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While it is yet midsummer command your slaves: “It will not always be summer, build barns.” Avoid the month Lenaeon,1 wretched days, all of them fit to skin an ox, [505] and the frosts which are cruel when Boreas blows over the earth. He blows across horse-breeding Thrace upon the wide sea and stirs it up, while earth and the forest howl. On many a high-leafed oak and thick pine he falls [510] and brings them to the bounteous earth in mountain glens: then all the immense wood roars and the beasts shudder and put their tails between their legs, even those whose hide is covered with fur; for with his bitter blast he blows even through them, although they are shaggy-breasted. [515] He goes even through an ox's hide; it does not stop him. Also he blows through the goat's fine hair. But through the fleeces of sheep, because their wool is abundant, the keen wind Boreas pierces not at all; but it makes the old man curved as a wheel. And it does not blow through the tender maiden [520] who stays indoors with her dear mother, unlearned as yet in the works of golden Aphrodite, and who washes her soft body and anoints herself with oil and lies down in an inner room within the house, on a winter's day when the Boneless One2 gnaws his foot [525] in his fireless house and wretched home; for the sun shows him no pastures to make for, but goes to and fro over the land and city of dusky men,3 and shines more sluggishly upon the whole race of the Hellenes. Then the horned and unhorned denizens of the wood, [530] with teeth chattering pitifully, flee through the copses and glades, and all, as they seek shelter, have this one care, to gain thick coverts or some hollow rock. Then, like the Three-legged One4 whose back is broken and whose head looks down upon the ground, [535] like him, I say, they wander to escape the white snow.

1 The latter part of January and earlier part of February.

2 I.e.the octopus or cuttle.

3 I.e.the dark-skinned people of Africa, the Egyptians or Aethiopians.

4 I.e.an old man walking with a staff (the “third leg”—as in the riddle of the Sphinx).

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