How Apuleius was accused by two women, and how the slaine bodies were found blowne bladders.
When this was done, out came a woman in the middle of the Theatre arrayed in mourning vesture, and bearing a childe in her armes. And after her came an old woman in ragged robes, crying and howling likewise: and they brought with them the Olive boughs wherewith the three slaine bodies were covered on the Beere, and cried out in this manner: O right Judges, we pray by the justice and humanity which is in you, to have mercy upon these slaine persons, and succour our Widowhood and losse of our deare husbands, and especially this poore infant, who is now an Orphan, and deprived of all good fortune: and execute your justice by order and law, upon the bloud of this Theefe, who is the occasion of all our sorrowes. When they had spoken these words, one of the most antient Judges did rise and say, Touching this murther, which deserveth great punishment, this malefactor himselfe cannot deny, but our duty is to enquire and try out, whether he had Coadjutors to help him. For it is not likely that one man alone could kill three such great and valiant persons, wherefore the truth must be tried out by the racke, and so wee shall learne what other companions he hath, and root out the nest of these mischievous murtherers. And there was no long delay, but according to the custome of Grecia, the fire, the wheele, and many other torments were brought in. Then my sorrow encreased or rather doubled, in that I could not end my life with whole and unperished members. And by and by the old woman, who troubled all the Court with her howling, desired the Judges, that before I should be tormented on the racke, I might uncover the bodies which I had slaine, that every man might see their comely shape and youthfull beauty, and that I might receive condign and worthy punishment, according to the quality of my offence: and therewithall shee made a sign of joy. Then the Judge commanded me forthwith to discover the bodies of the slain, lying upon the beere, with myne own handes, but when I refused a good space, by reason I would not make my fact apparent to the eies of all men, the Sergeant charged me by commandement of the Judges, and thrust me forward to do the same. I being then forced by necessity, though it were against my wil, uncovered the bodies: but O good Lord what a strange sight did I see, what a monster? What sudden change of all my sorrows? I seemed as though I were one of the house of Proserpina and of the family of death, insomuch that I could not sufficiently expresse the forme of this new sight, so far was I amased and astonied thereat: for why, the bodies of the three slaine men were no bodies, but three blown bladders mangled in divers places, and they seemed to be wounded in those parts where I remembred I wounded the theeves the night before. Whereat the people laughed exceedingly: some rejoyced marvellously at the remembrance thereof, some held their stomackes that aked with joy, but every man delighted at this passing sport, so passed out of the theatre. But I from the time that I uncovered the bodies stood stil as cold as ice, no otherwise than as the other statues and images there, neither came I into my right senses, until such time as Milo my Host came and tooke mee by the hand, and with civil violence lead me away weeping and sobbing, whether I would or no. And because that I might be seene, he brought me through many blind wayes and lanes to his house, where he went about to comfort me, beeing sad and yet fearfull, with gentle entreaty of talke. But he could in no wise mitigate my impatiency of the injury which I conceived within my minde. And behold, by and by the Magistrates and Judges with their ensignes entred into the house, and endeavoured to pacify mee in this sort, saying, O Lucius, we are advertised of your dignity, and know the genealogie of your antient lineage, for the nobility of your Kinne doe possesse the greatest part of all this Province: and thinke not that you have suffered the thing wherfore you weepe, to any reproach and ignominy, but put away all care and sorrow out of your minde. For this day, which we celebrate once a yeare in honour of the god Risus, is alwaies renowned with some solemne novel, and the god doth continually accompany with the inventor therof, and wil not suffer that he should be sorrowfull, but pleasantly beare a joyfull face. And verily all the City for the grace that is in you, intend to reward you with great honours, and to make you a Patron. And further that your statue or image may be set up for a perpetuall remembrance.
To whome I answered, As for such benefits as I have received of the famous City of Thessaly, I yeeld and render the most entire thanks, but as touching the setting up of any statues or images, I would wish that they should bee reserved for myne Auntients, and such as are more worthy than I.
And when I had spoken these words somewhat gravely, and shewed my selfe more merry than I was before, the Judges and magistrates departed, and I reverently tooke my leave of them, and bid them farewell. And behold, by and by there came one running unto me in haste, and sayd, Sir, your cousin Byrrhena desireth you to take the paines according to your promise yester night, to come to supper, for it is ready. But I greatly fearing to goe any more to her house in the night, said to the messenger, My friend I pray you tell to my cousine your mistresse, that I would willingly be at her commandement, but for breaking my troth and credit. For myne host Milo enforced me to assure him, and compelled me by the feast of this present day, that I should not depart from his company, wherefore I pray you to excuse, and to defer my promise to another time.
And while I was speaking these words, Milo tooke me by the hand, and led me towards the next Baine: but by the way I went couching under him, to hide my selfe from the sight of men, because I had ministred such an occasion of laughter. And when I had washed and wiped my selfe, and returned home againe, I never remembred any such thing, so greatly was I abashed at the nodding and pointing of every person. Then went I to supper with Milo, where God wot we fared but meanly. Wherefore feigning that my head did ake by reason of my sobbing and weeping all day, I desired license to depart to my Chamber, and so I went to bed.