The Golden Asse eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 242 pages of information about The Golden Asse.
I am of Egin, travelling these countries about from Thessaly to Etolia, and from Etolia to Boetia, to provide for honey, cheese, and other victuals to sell againe:  and understanding that at Hippata (which is the principall city of all Thessaly), is accustomed to be soulde new cheeses of exceeding good taste and relish, I fortuned on a day to go thither, to make my market there:  but as it often happeneth, I came in an evill houre; for one Lupus a purveyor had bought and ingrossed up all the day before, and so I was deceived.

Wherefore towards night being very weary, I went to the Baines to refresh my selfe, and behold, I fortuned to espy my companion Socrates sitting upon the ground, covered with a torn and course mantle; who was so meigre and of so sallow and miserable a countenance, that I scantly knew him:  for fortune had brought him into such estate and calamity, that he verily seemed as a common begger that standeth in the streets to crave the benevolence of the passers by.  Towards whom (howbeit he was my singular friend and familiar acquaintance, yet half in despaire) I drew nigh and said, Alas my Socrates, what meaneth this? how faireth it with thee?  What crime hast thou committed? verily there is great lamentation and weeping for thee at home:  Thy children are in ward by decree of the Provinciall Judge:  Thy wife (having ended her mourning time in lamentable wise, with face and visage blubbered with teares, in such sort that she hath well nigh wept out both her eyes) is constrained by her parents to put out of remembrance the unfortunate losse and lacke of thee at home, and against her will to take a new husband.  And dost thou live here as a ghost or hogge, to our great shame and ignominy?

Then he answered he to me and said, O my friend Aristomenus, now perceive I well that you are ignorant of the whirling changes, the unstable forces, and slippery inconstancy of Fortune:  and therewithall he covered his face (even then blushing for very shame) with his rugged mantle insomuch that from his navel downwards he appeared all naked.

But I not willing to see him any longer in such great miserie and calamitie, took him by the hand and lifted him up from the ground:  who having his face covered in such sort, Let Fortune (quoth he) triumph yet more, let her have her sway, and finish that which shee hath begun.  And therewithall I put off one of my garments and covered him, and immediately I brought him to the Baine, and caused him to be anointed, wiped, and the filthy scurfe of his body to be rubbed away; which done, though I were very weary my selfe, yet I led the poore miser to my Inne, where he reposed his body upon a bed, and then I brought him meat and drinke, and so wee talked together:  for there we might be merry and laugh at our pleasure, and so we were, untill such time as he (fetching a pittifull sigh from the bottom of his heart, and beating his face in miserable sort), began to say.

THE THIRD CHAPTER

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The Golden Asse from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.