Skip to main content

Full text of "Tales of Troy and Greece"

See other formats

" .; 

\.. , 

-I I 




. ......., . '" 
.. 1 Å '.1 
-t J j I 



of, J.' 

, r 


- :..;,., 

. .........' 



: ""-- .; 





 .;.".f<:: .:
: it..;








· T 


., - 







. j 



, .\' "'\."' ati ,
.. 1''")..''1' Ï' 
-wl.ß [;.,

 /' J.'?I'(
., ,,!-Ia.. ;I
, _oU}.'tI
__, .t. U .
tJ U.üd.tid.{,'-'.LU.t.lo"", 
..c! Po_ -



 W 4 L LS E N [> i 




--s "' .. 







 OOK CLU r:.-.:. 



é c.




 , c;- 
... . Co} .. 
E C;' 




: - ç; 

 þ1emhers' ./fame. 


,....-:: :1 i: i1' 
,; rrT.
... I a..VLO
 . .. 

 .:> ?' c;- . 


 c; J 

 MU_<<.L. ...,.,.... ......... ë !}' 
......." ''1né''n .'1) ", HJ").C"tO:f'OI(1--




Crown Svo. gilt edges, price 6s. each. 

THE BLUE FAIRY BOOK. 'Vith 138 Illustrations. 
THE RED FAIRY BOOK. 'Vith 100 Illustl"ations. 
THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK. With 99 Illustrations. 
THE GREY FAIRY BOOK. With 65 Illustrations. 
THE YELLOW FAIRY BOOK. With 104 Illustra- 
THE PINK FAIRY BOOK. With 67 Illustrations. 
Plates and 54 other Illustrations. 
Plates and 43 other Illustrations. 
THE BROWN FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured 
Plates and 42 other Illustrations. 
THE OLIVE FAIRY BOOK. With 8 Coloured Plates 
amI 43 other Illustrations. 
THE ORANGE FAIRY BOOK. 'Vith 8 Coloured 
Plates and 60 other Illustrations. 
THE BLUE POETRY BOOK. With 100 Illustration"S. 
THE TRUE STORY BOOK. With 66 Illustrations. 
THE ANIMAL STORY BOOK. 'Yith 67 Illustrations. 
65 Illustrations. 
With 66 Illustrations. 
THE BOOK OF ROMANCE. 'Vith 8 Coloured Plates 
aud 44 other Illustrationt't. 
THE RED ROMANCE BOOK. With 8 Coloured 
Plates and 44 other Illustrations. 

LORGMANS, GREEN, & CO. 39 Paternoster Row, Lonùon; 
New York, Bombay, and Calcutta. 



[See p. 15. 








All ri
hts reserved 













x. THE END 168 



17 2 
19 1 










. 279 



. F 10ntisPiece 
. . facing p. 1 







7 0 
9 0 














13 1 
13 6 







xu rrAJ...t}

FLEECE WAS SLAIN . . facing p. 198 



24 8 









LONG ago, in a little island called Ithaca, on the west coast 
of Greece, there lived a king named Laertes. His kingdom 
was small and mountainous. People used to say that Ithaca 
'lay like a shield upon the sea,' which sounds as if it were 
a flat country. But in those times shields were very large, 
and rose at the middle into two peaks with a.hollow between 
them, so that Ithaca, seen far off in the sea, with her two 
chief mountain peaks, and a cloven valley between them, 
looked exactly like a shield. The country was so rough 
that men kept no horses, for, at that time, people drove, 
standing up in little light chariots with two horses; they 
never rode, and there was no cavalry in battle: men 
fought from chariots. When Ulysses, the son of Laertes, 
King of Ithaca grew up, he never fought from a chariot, 
for he had none, but always on foot. 
If there were no horses in Ithaca, there was plenty of 
cattle. The father of Uiysses had flocks of sheep, and 

2 1.

herds of swine, and wild goats, deer, and hares lived in 
the hills and in the plains. The sea was full of fish of 
many sorts, \vhich men caught with nets, and with rod and 
line and hook. 
Thus Ithaca \vas a good island to live in. The summer 
was long, and there was hardly any winter; only a few 
cold weeks, and then the swallows came back, and the 
plains were like a garden, all covered with wild flowers- 
violets, lilies, narcissus, and roses. With the blue sky 
and the blue sea, the island was beautiful. White temples 
stood on the shores; and the Nymphs, a sort of fairies, 
had their little shrines built of stone, with wild rose-bushes 
hanging over them. 
Other islands lay within sight, crowned with moun- 
tains, stretching away, one behind the other, into the 
sunset. Ulysses in the course of his life saw many rich 
countries, and great cities of men, but, wherever he was, 
his heart was ahvays in the little isle of Ithaca, where he 
had learned how to row, and how to sail a boat, and how 
to shoot with bow and arrow, and to hunt boars and stags, 
and manage his hounds. 
The mother of Ulysses was called Anticleia: she was the 
daughter of King Autolycus, who lived near Parnassus, a 
mountain on the mainland. This King Autolycus was the 
most cunning of men. He was a Master Thief, and could 
steal a man's pillow from under his head, but he does not 
seem to have been thought worse of for this. The Greeks 
had a God of Thieves, named Hermes, whom Autolycus 
worshipped, and people thought more good of his cunning 
tricks than harm of his dishonesty. Perhaps these tricks 
of his ,V'ere only practised for amusement; however that 
may be, Ulysses became as artful as his grandfather; he 


was both the bravest and the most cunning of men, but 
Ulysses never stole things, except once, as we shall hear, 
from the enemy in time of war. He showed his cunning 
in stratagems of war, and in many strange escapes from 
.giants and man-eaters. 
Soon after Ulysses was born, his grandfather came to 
see his mother and father in Ithaca. He was sitting at 
supper when the nurse of Ulysses, whose name was Eurycleia, 
brought in the baby, and set him on the knees of Autolycus, 
saying, , Find a name for your grandson, for he is a child of 
many prayers.' 
'I am very angry with many men and women in the 
world,' said Autolycus, 'so let the child's name be A Man 
of Wrath,' \vhich, in Greek, was Odysseus. So the child 
was called Odysseus by his own people, but the name was 
changed into Ulysses, and we shall call him Ulysses. 
We do not kno\v much about Ulysses when he was a 
little boy, except that he used to run about the garden with 
his father, asking questions, and begging that he might 
have fruit trees 'for his very o\vn.' He was a great pet, 
for his parents had no other son, so his father gave him 
thirteen pear trees, and forty fig trees, and promised him 
fifty rows of vines, all covered with grapes, which he could 
eàt when he liked, \vithout asking leave of the gardener. 
So he was not tempted to steal fruit, like his grandfather. 
When Autolycus gave Ulysses his name, he said that 
he must come to stay with him, when he was a big boy, 
and he would get splendid presell ts. Ulysses was told 
about this, so, when he was a taU lad, he crossed the sea 
and drove in his chariot to the old man's house on Mount 
Parnassus. Everybody welcomed him, and next day his 
uncles and cousins and he went out to hunt a fierce wild 


boar, early in the morning. Probably Ulysses took his 
own dog, named Argos, the best of hounds, of which we 
shall hear again, long afterwards, for the dog lived to be 
very old. Soon the hounds came on the scent of a wild 
boar, and after them the men went, with spears in their 
hands, and Ulysses ran foremost, for he was already the 
swiftest runner in Greece. 
He came on a great boar lying in a tangled thicket 
of boughs and bracken, a dark place where the sun 
never shone, nor could the rain pierce through. Then 
the noise of the men's shouts and the barking of the 
dogs awakened the boar, and up he sprang,. bristling 
all over his back, and with fire shining from his eyes. In 
rushed Ulysses first of all, with his spear raised to strike, 
but the boar was too quick for him, and ran in, and drove 
his sharp tusk sideways, ripping up the thigh of Ulysses. 
But the boar's tusk missed the bone, and Ulysses sent his 
sharp spear into the beast's right shoulder, and the spear 
wen t clean through, and the boar fell dead, with a loud cry. 
The uncles of Ulysses bound up his wound carefully, 
and sang a magical song over it, as the French soldiers 
wanted to do to Joan of Arc when the arrow pierced her 
shoulder at the siege of Orleans. Then the blood ceased 
to flow, and soon Ulysses was quite healed of his wound. 
They thought that he would be a good warrior, and gave 
him splendid presents, and when he went home again he 
told all that had happened to his father and mother, and 
his nurse, Eurycleia.' But there was always a long white 
mark or scar above his left knee, and about that scar we 
shall hear again, many years afterwards. 





When Ulysses was a young man he wished to marry 
a princess of his own rank. Now there were at that time 
many kings in Greece, and you must be told how they lived. 
Each king had his own little kingdom, with his chief town, 
walled with huge walls of enormous stone. Many of these 
walls are still standing, though the grass has grown over 
the ruins of most of them, and in later years, men believed 
that those walls must have been built by giants, the stones 
are so enormous. Each king had nobles under him, rich 
men, and all had their palaces, each with its courtyard, and 
its long hall, where the fire burned in the midst, and the 
King and Queen sat beside it on high thrones, between 
the four chief carved pillars that held up the roof. The 
thrones were made of cedar wood and ivory, inlaid with 
gold, and there were many other chairs and small tables 
for guests, and the walls and doors were covered with bronze 
plates, and gold and silver, and sheets of blue glass. Some- 
times they were painted with pictures of bull hunts, and a 
few of these pict
res may still be seen" At night torches 
were lit, and placed in the hands of golden figures of boys, 
but all the smoke of fire and torches escaped by a hole in 
the roof, and made the ceiling black. On the walls hung 
swords and spears and helmets and shields, which needed 
to be often cleaned from the stains of the smoke. The 
minstrel or poet sat beside the King and Queen, and, after 
supper he struck his harp, and sang stories of old wars. 
A t night the King and Queen slept in their own place, and 
the women in their own rooms; the princesses had their 


chambers upstairs, and the young princes had each his room 
built separate in the courtyard. 
There were bath rooms with polished baths, where 
guests were taken when they arrived dirty from a journey. 
The guests lay at night on beds in the portico, for the 
climate was warm. There were plenty of servants, who 
were usually slaves taken in war, but they were very kindly 
treated, and were friendly with their masters. No coined 
money was used; people paid for things in cattle, or in 
weighed pieces of gold. Rich men had plenty of gold 
cups, and gold-hilted swords, and bracelets, and brooches. 
The kings were the leaders in war and judges in peace, 
and did sacrifices to the Gods, killing cattle and swine 
and sheep, on which they afterwards dined. 
They dressed in a simple way, in a long smock of 
linen or silk, which fell almost to the feet, but was 
tucked up into a belt round the waist, and worn longer 
or shorter, as they happened to choose. Where it needed 
fastening at the throat, golden brooches were used, beauti- 
fully made, with safety pins. This garment was much 
like the plaid that the Highlanders used to wear, with its 
belt and brooches. Over it the Greeks wore great cloaks of 
woollen cloth when the weather was cold, but these they did 
not use in battle. They fastened their breastpla tes, in war, 
over their smocks, and had other armour covering the lower 
parts of the bod y, and leg armour called ' greaves ' ; while 
the great shield which guarded the whole body from throat 
to ankles was carried by a broad belt slung round the neck. 
The sword was worn in another belt, crossing the shield 
belt. They had light shoes in peace, and higher and heavier 
boots in war, or for walking across country. 
The women wore the smock, with more brooches and 


jewels than the men; and had head coverings, with veils, 
and mantles over all, and necklaces of gold and amber, 
earrings, and bracelets of gold or of bronze. The colours 
of their dresses were various, chiefly white and purple; 
. and, when in mourning, they wore very dark blue, not 
black. All the annour, and the sword blades and spear- 
heads were made, not of steel or iron, but of bronze, a 
mixture of copper and tin. The shields were made of 
several thicknesses of leather, with a plating of bronze 
above; tools, such as axes and ploughshares, were either 
of iron or bronze; and so were the blades of knives and 
To us the houses and way of living would have seemed 
very splendid, and also, in some ways, rather rough. The 
palace floors, at least in the house of Ulysses, were littered 
with bones and feet of the oxen slain for food, but this 
happened when Ulysses had been long from home. The 
floor of the hall in the house of Ulysses was not boarded 
with planks, or paved with stone: it was made of clay; 
for he was a poor king of small islands. The cooking was 
coarse: a pig or sheep was killed, roasted and eaten 
immediately. We never hear of boiling meat, and though 
people probably ate fish, we do not hear of their doing 
so, except when no meat could be procured. Still some 
people must have liked them; for in the pictures that were 
painted or cut in precious stones in these times we see 
the half-naked fisherman walking home, carrying large 
The people were wonderful workers of gold and bronze. 
Hundreds of their golden jewels have been found in their 
graves, but probably these were made and buried two or 
three centuries before the time of Ulysses. The dagger 


blades had pictures of fights with lions, and of flowers, 
inlaid on them, in gold of various colours, and in silver; 
nothing so beautiful is made now. There are figures of 
men hunting bulls on some of the gold cups, and these are 
wonderfully life-like. The vases and pots of earthenware 
were painted in charming patterns: in short, it was a 
splendid world to live in. 
The people believed in many Gods, male and female, 
under the chief God, Zeus. The Gods were thought to be 
taller than men, and immortal, and to live in much the 
same way as men did, eating, drinking, and sleeping in 
glorious palaces. Though they were supposed to reward 
good men, and to punish people who broke their oaths 
and were unkind to strangers, there were many stories 
told in which the Gods were fickle, cruel, selfish, and set 
very bad examples to men. How far these stories were 
believed is not sure; it is certain that' all men felt a need 
of the Gods,' and thought that they were pleased by good 
actions and displeased by evil. Yet, when a man felt 
that his behaviour had been bad, he often threw the 
blame on the Gods, and said that they had mi:;led him, 
which really meant no more than that 'he could not 
help it.' 
There was a curious custom by which the princes bought 
wives from the fathers of the princesses, giving cattle and 
gold, and bronze and iron, but sometimes a prince got a 
wife as the reward for some very brave action. A man 
would not give his daughter to a wooer whom she did not 
love, even if he offered the highest price, at least this must 
have be
n the general rule, for husbands and wives were 
very fond of each other, and of their children, and husbands 
always allowed their wives to rule the house, and give their 


advice on everything. It was thought a very wicked 
thing for a woman to like another man better than her 
husband, and there were few such wives, but among them 
was the most beautiful woman who ever lived. 



This was the way in which people lived when Ulysses 
was young, and wished to be married. The worst thing in 
the way of life was that the greatest and most beautiful 
princesses might be taken prisoners, and carried off as 
slaves to the towns of the men who had killed their fathers 
and husbands. Now at that time one lady was far the 
fairest in the world: namely, Helen, daughter of King 
Tyndarus. Every young prince heard of her and desired 
to marry her; so her father invited them all to his palace, 
and entertained them, and found out what they would 
give. Among the rest Ulysses went, but his father had a 
little kingdom, a rough island, with others near it, and 
Ulysses had not a good chance. He was not tall; though 
very strong and active, he was a short man with broad 
shoulders, but his face was handsome, and, like all the 
princes, he wore long yellow hair, clustering like a hyacinth 
flower. His manner was rather hesitating, and he seemed 
to speak very slowly at first, though afterwards his words 
came freely. He was good at everything a man can do ; 
he could plough, and build houses, and make ships, and 
he was the best archer in Greece, except one, and could 
bend the great bow of a dead king, Eurytus, which no other 
man could string. But he had no horses, and had no great 


train of followers; and, in short, neither Helen nor her 
father thought of choosing Ulysses for her husband out of 
so many tall, handsome young princes, glittering with 
gold ornaments. Still, Helen was very kind to Ulysses, 
and there was great friendship between them, which was 
fortunate for her in the end. 
Tyndarus first made all the princes take an oath that 
they would stand by the prince whom he chose, and 
would fight for him in all his quarrels. Then he named 
for her husband Menelaus, King of Lacedaemon. He 
was a very brave man, but not one of the strongest; he 
was not such a fighter as the gigantic Aias, the tallest and 
strongest of men ; or as Diomede, the friend of Ulysses; or as 
his own brother, Agamemnon, the King of the rich city of 
Mycenae, who was chief over all other princes, and general 
of the whole army in war. The great lions carved in 
stone that seemed to guard his city are still standing 
above the gate through which Agamemnon used to drive 
his chariot. 
The man who proved to be the best fighter of all, 
Achilles, was not among the lovers of Helen, for he was still 
a boy, and his mother, Thetis of the silver feet, a goddess 
of the sea, had sent him to be brought up as a girl, among 
the daughters of Lycomedes of Scyros, in an island far 
away. Thetis did this because Achilles was her only 
child, and there was a prophecy that, if he went to the 
wars, he would win the greatest glory, but die very young, 
and never see his mother again. She thought that if war 
broke out he would not be found hiding in girl's dress, 
among girls, far away. 
So at last, after thinking over the matter for long, 
Tyndarus gave fair Helen to Menelaus, the rich King of 


Lacedaemon; and her twin sister Clytaemnestra, who 
was also very beautiful, was given to King Agamemnon, 
the chief over all the princes. They all lived very happily 
together at first, but not for long. 
. In the meantime King Tyndarus spoke to his brother 
lcarius, who had a daughter named Penelope. She also 
was very pretty, but not nearly so beautiful as her cousin, 
fair Helen, and we know that Penelope was not very fond of 
her cousin. lcarius, admiring the strength and wisdom of 
Ulysses, gave him his daughter Penelope to be his wife, 
and Ulysses loved her very dearly, no man and wife were 
ever dearer to each other. They went away together 
to rocky Ithaca, and perhaps Penelope was not sorry that 
a wide sea lay between her home and that of Helen; for 
Helen was not only the fairest woman that ever lived in 
the world, but she was so kind and gracious and charming 
that no man could see her without loving her. When she 
was only a child, the famous prince Theseus, whose story 
is to be told later, carried her away to his own city of 
Athens, meaning to marry her when she gre\v up, and, 
even at that time, there was a war for her sake, for her 
brothers ,followed Theseus with an army, and fought him, 
and brought her home. 
She had fairy gifts: for instance, she had a great red 
jewel, called' the Star,' and when she wore it red drops 
seemed to fall from it and vanished before they touched 
and stained her white breast-so white that people called 
her 'the Daughter of the Swan.' She could speak in the 
very voice of any man or woman, so folk also named her 
Echo, and it was believed that she could neither grow 
old nor die, but would at last pass away to the Elysian 
plain and the world's end, where life is easiest for men. 


