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[4] And when Mopsus asked Calchas concerning a pregnant sow, “ How many pigs has she in her womb, and when will she farrow?” Calchas answered, “ Eight.” But Mopsus smiled and said,“ The divination of Calchas is the reverse of exact; but I, as a son of Apollo and Manto, am extremely rich in the sharp sight which comes of exact divination, and I divine that the number of pigs in the womb is not eight, as Calchas says, but nine, and that they are all male and will be farrowed without fail tomorrow at the sixth hour.” So when these things turned out so, Calchas died of a broken heart and was buried at Notium.1


1 Compare Strab. 14.1.27; Tzetzes, Scholiast on Lycophron 427-430, 980. From Strabo we learn that the riddle of Calchas concerning the wild fig-tree was recorded by Hesiod, and that the riddle of Mopsus concerning the sow was recorded by Pherecydes. Our authorities vary somewhat in regard to the latter riddle. According to Pherecydes, the true answer was, “Three little pigs, and one of them a female.” According to Tzetzes, Calchas could not solve the riddle, so Mopsus solved it by saying that the sow would farrow ten little pigs, of which one would be a male. Strabo also tells us that the oracle which doomed Calchas to death whenever he should meet a diviner more skilful than himself, was mentioned by Sophocles in his play The Demand for Helen. As to that play, see The Fragments of Sophocles, ed. A. C. Pearson, vol. i. pp. 121ff. A different story of the rivalry of the two seers is told by Conon 6.

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