Herodotus on Horse Girls

I. Now much has been written on the subject of the horse girl, her origins and her provenance, her domain and her abilities. Many foolish tales have been passed down by the Greeks about horse girls – that they arose from the Delta after the Nile overflowed, that they are born from the tears of discus-throwers, that tides are the result of their eternal battle with the crane. But I have learned my facts at Memphis from the priests of Vulcan, and even had the story confirmed by the alchemists at Heliopolis, who are known to be the most learned in matters of history of all Egyptians, second only to the Phrygians in antiquity. It is not my intention to reveal all I have learned concerning the horse girls, except that which has already been a matter of public discussion, and only when compelled to do so. [Fragment missing]…what the Persians called the Great Tomboy Migration, which laid waste to so many of their mountain fortresses…

It is true that horse girls have at times been allies of the Hittites, although they do not share a national origin. Together they wrecked the Minoan navy and chased them out of every port on the Great Green, though it is incorrect to refer to horse girls as pirates, as the Mycenaeans did…

II. Cleopatra was not a horse girl, but a snake girl; snake girls and horse girls have several deities in common but their rituals and practices differ so markedly that it is impossible to draw any shared conclusions about them. [Fragment missing]…and ever since there has been not a single cat found in all of Thrace…[Fragment missing] torn apart during the chanting of the hymns, and the flesh of the victim is made great use of by the entire nation.

III. When horse girls meet one another in the streets of a city or on the open road, you may know they are of equal rank by the following token: If they are, instead of speaking, they exchange doodles of horses drawn during a free period. If it be the case that one is inferior in rank, she anxiously trots in place before receiving a whinny in acknowledgement. If the difference in rank is very great, she may make an offering of a Lisa Frank binder. But the horse girl of meanest rank is considered by her sisters to be vastly superior to anyone not of their nation, even the Hittites, who ride very well. They do not make purchases, and have no markets, as we do, but instead trade with one another for anything they need.

IV. They hold that it is unlawful to talk of things unlawful to do. To tell a lie is the most disgraceful thing, they believe, unless the lie concern the number of horses a horse girl has, or an accomplishment or skill their horse possesses; this they consider to be a prediction of the future. Personal honor is held in high regard among them, and they do not consider any man, no matter how skilled in the saddle, to be of their number. The Egyptians believe this exclusionary practice comes from the days when they fought Ramses in Libya…They do not fight on the water, although they possess many boats, preferring to engage their enemy in port. They venerate the dolphin as the horse of the sea.

V. On Whether Alexander the Great could rightly be called a Horse Girl [Fragment missing]…although he did know how to French-braid hair, it cannot properly be said…[End fragment] thus it was that Illyria fell into the sea, taking all the horse girls with it. If you hear tell of a horse girl today, you give room for lies; I have heard this from the priests of Thebes myself, and they obtained their knowledge from the stars.