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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 [p. 12] 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.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1928)
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