No. All birds moult their feathers, you know, every winter, and
others grow in their place. But tell me, who are you?
We? We are mortals.
From what country?
From the land of the beautful galleys.
Are you dicasts?
No, if anything, we are anti-dicasts.
Is that kind of seed sown among you?
You have to look hard to find even a little in our fields.
What brings you here?
We wish to pay you a visit.
Because you formerly were a man, like we are, formerly you had
debts, as we have, formerly you did not want to pay them, like
ourselves; furthermore, being turned into a bird, you have when flying
seen all lands and seas. Thus you have all human knowledge as well
as that of birds. And hence we have come to you to beg you to direct
us to some cosy town, in which one can repose as if on thick
And are you looking for a greater city than Athens?
No, not a greater, but one more pleasant to live in.
Then you are looking for an aristocratic country.
I? Not at all! I hold the son of Scellias in horror.
But, after all, what sort of city would please you best?
A place where the following would be the most important
business: transacted.-Some friend would come knocking at the door
quite early in the morning saying, "By Olympian Zeus, be at my house
early. as soon as you have bathed, and bring your children too. I am
giving a feast, so don't fail, or else don't cross my threshold when I
am in distress."
Ah! that's what may be called being fond of hardships! (To
PITHETAERUS) And what say you?
My tastes are similar.
And they are?
I want a town where the father of a handsome lad will stop in
the street and say to me reproachfully as if I had failed him, "Ah! Is
this well done, Stilbonides? You met my son coming from the bath after
the gymnasium and you neither spoke to him, nor kissed him, nor took
him with you, nor ever once felt his balls. Would anyone call you an
old friend of mine?"
Ah! wag, I see you are fond of suffering. But there is a city of