How Meroe the Witch turned divers persons into miserable beasts.
In faith Aristomenus to tell you the truth, this woman had a certaine Lover, whom by the utterance of one only word she turned into a Bever, because he loved another woman beside her: and the reason why she transformed him into such a beast is, for that it is his nature, when hee perceiveth the hunters and hounds to draw after him, to bite off his members, and lay them in the way, that the hounds may be at a stop when they find them, and to the intent it might so happen unto him (for that he fancied another woman) she turned him into that kind of shape.
Semblably she changed one of her neighbours, being an old man and one that sold wine, into a Frog, in that he was one of her occupation, and therefore she bare him a grudge, and now the poore miser swimming in one of his pipes of wine, and well nigh drowned in the dregs, doth cry and call with an hoarse voice, for his old guests and acquaintance that pass by. Like wise she turned one of the Advocates of the Court (because he pleaded and spake against her in a rightful cause) into a horned Ram, and now the poore Ram is become an Advocate. Moreover she caused, that the wife of a certain lover that she had should never be delivered of her childe, but according to the computation of all men, it is eight yeares past since the poore woman first began to swell, and now shee is encreased so big, that shee seemeth as though she would bring forth some great Elephant: which when it was knowne abroad, and published throughout all the towne, they tooke indignation against her, and ordayned that the next day shee should most cruelly be stoned to death. Which purpose of theirs she prevented by the vertue of her inchantments, and as Medea (who obtained of King Creon but one days respit before her departure) did burn all his house, him, and his daughter: so she, by her conjurations and invocations of spirits, (which she useth in a certaine hole in her house, as shee her selfe declared unto me the next day following) closed all the persons in the towne so sure in their houses, and with such violence of power, that for the space of two dayes they could not get forth, nor open their gates nor doore, nor break downe their walls, whereby they were inforced by mutuall consent to cry unto her, and to bind themselves strictly by oaths, that they would never afterwards molest or hurt her: and moreover, if any did offer her any injury they would be ready to defend her. Whereupon shee, mooved by their promises, and stirred by pitty, released all the towne. But shee conveyed the principal Author of this ordinance about midnight, with all his house, the walls, the ground, and the foundation, into another towne, distant from thence an hundred miles, scituate and beeing on the top of an high hill, and by reason thereof destitute of water, and because the edifices and houses were so nigh built together, that it was not possible for the house to stand there, she threw it downe before the gate of the towne. Then I spake and said O my friend Socrates you have declared unto me many marvellous things and strange chances, and moreover stricken me with no small trouble of minde, yea rather with great feare, lest the same old woman using the like practice, should fortune to heare all our communication. Wherefore let us now sleepe, and after that we have taken our rest, let us rise betimes in the morning, and ride away hence before day, as far as we can possible.