No snow comes thither, nor great storm, nor any rain; 
but always the river of Ocean that rings round the TNhole 
earth sends forth the west wind to blow coolon the people 
of King Rhadamanthus of the fair hair. These were some 
of the stories that men told of fair Helen, but Ulysses was 
never sorry that he had not the fortune to marry her, so 
fond he was of her cousin, his wife, Penelope, who was very 
wise and good. 
When Ulysses brought his wife home they lived, as the 
custom was, in the palace of his father, King Laertes, but 
Ulysses, with his own hands, built a chamber for Penelope 
and himself. There grew a great olive tree in the inner 
court of the palace, and its stem was as large as one of the 
tall carved pillars of the hall. Round about this tree 
Ulysses built the chamber, and finished it with close-set 
stones, and roofed it over, and made close-fastening doors. 
Then he cutoff all the branches of the olive tree, and 
smoothed the trunk, and shaped it into the bed-post, and 
made the bedstead beautiful with inlaid work of gold and 
silver and ivory. There was no such bed in Greece, and 
no man could move it from its place, and this bed comes 
again into the story, at the very end. 
Now time went by: and Ulysses and Penelope had one 
son called Telemachus; and Eurycleia, who had been his 
father's nurse, took care of him. They were all very 
happy, and lived in peace in rocky Ithaca, and Ulysses 
looked after his lands, and flocks, and herds, and went 
hunting with his dog Argos, the swiftest of hounds. 




- This happy time did not last long, and Telemachus was 
still a baby, when war arose, so great and mighty and 
marvellous as had never been known in the world. Far 
across the sea that lies on the east of Greece, there dwelt 
the rich King Priam. His town was called Troy, or Ilios, and 
it stood on a hill near the seashore, where are the straits of 
Hellespont, between Europe and Asia; it was a great city 
surrounded by strong walls, and its ruins are still standing. 
The kings could make merchants who passed through the 
straits pay toll to them, and they had allies in Thrace, a 
part of Europe opposite Troy, and Priam was chief of all 
princes on his side of the sea, as Agamemnon was chief 
king in Greece. Priam had many beautiful things; he 
had a vine made of gold, with golden leaves and clusters, 
and he had the swiftest horses, and many strong and brave 
sons; the strongest and bravest was named Hector, and 
the youngest and most beautiful was named Paris. 
There- was a prophecy that Priam's wife would give 
birth to a burning torch, so, when Paris was born, Priam 
sent a servant to carry the baby into a wild wood on Mount 
Ida, and leave him to die or be eaten by wolves and wild 
cats. The servant left the child, but a shepherd found 
him, and brought him up as his own son. The boy became 
as beautiful, for a boy, as Helen was for a girl, and was the 
best runner, and hunter, and archer among the country 
people. He was loved by the beautiful CEnone, a nymph- 
that is, a kind of fairy-who dwelt in a cave among the woods 
of Ida. The Greeks and Troj ans believed in these days 


that such fair nymphs haunted all beautiful \voodland 
places, and the mountains, and wells, and had crystal 
palaces, like mermaids, beneath the waves of the sea. These 
fairies \vere not mischievous, but gentle and kind. Some- 
times they married mortal men, and ffinone \vas the bride 
of Paris, and hoped to keep him for her own all the days of 
his life. 
It was believed that she had the magical power of 
healing wounded men, ho\vever sorely they were hurt. 
Paris and ffinone lived most happily together in the 
fOLest; but one day, \vhen the servants of Priam had 
driyen off a beautiful bull that was in the herd of Paris, 
he left the hills to seek it, and came into the town of Troy. 
His mother, Hecuba, sa\v him, and looking at him closely, 
perceived that he \vore a ring \vhich she had tied round her 
baby's neck \vhen he was taken away from her soon after 
his birth. Then Hecuba, beholding him so beautiful, and 
knowing him to be her son, wept for joy, and they all forgot 
the prophecy that he would be a burning torch of fire, and 
Priam gave him a house like those of his brothers, the 
Troj an princes. 
The fame of beautiful Helen reached Troy, and Paris 
quite forgot unhappy ffinone, and must needs go to see 
Helen for himself. Perhaps he meant to try to win her for 
his wife, before her marriage. But sailing was little under- 
stood in these times, and the water was \vide, and men were 
often driven for years out of their course, to Egypt, and 
Africa, and far a \va y in to the unknown seas, where fairies 
lived in enchanted islands, and cannibals dwelt in caves of 
the hills. 
Paris came much too late to have a chance of marry- 
ing Helen; ho\vever, he was determined to see her, and 


he made his way to her palace beneath the mountain 
Taygetus, beside the clear swift river Eurotas. The ser- 
vants came out of the hall when they heard the sound of 
wheels and horses' feet, and some of them took the horses 
to the stables, and tilted the chariots against the gate- 
way, while others led Paris into the hall, which shone like 
the sun with gold and silver. Then Paris and his com- 
panions were led to the baths, where they were bathed, 
and clad in new clothes, mantles of white, and robes of 
purple, and next they were brought before King Menelaus, 
and he welcomed them kindly, and meat was set before 
them, and wine in cups of gold. While they were talking, 
Helen came forth from her fragrant chamber, like a God- 
dess, her maidens following her, and carrying for her an 
ivory distaff with violet-coloured wool, which she span 
as she sat, and heard Paris tell how far he had travelled 
to see her who was so famous for her beauty even in countries 
far away. 
Then Paris knew that he had never seen, and never 
could see, a lady so lovely and gracious as Helen as she 
sat and span, while the red drops fell and vanished from 
the ruby called the Star; and Helen knew that among 
all the princes in the world there was none so beautiful 
as Paris. Now some say that Paris, by art magic, put on 
the appearance of Menelaus, and asked Helen to come 
sailing with him, and that she, thinking he was her 
husband, followed him, and he carried her across the wide 
waters of Troy, away from her lord and her one beautiful 
little daughter, the child Hermione. And others say 
that the Gods carried Helen herself off to Egypt, and that 
they made in her likeness a beautiful ghost, out of flowers 
..and sunset clouds. whom Paris bore to Troy, and this they 




did to cause war between Greeks and Trojans. Another 
story is that Helen and her bower maiden and her jewels 
were seized by force, when Menelaus was out hunting. 
I t is only certain that Paris and Helen did cross the seas 
together, and that Menelaus and little Hennione were 
left alone in the melancholy palace beside the Eurotas. 
Penelope, we know for certain, made no excuses for her 
beautiful cousin, but hated her as the cause of her own 
sorrows and of the deaths of thousands of men in war, for 
all the Greek princes were bound by their oath to fight for 
Menelaus against anyone who injured him and stole his 
wife away. But Helen was very unhappy in Troy, and 
blamed herself as bitterly as all the other women blamed 
her, and most of all CEnone, who had been the love of Paris. 
The men were much more kind to Helen, and were deter- 
mined to fight to the death rather than lose the sight of 
her beauty among them. 
The news of the dish on our done to Menelaus and to an 
the princes of Greece ran through the country like fire 
through a forest. East and west and south and north went 
the news: to kings in their castles on the hills, and beside 
the rivers and on cliffs above the sea. The cry came to 
ancient Nestor of the white beard at Pylos, Nestor who 
had reigned over two generations of men, who had fought 
against the wild folk of the hills, and remembered the 
strong Heracles, and Eurytus of the black bow that sang 
before the day of battle. 
The cry came to black-bearded Agamemnon, in his 
strong town called ' golden Mycenae;' because it was so 
rich; it came to the people in Thisbe, where the wild doves 
haunt; and it came to rocky Pytho, where is the sacred 
temple of Apollo;' and the maid who prophesies. I t came 



to Aias, the tallest.ïand strongest of men, in his little isle of 
Salamis; and to Diomede of the loud war-cry, the bravest 
of warriors, who held Argos and Tiryns of the black walls 
of huge stones, that are still standing. The summons 
came to the western islands and to Ulysses in Ithaca, and 
even far south to the great island of Crete of the hundred 
cities, where Idomeneus ruled in Cnossos ; Idomeneus, whose 
ruined palace may still be seen with the throne of the king, 
and pictures painted on the walls, and the King's own draught- 
board of gold and silver, and hundreds of tablets of clay, on 
which are written the lists of royal treasures. Far north 
went the news to Pelasgian Argos, and Hellas, where the 
people of Peleus dwelt, the Myrmidons; but Peleus was too 
old to fight, and his boy, Achilles, dwelt far away, in the 
island of Scyros, dressed as a girl, among the daughters of 
King Lycomedes. To many another town and to a hundred 
islands went the bitter news of approaching war, for all 
princes knew that their honour and their oaths compelled 
them to gather their speannen, and bowmen, and slingers 
from the fields and the fishing, and to make ready their 
ships, and meet King Agamemnon in the harbour of Autis, 
and cross the wide sea to besiege Troy town. 
N ow the story is told that Ulysses was very unwilling 
to leave his island and his wife Penelope, and little Tele- 
machus; while Penelope had no wish that he should pass 
into danger, and into the sight of Helen of the fair hands. 
So it is said that when two of the princes came to summon 
Ulysses, he pretended to be mad, and went ploughing the 
sea sand with oxen, and sowing the sand with salt. Then 
the prince Palamedes took the baby Telemachus from the 
anns of his nurse, Eurycleia, and laid him in the line of the 
furrow, where the ploughshare would strike him and kill 


him. But Ulysses turned the plough aside, and they cried 
that he was not mad, but sane, and he must keep his oath, 
and join the fleet at Aulis, a long voyage for him to sail, 
round the stormy southern Cape of Maleia. 
Whether this tale be true or not, Ulysses did go, leading 
twelve black ships, with high beaks painted red at prow 
and stem. The ships had oars, and the warriors manned the 
oars, to row when there was no wind. There was a small 
raised deck a t each end of the ships ; on these decks men 
stood to fight with sword and spear when there was a battle 
at sea. Each ship had but one mast, with a broad lugger 
sail, and for anchors they had only heavy stones attached 
to cables. They generally landed at night, and slept on the 
shore of one of the many islands, when they could, for they 
greatly feared to sail out of sight of land. 
The fleet consisted of more than a thousand ships, 
each with fifty warriors, so the army was of more than 
fifty thousand men. Agamemnon had a hundred ships, 
Diomede had eighty, Nestor had ninety, the Cretans with 
Idomèneus, had eighty, Menelaus had sixty; but Aias and 
Ulysses, who lived in small islands, had only twelve ships 
apiece. Yet Aias was so brave and strong, and Ulysses so 
brave and wise, that they were ranked among the greatest 
chiefs and advisers of Agamemnon, with Menelaus, Diomede, 
Idomeneus, Nestor, Menestheus of Athens, and two or three 
others. These chiefs were called the Council, and gave 
advice to Agamemnon, who was commander-in-chief. He 
was a brave fighter, but so anxious and fearful of losing the 
lives of his soldiers that Ulysses and Diomede were often 
obliged to speak to him very severely. Agamemnon was 
also very insolent and greedy, though, when anybody stood 


up to him, he was ready to apologise, for fear the injured 
chief should renounce his service and take away his soldiers. 
Nestor was much respected because he remained brave, 
though he was too old to be very useful in battle. He 
generally tried to make peace when the princes quarrelled 
with Agamemnon. He loved to tell long stories about his 
great deeds when he was young, and he wished the chiefs 
to fight in old-fashioned ways. 
For instance, in his time the Greeks had fought in clan 
regiments, and the princely men had never dismounted in 
battle, but had fought in squadrons of chariots, but now 
the owners of chariots fought on foot, each man for himself, 
while his squire kept the chariot near him to escape on if he 
had to retreat. Nestor wished to go back to the good old 
way of chariot charges against the crowds of foot soldiers 
of the enemy. In short, he was a fine example of the old- 
fashioned soldier. 
Aias, though so very tall, strong, and brave, was rather 
stupid. He seldom spoke, but he was always ready to 
fight, and the last to retreat. Menelaus was weak of body, 
but as brave as the best, or more brave, for he had a keen 
sense of honour, and would attempt what he had not the 
strength to do. Diomede and Ulysses were great friends, 
and always fought side by side, when they could, and 
helped each other in the most dangerous adventures. 
These were the chiefs who led the great Greek armada 
from the harbour of Aulis. A long time had passed, after 
the flight of Helen, before the large fleet could be collected, 
and more time went by in the attempt to cross the sea to 
Troy. There were tempests that scattered the ships, so they 
were driven back to Aulis to refit; and they fought, as they 
went out again, with the peoples of unfriendly islands, and 


besieged their towns. What they wanted most of all was 
to have Achilles with them, for he was the leader of fifty 
ships and 2,500 men, and he had magical armour made, 
men said, for his father, by Hephaestus, the God of armour- 
making and smithy work. 
At last the fleet came to the Isle of Scyros, where they 
suspected that Achilles was concealed. King Lycomedes 
received the chiefs kindly, and they sawall his beautiful 
daughters dancing and playing at ball, but Achilles was 
still so young and slim and so beautiful that they did not 
know him among the others. There was a prophecy that 
they could not take Troy without him, and yet they could 
not find him out. Then Ulysses had a plan. He blackened 
his eyebrows and beard and put on the dress of a Phoenician 
merchant. The Phoenicians were a people who lived near 
the Jews, and were of the same race, and spoke much the 
same language, but, unlike the Jews, who, at that time 
were farmers in Palestine, tilling the ground, and keeping 
flocks and herds, the Phoenicians were the greatest of 
traders and sailors, and stealers of slaves. They carried 
cargoes of beautiful cloths, and embroideries, and jewels 
of gold, and necklaces of amber, and sold these everywhere 
about the shores of Greece and the islands. 
Ulysses then dressed himself like a Phoenician pedlar, with 
his pack on his back; he only took a stick in his hand, his 
long hair was turned up, and hidden under a red sailor's cap, 
and in this figure he came, stooping beneath his pack, into 
the courtyard of King Lycomedes. The girls heard that a 
pedlar had come, and out they all ran, Achilles with the rest, 
to watch the pedlar undo his pack. Each chose what she 
liked best: one took a wreath of gold; another a 
of gold and amber; another earrings; a fourth a set of 


brooches, another a dress of embroidered scarlet cloth; 
another a veil; another a pair of bracelets; but at the 
bottom of the pack lay a great sword of bronze, the hilt 
studded with golden nails. Achilles seized the sword. 
'This is for me ! ' he said, and drew the sword from the 
gilded sheath, and made it whistle round his head. 
, You are Achilles, Peleus' son!' said Ulysses; 'and you 
are to be the chief warrior of the Achaeans,' for the Greeks 
then called themselves Achaeans. Achilles was only too 
glad to hear these words, for he was quite tired of living 
among maidens. Ulysses led him into the hall where the 
chiefs were sitting at their wine, and Achilles was blushing 
like any girl. 
'Here is the Queen of the Amazons,' said Ulysses- 
for the Amazons were a race of warlike maidens-' or rather 
here is Achilles, Peleus' son, with sword in hand.' Then 
they all took his hand, and welcomed him, and he was 
clothed in man's dress, with the sword by his side, and 
presently they sent him back with ten ships to his home. 
There his mother, Thetis, of the silver feet, the goddess of 
the sea, wept over him, saying, 'My child, thou hast the 
choice of a long and happy and peaceful life here with me, 
or of a brief time of war and undying renown. Never 
shall I see thee again in Argos if thy choice is for war.' 
But Achilles chose to die young, and to be famous as long 
as the world stands. So his father gave him fifty ships, 
with Patroclus, who was older than he, to be his friend, 
and with an old man, Phoenix, to advise him; and his 
mother gave him the glorious armour that the God had 
made for his father, and the heavy ashen spear that none 
bu t he could wield, and he sailed to join the host of the 
Achaeans, who all praised and thanked Ulysses that had 


found for them such a prince. F or Achilles was the fiercest 
fighter of them all, and the swiftest-footed man, and the 
most courteous prince, and the gentlest with women and 
children, but he was proud and high of heart, and when he 
was angered his anger was terrible. 
The Trojans would have had no chance against the 
Greeks if only the men of the city of Troy had fought to 
keep Helen of the fair hands. But they had allies, who 
spoke different languages, and came to fight for them both 
from Europe and from Asia. On the Trojan as well as on 
the Greek side were people called Pelasgians, who seem 
to have lived on both shores of the sea. There were 
Thracians, too, who dwelt much further north than Achilles, 
in Europe and beside the strait of Hellèspont, where the 
narrow sea runs like a river. There were warriors of L ycia, 
led by Sarpedon and Glaucus; there were Carians, who 
spoke in a strange tongue; there were Mysians and men 
from Alybe, which was called 'the birthplace of silver,' 
and many other peoples sent their armies, so that the war 
was between Eastern Europe, on one side, and Western Asia 
Minor on the other. The people of Egypt took no part in 
the war: the Greeks and Islesmen used to come down in 
their ships and attack the Egyptians as the Danes used to 
invade England. You may see the warriors from the islands, 
with their horned helmets, in old Egyptian pictures. 
The commander-in-chief, as we say now, of the Troj ans 
was Hector, the son of Priam. He was thought a match 
for anyone of the Greeks, and was brave and good. His 
brothers also were leaders, but Paris preferred to fight 
from a distance with bow and arrows. He and Pandarus, 
who dwelt on the slopes of Mount Ida, were the best archers 
in the Trojan army. The princes usually fought with 


heavy spears, which they threw at each other, and with 
swords, leaving archery to the common soldiers who had 
no armour of bronze. But Teucer, ]\1eriones, and Ulysses 
were the best archers of the Achaeans. People called 
Dardanians were led by Aeneas, who was said to be the 
son of the most beautiful of the goddesses. These, with 
Sarpedon and Glaucus, were the most famous of the men 
who fought for Troy. 
Troy was a strong town on a hill: Mount Ida lay behind 
it, and in front was a plain sloping to the sea shore. 
Through this plain ran two beautiful clear rivers, and there 
were scattered here and there what you would have taken 
for steep knolls, but they were really mounds piled up over 
the ashes of warriors who had died long ago. On these 
mounds sentinels used to stand and look across the water 
to give warning if the Greek fleet drew near, for the Troj ans 
had heard that it was on its way. At last the fleet came 
in view, and the sea was black with ships, the oarsmen 
pulling with all their might for the honour of being the 
first to land. The race was won by the ship of the prince 
Protesilaus, who was first of all to leap on shore, but as he 
leaped he was struck to the heart by an arrow from the 
bow of Paris. This must have seemed a good omen to the 
Trojans, and to the Greeks evil, but \ve do not hear that 
the landing was resisted in great force, any more than that 
of Norman William was, when he invaded England. 
The Greeks drew up all their ships on shore, and the men 
camped in huts built in front of the ships. There "Fas thus 
a long row of huts with the ships behind them, and in these 
huts the Greeks lived all through the ten years that the 
siege of Troy lasted. In these days they do not seem to 
have understood how to conduct a siege. You would have 


expected the Greeks to build towers and dig trenches all 
round Troy, and from the towers watch the roads, so that 
provisions might not be brought in from the country. This 
is called 'investing' a town, but the Greeks never invested 
Troy. Perhaps they had not men enough; at all events 
the place remained open, and cattle could always be driven 
in to feed the warriors and the women and children. 
Moreover, the Greeks for long never seem to have 
tried to break down one of the gates, nor to scale the 
walls, which were very high, with ladders. On the other 
hand, the Trojans and allies never ventured to drive the 
Greeks into the sea; they commonly remained within 
the walls or skirmished just beneath them. The older 
men insisted on this way of fighting, in spite of Hector, 
who always wished to attack and storm the camp of the 
Greeks. Neither side had machines for throwing heavy 
stones, such as the Romans u3ed later, and the most that the 
Greeks did was to follow Achilles and capture small neigh- 
bouring cities, and take the women for slaves, and drive 
the cattle. They got provisions and wine from the 
Phoenicians, who came in ships, and made much profit 
out of the war. 
It was not till the tenth year that the war began in real 
earnest, and scarcely any of the chief leaders had fallen. 
Fever came upon the Greeks, and all day the camp was black 
with smoke, and all night shone with fire from the great 
piles of burning wood, on which the Greeks burned their 
dead, whose bones they then buried under hillocks of earth. 
1\tlany of these hillocks are still standing on the plain of Troy. 
When the plague had raged for ten days, Achilles called 
an assembly of the whole army, to try to find out why 
the Gods were angry. They thought that the beautiful God 


