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.