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mouth of any creature in the world. So likewise a certain Jambulus wrote many incredible wonders of the great sea, that are too palpably untrue for any one to suppose they are not of his own invention, though they are very entertaining to read. Many others have in the same spirit written pretended voyages and occasional peregrinations in unknown regions, wherein they give us incredible accounts of prodigiously huge animals, wild men, and strange and uncouth manners and habits of life. Their great leader and master in this fantastical way of imposing upon people was the famous Homeric Ulysses, who tells a long tale to Alcinous and his silly Phæacians about King Æolus and the winds, who are his slaves, and about one-eyed men-eaters and other the like savages; talks of many-headed beasts, of the transformation of his companions into brutes, and a number of other fooleries of a like nature. For my part I was the less displeased at all the falsehoods, great and numerous as they were, of these honest folks, when I saw that even men who pretend that they only philosophize, act not a hair better; but this has always excited my wonder, how they could imagine their readers would fail of perceiving that there was not a word of truth in all their narratives.
Now, as I cannot resist the vanity of transmitting to posterity a little work of my own composing, and though I have nothing true to relate (for nothing memorable has happened to me in all my life), I see not why I have not as good a right to deal in fiction as another: I resolved, however, to adopt an honester mode of lying than the generality of my compeers : for I tell at least one truth, by saying that I lie ; and the more confidently hope therefore to escape the general censure, since my own voluntary confession is a sufficient proof that I desire to impose upon no one. Accordingly I hereby declare, that I sit down to relate what never befell me ; what I neither saw myself, nor heard by report from others; aye, what is more, about matters that not only are not, but never will be, because in one word they are absolutely impossible, and to which therefore I warn my readers (if by the by I should have any) not to give even the smallest degree of credit.
Once on a time, then, I set sail from Cadiz, and steered my course with a fair wind to the Hesperian ocean. The occasion and the object of my voyage were, to speak honestly, that I had nothing more convenient to think of or to do, and had a certain
restless curiosity to see novelties of whatever kind, and a desire to ascertain where the western ocean terminates, and what sort of men dwell beyond it. In this view my first care was to get on board the necessary stock of provision for so long a voyage, and plenty of fresh water, taking along with me fifty companions of the same mind as myself; and, moreover, I provided myself with a good store of arms, and one of the most experienced pilots, whom I took into my service on an allowance of considerable wages. My vessel was a sort of yacht, but built as large and stout as was necessary for a long and dangerous voyage.
We sailed a day and a night with favorable gales, and while still within sight of land, were not violently carried on; on the following day at sunrise, however, the wind blew fresher, the sea ran high, the sky lowered, and it was impossible even to take in the sails. We were therefore forced to resign ourselves to the wind, and were nine and seventy days driven about by the storm. On the eightieth, however, at daybreak, we descried a high and woody island not far off, against which, the gale having greatly abated, the breakers were not uncommonly furious. We landed therefore, got out, and, happy after sustaining so many troubles to feel the solid earth under us, we stretched ourselves at ease upon the ground. At length, after having rested for some time, we arose, and selected thirty of our company to stay by the ship, while the remaining thirty accompanied me in penetrating farther inland, to examine into the quality of the island.
When we had proceeded about two thousand paces from the shore through the forest, we came up to a pillar of brass, on which in Greek letters, half effaced and consumed by rust, this inscription was legible : Thus far came Bacchus and Hercules. We also discovered, at no great distance from it, two footmarks in the rock, one of which measured a whole acre, but the other was apparently somewhat smaller. I conjectured the lesser one to be that of Bacchus, and the other that of Hercules. We bowed the knee, and went on, but had not proceeded far when we came to a river, that instead of water ran with wine, which both in color and flavor appeared to us like our Chian wine. The river was so broad and deep, that in many places it was even navigable. Such an evident sign that Bacchus had once been here served not a little to confirm our faith in the inscription on the pillar. But being curious to learn whence
this stream derived its origin, we went up to its head; but found no spring, and only a quantity of large vines hung full of clusters, and at the bottom of every stem the wine trickled down in bright transparent drops, from the confluence whereof the stream arose. We saw likewise a vast quantity of fishes therein, the flesh of which had both the color and flavor of the wine in which they lived. We caught some, and so greedily swallowed them down, that as many as ate of them were completely drunk; and on cutting up the fishes we found them to be full of lees. It occurred to us afterwards to mix these wine fishes with water fishes, whereby they lost their strong vinous taste, and yielded an excellent dish.