Apollo (who took the Trojan side) was shooting invisible 
arrows at them from his silver bow, though fevers in armies 
are usually caused by dirt and drinking bad water. The 
great heat of the sun, too, may have helped to cause the 
disease; but we must tell the story as the "Greeks told it 
themselves. So Achilles spoke in the assembly, and pro- 
posed to ask some prophet why Apollo was angry. The 
chief prophet was Calchas. He rose and said that he would 
declare the truth if Achilles would promise to protect him 
from the anger of any prince whom the truth might offend. 
Achilles knew well whom Calchas meant. Ten days 
before, a priest of Apollo had come to the camp and offered 
ransom for his daughter Chryseis, a beautiful girl, whom 
Achilles had taken prisoner, with many others, when he 
captured a small town. Chryseis had been given as a slave 
to Agamemnon, who always got the best of the plunder 
because he was chief king, whether he had taken part in 
the fighting or not. As a rule he did not. To Achilles 
had been given another girl, Briseis, of whom he was very 
fond. N ow when Achilles had promised to protect Calchas, 
the prophet spoke out, and boldly said, what all men knew 
already, that Apollo caused the plague because Agamemnon 
would not return Chryseis, and had insulted her father, 
the priest of the God. 
On hearing this, Agamemnon was very angry. He 
said that he would send Chryseis home, but that he would 
take Briseis away from Achilles. Then Achilles was draw- 
ing his great sword from the sheath to kin Agamemnon, 
but even in his anger he knew that this was wrong, so he 
merely called Agamemnon a greedy coward, 'with face of 
dog and heart of deer,' and he swore that he and his men 
would fight no more against the Trojans. Old Nestor tried 


to make peace, and swords were not drawn, but Briseis was 
taken away from Achilles, and Ulysses put Chryseis on board 
of his ship and sailed away with her to her father's town, 
and gave her up to her father. Then her father prayed to 
Apollo that the plague might cease, and it did cease-when 
the Greeks had cleansed their camp, and purified themselves 
and cast their filth into the sea. 
We know how fierce and brave Achilles was, and we 
may wonder that he did not challenge Agamemnon to fight 
a duel. But the Greeks never fought duels, and Agamemnon 
was believed to be chief king by right divine. AchiIles 
went alone to the sea shore when his dear Briseis was led 
away, and he wept, and called to his mother, the silver- 
footed lady of the waters. Then she arose from the grey sea, 
like a mist, and sat down beside her son, and stroked his hair 
with her hand, and he told her all his sorrows. So she said 
that she would go up to the dwelling of the Gods, and pray 
Zeus, the chief of them all, to make the Trojans win a great 
battle, so that Agamemnon should feel his need of Achilles, 
and make amends for his insolence, and do him honour. 
Thetis kept her promise, and Zeus gave his word that the 
Trojans should defeat the Greeks. That night Zeus sent 
a deceitful dream to Agamemnon. The dream took the shape 
of old Nestor, and said that Zeus would give him victory 
that day. While he was still asleep, Agamemnon was full 
of hope that he would instantly take Troy, but, when he 
woke, he seems not to have been nearly so confident, for 
in place of putting on his arm our , and bidding the Greeks 
arm themselves, he merely dressed in his robe and mantle, 
took his sceptre, and went and told the chiefs about his 
dream. They did not feel much encouraged, so he said 
that he would try the temper of the army. He would call 


them together, and propose to return to Greece; but, if 
the soldiers took him at his word, the other chiefs were to 
stop them. This was a foolish plan, for the soldiers were 
wearying for beautiful Greece, and their homes, and wives 
and children. Therefore, when Agamemnon did as he had 
said, the whole army rose, like the sea under the west wind, 
and, with a shout, they rushed to the ships, while the dust 
blew in clouds from under their feet. Then they began to 
launch their ships, and it seems that the princes were 
carried a wa y in the rush, and were as eager as the rest to 
go home. 
But Ulysses only stood in sorrow and anger beside his 
ship, and never put hand to it, for he felt how disgraceful 
it was to run away. At last he threw down his mantle, 
which his herald Eurybates of Ithaca, a round-shouldered, 
brown, curly-haired man, picked up, and he ran to find 
Agamemnon, and took his sceptre, a gold-studded staff, like 
a marshal's baton, and he gently told the chiefs whom he 
met that they were doing a shameful thing; but he drove 
the common soldiers back to the place of meeting with the 
sceptre. They all returned, puzzled and chattering, but 
one lame, bandy-legged, bald, round-shouldered, impudent 
fellow, named Thersites, jumped up and made an insolent 
speech, insulting the princes, and advising the army to run 
away. Then Ulysses took him. and beat him till the blood 
came, and he sat down, wiping away his tears, and looking 
so foolish that the whole army laughed at him, and cheered 
Ulysses when he and Nestor bade them arm and fight. 
Agamemnon still believed a good deal in his dream, and 
prayed that he might take Troy that very day, and kill 
Hector. Thus Ulysses alone saved the army from a cowardly 
retreat; but for him the ships would have been launched in 


an hour. But the Greeks armed and advanced in full force, 
all except Achilles and his friend Patroclus wifh their two or 
three thousand men. The Trojans also took heart, knowing 
that Achilles would not fight, and the armies approached 
each other. Paris himself, with two spears and a bow, 
and without armour, walked into the space between the 
hosts, and challenged any Greek prince to single combat. 
Menelaus, whose wife Paris had carried away, was as 
glad as a hungry lion when he finds a stag or a goat, and 
leaped in arm our from his chariot, but Paris turned and 
slunk away, like a man when he meets a great serpent on 
a narrow path in the hills. Then Hector rebuked Paris 
for his cowardice, and Paris was ashamed and offered to 
end the war by fighting Menelaus. If he himself fell, the 
Trojans must give up Helen and all her jewels; if Menelaus 
fell, the Greeks were to return without fair Helen. The 
Greeks accepted this plan, and both sides disarmed them- 
selves to look on at the fight in comfort, and they meant 
to take the most solemn oaths to keep peace till the combat 
was lost and won, and the quarrel settled. Hector sent 
into Troy for two lambs, which were to be sacri.3.ced when the 
oaths were taken. 
In the meantime Helen of the fair hands was at home 
working at a great purple tapestry on which she embroidered 
the battles of .the Greeks and Trojans. It was just like the 
tapestry at Bayeux on which Norman ladies embroidered 
the battles in the Norman Conquest of England. Helen 
was very fond of embroidering, like poor Mary, Queen of 
Scots, when a prisoner in Loch Leven Castle. Probably 
the work kept both Helen and Mary from thinking of their 
past lives and their sorrows. 
When Helen heard that her husband was to fight 


:,..- . --' 
', \ . 
,:; < /'. \ \ 








'0 . 

. - -,... . 







Paris, she wept, and threw a shining veil over her head, 
and with her two bower maidens went to the roof of the 
gate tower, where king Priam was sitting with the old 
Trojan chiefs. 1'hey saw her and said that it was small 
blame to fight for so beautiful a lady, and Priam called 
her 'dear child,' and said, 'I do not blame you, I blame 
the Gods who brought about this war.' But Helen said 
that she wished she had died before she left her little 
daughter and her husband, and her home: ' Alas! shameless 
me !' Then she told Priam the names of the chief Greek 
warriors, and of Ulysses, who was shorter by a head than 
Agamemnon, but broader in chest and shoulders. She 
wondered that she could not see her own two brothers, 
Castor and Polydeuces, and thought that they kept aloof 
in shame for her sin; but the green grass covered their 
graves, for they had both died in battle, far away in Lace- 
daemon, their own country. 
Then the lambs were sacrificed, and the oaths were 
taken, and Paris put on his brother's armour: helmet, 
breastplate, shield, and leg-armour. Lots were drawn to 
decide whether Paris or Menelaus should throw his spear 
first, and, as Paris won, he threw his spear, but the point 
was blunted against the shield of Menelaus. But when 
Menelaus threw his spear it went clean through the shield 
of Paris, and through the side of his breastplate, but only 
grazed his robe. Menelaus drew his sword, and rushed 
in, and smote at the crest of the helmet of Paris, but his 
bronze blade broke into four pieces. Menelaus caught 
Paris by the horsehair crest of his helmet, and dragged 
him towards the Greeks, but the chin-strap broke, and 
Menelaus turning round threw the helmet into the ranks 
of the Greeks. But when 
lenelaus looked again for Paris, 

30 1.

with a spear in his hand, he could see him nowhere! The 
Greeks believed that the beautiful goddess Aphrodite, 
whom the Romans called Venus, hid him in a thick cloud 
of darkness and carried him to his own house, where Helen 
of the fair hands found him and said to him, 'Would that 
thou hadst perished, conquered by that great warrior who 
was my lord! Go forth again and challenge him to fight 
thee face to face.' But Paris had no more desire to fight, 
and the Goddess threatened Helen, and compelled her to 
remain with him in Troy, coward as he had proved himself. 
Yet on other days Paris fought well; it seems that he was 
afraid of Menelaus because, in his heart, he was ashamed of 
Meanwhile Menelaus was seeking for Paris everywhere, 
and the Troj ans, who hated him, would have shown his 
hiding place. But they knew not where he was, and the 
Greeks claimed the victory, and thought that, as Paris had 
the worst of the fight, Helen would be restored to them, 
and they would all sail home. 



The war might now have ended, but an evil and foolish 
thought came to Pandarus, a prince of Ida, who fought 
for the Trojans. He chose to shoot an arrow at Menelaus, 
con trary to the sworn vows of peace, and the arrow pierced 
the breastplate of Menelaus through the place where the 
clasped plates meet, and drew his blood. Then Agamemnon, 
\vho loved his brother dearly, began to lament, saying that, 
if he died, the army would all go home and Trojans would 


dance on the grave of Menelaus. 'Do not alarm all our 
army,' said Menelaus, 'the arrow has done me little hann;' 
and so it proved, for the surgeon easily drew the arrow 
out of the wound. 
Then Agamemnon hastened here and there, bidding the 
Greeks arm and attack the Trojans, who would certainly 
be defeated, for they had broken the oaths of peace. But 
with his usual insolence he chose to accuse Ulysses and 
Diomede of cowardice, though Diomede was as brave as 
any man, and Ulysses had just prevented the whole army 
from launching their ships and going home. Ulysses 
answered him with spirit, but Diomede said nothing at the 
moment; later he spoke his mind. He leaped from his 
chariot, and all the chiefs leaped down and advanced in 
line, the chariots following them, while the spearmen and 
bowmen followed the chariots. The Trojan army advanced, 
all shouting in thei:;: different languages, but the Greeks 
came on silently. Then the two front lines clashed, 
shield against shield, and the noise was like the roaring of 
many flooded torrents among the hills. When a man fell 
he who had slain him tried to strip off his armour, and his 
friends fought over his body to save the dead from this 
Ulysses fought above a wounded friend, and drove his 
spear through head and helmet of a Troj an prince, 
and everywhere men were falling beneath spears and 
arrows and heavy stones which the warriors threw. Here 
Menelaus speared the man who built the ships with which 
Paris had sailed to Greece; and the dust rose like a cloud, 
and a mist went up from the fighting men, while Diomede 
stormed across the plain like a river in flood, leaving dead 
podies behind him as the river leaves boughs of trees and 


grass to mark its course. Pandarus wounded Diomede 
with an arrow, but Diomede slew him, and the Trojans 
were being driven in flight, when Sarpedon and Hector 
turned and hurled themselves on the Greeks; and even 
Diomede shuddered when Hector came on, and charged 
at Ulysses, who was slaying Trojans as he went, and the 
battle swayed this way and that, and the arrows fell like 
But Hector was sent into the city to bid the women 
pray to the goddess Athênê for help, and he went to 
the house of Paris, whom Helen was imploring to go and 
fight like a man, saying: 'Would that the winds had wafted 
me away, and the tides drowned me, shameless that I am, 
before these things came to pass ! ' 
Then Hector went to see his dear wife, Andromache, 
whose father had been slain by Achilles early in the siege, 
and he found her and her nurse carrying her little boy, 
Hector's son, and like a star upon her bosom lay his beautiful 
and shining golden head. Now, while Helen urged Paris to 
go into the fight, Andromache prayed Hector to stay with 
her in the town, and fight no more lest he should be slain 
and leave her a widow, and the boyan orphan, with none 
to protect him. The army, she said, should come back 
within the walls, where they had so long been safe, not 
fight in the open plain. But Hector answered that he 
would never shrink from battle, 'yet I know this in my 
heart, the day shall come for holy Troy to be laid low, and 
Priam and the people of Priam. But this and my own 
death do not trouble me so much as the thought of you, 
when you shall be carried as a slave to Greece, to spin at 
another woman's bidding, and bear water from a Grecian 
well. May the heaped up earth of my tomb cover me ere 
I hear thy cries and the tale of thy captivity.' 

I{ OF fctrIES 33 

fhen Hector stretched out his hands to his little boy, 
but the child was afraid when he saw the great glittering 
helmet of his father and the nodding horsehair crest. So 
Hector laid his helmet on the ground and dandled the child 
in his arms, and tried to comfort his wife, and said good-bye 
for the last time, for he never came back to Troy alive. 
He went on his way back to the battle, and Paris went with 
him, in glorious armour, and soon they were slaying the 
princes of the Greeks. 
The battle raged till nightfall, and in the night the 
Greeks and Trojans burned their dead; and the Greeks 
Inade a trench and wall round their camp, which they 
needed for safety now that the 1'roj ans came from their 
town and fought in the open plain. 
Next day the Trojans were so successful that they did 
not retreat behind their walls at night, but lit great fires 
on the plain: a thousand fires, with fifty men taking supper 
round each of them, and drinking their wine to the music 
of flutes. But the Greeks were much discouraged, and 
Agamemnon called the whole army together, and proposed 
that they should launch their ships in the night and sail 
a\vay home. Then Diomede stood up, and said: 'You 
called me a coward lately. Yon are the coward! Sail 
away if you are afraid to remain here, but all the rest of us 
\vill fight till we take Troy town.' 
Then all shouted in praise of Diomede, and Nestor 
advised them to send five hundred young men, under his 
own son, Thrasymedes, to watch the Trojans, and guard 
the new wall and the ditch, in case the Troj ans attacked 
them in the darkness. Next Nestor counselled Agamemnon 
to send Ulysses and Aias to Achilles, and promise to give 
back Briseis, and rich presents of gold, and beg pardon for 

I - 

34 'TALES OF rrRO'-

his insolence. If Achilles \vould be friends again \vith 
Agamemnon, and fight as he used to fight, the Troj ans 
would soon be driven back into the town. 
Agamemnon was very ready to beg pardon, for he feared 
that the whole army would be defeated, and cut off from 
their ships, and killed or kept as slaves. So Ulysses and 
Aias and the old tutor of Achilles, Phoenix, went to Achilles 
and argued with him, praying him to accept the rich pre- 
sents, and help the Greeks. But Achilles answered that he 
did not believe a word that Agamemnon said; Agan1en1non 
had always hated him, and always would hate him. No; 
he would not cease to be angry, he \vould sail away next 
day with all his men, and he advised the rest to come 
with him. ' Why be so fierce?' said tall Aias, who seldom 
spoke. 'Why make so much trouble about one girl? We 
offer you seven girls, and plenty of other gifts.' 
Then Achilles said that he would not sail away next 
day, but he would not fight till the Trojans tried to burn 
his own ships, and there he thought that Hector would find 
work enough to do. This was the most that Achilles would 
promise, and all the Greeks were silent when Ulysses de- 
livered his message. But Diomede arose and said that, 
with or without Achilles, fight they must; and all men, 
heavy at heart, went to sleep in their huts or in the open 
air at their doors. 
Agamemnon "vas much too anxious to sleep. He sa\v 
the glow of the thousand fires of the Troj ans in the dark, 
and heard their merry flutes, and he groaned and pulled 
out his long hair by handfuls. \Vhen he was tired of crying 
and groaning and tearing his hair, he thought that he 
would go for advice to old Nestor. He threw a lion skin, 
the coverlet of his bed. over his shoulder, took his spear, 

.'\CI(ER OF crrIES 35 

went out and Inet Menelaus-for he, too, could not sleep- 
and lVlenelaus proposed to send a spy among the Trojans, 
if any man were brave enough to go, for the Trojan camp 
"vas all alight with fires, and the adventure ,vas dangerous. 
'fherefore the t\VO \vakened Nestor and the other chiefs, 
,vho came just as they \vere, wrapped in the fur coverlets 
of their beds, \vithout any armour. First they visited the 
five hundred young men set to watch the wall, and then 
they crossed the ditch and sat do\vn outside and considered 
\vhat might be done. 'Will nobody go as a spy among 
the Trojans?' said Nestor; he meant \vould none of the 
young men go. Diomede said that he would take the 
risk if any other man \vould share it with him, and, if he 
might choose a companion, he \vould take Ulysses. 
'Come, then, let us be going,' said Ulysses, 'for the 
night is late, and the dawn is near.' As these two chiefs had 
no armour on, they borro\;ved shields and leather caps from 
the young men of the guard, for leather would not shine 
as bronze helmets shine in the firelight. The cap lent to 
Ulysses was strengthened outside \vith rows of boars' tusks. 
l\lany of these tusks, shaped for this purpose, have been 
found, with swords and armour, in a tomb in IvI ycenae, the 
town of Agamemnon. This cap \vhich was lent to Ulysses 
had once been stolen by his grandfather, Autolycus, who 
,vas a Master Thief, and he gave it as a present to a friend, 
and so, through several hands, it had come to young 
J.\tleriones of Crete, one of the five hundred guards, who no\v 
lent it to Ulysses. So the two princes set forth in the dark, 
so dark it was that though they heard a heron cry, they 
could not see it as it flew away. 
While Ulysses and Diomcde stole through the night 
silently, like two wolves among the bodies of dead men, the 

