Sunday, December 23, 2007



Thanks to Michael d'Arcy and Dave Lull for answering my question about Aesop. Lawrence M. Wills, The Quest of the Historical Gospel: Mark, John and the Origins of the Gospel Genre (Routledge, 1997), pp. 188-189, translates one version of the anecdote from an anonymous Life of Aesop 28 (G recension):
So Aesop followed along after Xanthos. It was high noon, the hottest part of the day, and since the road was now deserted because of the heat, Xanthos lifted up his robe and began to urinate as he walked along. When Aesop saw this, he became furious, seized the hem of Xanthos' robe, and pulled it. "Sell me," Aesop demanded, "since you won't allow me to run away!"


"Your own puddle accuses you, Xanthos! For if you, a person who is master of his own fate and does not live in fear of blows and punishments, cannot take just a minute to see to his physical needs but urinates while walking, what am I, a slave, supposed to do when I'm sent out on some errand — defecate on the wing?"


"I urinated while walking along to avoid three unpleasant consequences."

"What are they?"

"The heat of the earth, the smell of the urine, and the burning rays of the sun."

"How is that?"

"Do you see that the sun is directly overhead and has scorched the earth? If I stop to urinate, the hot ground burns my feet, the smell of the urine rises up to my nose and irritates my nostrils, and the sun burns my head. Thus, by urinating while walking, I avoided these three unpleasant consequences."

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