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The Golden Ass

By Lucius Apuleius All Rights Reserved ©

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Chapter 2

Of the deceipt of a Woman which made her husband Cuckold.

There was a man dwelling in the towne very poore, that had nothing but that which he got by the labour and travell of his hands: his wife was a faire young woman, but very lascivious, and given to the appetite and desire of the flesh. It fortuned on a day, that while this poore man was gone betimes in the morning to the field about his businesse, according as he accustomed to doe, his wives lover secretly came into his house to have his pleasure with her. And so it chanced that during the time that shee and he were basking together, her husband suspecting no such matter, returned home praising the chast continency of his wife, in that hee found his doores fast closed, wherefore as his custome was, he whistled to declare his comming. Then his crafty wife ready with shifts, caught her lover and covered him under a great tub standing in a corner, and therewithall she opened the doore, blaming her husband in this sort: Commest thou home every day with empty hands, and bringest nothing to maintaine our house? thou hast no regard for our profit, neither providest for any meate or drinke, whereas I poore wretch doe nothing day and night but occupie my selfe with spinning, and yet my travell will scarce find the Candels which we spend. O how much more happy is my neighbour Daphne, that eateth and drinketh at her pleasure and passeth the time with her amorous lovers according to her desire. What is the matter (quoth her husband) though Our Master hath made holiday at the fields, yet thinke not but I have made provision for our supper; doest thou not see this tub that keepeth a place here in our house in vaine, and doth us no service? Behold I have sold it to a good fellow (that is here present) for five pence, wherefore I pray thee lend me thy hand, that I may deliver him the tub. His wife (having invented a present shift) laughed on her husband, saying: What marchant I pray you have you brought home hither, to fetch away my tub for five pence, for which I poore woman that sit all day alone in my house have beene proffered so often seaven: her husband being well apayed of her words demanded what he was that had bought the tub: Looke (quoth she) he is gone under, to see where it be sound or no: then her lover which was under the tub, began to stirre and rustle himselfe, and because his words might agree to the words of the woman, he sayd: Dame will you have me tell the truth, this tub is rotten and crackt as me seemeth on every side. And then turning to her husband sayd: I pray you honest man light a Candle, that I may make cleane the tub within, to see if it be for my purpose or no, for I doe not mind to cast away my money wilfully: he by and by (being made a very Oxe) lighted a candle, saying, I pray you good brother put not your selfe to so much paine, let me make the tub cleane and ready for you. Whereupon he put off his coate, and crept under the tub to rub away the filth from the sides. In the meane season this minion lover cast his wife on the bottome of the tub and had his pleasure with her over his head, and as he was in the middest of his pastime, hee turned his head on this side and that side, finding fault with this and with that, till as they had both ended their businesse, when as he delivered seaven pence for the tub, and caused the good man himselfe to carry it on his backe againe to his Inne.

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