How Fotis brought Apuleius to see her Mistresse enchant.
On a day Fotis came running to me in great feare, and said that her mistresse, to work her sorceries on such as shee loved, intended the night following to transforme her selfe into a bird, and to fly whither she pleased. Wherefore she willed me privily to prepare my selfe to see the same. And when midnight came she led me softly into a high chamber, and bid me look thorow the chink of a doore: where first I saw how shee put off all her garments, and took out of a certain coffer sundry kindes of Boxes, of the which she opened one, and tempered the ointment therein with her fingers, and then rubbed her body therewith from the sole of the foot to the crowne of the head, and when she had spoken privily with her selfe, having the candle in her hand, she shaked the parts of her body, and behold, I perceived a plume of feathers did burgen out, her nose waxed crooked and hard, her nailes turned into clawes, and so she became an Owle. Then she cried and screeched like a bird of that kinde, and willing to proove her force, mooved her selfe from the ground by little and little, til at last she flew quite away.
Thus by her sorcery shee transformed her body into what shape she would. Which when I saw I was greatly astonied: and although I was inchanted by no kind of charme, yet I thought that I seemed not to have the likenesse of Lucius, for so was I banished from my sences, amazed in madnesse, and so I dreamed waking, that I felt myne eyes, whether I were asleepe or no. But when I was come againe to my selfe, I tooke Fotis by the hand, and moved it to my face and said, I pray thee while occasion doth serve, that I may have the fruition of the fruits of my desire, and grant me some of this oyntment. O Fotis I pray thee by thy sweet paps, to make that in the great flames of my love I may be turned into a bird, so I will ever hereafter be bound unto you, and obedient to your commandement. Then said Fotis, Wil you go about to deceive me now, and inforce me to work my own sorrow? Are you in the mind that you will not tarry in Thessaly? If you be a bird, where shall I seek you, and when shall I see you? Then answered I, God forbid that I should commit such a crime, for though I could fly in the aire as an Eagle or though I were the messenger of Jupiter, yet would I have recourse to nest with thee: and I swear by the knot of thy amiable hair, that since the time I first loved thee, I never fancied any other person: moreover, this commeth to my minde, that if by the vertue of the oyntment I shall become an Owle, I will take heed I will come nigh no mans house: for I am not to learn, how these matrons would handle their lovers, if they knew that they were transformed into Owles: Moreover, when they are taken in any place they are nayled upon posts, and so they are worthily rewarded, because it is thought that they bring evill fortune to the house. But I pray you (which I had almost forgotten) to tell me by what meanes when I am an Owle, I shall return to my pristine shape, and become Lucius againe. Feare not (quoth she) for my mistres hath taught me the way to bring that to passe, neither thinke you that she did it for any good will and favour, but to the end that I might help her, and minister some remedy when she returneth home.
Consider I pray you with your selfe, with what frivolous trifles so marvellous a thing is wrought: for by Hercules I swear I give her nothing else save a little Dill and Lawrell leaves, in Well water, the which she drinketh and washeth her selfe withall. Which when she had spoken she went into the chamber and took a box out of the coffer, which I first kissed and embraced, and prayed that I might [have] good successe in my purpose. And then I put off all my garments, and greedily thrust my hand into the box, and took out a good deale of oyntment and rubbed my selfe withall.