Now, to come to us, you’ll ask me, ‘‘What is this you send me? What is this book’s subject? Of what thing have you deemed me worthy?’’ And I answer that I bring you the gift of an Ass: I present you the Ass that will do honor to you, will increase your rank, will place you in the book of eternity. It doesn’t cost you anything to acquire it from me and have it for your own; it won’t cost you anything to maintain it, because it doesn’t eat, doesn’t drink, doesn’t dirty the house. It will be yours eternally, and will last longer than your miter, purple robe, cope, mule, and life—as, without much discussion, you and others may perceive. I have no doubt here, my most reverend monsignor, that the gift of the ass will not be unrewarding to your prudence and piety: I do not say this by reason derived from the custom of presenting great masters not only with a gem, a diamond, a ruby, a pearl, a perfect horse, an excellent vase, but also with an ape, a parrot, a monkey, an ass. And this ass, then, is necessary, exceptional, doctrinal, and not of the ordinary—! The ass of India is precious, and a papal gift in Rome; the ass of Otranto is an imperial gift in Constantinople; the ass of Sardinia is a royal gift in Naples. And the kabbalistic ass, which is ideal and therefore celestial—do you wish it to be less precious in whatever part of the world by whatever personage of rank, when through certain benign and lofty promises we know that one finds the terrestrial even in heaven? I am certain, then, that it will be accepted by you with the same spirit with which it is given you by me.

(Giordano Bruno – The Cabala of Pegasus)


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