Philemon, The Soldier (Stratiotes), fr. 82
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What a longing has come over me to come here and tell heaven and earth of the dish I have created! By Athena, it’s nice to be successful in all respects! How tender my ﬁsh was, how it looked when I served it! Not cosmeticized with cheeses or dolled up with seasonings: like it was in life, so it was when roasted! So soft and gentle the ﬁre I supplied when roasting the ﬁsh, you just won’t believe me! It was like when a hen has picked up something too big to swallow: she runs round in circles keeping an eye on it, anxious to swallow it, and the others chase her. It was the same. The ﬁrst of them to discover how delightful the dish was, jumped up and ran around holding the dish, with the others chasing at his heels. You could have cheered: some of them were snatching a bit, some got nothing, some got the lot. And yet what they were
taking was freshwater ﬁsh that eat mud: if they’d been taking wrasse, or Attic greyﬁsh152 (O Zeus the Saviour!) or catﬁsh from Argos,153
or conger-eel from beloved Sicyon, which Poseidon takes to heaven for the gods, then everyone who ate it would have become gods! I’ve discovered immortality: those who are already dead, when they so much as sniff it, I make them live again.