Ancient Greek: As a young lion, venturing for the first time out of the den, drawn to the brightness of Helios and the rustle of leaves, is caught unaware by hunters and runs for his life, bounding over stones with ragged breath, so the late student, suckling of wisdom, hurried to the gymnasium.
Hittite: For the ritual of the late apprentice. When a scribal apprentice is continually late to work, I prepare the following: 3 sour breads, 1 bowl of water, 1 cu[p of … ] a little bit of red string, blue string, a stylus, a snail (?), a piglet, clay models of hands, 2 jugs of beer, a palm frond, fingernail clippings from the apprentice’s master, watercress (?), a stool… (continue for 15 lines)
Akkadian: If a scribal apprentice is accused of being late to work and the accuser produces three witnesses, the scribal apprentice shall have his hands cut off. If the apprentice is accused again, he shall be put to death. But if the accuser cannot produce three witnesses, then he shall be put to death.
Sumerian: The apprentice roams the city during the day. The apprentice always roams the city [during the day. The appre]ntice, the ungrateful (`?) child, always roams the city during the day. When the master asks [ … ] late. The clay is not patted into a tablet. The holy (or shining, or lapis lazuli?) stylus is not taken up. The master [ … ] drinking beer.¹
¹See Attinger who interprets this text not as a schoolmaster’s complaint but as a metaphor for sacred marriage.