Seventh Heaven

Engraving by Virgil Solis (1563)

Something wonderful happened to me. I was transported into the seventh heaven. All the gods sat there in assembly. By special grace I was accorded the favour of a wish. ‘Will you,’ said Mercury, ‘have youth, or beauty, or power, or a long life, or the prettiest girl, or any other of the many splendours we have in our chest of knick-knacks? So choose, but just one thing.’ For a moment I was at a loss. Then I addressed myself to the gods as follows: ‘Esteemed contemporaries, I choose one thing: always to have the laughter on my side.’ Not a single word did one god offer in answer; on the contrary they all began to laugh. From this I concluded that my prayer was fulfilled and that the gods knew how to express themselves with taste, for it would hardly have been fitting gravely to answer, ‘It has been granted you.’