THE ATHENIAN AND THE THEBAN
A man from Athens was journeying together with a man from Thebes in Boeotia.
As you would expect, they struck up a conversation. The talk soon turned to
heroes, and the men made all sorts of extravagant and pointless claims. The
man from Thebes ended up singing the praises of Heracles, Alcmena's son, saying
that he was the greatest hero who ever lived on this earth and that he had now
taken his place among the gods. The man from Athens replied that Theseus was
mightier by far, since he had enjoyed a truly divine fortune in his lifetime,
while Heracles had been a slave. With that argument, the Athenian won the debate,
for he was a glib speaker. His opponent was only a Boeotian, after all, and
could not hope to compete with the Athenian in words. 'Enough!' the Boeotian
said, 'You win!' Then he added with a bit of rustic inspiration, 'And may Theseus
vent his anger on us, and Heracles on you Athenians!'