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How Apuleius thinking to eat Roses, was cruelly beaten by a Gardener, and chased by dogs

When noone was come, that the broyling heate of the sunne had most power, we turned into a village to certaine of the theeves acquaintance and friends, for verily their meeting and embracing together did give me, poore asse, cause to deeme the same, and they tooke the trusse from my backe, and gave them part of the Treasure which was in it, and they seemed to whisper and tell them that it was stollen goods, and after that we were unladen of our burthens, they let us loose in a medow to pasture, but myne own horse and Miloes Asse would not suffer me to feed there with them, but I must seeke my dinner in some other place.

Wherefore I leaped into a garden which was behinde the stable, and being well nigh perished with hunger, although I could find nothing there but raw and green fallets, yet I filled my hungry guts therwithall abundantly, and praying unto all the gods, I looked about in every place if I could espy any red roses in the gardens by, and my solitary being alone did put me in good hope, that if I could find any remedy, I should presently of an Asse be changed into Lucius out of every mans sight. And while I considered these things, I loked about, and behold I saw a farre off a shadowed valley adjoyning nigh unto a wood, where amongst divers other hearbes and pleasant verdures, me thought I saw bright flourishing Roses of bright damaske colour; and said within my bestaill minde, Verily that place is the place of Venus and the Graces, where secretly glistereth the royall hew, of so lively and delectable a floure. Then I desiring the help of the guide of my good fortune, ranne lustily towards the wood, insomuch that I felt myself that I was no more an Asse, but a swift coursing horse: but my agility and quicknes could not prevent the cruelty of my fortune, for when I came to the place I perceived that they were no roses, neither tender nor pleasant, neither moystened with the heavenly drops of dew, nor celestial liquor, which grew out of the thicket and thornes there. Neither did I perceive that there was any valley at all, but onely the bank of the river, environed with great thick trees, which had long branches like unto lawrell, and bearing a flour without any manner of sent, and the common people call them by the name of Lawrel roses, which be very poyson to all manner of beasts. Then was I so intangled with unhappy fortune that I little esteemed mine own danger, and went willingly to eat of these roses, though I knew them to be present poyson: and as I drew neere I saw a yong man that seemed to be the gardener, come upon mee, and when he perceived that I had devoured all his hearbes in the garden, he came swearing with a great staffe n his hand, and laid upon me in such sort, that I was well nigh dead, but I speedily devised some remedy my self, for I lift up my legs and kicked him with my hinder heels, that I left him lying at the hill foot wel nigh slain, and so I ran away. Incontinently came out his wife, who seeing her husband halfe dead, cried and howled in pittifull sort, and went toward her husband, to the intent that by her lowd cries shee might purchase to me present destruction. Then all the persons of the town, moved by her noise came forth, and cried fro dogs to teare me down. Out came a great company of Bandogs and mastifes, more fit to pul down bears and lions than me, whom when I beheld I thought verily I should presently die: but I turned myself about, and ranne as fast as ever I might to the stable from whence I came. Then the men of the towne called in their dogs, and took me and bound mee to the staple of a post, and scourged me with a great knotted whip till I was well nigh dead, and they would undoubtedly have slaine me, had it not come to passe, that what with the paine of their beating, and the greene hearbes that lay in my guts, I caught such a laske that I all besprinkled their faces with my liquid dung, and enforced them to leave off.

Next: The Nineteenth Chapter