3 6 1.'I...\LES Oli'l 1.'I]{OY .ANI) GREECE 

Troj an leaders n1et and considered what they ought to do. 
They did not know \vhether the Greeks had set sentinels 
and outposts, as usual, to give warning if the enemy were 
approaching; or whether they were too \veary to keep a 
good watch; or whether perhaps they were getting rcady 
their ships to sail homewards in the dawn. So Hector 
offered a reward to any man who would creep through the 
night and spy on the Greeks; he said he would give the spy 
the t\VO best horses in the Greek camp. 
Now among the Trojans there was a young n1an nalned 
Dolon, the son of a rich father, and he was the only boy 
in a family of five sisters. He \vas ugly, but a very s\vift 
runner, and he cared for horses luore than for anything 
else in the ,vorld. Dolon arose and said, , If you will swear 
to give me the horses and chariot of Achilles, son of Peleus, 
I \vill steal to the hut of Agamemnon and listen and find out 
whether the Greeks mean to fight or flee.' Hector swore 
to give these horses, which \vere the best in the world, to 
Dolon, so he took his bow and threw a grey wolf's hide 
over his shoulders, and ran towards the ships of the 
N ow Ulysses sa \v Dolon as he came, and said to Diolnede, 
, Let us suffer him to pass us, and then do you keep driving 
him with your spear towards the ships, and away from 
Troy.' So Ulysses and Diomede lay down among the 
dead men who had fallen in the battle, and Dolon ran on 
past them towards the Greeks. Then they rose and chased 
him as two greyhounds course a hare, and, \vhen Dolon 
was near the sentinels, Diomede cried 'Stand, or I will 
slay you with my spear! ' and he threw his spear just over 
Dolan's shoulder. So Dolon stood still, green with fear, 
and with his teeth chattering. \Vhen the t\VO came up, 

S 'fIIF: SAC](Elt O:F crrlES 37 

he cried, and said that his father was a rich man, who would 
pay much gold, and bronze, and iron for his ransom. 
Ulysses said, 'Take heart, and put death out of your 
mind, and tell us what you are doing here.' Dolan said 
that Hector had promised him the horses of Achilles if he 
would go and spy on the Greeks. ' You set your hopes 
high,' said Ulysses, 'for the horses of Achilles are not 
earthly steeds, but divine; a gift of the Gods, and Achilles 
alone can drive them. But, tell me, do the Troj ans keep 
good watch, and where is Hector with his horses?' for 
Ulysses thought that it would be a great adventure to drive 
away the horses of Hector. 
, Hector is with the chiefs, holding council at the tomb 
of llus,' said Dolon; 'but no regular guard is set. The 
people of Troy, indeed, are round their watch fires, for they 
have to think of the safety of their wives and children; 
but the allies from far lands keep no watch, for their wives 
and children are safe at home.' Then he told where all the 
different peoples who fought for Priam had their stations; 
but, said he, , if you want to steal horses, the best are those 
of Rhesus, l(ing of the Thracians, who has only joined us 
to-night. He and his men are asleep at the furthest end of 
the line, and his horses are the best and greatest that ever 
I saw: tall, white as snow, and swift as the wind, and his 
chariot is adorned with gold and silver, and golden is his 
armour. Now take me prisoner to the ships, or bind me 
and leave me here while you go and try whether I have 
told you truth or lies.' 
, No,' said Diomede, 'if I spare your life you n1ay come 
spying again,' and he drew his s\vord and smote off the 
" head of Dolan. They hid his cap and bo\v and spear 
where they could find them easily, and marked the spot, 


and went through the night to the dark camp of l(ing 
Rhesus, who had no watch-fire and no guards. Then 
Diomede silently stabbed each sleeping man to the heart, 
and Ulysses seized the dead by the feet and threw them 
aside lest they should frighten the horses, which had 
never been in battle, and would shy if they vvere led over 
the bodies of dead men. Last of all Diomede killed !(ing 
Rhesus, and Ulysses led forth his horses, beating them ,vith 
his bow, for he had forgotten to take the vrhip from the 
chariot. Then Ulysses and Diomede leaped on the backs 
of the horses, as they had not time to bring away the 
chariot, and they galloped to the ships, stopping to pick 
up the spear, and bow, and cap of Dolon. They rode to the 
princes, who welcomed them, and all laughed for glee when 
they saw the white horses and heard that l{ing Rhesus 
"vas dead, for they guessed that all his army would now go 
home to Thrace. This they must have done, for "ve never 
hear of them in the battles that follo,ved, so Ulysses and 
Diomede deprived the Trojans of thousands of men. The 
other princes ,vent to bed in good spirits, but Ulysses and 
Diomede took a swim in the 8ea, and then ,vent into hot 
baths, and so to breakfast, for rosy-fingered Dawn ,vas 
coming up the sky. 



With da\vn Agamen1non awoke, and fear had gone out 
of his heart. He put on his armour, and arrayed the 
chiefs on foot in front of their chariots, and behind them 
came the spearmen, with the bowmen and slingers on the 
wings of the army. Then a great black cloud spread over 


the sky, and red was the rain that fell from it. The Trojans 
gathered on a height in the plain, and Hector, shining in 
armour, went here and there, in front and rear, like a star 
that now gleams forth and now is hidden in a cloud. 
The armies rushed on each other and hewed each other 
down, as reapers cut their way through a field of tall corn. 
Neither side gave ground, though the helmets of the 
bravest Trojans might be seen deep in the ranks of the 
Greeks; and the swords of the bravest Greeks rose and fell 
in the ranks of the Troj ans, and all the while the arrows 
showered like rain. But at noon-day, \vhen the weary 
woodman rests from cutting trees, and takes his dinner in 
the quiet hills, the Greeks of the first line made a charge, 
Agamemnon running in front of them, and he speared two 
Trojans, and took their breastplates, which he laid in his 
chariot, and then he speared one brother of Hector and 
struck another down with his sword, and killed two more 
who vainly asked to be made prisoners of war. Footmen 
sle\v footmen, and chariot men slew chariot men, and they 
broke into the Trojan line as fire falls on a forest in a windy 
day, leaping and roaring and racing through the trees. 

iany an empty chariot did the horses hurry madly through 
the field, for the charioteers were lying dead, with the 
greedy vultures hovering above them, flapping their wide 
,vings. Still Agamemnon followed and slew the hindmost 
Trojans, but the rest fled till they came to the gates, and 
the oak tree that grew outside the gates, 
and there they 
But Hector held his hands from fighting, for in the 
meantime he was making his men face the enemy and 
form up in line and take breath, and was encouraging 
them, for they had retreated from the wall of the Greeks 


across the ,vhole plain, past the hill that was the tomb of 
Ilus, a king of old, and past the place of the wild fig-tree. 
l\iuch ado had Hector to rally the Troj ans, but he knew 
that when men do turn again they are hard to beat. So 
it proved, for when the Troj ans had rallied and formed in 
line, Agamemnon slew a Thracian chief who had come to 
fight for Troy before I{ing Rhesus came. But the eldest 
brother of the slain man smote Agamemnon through the 
arm with his spear, and, though Agamemnon slew him in 
turn, his wound bled n1uch and he ,vas in great pain, so he 
leaped into his chariot and was driven back to the ships. 
Then Hector gave the word to charge, as a huntsman 
cries on his hounds against a lion, and he rushed forward at 
the head of the Trojan line, slaying as he went. Nine chiefs 
of the Greeks he slew, and fell upon the spearmen and 
scattered them, as the spray of the waves is scattered by 
the wandering wind. 
Now the ranks of the Greeks were broken, and they 
would have been driven among their ships and killed 
without mercy, had not Ulysses and Diomede stood firm 
in the centre, and slain four Troj an leaders. The Greeks 
began to come back and face their enemies in line of battle 
again, though Hector, who had been fighting on the Trojan 
right, rushed against them. But Diomede took good aim 
with his spear at the helmet of Hector, and struck it fairly. 
The spear-point did not go through the helmet, but Hector 
was stunned and fell; and, when he came to himself, he 
leaped into his chariot, and his squire drove him against 
the Pylians and Cretans, under Nestor and Idomeneus, 
who were on the left \ving of the Greek army. Then 
Diomede fought on till Paris, who stood beside the pillar 
on the hillock that was the tomb of old I\:ing Ilus, sent an 


arrow clean through his foot. Ulysses went and stood in 
front of Diomede, who sat down, and Ulysses drew the arrow 
from his foot, and Diomede stepped into his chariot and 
was driven back to the ships. 
Ulysses was now the only Greek chief that still fought 
in the centre. The Greeks all fled, and he was alone in the 
crowd of Trojans, who rushed on him as hounds and hunters 
press round a \vild boar that stands at bay in a wood. 
, They are cowards that flee from the fight,' said Ulysses to 
himself; 'but I will stand here, one man against a multi- 
tude.' He covered the front of his body with his great 
shield, that hung by a belt round his neck, and he smote 
four Trojans and \vounded a fifth. But the brother of 
the wounded man drove a spear through the shield and 
breastplate of Ulysses, and tore clean through his side. 
Then Ulysses turned on this Troj an, and he fled, and 
Ulysses sent a spear through his shoulder and out at his 
breast, and he died. Ulysses dragged from his own side 
the spear that had wounded him, and called thrice with a 
great voice to the other Greeks, and Menelaus and Aias 
rushed to rescue him, for many Trojans were round him, 
like jackals round a wounded stag that a man has struck 
with an arrow. But Aias ran and covered the wounded 
Ulysses with his huge shield till he could climb into the 
chariot of Menelaus, who drove him back to the ships. 
Meanwhile, Hector was slaying the Greeks on the left 
of their battle, and Paris struck the Greek surgeon, Machaon, 
with an arrow; and Idomeneus bade Nestor put Machaon 
in his chariot and drive him to Nestor's hut, where his 
\vound might be tended. Meanwhile, Hector sped to the 
centre of the line, where Aias was slaying the Trojans; but 
Eurypylus, a Greek chief, was wounded by an arrow from 


the bow of Paris, and his friends guarded him with their 
shields and spears. 
Thus the best of the Greeks were wounded and out of 
the battle, save Aias, and the spearmen \vere in flight. Mean- 
while Achilles was standing by the stern of his ship watching 
the defeat of the Greeks, but when he saw Machaon being 
carried past, sorely wounded, in the chariot of Nestor, he 
bade his friend Patroclus, whom he loved better than all 
the rest, to go and ask how Machaon did. He was sitting 
drinking wine with Nestor when Patroclus came, and Nestor 
told Patroclus ho\v many of the chiefs "vere wounded, and 
though Patroclus was in a hurry Nestor began a very long 
story about his own great deeds of war, done when he was 
a young man. At last he bade Patroclus tell Achilles 
that, if he would not fight himself, he should at least send 
out his men under Patroclus, who should wear the splendid 
annour of Achilles. Then the Troj ans would think that 
Achilles himself had returned to the battle, and they would 
be afraid, for none of them dared to meet Achilles hand to 
So Patroclus ran off to Achilles; but, on his \vay, he 
met the "vounded Eurypylus, and he took him to his hut 
and cut the arrow out of his thigh 
!ith a knife, and washed 
the wound with warm water, and rubbed over it a bitter 
root to take the pain away. Thus he \yaited for some time 
with Eurypylus, but the advice of Nestor was in the end 
to cause the death of Patroclus. The battle now raged 
more fiercely, while Agamemnon and Diomede and Ulysses 
could only limp about leaning on their spears; and again 
Agan1emnon wished to moor the ships near shore, and 
embark in the night and run away. But Ulysses was very 
angry with him, and said: 'Y ou should lead some other 


inglorious army, not us, who will fight on till every soul of 
us perish, rather than flee like cowards! Be silent, lest 
the soldiers hear you speaking of flight, such words as no 
man should utter. I wholly scorn your counsel, for the 
Greeks will lose heart if, in the midst of battle, you bid 
them launch the ships.' 
Agamemnon was ashamed, and, by Diomede's advice, 
the wounded kings went down to the verge of the ,val' to 
encourage the others, though they \vere themselves unable 
to fight. They rallied the Greeks, and Aias led them 
and struck Hector full in the breast with a great rock, so 
that his friends carried him out of the battle to the river 
side, where they poured water over him, but he lay 
fainting on the ground, the black blood gushing up from 
his mouth. \Vhile Hector lay there, and all n1en thought 
that he would die, Aias and Idomeneus were driving back 
the Trojans, and it seemed that, even without Achilles and 
his men, the Greeks were able to hold their o\vn against the 
Troj ans. But the battle was never lost while Hector lived. 
People in those days believed in 'omens:' they thought 
that the appearance of birds on the right or left hand 
meant good or bad luck. Once during the battle a Trojan 
showed Hector an unlucky bird, and \vanted hitn to retreat 
into the to\vn. But Hector said, 'One omen is the best: 
to fight for our ovtn country.' \Vhile Hector lay bet\vecn 
death and life the Greeks were winning, for the Troj ans 
had no other great chief to lead them. But Hector a\voke 
from his faint, and leaped to his feet and ran here and 
there, encouraging the men of Troy. Then the most of the 
Greeks fled when they saw him; but Aias and Idomeneus, 
and the rest of the bravest, formed in a square between 
the Trojans and the ships, and down on them_ came 

r...\IJ;:S OF 
rROY ..\

Hector and Aeneas and Paris, thro\ving their spears, and 
slaying on every hand. The Greeks turned and ran, and 
the Trojans would have stopped to strip the armour from 
the slain men, but Hector cried: 'Haste to the ships and 
leave the spoils of war. I "'ill slay an y man \vho lags 
behind ! ' 
On this, all the Trojans drove their chariots down into 
the ditch that guarded the ships of the Greeks, as when a 
great wave sweeps at sea over the side of a vessel; and the 
Greeks were on the ship decks, thrusting \vith yery long 
spears, used in sea fights, and the Trojans \vere boarding 
the ships, and striking ",yith s\vords and axes. Hector had 
a lighted torch and tried to set fire to the ship of Aias; 
but Aias kept him back with the long spear, and slew a 
Trojan, whose lighted torch fell from his hand. And 
Aias kept shouting: 'Come on, and drive a\vay Hector; 
it is not to a dance that he is calling his men, but to battle.' 
The dead fell in heaps, and the living ran over them 
to mount the heaps of slain and climb the ships. Hector 
rushed forward like a sea wave against a great steep rock, 
but like the rock stood the Greeks; still the Trojans charged 
past the beaks of the foremost ships, while Aias, thrusting 
with a spear more than twenty feet long, leaped from deck 
to deck like a man that drives four horses abreast, and 
leaps from the back of one to the back of another. Hector 
seized with his hand the stern of the ship of Protesilaus, 
the prince ",yhom Paris shot when he leaped ashore on the 
day \vhen the Greeks first landed; and Hector kept calling: 
, Bring fire! ' and even Aias, in this strange sea fight on land, 
left the decks and went below, thrusting with his spear 
through the portholes. Twelve men lay dead who had 
brought fire against the ship which Aias guarded. 

' CrI'IES 45 



At this llloment, \vhen torches \vere blazing round the 
ships, and all seemed lost, Patroclus came out of the hut of 
Eurypylus, whose wound he had been tending, and he saw 
that the Greeks \vere in great danger, and ran \veeping to 
Achilles. ' 'Vhy do you weep,' said Achilles, 'like a little 
girl that runs by her mother's side, and plucks at her 
go\vn and looks at her \vith tears in her eyes, till her mother 
takes her up in her arms? Is there bad news from home 
that your father is dead, or n1Íne; or are you sorry that 
the Greeks are getting what they deserve for their folly ? ' 
Then Patroclus told Achilles how Ulysses and many other 
princes were wounded and could not fight, and begged to 
be allowed to put on Achilles' armour and lead his men, 
who \vere all fresh and unwearied, into the battle, for a 
charge of two thousand fresh \varriors might turn the 
fortune of the day. 
Then Achilles was sorry that he had sworn not to fight 
himself till Hector brought fire to his o\vn ships. He 
would lend Patroclus his armour, and his horses, and his 
men; but Patroclus must only drive the Troj ans from the 
ships, and not pursue them. At this moment Aias was 
\veary, so many spears smote his armour, and he could 
hardly hold up his great shield, and Hector cut off his spear- 
head \\Tith the sword; the bronze head fell ringing on the 
ground, and Aias brandished only the pointless shaft. So 
he shr ank back and fire blazed all over his ship; and Achilles 
sa\v it, and smote his thigh, and bade Patroclus make has'te. 
Patroclus armed hÍ1nself in the shining annour of Achilles, 


\vhich all Trojans feared, and leaped into the chariot where 
Automedon, the squire, had harnessed Xanthus and Balius, 
two horses that were the children, men said, of the \Vest 
\Vind, and a led horse was harnessed beside them in the 
side traces. IVleanwhile the tvvo thousand nIen of Achilles, 
\vho were called 1iyrmidons, had met in armour, five 
companies of four hundred apiece, under five chiefs of noble 
names. Forth they camc, as eager as a pack of wolves 
that have eaten a great red deer and run to slake their 
thirst \vith the dark water of a \vell in the hills. 
So all in close array, helmet touching helmet and shield 
touching shield, like a Inoving \vall of shining bronze, the 
men of Achilles charged, and Patroclus in the chariot led 
the \va y. Down they came at full speed on the flank of 
the Trojans, who saw the leader, and knew the bright 
armour and the horses of the terrible Achilles, and thought 
that he had returned to the war. Then each Troj an 
looked round to see by ,vhat way he could escape, and 
\vhen men do that in battle they soon run by the way they 
have chosen. Patroclus rushed to the ship of Protesilaus, 
and slew the leader of the Trojans there, and drove them 
out, and quenched the fire; while they of Troy drew back 
from the ships, and Aias and the other unwounded Greek 
princes leaped among them, smiting with sword and spear. 
vVell did Hector know that the break in the battle had come 
again; but even so he stood, and did what he might, \vhile 
the Troj ans ,vere driven back in disorder across the ditch, 
where the poles of many chariots were broken and the 
horses fled loose across the plain. 
The horses of Achilles cleared the ditch, and Patroclus 
drove them between the Trojans and the wall of their own 
town, slaying many men, and, chief of all, Sarpedon, king 


of the Lycians ; and round the body of Sarpedon the Trojans 
rallied under Hector, and the fight swayed this \vay and 
that, and there \vas such a noise of spears and swords 
smiting shields and helmets as when many \voodcutters 
fell trees in a glen of the hills. At last the Trojans gave 
way, and the Greeks stripped the armour from the body 
of brave Sarpedon; but men say that Sleep and Death, 
like two \vinged angels, bore his body away to his o"rn 
country. Now Patroclus forgot how Achilles had told him 
not to pursue the l"'roj ans across the plain, but to return 
\vhen he had driven them from the ships. On he raced, 
slaying as he went, even till he reached the foot of the \vall 
of Troy. Thrice he tried to climb it, but thrice he fell 
Hector \vas in his chariot in the gate\vay, and he bade 
his squire lash his horses into the war, and struck at 
no other man, great or small, but drove straight against 
Patroclus, \vho stood and threw a heavy stone at I-Iector ; 
\vhich missed him, but killed his charioteer. Then Patroclus 
leaped on the charioteer to strip his armour, but Hector 
stood over the body, grasping it by the head, while Patro- 
clus dragged at the feet, and spears and arrows fle\v in clouds 
around the fallen man. At last, towards sunset, the Greeks 
drew him out of the \var, and Patroclus thrice charged 
into the thick of the Troj ans. But the helmet of Achilles 
\vas loosened in the fight, and fell from the head of Patro- 
clus, and he \vas \vounded from behind, and Hector, in 
front, drove his spear clean through his body. With his 
last breath Patroclus prophesied: ' Death stands near thee, 
Hector, at the hands of noble Achilles.' But Automedon 
was driving back the s\vift horses, carrying to Achilles the 
news that his dearest friend \vas slain. 

