Juno, Venus, and the Hen

The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
On the Lustfulness of Women.
When Juno was praising her own chastity, Venus did not lose the opportunity of a joke, and, to show that there was no female equal to herself in that virtue, is said to have asked this question of the Hen: “Tell me, will you, with how much food could you be satisfied?” The hen replied: “Whatever you give me will be enough; but still you must let me scratch a bit with my feet.” “To keep you from scratching,” said the Goddess, “is a measure of wheat enough?” “Certainly; indeed it is too much; but still do allow me to scratch.” “In fine,” said Venus, “what do you require, on condition of not scratching at all?” Then at last the hen confessed the weak point in her nature: “Though a whole barn were open for me, still scratch I must.” Juno is said to have laughed at the joke of Venus, for by the Hen she meant the Female Sex.

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