How Apuleius fortuned to meet with his Cousin Byrrhena.
As soone as night was past, and the day began to spring, I fortuned to awake, and rose out of my bed as halfe amazed, and very desirous to know and see some marvellous and strange things, remembring with my selfe that I was in the middle part of all Thessaly, whereas by the common report of all the World, the Sorceries and Inchauntments are most used, I oftentimes repeated with my self the tale of my companion Aristomenus touching the manner of this City, and being mooved by great desire, I viewed the whole scituation thereof, neither was there any thing which I saw there, but that I did beleeve to be the same which it was indeed, but every thing seemed unto me to be transformed and altered into other shapes, by the wicked power of Sorcerie and Inchantment, insomuch that I thought that the stones which I found were indurate, and turned from men into that figure, and that the birds which I heard chirping, and the trees without the walls of the city, and the running waters, were changed from men into such kinde of likenesses. And further I thought that the Statues, Images and Walls could goe, and the Oxen and other brute beasts could speake and tell strange newes, and that immediately I should see and heare some Oracles from the heavens, and from the gleed of the Sun. Thus being astonied or rather dismayed and vexed with desire, knowing no certaine place whither I intended to go, I went from street to street, and at length (as I curiously gazed on every thing) I fortuned unwares to come into the market place, whereas I espied a certaine woman, accompanied with a great many servants, towards whom I drew nigh, and viewed her garments beset with gold and pretious stone, in such sort that she seemed to be some noble matron. And there was an old man which followed her, who as soon as he espied me, said to himself, Verily this is Lucius, and then he came and embraced me, by and by he went unto his mistresse and whispered in her eare, and came to mee againe saying, How is it Lucius that you will not salute your deere Cousin and singular friend? To whom I answered, Sir I dare not be so bold as to take acquaintance of an unknown woman. Howbeit as halfe ashamed I drew towards her, and shee turned her selfe and sayd, Behold how he resembleth the very same grace as his mother Salvia doth, behold his countenance and stature, agreeing thereto in each poynt, behold his comely state, his fine slendernesse, his Vermilion colour, his haire yellow by nature, his gray and quicke eye, like to the Eagle, and his trim and comely gate, which do sufficiently prove him to be the naturall childe of Salvia. And moreover she sayd, O Lucius, I have nourished thee with myne owne proper hand: and why not? For I am not onely of kindred to thy mother by blood, but also by nourice, for wee both descended of the line of Plutarch, lay in one belly, sucked the same paps, and were brought up together in one house. And further there is no other difference betweene us two, but that she is married more honourably than I: I am the same Byrrhena whom you have often heard named among your friends at home: wherfore I pray you to take so much pains as to come with me to my house, and use it as your owne. At whose words I was partly abashed and sayd, God forbid Cosin that I should forsake myne Host Milo without any reasonable cause; but verily I will, as often as I have occasion to passe by thy house, come and see how you doe. And while we were talking thus together, little by little wee came to her house, and behold the gates of the same were very beautifully set with pillars quadrangle wise, on the top wherof were placed carved statues and images, but principally the Goddesse of Victory was so lively and with such excellencie portrayed and set forth, that you would have verily have thought that she had flyed, and hovered with her wings hither and thither. On the contrary part, the image of the Goddesse Diana was wrought in white marble, which was a marvellous sight to see, for shee seemed as though the winde did blow up her garments, and that she did encounter with them that came into the house. On each side of her were Dogs made of stone, that seemed to menace with their fiery eyes, their pricked eares, their bended nosethrils, their grinning teeth in such sort that you would have thought they had bayed and barked. An moreover (which was a greater marvel to behold) the excellent carver and deviser of this worke had fashioned the dogs to stand up fiercely with their former feet, and their hinder feet on the ground ready to fight. Behinde the back of the goddesse was carved a stone in manner of a Caverne, environed with mosse, herbes, leaves, sprigs, green branches and bowes, growing in and about the same, insomuch that within the stone it glistered and shone marvellously, under the brim of the stone hanged apples and grapes carved finely, wherein Art envying Nature, shewed her great cunning. For they were so lively set out, that you would have thought if Summer had been come, they might have bin pulled and eaten; and while I beheld the running water, which seemed to spring and leap under the feet of the goddesse, I marked the grapes which hanged in the water, which were like in every point to the grapes of the vine, and seemed to move and stir by the violence of the streame. Moreover, amongst the branches of the stone appeared the image of Acteon: and how that Diana (which was carved within the same stone, standing in the water) because he did see her naked, did turne him into an hart, and so he was torne and slaine of his owne hounds. And while I was greatly delighted with the view of these things, Byrrhena spake to me and sayd, Cousin all things here be at your commandement. And therewithall shee willed secretly the residue to depart: who being gone she sayd, My most deare Cousin Lucius, I do sweare by the goddesse Diana, that I doe greatly tender your safety, and am as carefull for you as if you were myne owne naturall childe, beware I say, beware of the evil arts and wicked allurements of that Pamphiles who is the wife of Milo, whom you call your Host, for she is accounted the most chief and principall Magitian and Enchantresse living, who by breathing out certain words and charmes over bowes, stones and other frivolous things, can throw down all the powers of the heavens into the deep bottome of hell, and reduce all the whole world againe to the old Chaos. For as soone as she espieth any comely yong man, shee is forthwith stricken with his love, and presently setteth her whole minde and affection on him. She soweth her seed of flattery, she invades his spirit and intangleth him with continuall snares of unmeasurable love.
And then if any accord not to her filthy desire, or if they seeme loathsome in her eye, by and by in the moment of an houre she turneth them into stones, sheep or some other beast, as her selfe pleaseth, and some she presently slayeth and murthereth, of whom I would you should earnestly beware. For she burneth continually, and you by reason of your tender age and comely beauty are capable of her fire and love.
Thus with great care Byrrhena gave me in charge, but I (that always coveted and desired, after that I had heard talk of such Sorceries and Witchcrafts, to be experienced in the same) little esteemed to beware of Pamphiles, but willingly determined to bestow my money in learning of that art, and now wholly to become a Witch. And so I waxed joyful, and wringing my selfe out of her company, as out of linkes or chaines, I bade her farewell, and departed toward the house of myne host Milo, by the way reasoning thus with my selfe: O Lucius now take heed, be vigilant, have a good care, for now thou hast time and place to satisfie thy desire, now shake off thy childishnesse and shew thy selfe a man, but especially temper thy selfe from the love of thyne hostesse, and abstain from violation of the bed of Milo, but hardly attempt to winne the maiden Fotis, for she is beautifull, wanton and pleasant in talke. And soone when thou goest to sleepe, and when shee bringeth you gently into thy chamber, and tenderly layeth thee downe in thy bed, and lovingly covereth thee, and kisseth thee sweetly, and departeth unwillingly, and casteth her eyes oftentimes backe, and stands still, then hast thou a good occasion ministred to thee to prove and try the mind of Fotis. Thus while I reasoned to myselfe I came to Milos doore, persevering still in my purpose, but I found neither Milo nor his wife at home.