We then crossed the river at a part where we found it fordable, and came among a wonderful species of vines : which toward the earth had firm stocks, green and knotty ; but upwards they were ladies, having down to the waist their several proportions perfect and complete; as Daphne is depicted, when she was turned into a tree in Apollo's embrace. Their fingers terminated in shoots, full of bunches of grapes, and instead of hair their heads were grown over with tendrils, leaves, and clusters. These ladies came up to us, amicably gave us their hands, and greeted us, some in Lydian, others in Indian language, but most of them in Greek; they saluted us also on the lips; but those whom they kissed immediately became drunk, and reeled. Their fruit, however, they would not permit us to pluck, and screamed out with pain when we broke off a bunch. Some of them even showed an inclination to consort with us; but a couple of my companions, in consenting to it, paid dear for their complaisance. For they got so entangled in their embraces, that they could never after be loosed; but every limb coalesced and grew together with theirs, in such sort as to become one stock with roots in common. Their fingers changed into vine twigs, and began to bud, giving promise of fruit.
Leaving them to their fate, we made what haste we could to our ship, where we related all that we had seen to our comrades, whom we had left behind, particularly the adventure of the two whose embraces with the vine women had turned out so badly. Hereupon we filled our empty casks partly with common water, partly from the wine stream; and after having passed the night not far from the latter, weighed anchor in the morning with a moderate breeze. But about noon, when we had lost sight of the island, we were suddenly caught by a whirlwind, which turned our vessel several times round in a circle with tremendous velocity, and lifted it above three thousand stadia aloft in the air, not setting it down again on the sea, but kept it suspended above the water at that height, and carried us on, with swelled sails, above the clouds.
Having thus continued our course through the sky for the space of seven days and as many nights, on the eighth day we descried a sort of earth in the air, resembling a large, shining, circular island, spreading a remarkably brilliant light around it. We made up to it, anchored our ship, and went on shore, and on examination found it inhabited and cultivated. Indeed, by day we could distinguish nothing: but as soon as the night came on, we discerned other islands in the vicinity, some bigger, some less, and all of a fiery color. There was also, very deep below these, another earth, having on it cities and rivers and lakes and forests and mountains; whence we concluded that it might probably be ours.
Having resolved on prosecuting our journey, we came up with a number of horse vultures or hippogypes, as they are called in this country, who immediately seized our persons. These hippogypes are men who ride upon huge vultures, and are as well skilled in managing them as we are in the use of horses. But the vultures are of a prodigious bulk, and for the most part have three heads; and how large they must be, may be judged of by this, that each of the feathers in their wings is longer and thicker than the mast of a great corn ship. The hippogypes are commissioned to fly round the whole island, and whenever they meet a stranger, to carry him before the king ; with which order we were therefore obliged to comply. The king no sooner spied us, than he understood, I suppose from our dress, what countrymen we were ; for the first word he said to us was, “ The gentlemen then are Greeks.” On our not scrupling to own it, he continued, “How got you hither, through such a vast tract of air as that lying between your earth and this ?” We then told him all that had happened to us. Upon this he was pleased to communicate to us some particulars of his history. He told us : he was likewise a man, and the same Endymion who was long since, while he lay asleep, rapt up from our earth and conveyed hither, where he was appointed king, and is the same that appears to us below as the moon. Moreover, he bade us be of good cheer and apprehend no danger; assuring us at the same that we should be provided with all necessaries : "and," added he, “ when I shall have successfully put a period to the war in which I am at present engaged with the inhabitants of the sun, you shall pass with me the happiest lives you can possibly conceive.” On our asking him what enemies he had, and how the misunderstanding began, he replied:
“ It is now a long time, that Phaeton, the king of the solar inhabitants (for the sun is no less peopled than the moon), has been at war with us, for no other reason than this. I had taken the resolution to send out the poorest people of my dominions as a colony into the morning star, which at that time was waste and void of inhabitants. To this now, Phaeton, out of envy, would not consent, and opposed my colonists with a troop of horse pismires in midway. Being unprepared for the encounter, and therefore not provided with arms, we were for that time forced to retreat. I have now, however, resolved to have another contest with them, and to settle my colony there, cost what it will. If you therefore have a mind to take part in this enterprise, I will furnish you with vultures out of my own mews, and provide you with the necessary arms and accouterments; and to-morrow we will begin our march.”
“With all my heart," I replied, “whenever you please.”
The king that evening made us sit down to an entertainment; and on the following morning early we made the necessary preparations, and drew up in battle array, our scouts having apprised us that the enemy was approaching. Our army consisted, besides the light infantry, the foreign auxiliaries, the engineers and sutlers, of a hundred thousand men : that is to say, eighty thousand horse vultures, and twenty thousand who were mounted on cabbage fowl. These are an exceedingly numerous species of birds, that instead of feathers are thickly grown over with cabbages, and have a broad kind of lettuce leaves for wings. Our flanks were composed of bean shooters and garlic throwers. In addition to these, thirty thousand flea guards and fifty thousand wind coursers were sent to our aid from the bean star. The former are archers mounted on a kind of fleas which are twelve times as big as an elephant; but the wind coursers, though they fight on foot, yet run without wings in the air. This is performed in the following manner: they wear wide, long gowns, reaching down to the ankles ; these they tuck up so as to hold the wind, like a sail,