(SCENE:-A wild and desolate region; only thickets, rocks, and a
single tree are seen. EUELPIDES and PITHETAERUS enter, each with a
bird in his hand.)
EUELPIDES (to his jay)
Do you think I should walk straight for yon tree?
PITHETAERUS (to his crow)
Cursed beast, what are you croaking to me?...to retrace my steps?
Why, you wretch, we are wandering at random, we are exerting
ourselves only to return to the same spot; we're wasting our time.
To think that I should trust to this crow, which has made me cover
more than a thousand furlongs!
And that I, in obedience to this jay, should have worn my toes
down to the nails!
If only I knew where we were....
Could you find your country again from here?
No, I feel quite sure I could not, any more than could Execestides
Aye, aye, my friend, it's surely the road of "alases" we are
That Philocrates, the bird-seller, played us a scurvy trick,
when he pretended these two guides could help us to find Tereus, the
Epops, who is a bird, without being born of one. He has indeed sold us
this jay, a true son of Tharrhelides, for an obolus, and this crow for
three, but what can they do? Why, nothing whatever but bite and
scratch! (To his jay) What's the matter with you then, that you keep
opening your beak? Do you want us to fling ourselves headlong down
these rocks? There is no road that way.
Not even the vestige of a trail in any direction
And what does the crow say about the road to follow?
By Zeus, it no longer croaks the same thing it did.
And which way does it tell us to go now?
It says that, by dint of gnawing, it will devour my fingers.
What misfortune is ours! we strain every nerve to get to the
crows, do everything we can to that end, and we cannot find our way!
Yes, spectators, our madness is quite different from that of Sacas. He
is not a citizen, and would fain be one at any cost; we, on the
contrary, born of an honourable tribe and family and living in the
midst of our fellow-citizens, we have fled from our country as hard as
ever we could go. It's not that we hate it; we recognize it to be
great and rich, likewise that everyone has the right to ruin himself
paying taxes; but the crickets only chirrup among the fig-trees for
a month or two, whereas the Athenians spend their whole lives in
chanting forth judgments from their law-courts. That is why we started
off with a basket, a stew-pot and some myrtle boughs! and have come to
seek a quiet country in which to settle. We are going to Tereus, the
Epops, to learn from him, whether, in his aerial flights, he has
noticed some town of this kind.