing, before
the blind face of yonder scabbed Asse. Then the old woman
answered, I promise you certainly if you will, you shall have this
young man at your pleasure, and therewithall when night came, she
departed out of her chamber. In the meane season, the Bakers
wife made ready a supper with abundance of wine and exquisite
fare : so that there lacked nothing, but the comming of the young
man, for her husband supped at one of her neighbours houses.
When time came that my harnesse should be taken off and that I
should rest my selfe, I was not so joyfull of my liberty, as when the
vaile was taken from mine eyes, I should see all the abhomination
of this mischievous queane. When night was come and the Sunne
gone downe, behold the old bawd and the young man, who seemed
to be but a child, by reason he had no beard, came to the doore.
Then the Bakers wife kissed him a thousand times and received
him courteously, placed him downe at the table : but he had scarce
eaten the first morsell, when the good man (contrary to his wives
expectation) returned home, for she thought he would not have
come so soone : but Lord how she cursed him, praying God that he
might breake his necke at the first entry in. In the meane season,
she caught her lover and thrust him into the bin where she bolted
her flower, and dissembling the matter, finely came to her husband
demanding why he came home so soone. I could not abide (quoth
he) to see so great a mischiefe and wicked fact, which my
neighbours wife committed, but I must run away : O harlot as she
is, how hath she dishonoured her husband, I sweare by the
goddesse Ceres, that if I had [not] seene it with mine eyes, I would
never I have beleeved it. His wife desirous to know the matter,
desired him to tell what she had done: then hee accorded to the
request of his wife, and ignorant of the estate of his own house,
declared the mischance of another. You shall understand (quoth
he) that the wife of the Fuller my companion, who seemed to me a
wise and chast woman, regarding her own honesty and profit of her
house, was found this night with her knave. For while we went to
wash our hands, hee and she were together : who being troubled
with our presence ran into a corner, and she thrust him into a mow
made with twigs, appoynted to lay on clothes to make them white
with the smoake of fume and brymstone. Then she sate down with
us at the table to colour the matter : in the meant season the young
man covered in the mow, could not forbeare sneesing, by reason of
the smoake of the brymstone. The good man thinking it had beene
his wife that sneesed, cryed, Christ helpe. But when he sneesed
more, he suspected the matter, and willing to know who it was,
rose from the table, and went to the mow, where hee found a
young man welnigh dead with smoke. When hee understood the
whole matter, he was so inflamed with anger that he called for a
sword to kill him, and undoubtedly he had killed him, had I not
restrained his violent hands from his purpose, assuring him, that his
enemy would dye with the force of his brimstone, without the
harme which he should doe. Howbeit my words would not
appease his fury, but as necessity required he tooke the young man
well nigh choked, and carried him out at the doores. In the meane
season, I counsailed his wife to absent her selfe at some of her
Neighbours houses, till the choller of her husband was pacified, lest
he should be moved against her, as he was against the young man.
And so being weary of their supper, I forthwith returned home.
When the Baker had told his tale, his impudent wife began to curse
and abhorre the wife of the Fuller, and generally all other wives,
which abandon their bodies with any other then with their owne
Husbands, breaking the faith and bond of marriage, whereby she
said, they were worthy to be burned alive. But knowing her owne
guilty conscience and proper whoredome, lest her lover should be
hurt lying in the bin, she willed her husband to goe to bed, but he
having eaten nothing, said that he would sup before he went to rest
: whereby shee was compelled to maugre her eies, to set such
things on the Table as she had prepared for her lover.

