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Supper now ended, and Melissa having distributed the garlands, we offered sacrifice; and when the minstrel had played us a tune or two, she withdrew. Then Ardalus enquired of Anacharsis, if there were women fiddlers at Scythia. He suddenly and smartly replied, There are no vines there. Ardalus asked a second question, whether the Scythians had any Gods among them. Yes, quoth Anacharsis, and they understand what men say to them; nor are the Scythians of the Grecian opinion (however these last may be the better orators), that the Gods are better pleased with the sounds of flutes and pipes than with the voice of men. My friend, saith Esop, what would you say if you saw our present pipe-makers throw away the bones of fawns and hind-calves, to use those of asses, affirming they yield the sweeter and more melodious sound? Whereupon [p. 13] Cleobulina made one of her riddles about the Phrygian flute, ... in regard to the sound, and wondered that an ass, a gross animal and no lover of music, should yet afford bones so fit for harmony. Therefore it is doubtless, quoth Niloxenus, that the people of Busiris accuse us Naucratians of folly for using pipes made of asses' bones, it being an insufferable fault in any of them to listen to the flute or cornet, the sound thereof being (as they esteem it) so like the braying of an ass; and you know an ass is hateful to the Egyptians on account of Typhon.

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load focus English (Frank Cole Babbitt, 1928)
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