The Lost Ass Found
By Michault De Changy.
_Of a good man of Bourbonnais who went to seek the advice of a wise man
of that place about an ass that he had lost, and how he believed that he
miraculously recovered the said ass, as you will hear hereafter._
In the fair land of Bourbonnais, where many good professions are carried
on, there lived, not long ago, a doctor of God knows what sort, for
Hippocrates or Galen practised the science as he did. For instead
of syrups, decoctions, electuaries, and the hundred thousand other
things that physicians order to preserve the health of man, or restore
it if it is lost, this good doctor of whom I am speaking had only one
method of procedure, and that was to order clysters. Whatever matter was
brought to him, (*) he always exhibited clysters, and generally so well
did this remedy turn out that everyone was satisfied with him, and he
cured them all, so that his fame spread abroad and increased in such
a manner that he was called "Master" Jehan (**) by all, both in the
houses of princes and lords, and in the great abbeys, and in the towns,
and never was Aristotle or Galen so honoured, especially by the common
people, as was our said Master. And his fame so increased that his
advice was asked on every subject, and he was so incessantly in demand
that he did not know what to do. If a woman had a bad, or whimsical, or
capricious husband, she went to this good master for a remedy. In short,
if any could give good advice it was thought that our physician was at
the top of the tree in that respect, and people came to him from all
parts to enquire about lost property.
(*) It was usual to bring the urine of an invalid to the
(**) "Master" was then a title of honour.
It happened one day that a poor foolish countryman had lost his ass, and
after seeking for it a long time, he determined to go to the wise man,
who when he arrived was so surrounded by people that the countryman
could not make himself heard. At last he broke through the crowd, and,
in the presence of many persons, related his case, that is to say that
he had lost his ass, and asked the doctor to get it back for him.
The master, who was listening to others more than to him, just heard the
sound of the words, and thinking he had some infirmity, turned towards
him, and in order to get rid of him, said to his servants,
"Give him a clyster!"
The poor man who had lost his ass, did not know what the master had
said, but he was seized by the physician's servants, who led him away
and gave him a clyster--at which he was much astonished, for he did not
know what it was.
When he had this clyster in his belly, he went away, without saying
anything more about his ass, which he fully believed he should recover.
He had not gone far when his belly was so tossed about that he was
forced to turn aside into a deserted hut, because of the clyster which
demanded to be let out. And when he began, he made such a terrible
noise, that his ass, which chanced to be straying near, began to bray,
and the good man rose up and cried, _Te Deum laudamus_, and went to his
ass, which he believed he had found by means of the clyster which he had
had from the Master, who after that had incomparably more renown than
ever; for he was looked-upon as the sure finder of all lost goods,
and the perfect master of all science, and all this fame sprang from a
Thus have you heard how the ass was found by means of a clyster; it is a
manifest fact, and one that often happens.