The Rich Suitor and the Poor One

The New Fables—attributed to Phædrus
Fortune sometimes favours Men beyond their hopes and expectations.
Two Youths were courting a Maiden at the same time; the Rich man got the better of the birth and good looks of the Poor one. When the appointed day for the nuptials had arrived, the woe-begone Lover, because he could not endure his grief, betook himself to some gardens near at hand; a little beyond which, the splendid villa of the Rich man was about to receive the Maiden from her mother’s bosom, as his house in the city seemed not to be roomy enough. The marriage procession is arranged, a great crowd flocks to the scene, and Hymenæus gives the marriage torch. Now an Ass, which used to gain a living for the Poor man, was standing at the threshold of a gate; and it so happens the maidens lead him along, that the fatigues of the way may not hurt the tender feet of the Bride. On a sudden, by the pity of Venus, the heavens are swept by winds, the crash of thunder resounds through the firmament, and brings on a rough night with heavy rain; light is withdrawn from their eyes, and at the same moment a storm of hail, spreading in all directions, beats upon them, frightening and scattering them on all sides, compelling each to seek safety for himself in flight. The Ass runs under the well-known roof close at hand, and with a loud voice gives notice of his presence. The servants run out of doors, behold with admiration the beautiful Maiden, and then go and tell their master. He, seated at table with a few companions, was consoling his passion with repeated draughts. When the news was brought him, exulting with delight, both Bacchus and Venus exhorting him, he celebrated his joyous nuptials amid the applauses of his comrades. The bride’s parents sought their daughter through the crier, while the intended Husband grieved at the loss of his Wife. After what had taken place became known to the public, all agreed in approving of the favour shown by the Gods of heaven.