How Apuleius was handled by the Bakers wife, which was a harlot.
The Baker which bought me was an honest and sober man; but his wife was the most pestilent woman in all the world, insomuch that he endured many miseries and afflictions with her, so that I my selfe did secretly pitty his estate, and bewaile his evill fortune: for she had not one fault alone, but all the mischiefes that could be devised: shee was crabbed, cruell, lascivious, drunken, obstinate, niggish, covetous, riotous in filthy expenses, and an enemy to faith and chastity, a despise of all the Gods, whom other did honour, one that affirmed that she had a God by her selfe, wherby she deceived all men, but especially her poore husband, one that abandoned her body with continuall whoredome. This mischievous queane hated me in such sort, that shee commanded every day before she was up, that I should he put into the mill to grind: and the first thing which she would doe in the morning, was to see me cruelly beaten, and that I should grind when the other beasts did feed and take rest. When I saw that I was so cruelly handled, she gave me occasion to learne her conversation and life, for I saw oftentimes a yong man which would privily goe into her chamber whose face I did greatly desire to see, but I could not by reason mine eyes were covered every day. And verily if I had beene free and at liberty, I would have discovered all her abhomination. She had an old woman, a bawd, a messenger of mischiefe that daily haunted to her house, and made good cheere with her to the utter undoing and impoverishment of her husband, but I that was greatly offended with the negligence of Fotis, who made me an Asse, in stead of a Bird, did yet comfort my selfe by this onely meane, in that to the miserable deformity of my shape, I had long eares, whereby I might heare all things that was done: On a day I heard the old bawd say to the Bakers wife:
Dame you have chosen (without my counsell) a young man to your lover, who as me seemeth, is dull, fearefull, without any grace, and dastard-like coucheth at the frowning looke of your odious husband, whereby you have no delight nor pleasure with him: how farre better is the young man Philesiterus who is comely, beautifull, in the flower of his youth, liberall, courteous, valiant and stout against the diligent pries and watches of your husband, whereby to embrace the worthiest dames of this country, and worthy to weare a crowne of gold, for one part that he played to one that was jealous over his wife. Hearken how it was and then judge the diversity of these two Lovers: Know you not one Barbarus a Senator of our towne, whom the vulgar people call likewise Scorpion for his severity of manners? This Barbarus had a gentlewoman to his wife, whom he caused daily to be enclosed within his house, with diligent custody. Then the Bakers wife said, I know her very well, for we two dwelleth together in one house: Then you know (quoth the old woman) the whole tale of Philesiterus? No verily (said she) but I greatly desire to know it: therefore I pray you mother tell me the whole story. By and by the old woman which knew well to babble, began to tell as followeth.