The Cappadocian Is that the Queen Herodias, she who wears a black mitre sewed with pearls, and whose hair is powdered with blue dust?

First Soldier Yes; that is Herodias, the Tetrarch’s wife.

Second Soldier The Tetrarch is very fond of wine. He has wine of three sorts. One which is brought from the Island of Samothrace,° and is purple like the cloak of Caesar.°

The Cappadocian I have never seen Caesar.

Second Soldier Another that comes from a town called Cyprus,° and is as yellow as gold.

The Cappadocian I love gold.

Second Soldier And the third is a wine of Sicily. That wine is as red as blood.

The Nubian The gods of my country are very fond of blood. Twice in the year we sacrifice to them young men and maidens: fifty young men and a hundred maidens. But I am afraid that we never give them quite enough, for they are very harsh to us.

The Cappadocian In my country there are no gods left. The Romans have driven them out.° There are some who say that they have hidden themselves in the mountains, but I do not believe it. Three nights I have been on the mountains seeking them everywhere. I did not find them, and at last I called them by their names, and they did not come. I think they are dead.

First Soldier The Jews worship a God that one cannot see.

The Cappadocian I cannot understand that.

First Soldier In fact, they only believe in things that one cannot see.

The Cappadocian That seems to me altogether ridiculous.

The Voice of Iokanaan [From within the cistern] After me shall come another° mightier than I. I am not worthy so much as to unloose the latchet of his shoes. When he cometh the solitary places shall be glad. They shall blossom like the rose. The eyes of the blind shall see the day, and the cars of the deaf shall be opened. The sucking child shall put his hand upon the dragon’s lair, he shall lead the lions by their manes.

Second Soldier Make him be silent. He is always saying ridiculous things.

First Soldier No, no. He is a holy man. He is very gentle, too. Every day when I give him to eat he thanks me.

The Cappadocian Who is he?

First Soldier A prophet.

The Cappadocian What is his name?

First Soldier Iokanaan.

The Cappadocian Whence comes he?

First Soldier From the desert, where he fed on locusts and wild honey.° He was clothed in camel’s hair, and round his loins he had a leathern belt. He was very terrible to look upon. A great multitude used to follow him. He even had disciples.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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