4 8 1.'ALES O


.LÞ\fter Ulysses \vas \vounded, early in this great battle, 
he \vas not able to fight for several days, and, as the story 
is about Ulysses, \ve must tell quite shortly how Achilles 
returned to the war to take vengeance for Patroclus, and 
how he sle\v Hector. When Patroclus fell, Hector seized 
the armour \vhich the Gods had given to Peleus, and Peleus 
to his son Achilles, \vhile Achilles had lent it to Patroclus 
that he might terrify the Troj ans. Retiring out of reach 
of spears, Hector took off his own armour and put on that 
of Achilles, and Greeks and Trojans fought for the dead 
body of Patroclus. Then Zeus, the chief of the Gods, looked 
down and said that Hector should never come home out 
of the battle to his \vife, Andromache. But Hector returned 
into the fight around the dead Patroclus, and here all the 
best men fought, and even Automedon, \vho had been driving 
the chariot of Patroclus. N o\v \vhen the Troj ans seemed 
to have the better of the fight, the Greeks sent Antilochus, 
a son of old Nestor, to tell Achilles that his friend \vas 
slain, and Antilochus ran, and Aias and his brother pro- 
tected the Greeks \vho were trying to carry the body of 
Patroclus back to the ships. 
S\viftly Antilochus came running to Achilles, saying: 
, Fallen is Patroclus, and they are fighting round his naked 
body, for Hector has his armour.' Then Achilles said 
never a \vord, but fell on the floor of his hut, and threw 
black ashes on his yellow hair, till Antilochus seized his 
hands, fearing that he \\-'ould cut his own throat with his 
dagger, for very sorrow. His mother, Thetis, arose fron1 the 
sea to comfort him, but he said that he desired to die if he 
could not slay I-Iector, \vho had slain his friend. Then 
l'hetis told him that he could not fight \vithout armour, 
and now he had none; but she \vould go to the God of 


annour-making and bring from him such a shield and helmet 
and breastplate as had never been seen by men. 
Meanwhile the fight raged round the dead body of 
Patroclus, which \vas defiled with blood and dust, near the 
ships, and was being dragged this \vay and that, and torn 
and wounded. Achilles could not bear this sight, yet his 
mother had warned him not to enter \vithout armour the 
battle \vhere stones and arrows and spears \vere flying 
like hail; and he \vas so tall and broad that he could put on 
the arms of no other man. So he \vent down to the ditch 
as he \vas, unarmed, and as he stood high above it, 
against the red sunset, fire seemed to flow from his golden 
hair like the beacon blaze that soars into the dark sky 
when an island town is attacked at night, and men light 
beacons that their neighbours may see them and come 
to their help from other isles. There Achilles stood in a 
splendour of fire, and he shouted aloud, as clear as a clarion 
rings \vhen men fall > on to attack a besieged ci ty wall. 
Thrice Achilles shouted mightily, and thrice the horses of 
the Trojans shuddered for fear and turned back from the 
onslaught, and thrice the men of Troy \vere confounded 
and shaken with terror. Then the Greeks drew the body 
of Patroclus out of the dust and the arrows, and laid him on a 
bier, and Achilles followed, \veeping, for he had sent his friend 
with chariot and horses to the war; but home again he wel- 
comed him never more. Then the sun set and it was night. 
Now one of the Trojans wished Hector to retire within 
the walls of 1"'roy, for certainly Achilles would to-morro\v 
be foremost in the \var. But Hector said, 'Have ye not 
had your fill of being shut up behind \valls? Let Achilles 
fight; I \vill meet him in the open field.' The Trojans 
cheered, and they camped in the plain, \vhile in the hut of 


Achilles women washed the dead body of Patroclus, and 
Achilles swore that he would slay Hector. 
In the dawn came Thetis, bearing to Achilles the new 
splendid annour that the God had made for him. Then 
Achilles put on that armour, and roused his men; but Ulysses, 
who knew all the rules of honour, would not let him fight 
till peace had been made, with a sacrifice and other cere- 
monies, bet\veen him and Agamemnon, and till Agamemnon 
had given him an the presents \vhich Achilles had before 
refused. Achilles did not \vant them; he wanted only to 
fight, but Ulysses made him obey, and do what \vas usual. 
Then the gifts \vere brought, and Agamemnon stood up, 
and said that he \vas sorry for his insolence, and the 
men took breakfast, but Achilles \vould neither eat nor 
drink. He mounted his chariot, but the horse Xanthus 
bo\ved his head till his long mane touched the ground, 
and, being a fairy horse, the child of the West Wind, he 
spoke (or so men said), and these were his \vords"': ' We 
shall bear thee swiftly and speedily, but thou shalt be 
slain in fight, and thy dying day is near at hand.' , \Vell 
I kno\v it,' said Achilles, 'but I will not cease from fighting 
till I have given the Trojans their fill of war.' 
So all that day he chased and slew the Troj ans. He 
drove them into the river, and, though the river came down 
in a red flood, he crossed, and slew them on the plain. 
The plain caught fire, the bushes and long dry grass blazed 
round him, but he fought his \vay through the fire, and 
drove the Trojans to their walls. The gates were thrown 
open, and the Trojans rushed through like frightened fawns, 
and then they climbed to the battlements, and looked 
down in safety, while the whole Greek army advanced in 
line under their shields. 


But Hector stood still, alone, in front of the gate, and 
old Priam, who saw Achilles rushing on, shining like a star 
in his new armour, called with tears to Hector, 'Come 
within the gate! This man has slain many of my sons, 
and if he slays thee whom have I to help me in myoId 
age?' His mother also called to Hector, but he stood 
firm, waiting for Achilles. Now the story says that he was 
afraid, and ran thrice in full armour round Troy, with 
Achilles in pursuit. But this cannot be true, for no mortal 
men could run thrice, in heavy armour, with great shields 
that clanked against their ankles, round the town of Troy: 
moreover Hector \vas the bravest of men, and all the 
Trojan women were looking down at him from the \valls. 
We cannot believe that he ran away, and the story goes 
on to tell that he asked Achilles to make an agreement with 
him. The conqueror in the fight should give back the 
body of the fallen to be buried by his friends, but should 
keep his armour. But Achilles said that he could make 
no agreement with Hector, and threw his spear, \vhich flew 
over Hector's shoulder. Then Hector threw his spear, but 
it could not pierce the shield \vhich the God had made for 
Achilles. Hector had no other spear, and Achilles had one, 
so Hector cried, 'Let me not die without honour!' and 
drew his sword, and rushed at Achilles, who sprang to meet 
him, but before Hector could come \vithin a sword-stroke 
Achilles had sent his spear clean through the neck of Hector. 
He fell in the dust and Achilles said, , Dogs and birds shall 
tear your flesh unburied.' With his dying breath Hector 
prayed him to take gold from Priam, and give back his body 
to be burned in Troy. But Achilles said, 'Hound! would 
that I could bring myself to carve and eat thy raw flesh, but 
dogs shall devour it, even if thy father offered me thy weight 


in gold.' With his last words Hector prophesied and said, 
, Remember me in the day when Paris shaH slay thee in the 
Scaean gate.' Then his brave soul went to the land of 
the Dead, which the Greeks called Hades. To that land 
Ulysses sailed while he was still a living man, as the story 
tells later. 
Then Achilles did a dreadful deed; he slit the feet of 
dead Hector from heel to ankle, and thrust thongs through, 
and bound him by the thongs to his chariot and trailed the 
body in the dust. All the women of Troy \vho were on the 
walls raised a shriek, and Hector's \vife, Andromache, heard 
the sound. She had been in an inner room of her house, 
weaving a purple web, and embroidering flowers on it, and 
she was calling her bower maidens to make ready a bath 
for Hector when he should come back tired from battle. 
But when she heard the cry from the wall she trembled, 
and the shuttle with which she \vas weaving fell from 
her hands. 'Surely I heard the cry of my husband's 
mother,' she said, and she bade two of her maidens come 
with her to see why the people Jamented. 
She ran swiftly, and reached the battlements, and thence 
she saw her dear husband's body being \vhirled through the 
dust towards the ships, behind the chariot of AchilJes. 
Then night came over her eyes and she fainted. But when 
she returned to herself she cried out that now none would 
defend her little boy, and other children \vould push him 
away from feasts, saying, ' Out with you; no father of thine 
is at our table,' and his father, Hector, would lie naked 
at the ships, unclad, unburned, unlamented. To be un- 
burned and unburied was thought the greatest of mis- 
fortunes, because the dead man unburned could not go into 
the House of Hades, God of the Dead, but must always 


\vander, alone and comfortless, in the dark borderland 
between the dead and the living. 



When Achilles was asleep that night the ghost of 
Patroclus came, saying, 'Why dost thou not burn and bury 
me? for the other shadows of dead men suffer me not to 
come near them, and lonely I wander along the dark dwelling 
of Hades.' Then Achilles awoke, and he sent men to cut 
down trees, and make a huge pile of fagots and logs. 
On this they laid Patroclus, covered with white linen, and 
then they sle\v many cattle, and Achilles cut the throats of 
twelve Trojan prisoners of war, meaning to burn them with 
Patroclus to do him honour. This was a deed of shame, 
for Achilles was mad with sorrow and anger for the death of 
his friend. Then they drenched \vith wine the great pile 
of wood, which was thirty yards long and broad, and set 
fire to it, and the fire blazed all through the night and 
died down in the morning. They put the white bones 
of Patroclus in a golden casket, and laid it in the hut of 
Achilles, \vho said that, when he died, they must burn his 
body, and mix the ashes with the ashes of his friend, and 
build over it a chamber of stone, and cover the chamber 
\vith a great hill of earth, and set a pillar of stone above it. 
This is one of the hills on the plain of Troy, but the pillar has 
fallen from the tomb, long ago. 
Then, as the custom was, Achilles held games-chariot 
races, foot races, boxing, wrestling, and archery-in honour 


of Patroclus. Ulysses WOil the prize for the foot race, 
and for the wrestling, so now his wound must have been 
But Achilles still kept trailing Hector's dead body each 
day round the hill that had been raised for the tomb of 
Patroclus, till the Gods in heaven were angry, and bade Thetis 
tell her son that he must give back the dead body to Priam, 
and take ransom for it, and they sent a messenger to Priam 
to bid him redeem the body of his son. It was terrible 
for Priam to have to go and humble himself before Achilles, 
whose hands had been red with the blood of his sons, but he 
did not disobey the Gods. He opened his chests, and took 
out twenty-four beautiful embroidered changes of raiment; 
and he \veighed out ten heavy bars, or talents, of gold, and 
chose a beautiful golden cup, and he called nine of his sons, 
Paris, and Helenus, and Deiphobus, and the rest, saying, 
, Go, ye bad sons, my shame; would that Hector lived and 
all of you were dead! ' for sorrow made him angry; 'go, and 
get ready for me a wain, and lay on it these treasures.' 
So they harnessed mules to the wain, and placed in it the 
treasures, and, after praying, Prian1 drove through the 
night to the hut of Achilles. In he went, when no man 
looked for him, and kneeled to Achilles, and kissed his 
terrible death-dealing hands. 'Have pity on lne, and fear 
the Gods, and give me back my dead son,' he said, ' and re- 
member thine own father. Have pity on me, who have 
endured to do what no man born has ever done before, to 
kiss the hands that slew my sons.' 
Then Achilles remembered his own father, far away, who 
now \vas old and weak: and he wept, and Priam wept with 
him, and then Achilles raised Priam from his knees and spoke 
kindly to him, admiring how beautiful he still was in his 


old age, and Priam himself wondered at the beauty of 
Achilles. And Achilles thought how Priam had long been 
rich and happy, like his own father, Peleus, and now old age 
and weakness and sorrow were laid upon both of them, for 
Achilles knew that his own day of death was at hand, 
even at the doors. So Achilles bade the women make ready 
the body of Hector for burial, and they clothed him in a 
white mantle that Priam had brought, and laid him in the 
wain; and supper was made ready, and Priam and Achilles 
ate and drank together, and the women spread a bed for 
Priam, who would not stay long, but stole away back to 
Troy while Achilles was asleep. 
All the women came out to meet him, and to lament for 
Hector. They carried the body into the house of Andro- 
mache and laid it on a bed, and the women gathered 
around, and each in turn sang her song over the great dead 
warrior. His mother be,vailed him, and his wife, and 
Helen of the fair hands, clad in dark mourning raiment, 
lifted up her white arms, and said: 'Hector, of all my 
brethren in Troy thou wert the dearest, since Paris brought 
Ine hither. vVould that ere that day I had died! For this 
is now the t\ventieth year since I came, and in all these 
twenty years never heard I a word from thee that "vas 
bitter and unkind; others might upbraid me, thy sisters 
or thy mother, for thy father \vas good to me as if he had 
been my o\vn; but then thou \vouldst restrain them that 
spoke evil by the courtesy of thy heart and thy gentle 
words. Ah! woe for thee, and woe for me, whom all men 
shudder at, for there is now none in wide Troyland to be 
my friend like thee, my brother and my friend! ' 
So Helen lamented, but now was done all that men might 
do ; a great pile of \vood ,vas raised, and Hector \vas burned, 

56 r1".ALES OJ? rrnoy .A.KD GREECE 

and his ashes were placed in a golden urn, in a dark chamber 
of stone, within a hollow hill. 



After Hector \vas buried, the siege ,vent on slowly, as 
it had done during the first nine years of the vvar. The 
Greeks did not know at that tÍ1ne how to besiege a city, 
as \ve saw, by \vay of digging trenches and building towers, 
and battering the walls with machines that threw heavy 
stones. The Troj ans had lost courage, and dared not go 
into the open plain, and they \vere \vaiting for the coming 
up of ne\v annies of allies-the Amazons, ,vho were girl 
warriors from far away, and an Eastern people called the 
I(hita, ,vhose king was Memnon, the son of the Bright Dawn. 
Now everyone kne,v. that, in the temple of the Goddess 
Pallas A thênê, in Troy, was a sacred image, which fell 
from heaven, called the Palladium, and this very ancient 
image was the Luck of Troy. While it remained safe in the 
temple people believed that Troy could never be taken, 
but as it \vas in a guarded temple in the middle of the to\vn, 
and was watched by priestesses day and night, it seemed 
impossible that the Greeks should ever enter the city 
secretly and steal the Luck away. 
As Ulysses \vas the grandson of Autolycus, the l\Iaster 
Thief, he often wished that the old man was with the 
Greeks, for if there was a thing to steal Autolycus could 
steal it. But by this time Autolycus was dead, and so 
Ulysses could only puzzle over the way to steal the Luck of 
Troy, and "vander how his grandfather would have set 


about it. He prayed for help secretly to Hermes, the God of 
Thieves, when he sacrificed goats to him, and at last he had 
a plan. 
There was a story that Anius, the King of the Isle of 
Delos, had three daughters, named mno, Spermo, and 
Elais, and that mno could turn water into wine, while 
Spermo could turn stones into bread, and Elais could change 
mud into olive oil. Those fairy gifts, people said, were given 
to the maidens by the "Vine God, Dionysus, and by the 
Goddess of Corn, Demeter. Now corn, and wine, and oil 
were sorely needed by the Greeks, who were tired of paying 
much gold and bronze to the Phoenician n1erchants for their 
supplies. Ulysses therefore went to Agamemnon one day, 
and asked leave to take his ship and voyage to Delos, to 
bring, if he could, the three maidens to the camp, if indeed 
they could do these miracles. As no fighting was going on, 
Agamemnon gave Ulysses leave to depart, so he went on 
board his ship, with a crew of fifty men of Ithaca, and a,vay 
they sailed, promising to return in a month. 
Two or three days after that, a dirty old beggar man 
began to be seen in the Greek camp. He had crawled in 
late one evening, dressed in a dirty smock and a very dirty 
old cloak, full of holes, and stained with smoke. Over 
everything he wore the skin of a stag, with half the hair 
worn off, and he carried a staff, and a filthy tattered wallet, 
to put food in, which swung from his neck by a cord. He came 
crouching and smiling up to the door of the hut of Diomede, 
and sat do\vn just within the doorway, where beggars still 
sit in the East. Diomede sa,v him, and sent him a loaf and 
two handfuls of flesh, which the beggar laid on his wallet, 
between his feet, and he made his supper greedily, gnawing 
a bone like a dog. 

58 'rALES OF 

After supper Diomede asked him who he was and 
whence he came, and he told a long story about how he 
had been a Cretan pirate, and had been taken prisoner by 
the Egyptians when he was robbing there, and how he had 
worked for many years in their stone quarries, where the sun 
had burned him brown, and had escaped by hiding among 
the gn
at stones, carried down the Nile in a raft, for building 
a temple on the sea
hore. The raft arrived at night, and 
the beggar said that he stole out from it in the dark and 
found a Phoenician ship in the harbour, and the Phoenicians 
took him on board, meaning to sell him somewhere as a 
slave. But a tempest came on and wrecked the ship off the 
Isle of Tenedos, which is near Troy, and the beggar alone 
escaped to the island on a plank of the ship. From Tenedos 
he had come to Troy in a fisher's boat, hoping to make him- 
self useful in the camp, and earn enough to keep body and 
soul together till he could find a ship sailing to Crete. 
He made his story rather amusing, describing the strange 
ways of the Egyptians; how they \vorshipped cats and bulls, 
and did everything in just the opposite of the Greek way of 
doing things. So Diomede let him have a rug and blankets 
to sleep on in the portico of the hut, and next day the old 
,vretch went begging about the camp and talking with the 
soldiers. N ow he was a most impudent and annoying old 
vagabond, and \-vas ahvays in quarrels. If there \vas a 
disagreeable story about the father or grandfather of any 
of the princes, he knew it and told it, so that he got a blow 
from the baton of Agamemnon, and Aias gave him a kick, 
and Idomeneus drubbed him with the butt of his spear for 
a tale about his grandmother, and everybody hated him 
and called him a nuisance. He \vas for ever jeering at 
Ulysses, \-vho ,vas far away, and telling tales about Autolycus, 


and at last he stole a gold cup, a very large cup, \vith two 
handles, and a dove sitting on each handle, from the hut of 
Nestor. The old chief was fond of this cup, which he had 
brought from home, and, when it was found in the beggar's 
dirty wallet, everybody cried that he must be driven out 
of the camp and well whipped. So Nestor's son, young 
Thrasymedes, with other young men, laughing and shouting, 
pushed and dragged the beggar close up to the Scaean gate 
of Troy, where Thrasymedes called with a loud voice, '0 
Troj ans, we are sick of this shameless beggar. First we shall 
whip him well, and if he comes back we shall put out his 
eyes and cut off his hands and feet, and give him to the 
dogs to eat. He may go to you, if he likes; if not, he must 
wander till he dies of hunger.' 
The young nlen of Troy heard this and laughed, and a 
crowd gathered on the wall to see the beggar punished. 
So Thrasynledes whipped him with his bowstring till he 
was tired, and they did not leave off beating the beggar 
till he ceased howling and fell, all bleeding, and lay still. 
Then Thrasymedes gave him a parting kick, and went away 
with his friends. The beggar lay quiet for sonle time, then 
he began to stir, and sat up, wiping the tears from his eyes, 
and shouting curses and bad words after the Greeks, praying 
that they might be speared in the back, and eaten by dogs. 
At last he tried to stand up, but fell do\vn again, and 
began to crawl on hands and knees towards the Scaean gate. 
There he sat down, within the two side walls of the gate, \vhere 
he cried and lamented. Now Helen of the fair hands came 
down from the gate tower, being sorry to see any man 
treated so much worse than a beast, and she spoke to the 
beggar and asked him why he had been used in this cruel 


