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time, and of youth in general, this relationship proves later to be actually strangely unfeeling. After Lucius has been turned into an ass, and the robbers have broken into the house of Milo and Pamphile, he never bothers to ask himself what became of Photis. He worries about his money and about his horse, but not about her, which shows a rather amazing lack of feeling. After all, he has had a very nice time with this beautiful girl, and she has very generously offered him her love, as he also has made her happy. We know from other stories and from the sociological insight they allow that Photis, after her captivity by the robbers, could not expect a nice life. The robbers would either kill her or make her a slave, and what it meant to be a slave we learn later throughout the book. But Lucius never asks a question about her, which shows clearly that he does not react quite as he should. In modern terms we would say that he has a feeling deficiency, which is very elegantly covered up by the love scene. We know that Lucius gets turned into an ass by mistake, for he really wants to turn into a bird, or a winged being, but Photis uses the wrong box of ointment. This must be an unconscious revenge on her part! She probably feels that something is lacking, that he does not care for her in the most simple human way. She plays another trick on him when she is supposed to secretly obtain Pamphile’s lover’s hair from the hairdresser. The hairdresser catches her and takes it from her. So on her way home when she sees a man shearing goatskins in order to make them into bags, she grabs a bunch of them as a substitute. Thus when Pamphile performs her magic rites with these instead of with the hair of her lover, there comes to the gates—not the lover —but only goatskins. Lucius attacks them bravely in the night, since, in the darkness, he believes that they are robbers intent on entering the house, and thus is ridiculed in front of everyone in the city. So twice Photis makes, absolutely involuntarily—with her left hand, so to speak—a little mistake which gets Lucius into trouble. If a woman does that, then she is not happy. Somewhere Photis is not satisfied with her lover, otherwise she would not play those two involuntary tricks. Obviously, something is not right between the two. He is cold, and she takes her revenge by playing these little witch tricks. She is somewhere a bit on the side of the witch, her mistress, so she too is cold somewhere. When a woman plays witch’s tricks it means she does not love; there is a little left-handed calculation which happens behind her back. So, despite this first positive scene, where one has the feeling that Lucius gets into the secrets of life and is

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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