The Man raised the hot soup to his mouth and blew on it.

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The Satyr and the Peasant


This story, in both its versions (below), is a favorite of Northern European genre/moral painters: see Johann Liss and Jacob Jordaens in Soup in Art. Interestingly, however, these painters brought the satyr into the peasant's cottage, along with all the family members, the family dog, oxen, and roosters. Clearly they wanted to round off their moral lessons with a rich picture of a contemporary household--not to mention dramatizing the sexual tensions between the satyr and the women in that same household.

A Man had lost his way in a wood one bitter winter's night. As he was roaming about, a Satyr came up to him, and finding that he had lost his way, promised to give him a lodging for the night, and guide him out of the forest in the morning. As he went along to the Satyr's cell, the Man raised both his hands to his mouth and kept on blowing at them. "What do you do that for?" said the Satyr.

"My hands are numb with the cold," said the Man, "and my breath warms them."

After this they arrived at the Satyr's home, and soon the Satyr put a smoking dish of soup before him. But when the Man raised his spoon to his mouth he began blowing upon it. "And what do you do that for?" said the Satyr. "The soup is too hot, and my breath will cool it."

"Out you go," said the Satyr. "I will have nought to do with a man who can blow hot and cold with the same breath."

* * *

A MAN and a Satyr once drank together in token of a bond of alliance being formed between them. One very cold wintry day, as they talked, the Man put his fingers to his mouth and blew on them. When the Satyr asked the reason for this, he told him that he did it to warm his hands because they were so cold. Later on in the day they sat down to eat, and the food prepared was quite scalding. The Man raised the hot soup to his mouth and blew on it. When the Satyr again inquired the reason, he said that he did it to cool the broth, which was too hot. "I can no longer consider you as a friend," said the Satyr, "a fellow who with the same breath blows hot and cold."