3. Macrobius, Somn. 1.2.8

 

Text & translation: Loeb

Fabulae, quarum nomen indicat falsi professionem, aut tantum conciliandae auribus voluptatis aut adhortationis quoque in bonam frugem gratia repertae sunt. Auditum mulcent vel comoediae, quales Menander eiusve imitatores agendas dederunt, vel argumenta fictis casibus amatorum referta, quibus vel multum se Arbiter exercuit vel Apuleium non numquam lusisse miramur. Hoc totum fabularum genus quod solas aurium delicias profitetur e sacrario suo in nutricum cunas sapientiae tractatus eliminat.


Fables—this very name acknowledges their falsity—serve either merely to gratify the ear or to encourage good works. Our ears are charmed by the comedies of Menander and his imitators, or by the narratives full of imaginary vicissitudes of lovers in which Petronius Arbiter so freely indulged and with which Apuleius, astonishingly, often amused himself. A philosophical treatise expels this whole category of fables that promises only to gratify the ear from its shrine and relegates them to nurses’ cradles.