Large Promises

A sick Man promises what he doesn’t have to gods. He’s cured, then sent off for treasure. He’s captured and sold as a slave because of unfilled promises.

Do not mock the gods.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

There was a poor sick man, that according to the course of the world, when physicians had given him over, betook himself to his prayers, and vow’d a sacrifice of a thousand oxen ready down upon the nail, to either Apollo, or Aesculapius, which of the two would deliver him from this disease. Ah my dear, (says his wife) have a care what you promise, for where would you have these oxen if you should recover? Sweet heart (says he) thou talkst like a fool. Have the gods nothing else to do, dost think, then to leave their bus’ness, and come down to sue me in an action of debt? They restor’d him however for that bout, to make tryal of his honesty and good faith. He was no sooner up, but for want of living oxen, he made out his number upon past, and offer’d them up in form upon an altar. For this mockery, divine vengeance pursued him, and he had an apparition come to him in a dream, that bad him go and search in such a place near the coast, and he should find a considerable treasure. Away he went, and as he was looking for the mony fell into the hands of pyrates. He begg’d hard for his liberty, and offered a thousand talents of gold for his ransome; but they would not trust him, and so he was carried away, and sold afterwards as a slave for as many groats.


The Dev’ll was sick, the Dev’ll a monk would be; The Dev’ll was well, the Dev’ll a monk was he.

1001Aegrotus et Vota Eius

Vir pauper aegrotans haec Diis olim vovebat, “Dii, si valetudinem recepero, centum boves in sacrificium vobis adducam.” Ipsi itaque, eum experiri volentes, a morbo protinus liberarunt. Is autem, sanitati restitutus, quoniam bobus omnino carebat, centum boves ex farina subacta fictos in ara cremavit, aiens, “O Superi, mea ecce vota explevi.” Dii vero, cum de eo poenas sumere vellent, in somnis oblati, “Ad litus perge,” dixere, “et locum pete quem indicamus, ibique centum auri talenta invenies.” Expergefactus ille, magno cum gaudio in demonstratum locum se contulit aurumque sibi per viam iamiam manibus contrectare videbatur. Illic autem cum in latrones incidisset, ab iisque captus esset, “Dimittite quaeso,” exclamabat, “vobisque mille auri talenta dabo.”

Perry #028