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How Apuleius thinking to be turned into a Bird, was turned into an Asse, and how he was led away by Theves.

After that I had well rubbed every part and member of my body, I hovered with myne armes, and moved my selfe, looking still when I should bee changed into a Bird as Pamphiles was, and behold neither feathers nor appearance of feathers did burgen out, but verily my haire did turne in ruggednesse, and my tender skin waxed tough and hard, my fingers and toes losing the number of five, changed into hoofes, and out of myne arse grew a great taile, now my face became monstrous, my nosthrils wide, my lips hanging downe, and myne eares rugged with haire: neither could I see any comfort of my transformation, for my members encreased likewise, and so without all helpe (viewing every part of my poore body) I perceived that I was no bird, but a plaine Asse.

The I though to blame Fotis, but being deprived as wel of language as of humane shape, I looked upon her with my hanging lips and watery eyes. Who as soon as shee espied me in such sort, cried out, Alas poore wretch that I am, I am utterly cast away. The feare I was in, and my haste hath beguiled me, but especially the mistaking of the box, hath deceived me. But it forceth not much, in regard a sooner medicine may be gotten for this than for any other thing. For if thou couldst get a rose and eat it, thou shouldst be delivered from the shape of an Asse, and become my Lucius againe. And would to God I had gathered some garlands this evening past, according to my custome, then thou shouldst not continue an Asse one nights space, but in the morning I shall seek some remedy. Thus Fotis lamented in pittifull sort, but I that was now a perfect asse, and for Lucius a brute beast, did yet retaine the sence and understanding of a man. And did devise a good space with my selfe, whether it were best for me to teare this mischievous and wicked harlot with my mouth, or to kicke and kill her with my heels. But a better thought reduced me from so rash a purpose: for I feared lest by the death of Fotis I should be deprived of all remedy and help. Then shaking myne head, and dissembling myne ire, and taking my adversity in good part, I went into the stable to my owne horse, where I found another asse of Milos, somtime my host, and I did verily think that mine owne horse (if there were any natural conscience or knowledge in brute beasts) would take pitty on me, and profer me lodging for that night: but it chanced far otherwise. For see, my horse and the asse as it were consented together to work my harm, and fearing lest I should eat up their provender, would in no wise suffer me to come nigh the manger, but kicked me with their heels from their meat, which I my self gave them the night before. Then I being thus handled by them, and driven away, got me into a corner of the stable, where while I remembred their uncurtesie, and how on the morrow I should return to Lucius by the help of a Rose, when as I thought to revenge my selfe of myne owne horse, I fortuned to espy in the middle of a pillar sustaining the rafters of the stable the image of the goddesse Hippone, which was garnished and decked round about with faire and fresh roses: then in hope of present remedy, I leaped up with my fore feet as high as I could, stretching out my neck, and with my lips coveting to snatch some roses. But in an evill houre I did go about that enterprise, for behold the boy to whom I gave charge of my horse, came presently in, and finding me climbing upon the pillar, ranne fretting towards me and said, How long shall wee suffer this wild Asse, that doth not onely eat up his fellowes meat, but also would spoyl the images of the gods? Why doe I not kill this lame theefe and weake wretch. And therewithall looking about for some cudgel, hee espied where lay a fagot of wood, and chusing out a crabbed truncheon of the biggest hee could finde, did never cease beating of mee poore wretch, until such time as by great noyse and rumbling, hee heard the doores of the house burst open, and the neighbours crying in most lamentable sort, which enforced him being stricken in feare, to fly his way. And by and by a troupe of theeves entred in, and kept every part and corner of the house with weapons. And as men resorted to aid and help them which were within the doores, the theeves resisted and kept them back, for every man was armed with a sword and target in his hand, the glimpses whereof did yeeld out such light as if it had bin day. Then they brake open a great chest with double locks and bolts, wherein was layd all the treasure of Milo, and ransackt the same: which when they had done they packed it up and gave every man a portion to carry: but when they had more than they could beare away, yet were they loth to leave any behind, but came into the stable, and took us two poore asses and my horse, and laded us with greater trusses than wee were able to beare. And when we were out of the house, they followed us with great staves, and willed one of their fellows to tarry behind, and bring them tydings what was done concerning the robbery: and so they beat us forward over great hils out of the way. But I, what with my heavy burden and long journy, did nothing differ from a dead asse: wherfore I determined with my self to seek some civil remedy, and by invocation of the name of the prince of the country to be delivered from so many miseries: and on a time I passed through a great faire, I came among a multitude of Greeks, and I thought to call upon the renowned name of the Emperor and say, O Cesar, and cried out aloud O, but Cesar I could in no wise pronounce. The Theeves little regarding my crying, did lay me on and beat my wretched skinne in such sort, that after it was neither apt nor meet to make Sives or Sarces. Howbeit at last Jupiter administred to me an unhoped remedy. For when we had passed through many townes and villages, I fortuned to espy a pleasant garden, wherein beside many other flowers of delectable hiew, were new and fresh roses: and being very joyful, and desirous to catch some as I passed by, I drew neerer and neerer: and while my lips watered upon them, I thought of a better advice more profitable for me, lest if from an asse I should become a man, I might fall into the hands of the theeves, and either by suspition that I were some witch, or for feare that I should utter their theft, I should be slaine, wherefore I abstained for that time from eating of Roses, and enduring my present adversity, I did eat hay as other Asses did.

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