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A terrifying vigil

Apuleius tells a scary story about a young man who is hired to guard a body the night before its funeral : he is told that the local witches will try to mutilate the body to get ingredients for their magic potions! (Roman witches apparently kept weasels as pets).

There are two recordings of this passage : the girl who was awarded First Prize at the 2005 Gloucestershire Classical Association Latin and Greek Reading Competition and a runner-up.

You may like to print out the passage below so that you can follow it when the recording begins ...

Listen to version 1.

Listen to version 2.

sic desolatus ad cadaveris solacium, perfrictis oculis et paratis ad vigiliam, dum animum meum permulcebam cantationibus, usque ad mediam noctem pervigilabam.

tum autem mihi formido cumulatior cum repente introrepens mustela contra me constitit oculosque in me fixit. tanta fiducia in tantulo animali mihi turbavit animum.

denique sic illi 'abi' inquam 'scelesta bestia, antequam meam vim celeriter experiaris! abi!'

mustela terga vertit et e cubiculo protinus exit. sine mora somnus tam profundus me repente demergit, ut ne deus quidem Delphicus ipse facile discernere posset ex duobus nobis iacentibus, quis esset magis mortuus.

tandem prima luce expergitus et magno pavore perterritus cadaver accurro, et admoto lumine revelatoque eius vultu, omnia diligenter inspicio: nihil deest.

ecce uxor misera flens introrumpit: cadavere inspecto reddit sine mora praemium.

- and if you want to know the rest of the story you can read Apuleius' novel 'The Golden Ass' for the horrifying sequel!

Click here for a complete list of spoken passages.