At first he only moaned, and rubbed his sore sides, but at 
last he said that he was an unhappy man, who had been 
shipwrecked, and was begging his way home, and that the 
Greeks suspected him of being a spy sent out by the 
Trojans. But he had been in Lacedaemon, her own country, 
he said, and could tell her about her father, if she were, 
as he supposed, the beautiful Helen, and about her brothers, 
Castor and Polydeuces, and her little daughter, Hermione. 
'But perhaps,' he said, 'you are no mortal woman, 
but some goddess who favours the Trojans, and if indeed 
you are a goddess then I liken you to Aphrodite, for beauty, 
and stature, and shapeliness.' Then Helen wept; for 
many a year had passed since she had heard any word of 
her father, and daughter, and her brothers, who were dead, 
though she knew it not. So she stretched out her white 
hand, and raised the beggar, who was kneeling at her feet, 
and bade him follow her to her own house, within the palace 
garden of King Priam. 
Helen walked forward, with a bower maiden at either 
side, and the beggar crawling after her. vVhen she had 
entered her house, Paris was not there, so she ordered 
the bath to be filled with warm water, and new clothes to 
be brought, and she herself washed the old beggar and 
anointed him with oil. This appears very strange to us, 
for though Saint Elizabeth of Hungary used to ",rash and 
clothe beggars, we are surprised that Helen should do so, 
who was not a saint. But long afterwards she herself 
told the son of Ulysses, Telemachus, that she had \vashed 
his father \vhen he came into Troy disguised as a beggar 
who had been sorely beaten. 
You must have guessed that the beggar was Ulysses, 
\vho had not gone to Delos in his ship, but stolen back in a 


boat, and appeared disguised among the Greeks. He did 
all this to make sure that nobody could recognise him, and 
he behaved so as to deserve a whipping that he might not 
be suspected as a Greek spy by the Trojans, but rather be 
pitied by them. Certainly he deserved his name of 'the 
much-enduring Ulysses.' 
Meanwhile he sat in his bath and Helen washed his feet. 
But when she had done, and had anointed his wounds with 
olive oil, and when she had clothed him in a white tunic and 
a purple mantle, then she opened her lips to cry out with 
amazement, for she knew Ulysses; but he laid his finger on 
her lips, saying' Hush!' Then she remembered how great 
danger he was in, for the Trojans, if they found him, would 
put him to some cruel death, and she sat down, trembling 
and weeping, while he watched her. 
, Oh thou strange one,' she said, 'how enduring is thy 
heart and how cunning beyond measure! How hast 
thou borne to be thus beaten and disgraced, and to come 
within the walls of Troy? Well it is for thee that Paris, 
my lord, is far from home, having gone to guide Pen- 
thesilea, the Queen of the warrior maids whom men call 
Amazons, who is on her way to help the Trojans.' 
Then Ulysses smiled, and Helen saw that she had said 
a word \vhich she ought not to have spoken, and had re- 
vealed the secret hope of the Trojans. Then she wept, 
and said, 'Oh cruel and cunning! You have made me 
betray the people with whom I live, though woe is me that 
ever I left my own people, and my husband dear, and my 
child! And now if you escape alive out of Troy, you will 
tell the Greeks, and they will lie in ambush by night for the 
Amazons on the way to Troy and will slay them all. If you 
and I were not friends long ago, I would tell the Troj ans 


that you are here, and they would give your body to the 
dogs to eat, and fix your head on the palisade above the wall. 
Woe is me that ever I ,vas born.' 
Ulysses answered, 'Lady, as you have said, we two are 
friends from of old, and your friend I will be till the last, 
when the Greeks break into Troy, and slay the men, and 
carry the women captives. If I live till that hour no man 
shall harm you, but safely and in honour you shall come 
to your palace in Lacedaemon of the rifted hills. Moreover, 
I swear to you a great oath, by Zeus above, and by Them 
that under earth punish the souls of men who swear falsely, 
that I shall tell no man the thing ,vhich you have spoken.' 
So when he had sworn and done that oath, Helen was 
comforted and dried her tears. Then she told him how 
unhappy she was, and how she had lost her last comfort 
when Hector died. 'Always am I wretched,' she said, 
'save when sweet sleep falls on me. Now the wife of Thon, 
King of Egypt, gave me this gift when we were in Egypt, 
on our way to Troy, namely, a drug that brings sleep even 
to the most unhappy, and it is pressed from the poppy 
heads of the garland of the God of Sleep.' Then she showed 
him strange phials of gold, full of this drug: phials wrought 
by the Egyptians, and covered with magic spells and 
shapes of beasts and flowers. 'One of these I will give 
you,' she said, 'that even from Troy town you may not 
go wi thou t a gift in memory of the hands of Helen.' So 
Ulysses took the phial of gold, and was glad in his heart, 
and Helen set before him meat and wine. When he had 
eaten and drunk, and his strength had come back to him, 
he said : 
'Now I must dress me again in myoId rags, and take 
my wallet, and my staff, and go forth, and beg through 


Troy town. For here I must abide for some days as a 
beggar man, lest if I now escape from your house in the 
night the Trojans may think that you have told me the 
secrets of their counsel, \vhich I am carrying to the Greeks, 
and may be angry with you.' So he clothed himself again 
as a beggar, and took his staff, and hid the phial of gold 
with the Egyptian drug in his rags, and in his wallet also 
he put the ne\v clothes that Helen had given him, and a 
sword, and he took farewell, saying, 'Be of good heart, for 
the end of your sorro\vs is at hand. But if you see me 
among the beggars in the street, or by the well, take no 
heed of me, only I will salute you as a beggar \vho has 
been kindly treated by a Queen.' 
So they parted, and Ulysses \vent out, and when it \vas 
day he was with the beggars in the streets, but by night 
he commonly slept near the fire of a smithy forge, as is 
the \vay of beggars. So for some days he begged, saying 
that he was gathering food to eat while he walked to some 
town far 3.\vay that was at peace, \vhere he might find 
work to do. He \vas not impudent now, and did not go 
to rich men's houses or tell evil tales, or laugh, but he 
was much in the temples, praying to the Gods, and above 
all in the temple of Pallas Athênê. The Trojans thought 
tha t he was a pious man for a beggar. 
Now there \vas a custom in these times that men and 
women who were sick or in distress, should sleep at night 
on the floors of the temples. They did this hoping that the 
God would send thern a dream to sho\v them how their 
diseases might be cured, or how they might find what they 
had lost, or might escape from their distresses. 
Ulysses slept in more than one temple, and once in 
that of Pallas Athênê, and the priests and priestesses were 


kind to him, and gave him food in the morning when the 
gates of the temple were opened. 
In the temple of Pallas Athênê, where the Luck 
of Troy lay always on her altar, the custom was that 
priestesses kept watch, each for two hours, all through the 
nigh t, and soldiers kept guard wi thin call. So one night 
Ulysses slept there" on the floor, with other distressed 
people, seeking for dreams from the Gods. He lay still 
all through the night till the turn of the last priestess came 
to \\latch. The priestess used to walk up and down with 
bare feet among the dreaming people, having a torch in 
her hand, and muttering hymns to the Goddess. Then 
Ulysses, when her back was turned, slipped the gold phial 
out of his rags, and let it lie on the polished floor beside 
him. When the priestess came back again, the light from 
her torch fell on the glittering phial, and she stooped and 
picked it up, and looked at it curiously. There came from 
it a sweet fragrance, and she opened it, and tasted the 
drug. It seemed to her the sweetest thing that ever she 
had tasted, and she took more and more, and then closed 
the phial and laid it down, and went along murmuring 
her hymn. 
But soon a great dro\vsiness came over her, and she 
sat down on the step of the altar, and fell sound asleep, 
and the torch sunk in her hand, and went out, and all 
was dark. Then Ulysses put the phial in his wallet, and 
crept very cautiously to the altar, in the dark, and stole 
the Luck of Troy. It was only a small black mass of what 
is now called meteoric iron, which sometimes comes down 
with meteorites from the sky, but it was shaped like a 
shield, and the people thought it an image of the warlike 
shielded Goddess, fallen from Heaven. Such sacred 

' CITIES 65 

shields, made of glass and ivory, are found deep in the earth 
in the ruined cities of Ulysses' time. Swiftly Ulysses hid 
the Luck in his rags and left in its place on the altar a 
copy of the Luck, which he had made of blackened clay. 
Then he stole back to the place where he had lain, and 
remained there till dawn appeared, and the sleepers who 
sought for dreams awoke, and the temple gates were opened, 
and Ulysses walked out with the rest of them. 
He stole down a lane, where as yet no people were 
stirring, and crept along, leaning on his staff, till he came 
to the eastern gate, at the back of the 'city, which the 
Greeks never attacked, for they had never drawn their 
army in a circle round the town. There Ulysses explained 
to the sentinels that he had gathered food enough to last 
for a long journey to some other town, and opened his 
bag, which seemed full of bread and broken meat. The 
soldiers said he was a lucky beggar, and let him out. He 
walked slowly along the waggon road by which wood was 
brought into Troy from the forests on Mount Ida, and 
when he found that nobody was within sight he slipped 
into the forest, and stole into a dark thicket, hiding beneath 
the tangled boughs. Here he lay and slept till evening, 
and then took the new clothes which Helen had given him 
out of his wallet, and put them on, and threw the belt 
of the sword over his shoulder, and hid the Luck of Troy 
in his bosom. He washed himself clean in a mountain 
brook, and now all who saw him must have known that 
he was no beggar, but Ulysses of Ithaca, Laertes' son. 
So he walked cautiously down the side of the brook 
which ran between high banks deep in trees, and followed 
it till it reached the river Xanthus, on the left of the Greek 
lines. Here he found Greek sentinels set to guard the 


camp, who cried aloud in joy and surprise, for his ship had 
not yet returned from Delos, and they could not guess 
how Ulysses had come back alone across the sea. So two 
of the sentinels guarded Ulysses to the hut of Agamemnon, 
where he and Achilles and all the chiefs were sitting at 
a feast. They all leaped up, but when Ulysses took the 
Luck of Troy from within his mantle, they cried that this 
was the bravest deed that had been done in the war, and 
they sacrificed ten oxen to Zeus. 
'So you were the old beggar,' said young Thrasy- 
, Yes,' said Ulysses, 'and when next you beat a beggar, 
Thrasymedes, do not strike so hard and so long.' 
That night all the Greeks were full of hope, for now they 
had the Luck of Troy, but the Trojans were in despair, and 
guessed that the beggar was the thief, and that Ulysses 
had been the beggar. The priestess, Theano, could tell them 
nothing; they found her, with the extinguished torch 
drooping in her hand, asleep, as she sat on the step of the 
altar, and she never woke again. 



Ulysses thought much and often of Helen, without 
whose kindness he could not have saved the Greeks by 
stealing the Luck of Troy. He saw that, though she re- 
mained as beautiful as when the princes all sought her 
hand, she was most unhappy, knowing herself to be the 
cause of so much misery, and fearing what the future 


might bring. Ulysses told nobody about the secret which 
she had let fall, the coming of the Amazons. 
The Amazons were a race of warlike maids, who lived 
far away on the banks of the river Thermodon. They 
had fought against Troy in former times, and one of the 
great hill-graves on the plain of Troy covered the ashes 
of an Amazon, swift-footed Myrinê. People believed that 
they were the daughters of the God of War, and they were 
reckoned equal in battle to the bravest men. Their young 
Queen, Penthesilea, had two reasons for coming to fight 
at Troy: one was her ambition to win renown, and the 
other her sleepless sorrow for having accidentally killed her 
sister, Hippolytê, when hunting. The spear which she 
threw at a stag struck Hippolytê and slew her, and Penthe- 
silea cared no longer for her own life, and desired to fall 
gloriously in battle. So Penthesilea and her bodyguard 
of twelve Amazons set forth from the wide streams of 
Thermodon, and rode into Troy. The story says that 
they did not drive in chariots, like all the Greek and Trojan 
chiefs, but rode horses, which must have been the manner 
of their country. 
Penthesilea was the tallest and most beautiful of the 
Amazons, and shone among her twelve maidens like the 
moon among the stars, or the bright Dawn among the 
Hours which follow her chariot wheels. The Trojans 
rejoiced when they beheld her, for she looked both terrible 
and beautiful, with a frown on her brow, and fair shining 
eyes, and a blush on her cheeks. 1'0 the Trojans she 
came like Iris, the Rain bow, after a storm, and they 
gathered round her cheerint5, and throwing flowers and 
kissing her stirrup, as the people of Orleans welcomed 
Joan of Arc when she came to deliver them. Even Priam 


was glad, as is a man long blind, when he has been healed, 
and again looks upon the light of .the sun. Priam held 
a great feast, and gave to Penthesilea many beautiful 
gifts: cups of gold, and embroideries, and a sword with a 
hilt of silver, and she vowed that she would slay Achilles. 
But when Andromache, the wife of Hector, heard her she said 
within herself, 'Ah, unhappy girl, what is this boast of 
thine! Thou hast not the strength to fight the unconquer- 
able son of Peleus, for if Hector could not slay him, what 
chance hast thou? But the piled-up earth covers Hector!' 
In the morning Penthesilea sprang up from sleep and 
put on her glorious armour, with spear in hand, and sword 
at side, and bow and quiver hung behind her back, and her 
great shield covering her side from neck to stirrup, and 
mounted her horse, and galloped to the plain. Beside 
her charged the twelve maidens of her bodyguard, and all 
the company of Hector's brothers and kinsfolk. These 
headed the Trojan lines, and they rushed towards the ships 
of the Greeks. 
Then the Greeks asked each other, 'Who is this that 
leads the Trojans as Hector led them, surely some God 
rides in the van of the charioteers !' Ulysses could have 
told them who the new leader of the Trojans was, but it 
seems that he had not the heart to fight against women, 
for his name is not mentioned in this day's battle. So 
the two lines clashed, and the plain of Troy ran red with 
blood, for Penthesilea slew Molios, and Persinoos, and 
Eilissos, and Antiphates, and Lernos high of heart, and 
Hippalmos of the loud warcry, and Haemonides, and strong 
Elasippus, while her maidens Derinoê and Cloniê slew each a 
chief of the Greeks. But Cloniê fell beneath the spear of 
Podarkes, whose hand Penthesilea cut off with the sword, 



while Idomeneus speared the Amazon Bremousa, and 
Meriones of Crete slew Evadrê, and Diomede killed Alcibiê 
and Derimacheia in close fight with the sword, so the 
company of the Twelve were thinned, the bodyguard 
of Penthesilea. 
The Trojans and Greeks kept slaying each other, but 
Penthesilea avenged her maidens, driving the ranks of 
Greece as a lioness drives the cattle on the hills, for they 
could not stand before her. Then she shouted, 'Dogs! 
to-day shall you pay for the sorrows of Priam! Where is 
Diomede, where is Achilles, where is Aias, that, men say, 
are your bravest? \1Vill none of them stand before my 
spear?' Then she charged again, at the head of the House- 
hold of Priam, brothers and kinsmen of Hector, and where 
they came the Greeks fell like yellow leaves before the wind 
of autumn. The white horse that Penthesilea rode, a 
gift from the wife of the North Wind, flashed like lightning 
through a dark cloud among the companies of the Greeks, 
and the chariots that followed the charge of the Amazon 
rocked as they swept over the bodies of the slain. Then the 
old Trojans, watching from the walls, cried: 'This is no 
mortal maiden but a Goddess, and to-day she will burn the 
ships of the Greeks, and they will all perish in Troyland, 
and see Greece never more again.' 
Now it so was that Aias and Achilles had not heard the 
din and the cry of war, for both had gone to weep over the 
great new grave of Patroclus. Penthesilea and the Trojans 
had driven back the Greeks within their ditch, and they 
\vere hiding here and there among the ships, and torches 
were blazing in men's hands to burn the ships, as in the day 
of the valour of Hector: when Aias heard the din of battle 
and called to Achilles to make speed to\vards the ships. 