But I, considering the great mischiefe of this wicked queane,
devised with my selfe how I might reveale the matter to my
Master, and by kicking away the cover of the binne (where like a
Snaile the young-man was couched) to make her whoredome
apparent and knowne. At length I was ayded by the providence of
God, for there was an old man to whom the custody of us was
committed, that drave me poore Asse, and the other Horses the
same time to the water to drinke; then had I good occasion
ministred, to revenge the injury of my master, for as I passed by, I
perceived the fingers of the young-man upon the side of the binne,
and lifting up my heeles, I spurned off the flesh with the force of
my hoofes, whereby he was compelled to cry out, and to throw
downe the binne on the ground, and so the whoredome of the
Bakers wife was knowne and revealed. The Baker seeing this
was not a little moved at the dishonesty of his wife, but hee tooke
the young-man trembling for feare by the hand, and with cold and
courteous words spake in this sort : Feare not my Sonne, nor thinke
that I am so barbarous or cruell a person, that I would stiffle thee
up with the smoke of Sulphur as our neighbour accustometh, nor I
will not punish thee according to the rigour of the law of Julia,
which commandeth the Adulterers should be put to death : No no, I
will not execute my cruelty against so faire and comely a young
man as you be, but we will devide our pleasure betweene us, by
lying all three in one bed, to the end there may be no debate nor
dissention betweene us, but that either of us may be contented, for
I have alwayes lived with my wife in such tranquillity , that
according to the saying of the wisemen, whatsoever I say, she
holdeth for law, and indeed equity will not suffer, but that the
husband should beare more authority then the wife : with these and
like words he led the young-man to his Chamber, and closed his
wife in another Chamber. On the next morrow, he called two of
the most sturdiest Servants of his house, who held up the young-
man, while he scourged his buttockes welfavouredly with rods like
a child. When he had well beaten him, he said : Art not thou
ashamed, thou that art so tender and delicate a child, to desire the
violation of honest marriages, and to defame thy selfe with wicked
living, whereby thou hast gotten the name of an Adulterer? After
he had spoken these and like words, he whipped him againe, and
chased him out of his house. The young-man who was the
comeliest of all the adulterers, ran away, and did nothing else that
night save onely bewaile his striped and painted buttockes. Soone
after the Baker sent one to his wife, who divorced her away in his
name, but she beside her owne naturall mischiefe, (offended at this
great contumely, though she had worthily deserved the same) had
recourse to wicked arts and trumpery, never ceasing untill she had
found out an Enchantresse, who (as it was thought) could doe what
she would with her Sorcery and conjuration. The Bakers wife
began to intreate her, promising that she would largely recompence
her, if shee could bring one of these things to passe, eyther to make
that her husband may be reconciled to her againe, or else if hee
would not agree thereto, to send an ill spirit into him, to dispossesse
the spirit of her husband. Then the witch with her abhominable
science, began to conjure and to make her Ceremonies, to turne the
heart of the Baker to his wife, but all was in vaine, wherefore
considering on the one side that she could not bring her purpose to
passe, and on the other side the losse of her gaine, she ran hastily
to the Baker, threatning to send an evill spirit to kill him, by meane
of her conjurations. But peradventure some scrupulous reader may
demand me a question, how I, being an Asse, and tyed alwayes in
the mill house, could know the secrets of these women : Verily I
answer, notwithstanding my shape of an Asse, I had the sence and
knowledge of a man, and curiously endeavoured to know out such
injuries as were done to my master. About noone there came a
woman into the Milhouse, very sorrowfull, raggedly attired, with
bare feete, meigre, ill-favoured, and her hayre scattering upon her
face : This woman tooke the Baker by the hand, and faining that
she had some secret matter to tell him, went into a chamber, where
they remained a good space, till all the corne was ground, when as
the servants were compelled to call their master to give them more
corne, but when they had called very often, and no person gave
answer, they began to mistrust, insomuch that they brake open the
doore : when they were come in, they could not find the woman,
hut onely their master hanging dead upon a rafter of the chamber,
whereupon they cryed and lamented greatly, and according to the
custome, when they had washed themselves, they tooke the body
and buried it. The next day morrow, the daughter of the Baker,
which was married but a little before to one of the next Village,
came crying and beating her breast, not because she heard of the
death of her father by any man, but because his lamentable spirit,
with a halter about his necke appeared to her in the night, declaring
the whole circumstance of his death, and how by inchantment he
was descended into hell, which caused her to thinke that her father
was dead. After that she had lamented a good space, and was
somewhat comforted by the servants of the house, and when nine
dayes were expired, as inheretrix to her father, she sold away all
the substance of the house, whereby the goods chanced into divers
mens hands.


How Apuleius after the Baker was hanged, was sold to a
Gardener, and what dreadfull things happened.

There was a poore Gardener amongst the rest, which bought me
for the summe of fifty pence, which seemed to him a great price,
but he thought to gayne it againe by the continuall travell of my
body. The matter requireth to tell likewise, how I was handled in his
service. This Gardener accustomed to drive me, every morning
laded with hearbes to the next Village, and when he had sold his
hearbes, hee would mount upon my backe and returne to the
Garden, and while he digged the ground and watered the hearbes,
and went about other businesse, I did nothing but repose my selfe
with great ease, but when Winter approached with sharpe haile,
raine and frosts, and I standing under a hedge side, was welnigh
killed up with cold, and my master was so poore that he had no
lodging for himselfe, much lesse had he any littor or place to cover
me withall, for he himselfe alwayes lay under a little roofe
shadowed with boughes. In the morning when I arose, I found my
hoofes shriveled together with cold, and unable to passe upon the
sharpe ice, and frosty mire, neither could I fill my belly with meate,
as I accustomed to doe, for my master and I supped together, and
had both one fare : howbeit it was very slender since as wee had
nothing else saving old and unsavoury sallets which were suffered
to grow for seed, like long broomes, and that had lost all their sweet
sappe and juice.

