Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/205

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
181
DEATH'S MESSENGERS.

non tamen se oppressurum esse de improuiso benefactorem suum, sed missnrnm prius qui monerent quique indicarent quòd appropinquaret Letum. His policitis Pheræus elatus, animo secure vitam egit, cumque minimè metueret, Letum ad se auferendum adesse cognovit. Questus igitur ille grauissimè perhibetur, se circumuentum fraude arripi, et Lete vanitatem accussasse : neminem enim prænuntiasse aduentum ipsius. Cui Letum narrant demonstrasse, plurimos à se nuntios ad eum peruenisse. Nam et annos ante sex febri, et post duos rursum, grauedine ac destillationibus eum laborasse. Intereaque SEepe cum tussi, sæpe capitis doloribus confiictatum, proximè etiam anbelasse. Quibus omnibus ut accedentis Leti nuntiis non longissimè illud abesse commoneri debuerit. Quin etiam, inquit, paullo ante adventum meum, germanum fratrem ad te misi, veternosum ilium soporem, in quo aliquantisper pro mortuo iacuisti. Ita probata fide sua, quodque promissum fecisset, Pheræum lamentantem et muliebriter eiulantem abripuit.

"Decemur de valetudine imbecillitate et morbis cognoscendam mortalitatem, neque mortem omnibus necessarid oppetendam, nimium perhorrescendam esse."

The fable was not unknown in England. In L'Estrange's Fables (1694) we find a story (No. 350) entitled, "An Old Man that was willing to put off Death," evidently derived from the 149th fable in the Æsop of Abstemius (1519):

"An Old Man that was willing to put off Death.

"There goes a story that Death call'd upon an old man, and bad him come along with him. The man excus'd himself that t' other world was a great journy to take upon so short a warning, and begg'd a little time only to make his will before he dy'd. Why (says Death) you have had warning enough one would think to have made ready before this. In truth, says the Old Man, this is the first time that ever I saw ye in my whole life. That's false says Death, for you have had daily examples of mortality before your eyes in people of all sorts, ages and degrees; and is not the frequent spectacle of other