Scene: Somewhere in the underworld. Through the semi-darkness crowds of skeletons can be seen wandering aimlessly about a vast plain covered with small white flowers called asphodels. Menippus, however, is using his time more profitably. He is carrying out a scientific investigation into the factual basis of mythology. Catching sight of Tiresias, he hurries up to him.
MENIPPUS: Ah, Tiresias! First of all let's see if you're really blind or not. [Examining him closely.] But of course it's not an easy point to decide, since none of us have got any eyes down here anyway, only empty sockets. So one really can't tell if a man was originally as blind as a bat or as sharp as a lynx. However, I'm sure I've read somewhere that you were a prophet, and the only person in the world who has been both a male and a female. So for heaven's sake do tell me which life you enjoyed most, a man's or a woman's?
TIRESIAS: It was much more fun being a woman, Menippus - one had so much less to do. Besides, women can always boss their husbands around, and never have to fight or do sentry duty in wartime, or attend public meetings, or act as jurymen.
MENIPPUS: But Tiresias, haven't you read that passage in Euripides, 1 where Medea is being very sorry for women, and saying what a wretched time they have, and what unbearable agony they suffer in child-birth? Which reminds me of another thing - when you were a woman, did you ever have a baby, or were you sterile and childless throughout that period of your life?
TIRESIAS [suspiciously]: Why exactly do you ask, Menippus?
MENIPPUS [innocently]: Oh, I don't mean any harm, Tiresias - but do just tell me, if it isn't too much trouble.
TIRESIAS: Well, of course I wasn't sterile - but I didn't ever actually have a baby.
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Publication information: Book title: Satirical Sketches. Contributors: Lucian - Author, Paul Turner - Translator. Publisher: Indiana University Press. Place of publication: Bloomington, IN. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 74.
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