XLVIII. (175) On which account it appears to me that all men who are not utterly uneducated would choose to be mutilated and to be come blind, rather than to see what is not fitting to be seen, to become deaf rather than to hear pernicious discourses, and to have their tongues cut out if that were the only way to prevent their speaking things, which ought not to be spoken. (176) At all events, they say that some wise men, when they have been tortured on the wheel to make them betray secrets which are not worthy to be divulged, have bitten out their tongues, and so have inflicted on their torturers a more grievous torture than they themselves were suffering, as they could not learn from them what they desired; and it is better to be made an eunuch than to be hurried into wickedness by the fury of the illicit passions: for all these things, as they overwhelm the soul in pernicious calamities, are deservedly followed by extreme punishments. (177) Moses says in the next passage that the Lord God set a mark upon Cain in order to prevent any one who found him from slaying him; but what this mark is, he has not shown, although he is in the habit of explaining the nature of everything by a sign, as he does in the affairs of Egypt, where God changed his rod into a serpent, and withered the hand of Moses till it became like snow, and turned the river into blood. (178) Or may we not suppose that this mark was set upon Cain to prevent his being slain, as a token that he would never be destroyed? For he has never once mentioned his death in the whole of the law, showing enigmatically that, like that fabulous monster Scylla, so also folly is an undying evil, which never entirely perishes, and yet which as to its capability of dying receives all time, and is never wholly free from death.