How Apuleius going to buy fish, met with his companion Pythias.
When this was done, and all my things brought into the Chamber, I walked towards the Baines; but first I went to the market to buy some victuals for my supper, whereas I saw great plenty of fish set out to be sould: and so I cheapened part thereof, and that which they at first held at an hundred pence, I bought at length for twenty. Which when I had done, and was departing away, one of myne old acquaintance, and fellow at Athens, named Pithias, fortuned to passe by, and viewing me at a good space, in the end brought me to his remembrance, and gently came and kissed mee, saying, O my deare friend Lucius, it is a great while past since we two saw one another, and moreover, from the time that wee departed from our Master Vestius, I never heard any newes from you. I pray you Lucius tell me the cause of your peregrination hither. Then I answered and sayd, I will make relation thereof unto you tomorrow: but I pray you tell me, what meaneth these servitors that follow you, and these rods or verges which they beare, and this habit which you wear like unto a magistrate, verily I thinke you have obtained your own desire, whereof I am right glad. Then answered Pithias, I beare the office of the Clerke of the market, and therfore if you will have any pittance for your supper speake and I will purvey it for you. Then I thanked him heartily and sayd I had bought meat sufficient already. But Pithias when hee espied my basket wherein my fish was, tooke it and shaked it, and demanded of me what I had payd for all my Sprots. In faith (quoth I), I could scarce inforce the fishmonger to sell them for twenty pence. Which when I heard, he brought me backe again into the market, and enquired of me of whom I bought them. I shewed him the old man which sate in a corner, whome by and by, by reason of his office, hee did greatly blame, and sayd, Is it thus you serve and handle strangers, and specially our friends? Wherefore sell you this fish so deare, which is not worth a halfepenny? Now perceive I well, that you are an occasion to make this place, which is the principall city of all Thessaly, to be forsaken of all men, and to reduce it into an uninhabitable Desart, by reasone of your excessive prices of victuals, but assure yourself that you shall not escape without punishment, and you shall know what myne office is, and how I ought to punish such as offend. Then he took my basket and cast the fish on the ground, and commanded one of his Sergeants to tread them under his feet. This done he perswaded me to depart, and sayd that onely shame and reproach done unto the old Caitife did suffice him, So I went away amazed and astonied, towards the Baines, considering with myself and devising of the grace of my companion Pythias. Where when I had well washed and refreshed my body, I returned againe to Milos house, both without money and meat, and so got into my chamber. Then came Fotis immediately unto mee, and said that her master desired me to come to supper. But I not ignorant of Milos abstinence, prayed that I might be pardoned since as I thought best to ease my wearied bones rather with sleepe and quietnesse, than with meat. When Fotis had told this to Milo, he came himselfe and tooke mee by the hand, and while I did modestly excuse my selfe, I will not (quoth he) depart from this place, until such time as you shall goe with me: and to confirm the same, hee bound his words with an oath, whereby he enforced me to follow him, and so he brought me into his chamber, where hee sate him downe upon the bed, and demaunded of mee how his friend Demeas did, his wife, his children, and all his family: and I made answer to him every question, specially hee enquired the causes of my peregrination and travell, which when I had declared, he yet busily demanded of the state of my Countrey, and the chief magistrates there, and principally of our Lievtenant and Viceroy; who when he perceived that I was not only wearied by travell, but also with talke, and that I fell asleep in the midst of my tale, and further that I spake nothing directly or advisedly, he suffered me to depart to my chamber. So scaped I at length from the prating and hungry supper of this rank old man, and being compelled by sleepe and not by meat, and having supped only with talke, I returned into my chamber, and there betooke me to my quiet and long desired rest.