It fortuned on a day that an honest man of the next village was
benighted and constrained by reason of the rain to lodge (very
lagged and weary).in our Garden, where although he was but
meanely received, yet it served well enough considering time and
necessity. This honest man to recompence our entertainment,
promised to give my master some corne, oyle, and two bottels of
wine : wherefore my master not delaying the matter, laded me with
sackes and bottels, and rode to the Towne which was seaven miles

When we came to the honest mans house, he entertained and
feasted my master exceedingly. And it fortuned while they eate
and dranke together as signe of great amity there chanced a
strange and dreadfull case : for there was a Hen which ran
kackling about the yard, as though she would have layed an Egge.
The good man of the house perceiving her, said : O good and
profitable pullet that feedest us every day with thy fruit, thou
seemest as though thou wouldest give us some pittance for our
dinner : Ho boy put the Pannier in the corner that the Hen may lay.
Then the boy did as his master commanded, but the Hen forsaking
the Pannier, came toward her master and laid at his feet not an
Egge, which every man knoweth, but a Chickin with feathers,
clawes, and eyes, which incontinently ran peeping after his damme.
By and by happened a more strange thing, which would cause any
man to abhorre: under the Table where they sate, the ground
opened, and there appeared a great well and fountain of bloud,
insomuch that the drops thereof sparckled about the Table. At the
same time while they wondred at this dreadfull sight one of the
Servants came running out of the Seller, and told that all the wine
was boyled out of the vessels, as though there had beene some
great fire under. By and by a Weasel was scene that drew into the
house a dead Serpent, and out of the mouth of a Shepheards dog
leaped a live frog, and immediately after one brought word that a
Ram had strangled the same dog at one bit. All these things that
happened, astonied the good man of the house, and the residue that
were present, insomuch that they could not tell what to doe, or with
what sacrifice to appease the anger of the gods. While every man
was thus stroken in feare, behold, one brought word to the good
man of the house, that his three sonnes who had been brought up in
good literature, and endued with good manners were dead, for they
three had great acquaintance and ancient amity with a poore man
which was their neighbour, and dwelled hard by them: and next
unto him dwelled another young man very rich both in lands and
goods, but bending from the race of his progenies dissentions, and
ruling himselfe in the towne according to his owne will. This young
royster did mortally hate this poore man, insomuch that he would
kill his sheepe, steale his oxen, and spoyle his corne and other fruits
before the time of ripenesse, yet was he not contented with this, but
he would encroch upon the poore mans ground, and clayme all the
heritage as his owne. The poore man which was very simple and
fearefull, seeing all his goods taken away by the avarice of the rich
man, called together and assembled many of his friends to shew
them all his land, to the end he might have but so much ground of
his fathers heritage, as might bury him. Amongst whom, he found
these three brethren, as friends to helpe and ayd him in his
adversity and tribulation.