70 'l

So they ran swiftly to their huts, and armed themselves, 
and Aias fell smiting and slaying upon the Trojans, but 
Achilles slew five of the bodyguard of Penthesilea. She, 
beholding her maidens fallen, rode straight against Aias 
and Achilles, like a dove defying two falcons, and cast her 
spear, but it fell back blunted from the glorious shield that 
the God had made for the son of Peleus. Then she threw 
another spear at Aias, crying, 'I am the daughter of the 
God of War,' but his arm our kept out the spear, and he and 
Achilles laughed aloud. Aias paid no more heed to the 
Amazon, but rushed against the Trojan men; while Achilles 
raised the heavy spear that none but he could throw, and 
drove it down through breastplate and breast of Penthesilea, 
yet still her hand grasped her sword-hilt. But, ere she could 
draw her sword, Achilles speared her horse, and horse and 
rider fell, and died in their fall. 
There lay fair Penthesilea in the dust, like a tall poplar 
tree that the wind has overthrown, and her helmet fell, 
and the Greeks who gathered round marvelled to see her 
lie so beautiful in death, like Artemis, the Goddess of the 
V\T oods, when she sleeps alone, weary with hunting on the 
hills. Then the heart of Achilles was pierced with pity 
and sorrow, thinking how she might have been his wife 
in his own country, had he spared her, but he was never 
to see pleasant Phthia, his native land, again. So Achilles 
stood and wept over Penthesilea dead. 
N ow the Greeks, in pity and sorrow, held their hands, 
and did not pursue the Trojans who had fled, nor did they 
strip the armour from Penthesilea and her twelve maidens, 
but laid the bodies on biers, and sent them back in peace 
to Priam. Then the Trojans burned Penthesilea in the 
midst of her dead maidens, on a great pile of dry wood, and 


UL YSSES rrHE Sl\.CI(Ell OF CrrIES 7 1 

placed their ashes in a golden casket, and buried them all 
in the great hill-grave of Laomedon, an ancient l{ing of 
Troy, while the Greeks with lamentation buried them whom 
the Amazon had slain. 
The old men of Troy and the chiefs now held a council, 
and Priam said that they must not yet despair, for, if they 
had lost many of their bravest warriors, many of the Greeks 
had also fallen. Their best plan was to fight only with 
arrows from the walls and towers, till King Memnon came 
to their rescue with a great army of Aethiopes. Now 
Memnon was the son of the bright Dawn, a beautiful Goddess 
who had loved and married a mortal man, Tithonus. She 
had asked Zeus, the chief of the Gods, to make her lover 
immortal, and her prayer was granted. Tithonus could not 
die, but he began to gro\v grey, and then white haired, with 
a long white beard, and very weak, till nothing of him seemed 
to be left but his voice, always feebly chattering like the 
grasshoppers on a summer day. 
Memnon was the most beautiful of men, except Paris and 
Achilles, and his home was in a country that borders on the 
land of sunrising. There he was reared by the lily maidens 
called Hesperides, till he came to his full strength, and com 
manded the whole army of the Aethiopes. For their arrival 
Priam wished to wait, but Polydamas advised that the 
Trojans should give back Helen to the Greeks, with jewels 
twice as valuable as those which she had brought from the 
house of lYlenelaus. Then Paris was very angry, and said 
that Polydamas was a coward, for it was little to Paris that 
Troy should be taken and burned in a month if for a month 
he could keep Helen of the fair hands. 
At length Memnon came, leading a great army of men 
who had nothing white about them but the teeth, so fiercely 



the sun burned on them in their own country. The Trojans 
had all the more hopes of Memnon because, on his long 
journey from the land of sunrising, and the river Oceanus 
that girdles the round world, he had been obliged to cross the 
country of the Solymi. Now the Solymi were the fiercest 
of men and rose up against Memnon, but he and his army 
fought them for a whole day, and defeated them, and 
drove them to the hills. When J\lemnon came, Priam 
gave him a great cup of gold, full of wine to the brim, and 
Memnon drank the wine at one draught. But he did not 
make great boasts of what he could do, like poor Penthesilea, 
'for,' said he, 'whether I am a good man at arms will be 
known in battle, where the strength of men is tried. So 
now let us turn to sleep, for to wake and drink wine all 
through the night is an ill beginning of war.' 
Then Priam praised his wisdom, and all men betook 
them to bed, but the bright Dawn rose unwillingly next 
day, to throw light on the battle where her son was to risk 
his life. Then 1\1emnon led out the dark clouds of his 
men into the plain, and the Greeks foreboded evil when 
they saw so great a new army of fresh and unwearied 
warriors, but Achilles, leading them in his shining armour, 
gave them courage. Memnon fell upon the left wing of 
the Greeks, and on the men of Nestor, and first he slew 
Ereuthus, and then attacked Nestor's young son, Antilochus, 
who, now that Patroclus had fallen, \vas the dearest friend of 
Achilles. On him IVlemnon leaped, like a lion on a kid, but 
.t\.ntilochus lifted a huge stone from the plain, a pillar that 
had been set on the tomb of some great ,varrior long ago, 
and the stone smote full on the helmet of 1\lemnon, who 
reeled beneath the stroke. But Memnon seized his heavy 
spear, and drove it through shield and corselet of Antilochus J 


even into his heart, and he fell and died beneath his father's 
eyes. Then Nestor in grea t sorrow and anger strode 
across the body of Antilochus and called to his other son, 
Thrasymedes, 'Come and drive afar this man that has 
slain thy brother, for if fear be in thy heart thou art no son 
of mine, nor of the race of Periclymenus, who stood up in 
battle even against the strong man Heracles! ' 
But Memnon was too strong for Thrasymedes, and drove 
him off, while old Nestor himself charged sword in hand, 
though Memnon bade him begone, for he was not minded 
to strike so aged a man, and Nestor drew back, for he was 
weak with age. Then l\1emnon and his army charged the 
Greeks, slaying and stripping the dead. But Nestor had 
mounted his chariot and driven to Achilles, weeping, and 
imploring him to come swiftly and save the body of Anti- 
loch us, and he sped to meet lVIemnon, who lifted a great stone, 
the landmark of a field, and drove it against the shield 
of the son of Peleus. But Achilles was not shaken by the 
blow ; he ran forward, and wounded l\lemnon over the rim 
of his shield. Yet \vounded as he was Memnon fought 
on and struck his spear through the arm of Achilles, for 
the Greeks fought with no sleeves of bronze to protect 
their arms. 
Then Achilles drew his great sword, and flew on IVlemnon, 
and with sword-strokes they lashed at each other on shield 
and helmet, and the long horsehair crests of the helmets 
were shorn off, and flew down the wind, and their shields 
rang terribly beneath the sword strokes. They thrust 
at each others' throats between shield and visor of the 
helmet, they smote at knee, and thrust at breast, and the 
arm our rang about their bodies, and the dust from beneath 
their feet rose up in a cloud around them, like mist round 


the falls of a great river in flood. So they fought, neither 
of them yielding a step, till Achilles made so rapid a thrust 
that Memnon could not parry it, and the bronze sword 
passed clean through his body beneath the breast-bone, 
and he fell, and his armour clashed as he fell. 
Then Achilles, wounded as he was and weak from loss 
of blood, did not stay to strip the golden armour of Memnon, 
but shouted his warcry, and pressed on, for he hoped to 
enter the gate of Troy with the fleeing Trojans, and all 
the Greeks followed after him. So they pursued, slaying 
as they went, and the Scaean gate was choked with the 
crowd of men, pursuing and pursued. In that hour would 
the Greeks have entered Troy, and burned the city, and 
taken the women captive, but Paris stood on the tower 
above the gate, and in his mind was anger for the death of 
his brother Hector. He tried the string of his bow, and 
found it frayed, for all day he had showered his arrows 
on the Greeks; so he chose a new bowstring, and fitted it, 
and strung the bow, and chose an arrow from his quiver, 
and aimed at the ankle of Achilles, where it was bare 
beneath the greave, or leg-guard of metal, that the God 
had fashioned for him. Through the ankle flew the arrow, 
and Achilles wheeled round, weak as he was, and stumbled, 
and fell, and the armour that the God had wrought was 
defiled with dust and blood. 
Then Achilles rose again, and cried: 'Wha t coward has 
smitten me with a secret arrow from afar? Let him stand 
forth and meet me with sword and spear!' So speaking 
he seized the shaft with his strong hands and tore it out of 
the wound, and much blood gushed, and darkness came 
over his eyes. Yet he staggered forward, striking blindly, 
and smote Orythaon, a dear friend of Hector, through the 


helmet, and others he smote, but now his force failed him, 
and he leaned on his spear, and cried his warcry, and said, 
'Cowards of Troy, ye shall not all escape my spear, dying 
as lam.' But as he spoke he fell, and all his armour 
rang around him, yet the Trojans stood apart and watched; 
and as hunters watch a dying lion not daring to go nigh 
him, so the Trojans stood in fear till Achilles drew his latest 
breath. Then from the wall the Trojan women raised a 
great cry of joy over him who had slain the noble Hector: 
and thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Hector, that Achilles 
should fall in the Scaean gateway, by the hand of Paris. 
Then the best of the Trojans rushed forth from the gate 
to seize the body of Achilles, and his glorious armour, but 
the Greeks were as eager to carry the body to the ships 
that it might have due burial. Round the dead Achilles 
men fought long and sore, and both sides were mixed, Greeks 
and Trojans, so that men dared not shoot arrows from 
the walls of Troy lest they should kill their own friends. 
Paris, and Aeneas, and Glaucus, who had been the friend of 
Sarpedon, led the Trojans, and Aias and Ulysses led the 
Greeks, for we are not told that Agamemnon was fighting 
in this great battle of the war. Now as angry wild bees 
flock round a man who is taking their honeycombs, so the 
Trojans gathered round Aias, striving to stab him, but he 
set his great shield in front, and smote and slew all that 
came within reach of his spear. Ulysses, too, struck down 
many, and though a spear was thrown and pierced his leg 
near the knee he stood firm, protecting the body of Achilles. 
At last Ulysses caught the body of Achilles by the hands, 
and heaved it upon his back, and so limped towards the 
ships, but Aias and the men of Aias followed, turning 
round if ever the Trojans ventured to come near, and 


charging into the midst of them. Thus very slowly they 
bore the dead Achilles across the plain, through the bodies 
of the fallen and the blood, till they met Nestor in his 
chariot and placed Achilles therein, and swiftly Nestor 
drove to the ships. 
There the women, weeping, washed Achilles' comely body, 
and laid him on a bier \vith a great white mantle over him, 
and all the women lamented and sang dirges, and the first 
was Briseis, who loved Achilles better than her own country, 
and her father, and her brothers whom he had slain in war. 
The Greek princes, too, stood round the body, weeping and 
cutting off their long locks of yellow hair, a token of grief 
and an offering to the dead. 
l\ien say that forth from the sea came Thetis of the 
silver feet, the mother of Achilles, with her ladies, the 
deathless maidens of the waters. They rose up from their 
glassy chambers below the sea, moving on, many and 
beautiful, like the waves on a summer day, and their sweet 
song echoed along the shores, and fear came upon the 
Greeks. Then they would have fled, but Nestor cried: 
, Hold, flee not, young lords of the Achaeans! Lo, she 
that comes from the sea is his mother, with the deathless 
maidens of the waters, to look on the face of her dead son.' 
Then the sea nymphs stood around the dead Achilles and 
clothed him in the garments of the Gods, fragrant raiment, 
and all the Nine Muses, one to the other replying with sweet 
voices, began their lament. 
N ext the Greeks made a great pile of dry \vood, and 
laid Achilles on it, and set fire to it, till the flames had 
consumed his body except the white ashes. These they 
placed in a great golden cup and mingled with them the 
ashes of Patroclus, and above all they built a tomb like a 


hill, high on a headland above the sea, that men for all 
time may see it as they go sailing by, and may remember 
Achilles. N ext they held in his honour foot races and 
chariot races, and other games, and Thetis gave splendid 
prizes. Last of all, when the games were ended, Thetis 
placed before the chiefs the glorious armour that the God had 
made for her son on the night after the slaying of Patroclus 
by Hector. 'Let these arms be the prize of the best of 
the Greeks,' she said, 'and of him that saved the body of 
Achilles out of the hands of the Troj ans.' 
Then stood up on one side Aias and on the other Ulysses, 
for these two had rescued the body, and neither thought 
himself a worse warrior than the other. Both were the 
bravest of the brave, and if Aias was the taller and stronger, 
and upheld the fight at the ships on the day of the valour 
of Hector; Ulysses had alone withstood the Troj ans, and 
refused to retreat even when wounded, and his courage 
and cunning had won for the Greeks the Luck of Troy. 
Therefore old Nestor arose and said: 'This is a luckless 
day, when the best of the Greeks are rivals for such a prize. 
He who is not the \vinner will be heavy at heart, and will 
not stand firm by us in battle, as of old, and hence will 
come great loss to the Greeks. Who can be a just judge in 
this question, for some men \villiove Aias better, and some 
will prefer Ulysses, and thus will arise disputes among our- 
selves. Lo! have we not here among us many Trojan 
prisoners, waiting till their friends pay their ransom in 
cattle and gold and bronze and iron? These hate all the 
Greeks alike, and will favour neither Aias nor Ulysses. 
Let the1n be the judges, and decide who is the best of the 
Greeks, and the man who has done most harm to the 
Troj ans.' 

7 8 rrALES OF rrH.OY .c\

Agamemnon said that Nestor had spo
{en wisely. The 
Troj ans were then made to sit as judges in the midst of the 
Assembly, and Aias and Ulysses spoke, and told the stories 
of their own great deeds, of which we have heard already, 
but Aias spoke roughly and discourteously, calling Ulysses 
a coward and a weakling. 'Perhaps the Trojans know,' 
said Ulysses quietly, 'whether they think that I deserve 
what Aias has said about me, that I am a coward; and 
perhaps Aias may remember that he did not find me 
so weak when we wrestled for a prize at the funeral of 
Patroclus. ' 
Then the Troj ans all with one voice said that Ulysses 
was the best man among the Greeks, and the most feared 
by them, both for his courage and his skill in stratagems 
of war. On this, the blood of Aias flew into his face, and 
he stood silent and unmoving, and could not speak a word, 
till his friends came round him and led him away to his hut, 
and there he sat down and would not eat or drink, and the 
night fell. 
Long he sat, musing in his mind, and then rose and put 
on all his arm our , and seized a s
ord that Hector had given 
him one day when they two fought in a gentle passage 
of arms, and took courteous farewell of each other, 
and Aias had given Hector a broad sword-belt, wrought 
with gold. This sword, Hector's gift, Aias took, and went 
towards the hut of Ulysses, meaning to carve him limb 
from limb, for madness had come upon him in his great 
grief. Rushing through the night to slay Ulysses he fell 
upon the flock of sheep that the Greeks kept for their meat. 
And up and down among them he went, smiting blindly 
till the dawn came, and, lo! his senses returned to him, and 
he saw that he had not smitten Ulysses, but stood in a pool 


of blood among the sheep that he had slain. He could not 
endure the disgrace of his madness, and he fixed the sword, 
Hector's gift, with its hilt firmly in the ground, and went 
back a little way, and ran and fell upon the sword, which 
pierced his heart, and so died the great Aias, choosing 
death before a dishonoured life. 



When the Greeks found Aias lying dead, slain by his own 
hand, they made great lament, and above all the brother 
of Aias, and his wife Tecmessa bewailed him, and the shores 
of the sea rang with their sorrow. But of all no man was 
more grieved than Ulysses, and he stood up and said: ' Would 
that the sons of the Trojans had never awarded to me the 
arms of Achilles, for far rather would I have given them 
to Aias than that this loss should have befallen the whole 
army of the Greeks. Let no man blame me, or be angry 
with me, for I have not sought for wealth, to enrich myself, 
but for honour only, and to win a name that will be re- 
membered among men in times to come.' Then they 
made a great fire of wood, and burned the body of Aias, 
lamenting him as they had sorrowed for Achilles. 
Now it seemed that though the Greeks had won the 
Luck of Troy and had defeated the Amazons and the army 
of Memnon, they were no nearer taking Troy than ever. 
They had slain Hector, indeed, and many other Trojans, 
but they had lost the great Achilles, and Aias, and Patro- 
clus, and Antilochus, with the princes \vhom Penthesilea 

80 'rALES OF 'l

and Memnon slew, and the bands of the dead chiefs were 
weary of fighting, and eager to go home. The chiefs met 
in council, and Menelaus arose and said that his heart 
was wasted with sorrow for the death of so many brave 
men who had sailed to Troy for his sake. 'Would that 
death had come upon me before I gathered this host,' he 
said, 'but come, let the rest of us launch our swift ships, 
and return each to our own country.' 
He spoke thus to try the Greeks, and see of what courage 
they were, for his desire was still to burn Troy town and 
to slay Paris with his own hand. Then up rose Diomede, 
and swore that never would the Greeks turn cowards. 
No ! he bade them sharpen their swords, and make ready 
for battle. The prophet Calchas, too, arose and reminded 
the Greeks how he had always foretold that they would 
take Troy in the tenth year of the siege, and how the tenth 
year had come, and victory was almost in their hands. 
N ext Ulysses stood up and said that, though Achilles was 
dead, and there was no prince to lead his men, yet a son 
had been born to Achilles, while he was in the isle of Scyros, 
and that son he would bring to fill his father's place. 
, Surely he will come, and for a token I will carry to him 
those unhappy arms of the great Achilles. Unworthy am I 
to wear them, and they bring back to my mind our sorrow 
for Aias. But his son will wear them, in the front of the 
spearmen of Greece and in the thickest ranks of Troy shall 
the helmet of Achilles shine, as it was wont to do, for 
always he fought among the foremost.' Thus Ulysses 
spoke, and he and Diomede, with fifty. oarsmen, went on 
board a swift ship, and sitting all in order on the benches 
they smote the grey sea in to foam, and Ulysses held the 
helm and steered them towards the isle of Scyros. 

ULYSSES 'rIlE SACI{EH. 01(' crrlES 8r 

Now the Trojans had rest from war for a while, and 
Priam, with a heavy heart, bade men take his chief treasure, 
the great golden vine, with leaves and clusters of gold, 
and carry it to the mother of Eurypylus, the king of the 
people who dwell where the wide marshlands of the river 
Caycus clang with the cries of the cranes and herons and 
wild swans. For the mother of Eurypylus had sworn that 
never would she let her son go to the war unless Priam 
sent her the vine of gold, a gift of the gods to an ancient 
King of Troy. 
With a heavy heart, then, Priam sent the golden vine, 
but Eurypylus was glad when he saw it, and bade all his men 
arm, and harness the horses to the chariots, and glad were 
the Trojans when the long line of the new army wound 
along the road and into the town. Then Paris welcomed 
Eurypylus who was his nephew, son of his sister Astyochê, 
a daughter of Priam; but the grandfather of Eurypylus 
was the famous Heracles, the strongest man who ever lived 
on earth. So Paris brought Eurypylus to his house, where 
Helen sat working at her embroideries with her four bower 
maidens, and Eurypylus marvelled when he saw her, she 
was so beautiful. But the Khita, the people of Eurypylus, 
feasted in the open air among the Trojans, by the light 
of great fires burning, and to the music of pipes and flutes. 
The Greeks sa\v the fires, and heard the merry music, and 
they watched all night lest the Trojans should attack the 
ships before the dawn. But in the dawn Eurypylus rose 
from sleep and put on his ann our, and hung from his neck 
by the belt the great shield on which were fashioned, in 
gold of many colours and in silver, the Twelve Adventures 
of Heraclcs, his grandfather; strange deeds that he did, 
fighting \vith monsters and giants and with the Hound of 

82 ï'.A.LES OF "l'ROY .L\

Hades, \vho guards the dwellings of the dead. Then 
Eurypylus led on his whole anny, and with the brothers of 
Hector he charged against the Greeks, who were led by 
In that battle Eurypylus first smote Nireus, who was the 
most beautiful of the Greeks now that Achilles had fallen. 
There lay Nireus, like an apple tree, all covered with blossoms 
red and \vhite, that the wind has overthrown in a rich 
man's orchard. Then Eurypylus would have stripped off 
his annour, but Machaon rushed in, Machaon who had been 
wounded and taken to the tent of Nestor, on the day of the 
Valour of Hector, when he brought fire against the ships. 
Machaon drove his spear through the left shoulder of Eury- 
pylus, but Eurypylus struck at his shoulder with his sword, 
and the blood flowed; nevertheless, Machaon stooped, 
and grasped a great stone, and sent it against the helmet of 
Eurypylus. He was shaken, but he did not fall, he drove 
his spear through breastplate and breast of lVlachaon, who 
fell and died. With his last breath he said, 'Thou, too, 
shalt fall,' but Eurypylus made answer, , So let it be! Men 
cannot live for ever, and such is the fortune of war.' 
Thus the battle rang, and shone, and shifted, till few of 
the Greeks kept steadfast, except those with Menelaus and 
Agamemnon, for Diomede and Ulysses were far away upon 
the sea, bringing from Scyros the son of Achilles. But 
Teucer slew Polydamas, who had warned Hector to come 
within the walls of Troy; and lVlenelaus wounded Dei- 
phobus, the bravest of the sons of Priam who were still in 
arms, for many had fallen; and Agamemnon slew certain 
spearmen of the Troj ans. Round Eurypylus fought Paris, 
and Aeneas, who wounded Teucer with a great stone, 
breaking in his helmet, but he drove back in his chariot 


to the ships. Ivlenelaus and Agamemnon stood alone and 
fought in the crowd of Trojans, like two wild boars that a 
circle of hunters surrounds with spears, so fiercely they 
stood at bay. There they would both have fallen, but 
Idomeneus, and l\Ieriones of Crete, and Thrasymedes, 
Nestor's son, ran to their rescue, and fiercer grew the fighting. 
Eurypylus desired to slay Agamemnon and Menelaus, and 
end the war, but, as the spears of the Scots encompassed 
King J ames at Flodden Field till he ran forward, and fell 
within a lance's length of the English general, so the men 
of Crete and Pylos guarded the two princes with their 
There Paris was wounded in the thigh with a spear, 
and he retreated a little Way, and showered his arrows 
among the Greeks; and Idomeneus lifted and hurled a great 
stone at Eurypylus which struck his spear out of his hand, 
and he went back to find it, and Menelaus and Agamemnon 
had a breathing space in the battle. But soon Eurypylus 
returned, crying on his men, and they drove back foot 
by foot the ring of spears round Agamemnon, and Aeneas 
and Paris slew men of Crete and of Mycenae till the Greeks 
were pushed to the ditch round the camp; and then great 
stones and spears and arrows rained down on the Troj ans 
and the people of E1;1rypylus from the battlements and towers 
of the Grecian wall. N ow night fell, and Eurypylus knew 
that he could not win the wall in the dark, so he withdrew 
his men, and they built great fires, and camped upon the 
The case of the Greeks was now like that of the Troj ans 
after the death of Hector. They buried Ivlachaon and the 
other chiefs \vho had fallen, and they remained within their 
ditch and their \vall, for they dared not come out into the 


