While we talked over this matter and others, the
sea rose, clouds gathered from every quarter, and overwhelmed the day in darkness.
The sailors ran to their posts in terror, and furled the sails before the storm. But
the wind did not drive the waves in any one direction, and the helmsman was at a
loss which way to steer. One moment the wind set towards Sicily, very often the
north wind blew off the Italian coast, mastered the ship and twisted her in every
direction; and what was more dangerous than any squall, such thick darkness had
suddenly blotted out the light that the steersman could not even see the whole prow.
Then for a wonder, as the hostile fury of the storm gathered, Lichas trembled and
stretched out his hands to me imploringly, and said, “Help us in our peril,
Encolpius; let the ship have the goddess's robe again and her holy
Be merciful, I implore you, as your way is.”
But even as he shouted the wind blew him into the water, a squall whirled him round
and round repeatedly in a fierce whirlpool, and sucked him down. Tryphaena's
faithful slaves carried her off almost by force, put her in a boat with most of her
luggage, and so rescued her from certain death. . .
I embraced Giton, and wept and cried aloud: “Did we deserve this from the gods,
that they should unite us only when they slay? But cruel Fate does not grant us
even this. Look! even now the waves will upset the boat; even now the angry sea
will sunder a lover's embrace. So if you ever really loved Encolpius, kiss him
while you may, and snatch this last joy as Fate swoops down upon you.” As
I spoke Giton took[p. 241]
off his clothes, and I covered him with my shirt
as he put up his head to be kissed. And that no envious wave should pull us apart as
we clung to each other, he put his belt round us both and tied it tight,
saying,“Whatever happens to us, at least we shall be locked together a
long while as the sea carries us, and if the sea has pity and will cast us up on
the same shore, some one may come by and put stones over us out of ordinary
human kindness, or the last work of the waves even in their wrath will be to
cover us with the unconscious sand.” I let him bind me for the last time,
and then waited, like a man dressed for his death-bed, for an end that had lost its
bitterness. Meanwhile by Fate's decree the storm rose to its height, and took by
violence all that was left of the ship. No mast, no helm, no rope or oar remained on
her. She drifted on the waves like a rough and unshapen lump of wood. . . .
Some fishermen in handy little boats put out to seize their prey. When they saw some
men alive and ready to fight for their belongings, they altered their savage plans
and came to the rescue. . .