Failure. For most, it is an occasional streak of bad luck to be suffered. For others… well, it’s a living.
“The great hulk of the scaled beast lay wheezing before me, and I am not ashamed to say that I was frightened: though it was injured, I knew the dragon could easily tear me in twain. The young monk, however, knelt beside the creature’s head, whispering to it in a strange growling tongue. I questioned the woman, but she ignored me completely, engrossed in examining the scaly monster. After much badgering, she said merely, ‘I do not mean to be rude, but you are quite a distraction. Please, leave me to my work.’” -Jeron’s Great Journeys, Book III, Chapter 4
Rich Romans raised fish in private pools at their villas. A favorite fish was lamprey, a parasitic fish which sucks off blood and flesh but made an excellent meal. A particuarly gruesome punishment for slaves was to be thrown into the lamprey pool, where their flesh was ripped from the bone by swarms of the jawless fish.