This is one of the chapters from A Traveller’s True Tale by Lucian and translated by Alfred J. Church.
While I lived in Moonland, I saw not a few new and strange things, which I shall now proceed to relate to such as care to hear them. They use but one kind of food only. There are great multitudes of frogs flying about in the air; these they catch and, lighting a fire, cook them upon the coals; and while the frogs are a-cooking, they sit around the fire, just as men sit around a table, and swallow the smoke, thinking it indeed to be the finest thing in the world. This is the meat with which they are nourished. As for drink, they pound air in a mortar till it gives out a certain liquid very like to dew.
None are counted so beautiful among this people as they that are altogether bald and without hair. Such as have their hair long they hate and abominate. But with those that dwell in the hairy stars which we call the comets, ’tis far otherwise, for they hold long-haired men in great admiration.
This and other things about the Comet Folk I heard from some of them who were on their travels in Moonland.
Beards they all have, but these grow a little above the knee. They have no nails on their feet, which are indeed of one toe only. When they shed tears, these tears are honey, very sharp in taste, they told me, for this I do not know of my own experience; and when they sweat at their labor or their games, the sweat is milk. Aye, and they make good sound cheese thereof, with somewhat of the honey dropped in to set it. Their oil olive they make of onions, very clear, and the most sweet-smelling thing that can be imagined.
There are many vines in Moonland, but they bear water, not wine; for the grapes in the clusters are hailstones, and, when the wind shakes the vines, the clusters are broken and the grapes fall. From these, I take it, comes the hail which falls upon the Earth. Their stomachs they use for pouches, putting into them such things as they have need of, for they can be opened and shut at pleasure. They have no liver within them, or such other organs as men are wont to have. Only these said pouches are covered very thickly in the inside of them with hair; and the young ones, if they chance to be cold, use them for shelter.
As for their clothing, ’tis different according to their station. The rich have garments of glass, very soft and pleasant, but the poor wear woven stuffs of bronze. You must know that the country produces bronze in great plenty. They steep this in water and so work it, just as wool is worked.
As to what I have to write concerning their eyes and their fashion of using them, I fear it will seem to some a thing altogether incredible. For this reason I am scarcely willing to tell it, yet judge it best, on the whole, so to do. Their eyes, then, they can take out and put in at their will, so that a man, if it so please him, can take his eyes from their place, and keep them by him till he have occasion to see. Many of them lose their eyes and are compelled to shift as they can, borrowing from others. Some, too, that are of the richer sort have a great store of eyes laid up by them. For ears they have the leaves of plane trees, but some also have ears of wood.
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When one of the Moon Folk has come to extreme old age, he dies not, but vanishes away like smoke into the air.
One more marvelous thing I must tell of that I saw in King Endymion’s palace. There was a well, not deeper than wells commonly are, and set over it a great mirror. Any man that went down into this well heard everything that was being said here upon the Earth; and if he looked into the mirror, he saw every nation and every city that there is in all the world as plain as though he were there. I myself looked into this mirror and saw my own kinsfolk and the country in which I was born; but whether they also saw me, I cannot say for certain.
So much then about the Moon Folk and their customs; and to any man that does not believe what I have written, I will say this, that whenever he should chance to go to that country he will find that I have told the truth.