When we entered into the house, Thales raising his
voice enquired where it was his worship refused to be placed;
which being shown him, he sat himself in that very place,
and prayed us to sit down by him, and said, I would gladly
give any money to have an opportunity to sit and eat with Ardalus. This Ardalus was a Troezenian by birth, by profession a minstrel, and a priest of the Ardalian Muses, whose
temple old Ardalus had founded and dedicated. Here
Esop, who was sent from Croesus to visit Periander, and
withal to consult the oracle at Delphi, sitting by and beneath Solon upon a low stool, told the company this fable:
A Lydian mule, viewing his own picture in a river, and
admiring the bigness and beauty of his body, raises his
crest; he waxes proud, resolving to imitate the horse in
his gait and running; but presently, recollecting his extraction, how that his father was but an ass at best, he stops
his career and checks his own haughtiness and bravery.
Chilo replied, after his short laconic way, You are slow and
yet try to run, in imitation of your mule.
Amidst these discourses in comes Melissa and sits her
down by Periander; Eumetis followed and came in as we
were at supper; then Thales calls to me (I sat me down
above Bias), Why do you not make Bias acquainted with
the problems sent him from the King by Niloxenus this
second time, that he may soberly and warily weigh them
Bias answered, I have been already scared with that news.
I have known that Bacchus is otherwise a powerful God,
and for his wisdom is termed λύσιος
, that is, the interpreter;
therefore I shall undertake it when my belly is full of wine.
Thus they jested and reparteed and played one upon another all the while they sat at table. Observing the unwonted frugality of Periander at this time, I considered
with myself that the entertainment of wise and good men
is a piece of good husbandry, and that so far from enhancing a man's expenses in truth it serves to save charge, the
charge (to wit) of costly foreign unguents and junkets, and
the waste of the richest wines, which Periander's state and
greatness required him every day in his ordinary treats to
expend. Such costly provisions were useless here, and Periander's wisdom appeared in his frugality. Moreover, his
lady had laid aside her richer habit, and appeared in an
ordinary, but a very becoming dress.