site logo

Sertorius And His Hind

Scary Books: The Haunters & The Haunted
: NORTH'S "Plutarch"

So soone as Sertorius arriued from Africa, he straight leauied men of

warre, and with them subdued the people of Spaine fronting upon his

marches, of which the more part did willingly submit themselues, upon

the bruit that ran of him to be merciful and courteous, and a valiant

man besides in present danger. Furthermore, he lacked no fine deuises

and subtilties to win their goodwills: as among others, the policy, and

ise of the hind. There was a poore man of the countrey called Spanus,

who meeting by chance one day with a hind in his way that had newly

calued, flying from the hunters, he let the damme go, not being able to

take her; and running after her calfe tooke it, which was a young hind,

and of a strange haire, for she was all milk-white. It chanced so, that

Sertorius was at that time in those parts. So, this poore man presented

Sertorius with his young hind, which he gladly receiued, and which with

time he made so tame, that she would come to him when he called her, and

follow him whereeuer he went, being nothing the wilder for the daily

sight of such a number of armed souldiers together as they were, nor yet

afraid of the noise and tumult of the campe. Insomuch as Sertorius by

little and little made it a miracle, making the simple barbarous people

beleeue that it was a gift that Diana had sent him, by the which she

made him understand of many and sundrie things to come: knowing well

inough of himselfe, that the barbarous people were men easily deceiued,

and quickly caught by any subtill superstition, besides that by art also

he brought them to beleeue it as a thing verie true. For when he had any

secret intelligence giuen him, that the enemies would inuade some part

of the countries and prouinces subject vnto him, or that they had taken

any of his forts from him by any intelligence or sudden attempt, he

straight told them that his hind spake to him as he slept, and had

warned him both to arme his men, and put himselfe in strength. In like

manner if he had heard any newes that one of his lieutenants had wonne a

battell, or that he had any aduantage of his enemies, he would hide the

messenger, and bring his hind abroad with a garland and coller of

nosegayes: and then say, it was a token of some good newes comming

towards him, perswading them withall to be of good cheare; and so did

sacrifice to the gods, to giue them thankes for the good tidings he

should heare before it were long. Thus by putting this superstition into

their heades, he made them the more tractable and obedient to his will,

in so much as they thought they were not now gouerned any more by a

stranger wiser than themselues, but were steadfastly perswaded that they

were rather led by some certaine god.----

Now was Sertorius very heauie, that no man could tell him what was

become of his white hind: for thereby all his subtilltie and finenesse

to keepe the barbarous people in obedience was taken away, and then

specially when they stood in need of most comfort. But by good hap,

certaine of his souldiers that had lost themselves in the night, met

with the hind in their way, and knowing her by her colour, tooke her and

brought her backe againe. Sertorius hearing of her, promised them a good

reward, so that they would tell no liuing creature that they brought her

againe, and thereupon made her to be secretly kept. Then within a few

dayes after, he came abroad among them, and with a pleasant countenance

told the noble men and chiefe captaines of these barbarous people, how

the gods had reuealed it to him in his dreame, that he should shortly

haue a maruellous good thing happen to him: and with these words sate

downe in his chaire to giue audience. Whereupon they that kept the hind

not farre from thence, did secretly let her go. The hind being loose,

when she had spied Sertorius, ranne straight to his chaire with great

joy, and put her head betwixt his legges, and layed her mouth in his

right hand, as she before was wont to do. Sertorius also made very much

of her, and of purpose appeared maruellous glad, shewing much tender

affection to the hind, as it seemed the water stood in his eyes for joy.

The barbarous people that stood there by and beheld the same, at the

first were much amazed therewith, but afterwards when they had better

bethought themselues, for ioy they clapped their hands together, and

waited upon Sertorius to his lodging with great and ioyfull shouts,

saying, and steadfastly beleeuing, that he was a heavenly creature, and

beloued of the gods.