Korēthron

Broom-water-buckets

“Ὁπότε γὰρ ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ διῆγον ἔτι νέος ὤν, ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐπὶ παιδείας προφάσει ἀποσταλείς, ἐπεθύμησα εἰς Κοπτὸν ἀναπλεύσας ἐκεῖθεν ἐπὶ τὸν Μέμνονα ἐλθὼν ἀκοῦσαι τὸ θαυμαστὸν ἐκεῖνο ἠχοῦντα πρὸς ἀνίσχοντα τὸν ἥλιον. ἐκείνου μὲν οὖν ἤκουσα οὐ κατὰ τὸ κοινὸν τοῖς πολλοῖς ἄσημόν τινα φωνήν, ἀλλά μοι καὶ ἔχρησεν ὁ Μέμνων αὐτὸς ἀνοίξας γε τὸ στόμα ἐν ἔπεσιν ἑπτά, καὶ εἴ γε μὴ περιττὸν ἦν, αὐτὰ ἂν ὑμῖν εἶπον τὰ ἔπη. κατὰ δὲ τὸν ἀνάπλουν ἔτυχεν ἡμῖν συμπλέων Μεμφίτης ἀνὴρ τῶν ἱερῶν γραμματέων, θαυμάσιος τὴν σοφίαν καὶ τὴν παιδείαν πᾶσαν εἰδὼς τὴν Αἰγύπτιον ἐλέγετο δὲ τρία καὶ εἴκοσιν ἔτη ἐν τοῖς ἀδύτοις ὑπόγειος ᾠκηκέναι μαγεύειν παιδευόμενος ὑπὸ τῆς Ἴσιδος.”—”Παγκράτην,” ἔφη ὁ Ἀρίγνωτος, “λέγεις ἐμὸν διδάσκαλον, ἄνδρα ἱερόν, ἐξυρημένον, ἐν ὀθονίοις, ἀεὶ νοήμονα, οὐ καθαρῶς ἑλληνίζοντα, ἐπιμήκη, σιμόν, πρόχειλον, ὑπόλεπτον τὰ σκέλη.”—”αὐτόν,” ἦ δ’ ὅς, “ἐκεῖνον τὸν Παγκράτην καὶ τὰ μὲν πρῶτα ἠγνόουν ὅστις ἦν, ἐπεὶ δὲ ἑώρων αὐτὸν εἴ ποτε ὁρμίσαιμεν τὸ πλοῖον ἄλλα τε πολλὰ τεράστια ἐργαζόμενον, καὶ δὴ καὶ ἐπὶ κροκοδείλων ὀχούμενον καὶ συννέοντα τοῖς θηρίοις, τὰ δὲ ὑποπτήσσοντα καὶ σαίνοντα ταῖς οὐραῖς, ἔγνων ἱερόν τινα ἄνθρωπον ὄντα, κατὰ μικρὸν δὲ φιλοφρονούμενος ἔλαθον ἑταῖρος αὐτῷ καὶ συνήθης γενόμενος, ὥστε πάντων ἐκοινώνει μοι τῶν ἀπορρήτων. καὶ τέλος πείθει με τούς μὲν οἰκέτας ἅπαντας ἐν τῇ Μέμφιδι καταλιπεῖν, αὐτὸν δὲ μόνον ἀκολουθεῖν μετ’ αὐτοῦ, μὴ γὰρ ἀπορήσειν ἡμᾶς τῶν διακονησομένων· καὶ τὸ μετὰ τοῦτο οὕτω διήγομεν. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἔλθοιμεν εἴς τι καταγώγιον, λαβὼν ἂν ὁ ἀνὴρ ἢ τὸν μοχλὸν τῆς θύρας ἢ τὸ κόρηθρον ἢ καὶ τὸ ὕπερον περιβαλὼν ἱματίοις ἐπειπών τινα ἐπῳδὴν ἐποίει βαδίζειν, τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασιν ἄνθρωπον εἶναι δοκοῦντα. τὸ δὲ ἀπιὸν ὕδωρ τε ἐμπίπλη καὶ ὠψώνει καὶ ἐσκεύαζεν καὶ πάντα δεξιῶς ὑπηρέτει καὶ διηκονεῖτο ἡμῖν εἶτα ἐπειδὴ ἅλις ἔχοι τῆς διακονίας, αὖθις κόρηθρον τὸ κόρηθρον ἢ ὕπερον τὸ ὕπερον ἄλλην ἐπῳδὴν ἐπειπὼν ἐποίει ἄν. τοῦτο ἐγὼ πάνυ ἐσπουδακὼς οὐκ εἶχον ὅπως ἐκμάθοιμι παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ ἐβάσκαινε γάρ καίτοι πρὸς τὰ ἄλλα προγειρότατος ὤν. μιᾷ δέ ποτε ἡμέρᾳ λαθὼν ἐπήκουσα τῆς ἐπῳδῆς, ἦν δὲ τρισύλλαβος σχεδόν, ἐν σκοτεινῷ ὑποστάς. καὶ ὁ μὲν ᾤχετο εἰς τὴν αγορὰν ἐντειλάμενος τῷ ὑπέρῳ ἃ ἔδει ποιεῖν. ἐγὼ δὲ εἰς τὴν ὑστεραίαν ἐκείνου τι κατὰ τὴν ἀγορὰν πραγματευομένου λαβὼν τὸ ὕπερον σχηματίσας ὁμοίως, ἐπειπὼν τὰς συλλαβάς, ἐκέλευσα ὑδροφορεῖν. ἐπεὶ δὲ ἐμπλησάμενον τὸν ἀμφορέα ἐκόμισε, “πέπαυσο,” ἔφην, “καὶ μηκέτι ὑδροφόρει, ἀλλ’ ἴσθι αὖθις ὕπερον·” τὸ δὲ οὐκέτι μοι πείθεσθαι ἤθελεν, ἀλλ’ ὑδροφόρει ἀεί, ἄχρι δὴ ἐνέπλησεν ἡμῖν ὕδατος τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπαντλοῦν. ἐγὼ δὲ ἀμηχανῶν τῷ πράγματι—ἐδεδίειν γὰρ μὴ ὁ Παγκράτης ἐπανελθὼν ἀγανακτήσῃ, ὅπερ καὶ ἐγένετο—ἀξίνην λαβὼν διακόπτω τὸ ὕπερον εἰς δύο μέρη· τὰ δέ, ἑκάτερον τὸ μέρος, ἀμφορέας λαβόντα ὑδροφόρει καὶ ἀνθ’ ἑνὸς δύο μοι ἐγεγένηντο οἱ διάκονοι. ἐν τούτῳ καὶ ὁ Παγκράτης ἐφίσταται καὶ συνεὶς τὸ γενόμενον ἐκεῖνα μὲν αὖθις ἐποίησε ξύλα, ὥσπερ ἦν πρὸ τῆς ἐπῳδῆς, αὐτὸς δὲ ἀπολιπών με λαθὼν οὐκ ὅποι ἀφανὴς ᾤχετο ἀπιών.”
(Lucian, Philopseudes 33-36)

