The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
Another Fable on the same subject.
Once on a time, two Women had given their guest, Mercury, a mean and sordid entertainment; one of the women had a little son in the cradle, while the profession of a Courtesan had its charms for the other. In order, therefore that he might give a suitable return for their services, when about to depart, and just crossing the threshold, he said: “In me you behold a God; I will give you at once whatever each may wish.” The Mother makes her request, and asks that she may immediately see her Son graced with a beard; the Courtesan requests that whatever she touches may follow her. Mercury flies away—the women return in-doors: behold the infant, with a beard, is crying aloud. The Courtesan happened to laugh heartily at this, on which the humours of the head filled her nostrils, as is often the case. Intending therefore to blow her nose, she seized it with her hand, and drew out its length to the ground; and thus, while laughing at another, she became herself a subject for laughter.

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