Howbeit, the presence of these honest Citizens, could in no wise
perswade him to leave his extort power, no nor yet to cause any
temperance of his tongue, but the more they went about with gentle
words to tell him his faults, the more would he fret and likewise
fume, swearing all the oathes under God, that he little regarded the
presence of the whole City, whereupon incontinently he
commanded his servants to take the poore man by the eares, and
carry him out of his ground, which greatly offended all the standers
by. Then one of the brethren spake unto him somewhat boldly,
saying : It is but a folly to have such affiance in your riches,
whereby you should use your tyranny against the poore, when as
the law is common for all men, and a redresse may be had to
suppresse your insolency. These words chafed him more then the
burning oile, or flaming brimstone, or scourge of whipps, saying :
that they should be hanged and their law too, before he would be
subject unto any person : and therewithall he called out his
bandogges and great masties, which accustomed to eate the carrion
and carkases of dead beasts in the fields, and to set upon such as
passed by the way: then he commanded they should be put upon all
the assistance to teare them in peeces : who as soone as they
heard the hisse of their master, ran fiercely upon them invading
them on every side, insomuch that the more they flied to escape
away, the more cruell and terrible were the dogges. It fortuned
amongst all this fearefull company, that in running, the youngest of
the three brethren stombled at a stone, and fell down to the ground :
Then the dogs came upon him and tare him in peeces with their
teeth, whereby he was compelled to cry for succour : His other two
brethren hearing his lamentable voice ran towards him to helpe him,
casting their cloakes about their left armes, tooke up stones to
chase away the dogs, but all was in vaine, for they might see their
brother dismembred in every part of his body : Who lying at the
very point of death, desired his brethren to revenge his death
against that cruell tyrant : And therewithall lie gave up the ghost.
The other two brethren perceiving so great a murther, and
neglecting their owne lives, like desperate persons dressed
themselves against the tyrant, and threw a great number of stones
at him, but the bloudy theefe exercised in such and like mischiefes,
tooke a speare and thrust it cleane through the body : howbeit he
fell not downe to the ground. For the speare that came out at his
backe ran into the earth, and sustained him up. By and by carne
one of these tyrants servants the most sturdiest of the rest to helpe
his master, who at the first comming tooke up a stone and threw at
the third brother, but by reason the stone ran along his arme it did
not hurt him, which chanced otherwise then all mens expectation
was : by and by the young man feigning that his arme was greatly
wounded, spake these words unto the cruell bloud sucker : Now
maist thou, thou wretch, triumph upon the destruction of all our
family, now hast thou fed thy insatiable cruelty with the bloud of
three brethren, now maist thou rejoyce at the fall of us Citizens, yet
thinke not but that how farre thou dost remove and extend the
bounds of thy land, thou shalt have some neighbor, but how greatly
am I sorry in that I have lost mine arme wherewithall I minded to
cut off thy head. When he had spoken these words, the furious
theefe drew out his dagger, and running upon the young man
thought verily to have slaine him, but it chanced otherwise: For the
young man resisted him stoutly, and in buckling together by violence
wrested the dagger out of his hand : which done, he killed the rich
theefe with his owne weapon, and to the intent the young man
would escape the hands of the servants which came running to
assist their master, with the same dagger he cut his owne throat.
These things were signified by the strange and dreadfull wondres
which fortuned in the house of the good man, who after he had
heard these sorrowfull tydings could in no wise weepe, so farre
was he stroken with dolour, but presently taking his knife
wherewith he cut his cheese and other meate before, he cut his
owne throat likewise, in such sort that he fell upon the bord and
imbraced the table with the streames of his blond, in most miserable
manner. Hereby was my master the Gardener deprived of his hope,
and paying for his dinner the watry teares of his eyes, mounted
upon my backe and so we went homeward the same way as wee


How Apuleius was found by his shadow.

As wee passed by the way wee met with a tall souldier (for so his
habite and countenance declared) who with proud and arrogant
words spake to my master in this sort:

Quorsum vacuum ducis Asinum?

My master somewhat astonied at the strange sights which he saw
before, and ignorant of the Latine tongue, roade on and spake
never a word : The souldier unable to refraine his insolence, and
offended at his silence, strake him on the shoulders as he sate on
my backe; then my master gently made answer that he understood
not what he said, whereat the souldier angerly demanded againe,
whither he roade with his Asse? Marry (quoth he) to the next City
: But I (quoth the souldier) have need of his helpe, to carry the
trusses of our Captaine from yonder Castle, and therewithall he
tooke me by the halter and would violently have taken me away :
but my master wiping away the blood of the blow which he
received of the souldier, desired him gently and civilly to take some
pitty upon him, and to let him depart with his owne, swearing and
affirming that his slow Asse, welnigh dead with sicknesse, could
scarce carry a few handfuls of hearbs to the next towne, much
lesse he was able to beare any greater trusses : but when he saw
the souldier would in no wise be intreated, but ready with his staffe
to cleave my masters head, my master fell down at his feete, under
colour to move him to some pitty, but when he saw his time, he
tooke the souldier by the legs and cast him upon the ground: Then
he buffetted him, thumped him, bit him, and tooke a stone and beat
his face and his sides, that he could not turne and defend himselfe,
but onely threaten that if ever he rose, he would choppe him in
pieces. The Gardener when he heard him say so, drew out his
javelin which hee had by his side, and when he had throwne it
away, he knockt and beate him more cruelly then he did before,
insomuch that the souldier could not tell by what meanes to save
himselfe, but by feining that he was dead, Then my master tooke
the javelin and mounted upon my backe, riding in all hast to the next
village, having no regard to goe to his Garden, and when he came
thither, he turned into one of his friends house and declared all the
whole matter, desiring him to save his life and to hide himselfe and
his Asse in some secret place, untill such time as all danger were
past. Then his friends not forgetting the ancient amity betweene
them, entertained him willingly and drew me up a paire of staires
into a chamber, my master crept into a chest, and lay there with the
cover closed fast : The souldier (as I afterwards learned) rose up
as one awaked from a drunken sleepe, but he could scarce goe by
reason of his wounds : howbeit at length by little and little through
ayd of his staffe he came to the towne, but hee would not declare
the matter to any person nor complaine to any justice, lest he should

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