‘When I was living in Egypt as a young man, where my father had sent me for my education, I was eager to sail up to Koptos, and go from there to the statue of Memnon and hear it make that marvellous sound to greet the rising sun. Well, I did hear a voice, but not the usual meaningless one that most people hear: Memnon actually opened his mouth and gave me an oracle in seven verses; and if it wasn’t adding superfluous detail I would recite the actual lines. But on the voyage up one of our fellow-passengers happened to be a man from Memphis, one of the temple scribes, remarkably learned, and knowledgeable about the whole culture of the Egyptians. He was said to have lived for twenty-three years underground in their shrines, learning magic arts from Isis.’ ‘You’re referring to Pancrates,* my own teacher,’ said Arignotus, ‘a holy man, always close-shaven, intelligent, not fluent in Greek, tall, snub-nosed, with prominent lips and rather thin legs.’ ‘That’s Pancrates himself,’ he replied. ‘At first I didn’t know who he was, but when I saw him performing numerous marvels whenever we came to anchor, especially riding on crocodiles and swimming along with the beasts, as they fawned on him and wagged their tails, I realized that he was a holy man, and gradually through friendly intercourse I found myself becoming his comrade and intimate, so that he shared all his esoteric knowledge with me. Eventually he persuaded me to leave behind all my servants in Memphis and to go along with him alone, as we would not lack attendants to serve us, and so we proceeded thereafter. And whenever we came to a lodging-place, he would take the bar of the door or a broom or even the pestle, dress it in clothes, utter a spell and make it walk, looking to everyone else like a man. Then it would go off, draw water, buy food, prepare meals, and in everything serve and wait on us dexterously. Then, when Pancrates was finished with its ministrations, he would once more make the broom a broom or the pestle a pestle by uttering another spell on it. I was very eager to learn how to do this from him, but I couldn’t, because he kept it to himself, though he was most obliging in everything else. But one day I secretly overheard the spell––it consisted of only three syllables––by standing in a dark corner near to him. Then he went away to the market-square, having given the pestle its orders. So on the next day, while he was doing some business in the square, I took the pestle, dressed it in the usual way, uttered the syllables, and ordered it to bring some water. When it had filled the jar and brought it, I said, “Stop: no more water. Be a pestle once more.” But it now refused to obey me, and went on bringing water, until it filled our house with a flood of water. The situation caused me to panic, for I was afraid that Pancrates would return and be angry (which indeed happened), and I seized an axe and chopped the pestle in two. But each half took a jar and brought in water, so that I now had two servants instead of one. Meanwhile, Pancrates arrived back, and sizing up the situation made them wood again, as they were before the spell; then he himself deserted me when I wasn’t looking, and vanished, I know not where.’ (tr. Charles Desmond Nuttall Costa)

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