Welcome
   Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Authors
Works by Aristophanes
Pages of The Birds



Previous | Next
                  

The Birds   


That's fine!
MESSENGER
Its length is one hundred stadia; I measured it myself.
PITHETAERUS
A decent length, by Posidon! And who built such a wall?
MESSENGER
Birds-birds only; they had neither Egyptian brickmaker, nor
stone-mason, nor carpenter; the birds did it all themselves; I could
hardly believe my eyes. Thirty thousand cranes came from Libya with
a supply of stones, intended for the foundations. The water-rails
chiselled them with their beaks. Ten thousand storks were busy
making bricks; plovers and other water fowl carried water into the
air.
PITHETAERUS
And who carried the mortar?
MESSENGER
Herons, in hods.
PITHETAERUS
But how could they put the mortar into the hods?
MESSENGER
Oh! it was a truly clever invention; the geese used their feet
like spades; they buried them in the pile of mortar and then emptied
them into the hods.
PITHETAERUS
Ah! to what use cannot feet be put?
MESSENGER
You should have seen how eagerly the ducks carried bricks. To
complete the tale, the swallows came flying to the work, their beaks
full of mortar and their trowels on their backs, just the way little
children are carried.
PITHETAERUS
Who would want paid servants after this? But tell me, who did
the woodwork?
MESSENGER
Birds again, aid clever carpenters too, the pelicans, for they
squared up the gates with their beaks in such a fashion that one would
have thought they were using axes; the noise was just like a dockyard.
Now the whole wall is tight everywhere, securely bolted and well
guarded; it is patrolled, bell in hand; the sentinels stand everywhere
and beacons burn on the towers. But I must run off to clean myself;
the rest is your business.
(He departs.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS (to PITHETAERUS)
Well! what do you say to it? Are you not astonished at the wall
being completed so quickly?
PITHETAERUS
By the gods, yes, and with good reason. It's really not to be
believed. But here comes another messenger from the wall to bring us
some further news! What a fighting look he has!
SECOND MESSENGER (rushing in)
Alas! alas! alas! alas! alas! alas!
PITHETAERUS
What's the matter?
SECOND MESSENGER
A horrible outrage has occurred; a god sent by Zeus has passed
through our gates and has penetrated the realms of the air without the
knowledge of the jays, who are on guard in the daytime.
PITHETAERUS
It's a terrible and criminal deed. What god was it?
SECOND MESSENGER
We don't know that. All we know is, that he has got wings.
PITHETAERUS
Why were not patrolmen sent against him at once?
SECOND MESSENGER

Previous | Next
Site Search