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THE BIRDS by Aristophanes, Part 02

EUELPIDES
And the jay is also opening it beak and craning its neck to show
me I know not what. Clearly, there are some birds about here. We shall
soon know, if we kick up a noise to start them.
PITHETAERUS
Do you know what to do? Knock your leg against this rock.
EUELPIDES
And you your head to double the noise.
PITHETAERUS
Well then use a stone instead; take one and hammer with it.
EUELPIDES
Good idea! (He does so.) Ho there, within! Slave! slave!
PITHETAERUS
What's that, friend! You say, "slave," to summon Epops? It would
be much better to shout, "Epops, Epops!
EUELPIDES
Well then, Epops! Must I knock again? Epops!
TROCHILUS (rushing out of a thicket)
Who's there? Who calls my master?
PITHETAERUS (in terror)
Apollo the Deliverer! what an enormous beak!
(He defecates. In the confusion both the jay and the crow fly
away.)
TROCHILUS (equally frightened)
Good god! they are bird-catchers.
EUELPIDES (reassuring himself)
But is it so terrible? Wouldn't it be better to explain things?
TROCHILUS (also reassuring himself)
You're done for.
EUELPIDES
But we are not men.
TROCHILUS
What are you, then?
EUELPIDES (defecating also)
I am the Fearling, an African bird.
TROCHILUS
You talk nonsense.
EUELPIDES
Well, then, just ask it of my feet.
TROCHILUS
And this other one, what bird is it? (To PITHETAERUS) Speak up
PITHETAERUS (weakly)
I? I am a Crapple, from the land of the pheasants.
EUELPIDES
But you yourself, in the name of the gods! what animal are you?
TROCHILUS
Why, I am a slave-bird.
EUELPIDES
Why, have you been conquered by a cock?
TROCHILUS
No, but when my master was turned into a hoopoe, he begged me to
become a bird also, to follow and to serve him.
EUELPIDES
Does a bird need a servant, then?
TROCHILUS
That's no doubt because he was once a man. At times he wants to
eat a dish of sardines from Phalerum; I seize my dish and fly to fetch
him some. Again he wants some pea-soup; I seize a ladle and a pot
and run to get it.
EUELPIDES
This is, then, truly a running-bird. Come, Trochilus, do us the
kindness to call your master.
TROCHILUS
Why, he has just fallen asleep after a feed of myrtle-berries
and a few grubs.
EUELPIDES
Never mind; wake him up.
TROCHILUS
I an; certain he will be angry. However, I will wake him to please
you.
(He goes back into the thicket.)
PITHETAERUS (as soon as TROCHILUS is out of sight)
You cursed brute! why, I am almost dead with terror!
EUELPIDES
Oh! my god! it was sheer fear that made me lose my jay.
PITHETAERUS
Ah! you big coward! were you so frightened that you let go your
jay?
EUELPIDES
And did you not lose your crow, when you fell sprawling on the
ground? Tell me that.
PITHETAERUS
Not at all.
EUELPIDES
Where is it, then?
PITHETAERUS
It flew away.
EUELPIDES
And you did not let it go? Oh! you brave fellow!
EPOPS (from within)
Open the thicket, that I may go out!
(He comes out of the thicket.)
EUELPIDES
By Heracles! what a creature! what plumage! What means this triple
crest?
EPOPS
Who wants me?
EUELPIDES (banteringly)
The twelve great gods have used you ill, it seems.

 

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