Odyssea Magistri Craft (Magister Craft’s Odyssey) – 1 – Forum Boarium

Greetings, everyone! My name is Mr. Craft. I am a Roman citizen, and a school teacher. My father was a teacher. My grandfather was also a teacher, but they were great teachers. I am not an incapable teacher, but my students don’t always listen to me. I used to say my students were bad kids, and that still may be true, but I know I can be better. So, I decided to ask the Delphic oracle: how I might become a better teacher. It will be a long journey. But I am very eager to make the journey. First I need some help. Let’s go to my friend’s house! Hi, Annica! How are you? Annica: Hi, Mr. Craft! I am great! What are you up to? Aren’t you supposed to be sailing? Magister Craft: Of course! But first I would like to make a sacrifice. It’s a long trip and I want a good one! Will you help me pick an animal? Your father is a priest, and if anyone can help me, it’s you! A: Of course! I also want to buy a certain animal to cook. Where should we go? MC: Let’s go to the Forum Boarium. A: Great! Let’s go! Magister Craft, why is it called Forum Boarium? MC: Easy! Forum means an open and public space. People come here to sell and buy things. A: Ahh. And Boarium? MC: Look over there. What do you see? A: I see a large golden bull. Therefore, bulls are sold here. I understand. I don’t hear only cattle, but also the sounds of many other animals. MC: As many stars are in the sky, there are just as many animals in the Forum Boarium. Good. So, which animal should I choose? As you know, I have to sail. Therefore I would like to sacrifice to Neptune. A: Oh look, a cow! Mooo! Do you want a cow? MC: Maybe it’s too big. But wait, what did you say? Mooooo? A: That’s the sound of a cow. The cow moos. MC: Great. Oh, here’s a pig. What do you say? Is a pig a good sacrifice? A: Maybe. But do you know what the pig says when it is sacrificed? MC: Not at all. What does it say? A: The pig squeals! MC: Oh my, or, poor pig! No no no no. If the pig is not being sacrificed, what does it say? A: If it is not being sacrificed, the pig grunts. MC: It grunts?! What is the pig’s name? Andreas? A: Clearly! MC: Here is a goat. Would Neptune like a goat? A: Yes, he would like a goat. Do you know what the goat says? MC: Does it twinkle? A: Almost! But it’s a goat, not a star! MC: Not a star? A: Bleat, o bleat, my little goat! MC: Nice! I like the goat. But wait, here is a sheep. Maybe a sheep would be better. Is the sheep good? A: A sheep is good. A sheep says baa. MC: I don’t know. Maybe a sheep is too woolly. Here’s a horse. Can I sacrifice a horse? A: Sure, if you are sacrificing to Mars. MC: Ahh, no, I am sacrificing to Neptune, so no. Do you know what the horse says? A: Of course! The horse whinnies. MC: It whinnies?! And chickens and ducks? A: They aren’t suitable for sacrificing, but maybe for dinner. Before returning home, I want to buy a duck. MC: What do they say? A: A chicken clucks. And a duck quacks. MC: Here are wolves and dogs. I already know I cannot sacrifice them, and you cannot eat them. But I don’t know what they say. A: Right! I don’t want to eat wolves or dogs! Wolves howl. And dogs bark. MC: Here is a peacock. Isn’t the peacock the animal of Juno? A: Of course! Do you want to hear what the peacock says? MC: Yes, yes! A: The peacock says piaow piaow! MC: So the peacock says piaow piaow? That’s a lot of ‘p’s! A: p p Strange Man: Psst! MC: Who? A: Us? SM: What are you looking for? MC: Uh, I am looking for an animal to sacrifice to Neptune. A: And I am looking for dinner. SM: Great! Come with me! I have the best animal for both of you. A: Yeah? SM: Oh yeah! Come, come! MC: Woohoo! Let’s go! Wait, sir! Annica, hurry up! Sir, where are you? A: What’s that? MC: I don’t know, and I don’t see him. Ghost! Run! Run! Run! A: Let’s go!! MC: Holy moly! What was that? What happened? A: I don’t know, but I don’t want to do that again! MC: Now I know what a ghost says! A: Oh yeah? What? MC: A ghost says boo! A: Exactly! Look, lions! Do you know what lions say? MC: No, but I would like to sacrifice that man to these lions! A: Lions roar! MC: Dear Annica, enough. I don’t want to see anything else. I want to buy a goat to sacrifice, and didn’t you say you wanted to buy a duck? A: I did. Let’s go! MC: Thanks so much, my dear friend! A: You are so welcome, my friend! Have a safe trip! MC: Thanks! Bye! A: Bye!

Danny Hutson

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