84 rrALÈS O:P rrltOY AND GltEECE 

open plain. They knew not whether Ulysses and Diomede 
had come safely to Scyros, or whether their ship had been 
wrecked or driven into unknown seas. So they sent a herald 
to Eurypylus, asking for a truce, that they might gather 
their dead and bum them, and the Trojans and Khita also 
buried their dead. 
l\leanwhile the swift ship of Ulysses had swept through 
the sea to Scyros, and to the palace of King L ycomedes. 
There they found N eoptolemus, the son of Achilles, in the 
court before the doors. He was as tall as his father, and 
very like him in face and shape, and he was practising the 
throwing of the spear at a mark. Right glad were Ulysses 
and Diomede to behold him, and Ulysses told Neoptolemus 
who they were, and why they came, and implored him to take 
pity on the Greeks and help them. 
, My friend is Diomede, Prince of Argos,' said Ulysses, 
'and I am Ulysses of Ithaca. Come with us, and we 
Greeks will give you countless gifts, and I myself will 
present you with the armour of your father, such as it is 
not lawful for any other mortal man to wear, seeing that 
it is golden, and wrought by the hands of a God. l\'Iore- 
over, when we have taken Troy, and gone home, Menelaus 
will give you his daughter, the beautiful Hermione, to be 
your wife, with gold in great plenty.' 
Then N eoptolemus answered: 'It is enough that the 
Greeks need my sword. To-morrow we shall sail for Troy.' 
He led them into the palace to dine, and there they found 
his mother, beautiful Deidamia, in mourning raiment, and 
she wept when she heard that they had come to take her 
son away. But Neoptolemus comforted her, promising to 
return safely with the spoils of Troy, , or, even if I fall,' he 
said, 'it \vill be after doing deeds worthy of my father's 


name.' So next day they sailed, leaving Deidamia mourn- 
ful, like a swallow whose nest a serpent has found, and has 
killed her young ones; even so she wailed, and went up and 
down in the house. But the ship ran swiftly on her way, 
cleaving the dark waves till Ulysses showed Neoptolemus 
the far off snowy crest of Mount Ida; and Tenedos, the 
island near Troy; and they passed the plain where the 
tomb of Achilles stands, but Ulysses did not tell the son 
that it was his father's tomb. 
Now all this time the Greeks, shut up within their wall 
and fighting from their towers, were looking back across the 
sea, eager to spy the ship of Ulysses, like men wrecked on 
a desert island, who keep watch every day for a sail afar 
off, hoping that the seamen \vill touch at their isle and have 
pity upon them, and carry them home, so the Greeks kept 
watch for the ship bearing Neoptolemus. 
Diomede, too, had been watching the shore, and when 
they came in sight of the ships of the Greeks, he saw that 
they were being besieged by the Trojans, and that all the 
Greek army was penned up within the wall, and was fighting 
from the towers. Then he cried aloud to Ulysses and 
N eoptolemus, 'Make haste, friends, let us arm before we 
land, for some great evil has fallen upon the Greeks. The 
Trojans are attacking our wall, and soon they \vill burn 
our ships, and for us there will be no return.' 
Then all the men on the ship of Ulysses armed them- 
selves, and N eoptolemus, in the splendid armour of his 
father, was the first to leap ashore. The Greeks could not 
come from the wall to welcome him, for they were fighting 
hard and hand-to-hand with Eurypylus and his men. But 
they glanced back over their shoulders and it seemed to 
them that they saw Achilles himself, spear and sword in 


hand, rushing to help them. They raised a great battle- 
cry, and, when Neoptolemus reached the battlements, he 
and Ulysses, and Diomede leaped down to the plain, the 
Greeks following them, and they all charged at once on the 
men of Eurypylus, with levelled spears, and drove them 
from the wall. 
Then the Trojans trembled, for they knew the shields of 
Diomede and Ulysses, and they thought that the tall chief 
in the armour of Achilles was Achilles himself, come back 
from the land of the dead to take vengeance for Antilochus. 
The Troj ans fled, and gathered round Eurypylus, as in a 
thunderstorm little children, afraid of the lightning and the 
noise, run and cluster round their father, and hide their faces 
on his knees. 
But Neoptolemus was spearing the Trojans, as a man 
who carries at night a beacon of fire in his boat on the sea 
spears the fishes that flock around, drawn by the blaze of the 
flame. Cruelly he avenged his father's death on many a 
Troj an, and the men whom Achilles had led followed Achilles' 
son, slaying to right and left, and smiting the Troj ans, as 
they ran, between the shoulders with the spear. Thus they 
fought and followed while daylight lasted, but when night 
fell, they led N eoptolemus to his father's hut, where the 
women washed him in the bath, and then he was taken 
to feast with Agamemnon and Menelaus and the princes. 
They all welcomed him, and gave him glorious gifts, swords 
with silver hilts, and cups of gold and silver, and they were 
glad, for they had driven the Troj ans from their wall, and 
hoped that to-morrow they would slay Eurypylus, and take 
Troy town. 
But their hope was not to be fulfilled, for though next 
day Eurypylus met Neoptolemus in the battle, and was 


slain by him, when the Greeks chased the Trojans into their 
city so great a storm of lightning and thunder and rain fell 
upon them that they retreated again to their camp. They 
believed that Zeus, the chief of the Gods, was angry with them, 
and the days went by, and Troy still stood unconquered. 



When the Greeks were disheartened, as they often \vere, 
they consulted Calchas the prophet. He usually found that 
they must do something, or send for somebody, and in 
doing so they diverted their minds from their many mis- 
fortunes. Now, as the Trojans were fighting more bravely 
than before, under Deiphobus, a brother of Hector, the 
Greeks went to Calchas for advice, and he told them that 
they must send Ulysses and Diomede to bring Philoctetes 
the bowman from the isle of Lemnos. This was an unhappy 
deserted island, in which the married women, some years 
before, had murdered all their husbands, out of jealousy, 
in a single night. The Greeks had landed in Lemnos, 
on their way to Troy, and there Philoctetes had shot an 
arrow at a great water dragon which lived in a well within 
a cave in the lonely hills. But when he entered the cave 
the dragon bit him, and, though he killed it at last, its 
poisonous teeth wounded his foot. The wound never healed, 
but dripped with venom, and Philoctetes, in terrible pain, 
kept all the camp awake at night by his cries. 
The Greeks were sorry for him, but he \vas not a pleasant 
companion, shrieking as he did, and exuding poison wherever 
he came. So they left him on the lonely island, and did 


not know whether he was alive or dead. Calchas ought to 
have told the Greeks not to desert Philoctetes at the time 
if he was so important that Troy, as the prophet now said, 
could not be taken \vithout him. But now, as he must give 
some advice, Calchas said that Philoctetes must be brought 
back, so Ulysses and Diomede \\Tent to bring him. They 
sailed to Lemnos, a melancholy place they found it, with 
no smoke rising from the ruinous houses along the shore. 
As they were landing they learned that Philoctetes was not 
dead, for his dismal old cries of pain, ototototoi, ai, ai
. pheu, 
þheu,. ototototoi, came echoing from a cave on the beach. 
To this cave the princes went, and found a terrible-looking 
man, with long, dirty, dry hair and beard; he was worn to a 
skeleton, with hollow eyes, and lay moaning in a mass of the 
feathers of sea birds. His great bow and his arro\vs lay 
ready to his hand: with these he used to shoot the sea birds, 
which were all that he had to eat, and their feathers littered 
all the floor of his cave, and they were none the better for 
the poison that dripped from his wounded foot. 
When this horrible creature saw Ulysses and Diomede 
coming near, he seized his bow and fitted a poisonous arro\v 
to the string, for he hated the Greeks, because they had 
left him in the desert isle. But the princes held up their 
hands in sign of peace, and cried out that they had come to 
do him kindness, so he laid down his bow, and they came 
in and sat on the rocks, and promised that his wound 
should be healed, for the Greeks were very much ashamed 
of having deserted him. It was difficult to resist Ulysses 
when he wished to persuade anyone, and at last Philoctetes 
consented to sail with them to Troy. The oarsmen carried 
him down to the ship on a litter, and there his dreadful 
wound was \vashed with warm water, and oil was poured 


into it, and it was bound up with soft linen, so that his pain 
grew less fierce, and they gave him a good supper and wine 
enough, which he had not tasted for many years. 
Next morning they sailed, and had a fair west wind, so 
that they soon landed among the Greeks and carried Phi- 
loctetes on shore. Here Podaleirius, the brother of Machaon, 
being a physician, did all that could be done to heal the 
wound, and the pain left Philoctetes. He was taken to the 
hut of Agamemnon, who welcomed him, and said that the 
Greeks repented of their cruelty. They gave him seven 
female slaves to take care of him, and twenty swift horses, 
and twelve great vessels of bronze, and told him that he 
was always to live with the greatest chiefs and feed at their 
table. So he was bathed, and his hair was cut and combed 
and anointed with oil, and soon he was eager and ready to 
fight, and to use his great bow and poisoned arrows on 
the Trojans. The use of poisoned arrow-tips was thought 
unfair, but Philoctetes had no scruples. 
Now in the next battle Paris was shooting down the 
Greeks with his arrows, vvhen Philoctetes saw him, and 
cried: ' Dog, you are proud of your archery and of the arrow 
that slew the great Achilles. But, behold, I am a better 
bowman than you, by far, and the bow in my hands was 
borne by the strong man Heracles ! ' So he cried and drew 
the bowstring to his breast and the poisoned arrowhead to 
the bow, and the bowstring rang, and the arrow flew, and 
did but graze the hand of Paris. Then the bitter pain of 
the poison came upon him, and the Troj ans carried him into 
their city, where the physicians tended him all night. But 
he never slept, and lay tossing in agony till dawn, when he 
said: 'There is but one hope. Take me to mnone, the 
nymph of Mount Ida! ' 

go TALES OF "rn,O\

Then his friends laid Paris on a litter, and bore him up 
the steep path to Mount Ida. Often had he climbed it 
swiftly, when he was young, and went to see the nymph 
who loved him; but for many a day he had not trod the 
path where he was now carried in great pain and fear, 
for the poison turned his blood to fire. Little hope he had, 
for he knew how cruelly he had deserted CEnone, and he 
saw that all the birds which were disturbed in the wood 
flew away to the left hand, an omen of evil. 
At last the bearers reached the cave where the nymph 
CEnone lived, and they smelled the sweet fragrance of the 
cedar fire that burned on the floor of the cave, and they 
heard the nymph singing a melancholy song. Then Paris 
called to her in the voice which she had once loved to hear, 
and she grew very pale, and rose up, saying to herself, 
'The day has come for which I have prayed. He is sore 
hurt, and has come to bid me heal his wound.' So she 
came and stood in the doorway of the dark cave, white 
against the darkness, and the bearers laid Paris on the 
litter at the feet of CEnone, and he stretched forth his hands 
to touch her knees, as was the manner of suppliants. But 
she drew back and gathered her robe about her, that he 
might not touch it with his hands. 
Then he said: 'Lady, despise me not, and hate me not, 
for my pain is more than I can bear. Truly it was by no 
will of mine that I left you lonely here, for the Fates that 
no man may escape led me to Helen. Would that I had 
died in your arms before I saw her face! But now I 
beseech you in the name of the Gods, and for the memory 
of our love, that you will have pity on me and heal my 
hurt, and not refuse your grace and let me die here at your 



Then ffinone answered scornfully: 'Why have you come 
here to me? Surely for years you have not come this way, 
where the path was once worn with your feet. But long 
ago you left me lonely and lamenting, for the love of Helen 
of the fair hands. Surely she is much more beautiful 
than the love of your youth, and far more able to help you, 
for men say that she can never know old age and death. 
Go home to Helen and let her take away your pain.' 
Thus ffinone spoke, and went within the cave, where she 
threw herself down among the ashes of the hearth and sobbed 
for anger and sorrow. In a little while she rose and went 
to the door of the cave, thinking that Paris had not been 
borne away back to Troy, but she found him not; for his 
bearers had carried him by another path, till he died 
beneath the boughs of the oak trees. Then his bearers 
carried him swiftly down to Troy, where his mother be- 
wailed him, and Helen sang over him as she had sung over 
Hector, remembering many things, and fearing to think of 
what her own end might be. But the Trojans hastily 
built a great pile of dry wood, and thereon laid the body of 
Paris and set fire to it, and the flame went up through the 
darkness, for now night had fallen. 
But ffinone was roaming in the dark woods, crying and 
calling after Paris, like a lioness whose cubs the hunters 
have carried away. The moon rose to give her light, and 
the flame of the funeral fire shone against the sky, and then 
ffinone knew that Paris had died-beautiful Paris-and 
that the Troj ans were burning his body on the plain at the 
foot of Mount Ida. Then she cried that now Paris was 
all her own, and that Helen had no more hold on him : 
, And though when he was living he left me, in death we 
shall not be divided,' she said, and she sped down the hill, 


and through the thickets where the wood nymphs \vere 
wailing for Paris, and she reached the plain, and, covering 
her head with her veil like a bride, she rushed through the 
throng of Troj ans. She leaped upon the burning pile of 
wood, she clasped the body of Paris in her arms, and the 
flame of fire consumed the bridegroom and the bride, and 
their ashes mingled. No man could divide them any more, 
and the ashes were placed in a golden cup, within a chamber 
of stone, and the earth was mounded above them. On 
that grave the wood nymphs planted two rose trees, and 
their branches met and plaited together. 
This was the end of Paris and (Enone. 



After Paris died, Helen was not given back to Menelaus. 
We are often told that only fear of the anger of Paris had 
prevented the Trojans from surrendering Helen and making 
peace. Now Paris could not terrify them, yet for all that 
the men of the town would not part with Helen, whether 
because she was so beautiful, or because they thought it 
dishonourable to yield her to the Greeks, who might put 
her to a cruel death. So Helen was taken by Deiphobus, 
the brother of Paris, to live in his own house, and Deiphobus 
was at this time the best warrior and the chief captain of 
the men of Troy. 
Meanwhile, the Greeks made an assault against the 
Trojan walls and fought long and hardily; but, being safe 
behind the battlements, and shooting through loopholes, 

l'HE SACI\:Elt OF CrrIES 93 

the Trojans drove them back with loss of many of their 
men. It was in vain that Philoctetes shot his poisoned 
arrows, they fell back from the stone walls, or stuck in the 
palisades of wood above the walls, and the Greeks who 
tried to climb over were speared, or crushed with heavy 
stones. When night fell, they retreated to the ships and 
held a council, and, as usual, they asked the advice of the 
prophet Calchas. It was the business of Calchas to go about 
looking at birds, and taking omens from what he saw them 
doing, a way of prophesying which the Romans also used, 
and some savages do the same to this day. Calchas said 
that yesterday he had seen a hawk pursuing a dove, which 
hid herself in a hole in a rocky cliff. For a long while the 
hawk tried to find the hole, and follow the dove into it, but 
he could not reach her. So he flew away for a short distance 
and hid himself; then the dove fluttered out into the sun- 
light, and the hawk swooped on her and killed her. 
The Greeks, said Calchas, ought to learn a lesson from 
the hawk, and take Troy by cunning, as by force they could 
do nothing. Then Ulysses stood up and described a trick 
which it is not easy to understand. The Greeks, he said, 
ought to make an enormous hollow horse of wood, and place 
the bravest men in the horse. Then all the rest of the 
Greeks should embark in their ships and sail to the Isle of 
Tenedos, and lie hidden behind the island. The Troj ans 
would then come out of the city, like the dove out of her 
hole in the rock, and would wander about the Greek camp, 
and wonder why the great horse of tree had been made, and 
why it had been left behind. Lest they should set fire to 
the horse, when they would soon have found out the warriors 
hidden in it, a cunning Greek, whom the Troj ans did not 
know by sight, should be left in the camp or near it. He 

94 'rALES OF 'rltOY AND GltEECE 
would tell the Troj ans that the Greeks had given up all 
hope and gone home, and he was to say that they feared 
the Goddess Pallas was angry with them, because they had 
stolen her image that fell from heaven, and was called the 
Luck of Troy. To soothe Pallas and prevent her from 
sending great storms against the ships, the Greeks (so the 
man was to say) had built this wooden horse as an offering 
to the Goddess. The Troj ans, believing this story, would 
drag the horse into Troy, and, in the night, the princes 
would come out, set fire to the city, and open the gates to 
the army, which would return from Tenedos as soon as 
darkness came on. 
The prophet was much pleased with the plan of Ulysses, 
and, as two birds happened to flyaway on the right hand, 
he declared that the stratagem would certainly be lucky. 
N eoptolemus, on the other hand, voted for taking Troy, 
without any trick, by sheer hard fighting. Ulysses replied 
that if Achilles could not do that, it could not be done 
at all, and that Epeius, a famous carpenter, had better set 
about making the horse at once. 
Next day half the army, with axes in their hands, were 
sent to cut down trees on Mount Ida, and thousands of 
planks were cut from the trees by Epeius and his work- 
men, and in three days he had finished the horse. Ulysses 
then asked the best of the Greeks to come forward and go 
inside the machine; while one, whom the Greeks did not 
know by sight, should volunteer to stay behind in the camp 
and deceive the Troj ans. Then a young man called Sinon 
stood up and said that he \vould risk himself and take the 
chance that the Troj ans might disbelieve him, and burn 
him alive. Certainly, none of the Greeks did anything 
more courageous, yet Sinon had not been considered brave. 

UL Y:5SES rIllE SA.CKElt O:F errIES 95 

Had he fought in the front ranks, the Trojans would have 
known him; but there were many brave fighters who 
would not have dared to do what Sinon undertook. 
Then old Nestor was the first that volunteered to go 
into the horse; but Neoptolemus said that, brave as he 
was, he was too old, and that he must depart with the 
army to Tenedos. Neoptolemus himself would go into the 
horse, for he would rather die than turn his back on Troy. 
So Neoptolemus armed himself and climbed into the horse, 
as did Menelaus, Ulysses, Diomede, Thrasymedes (Nestor's 
son), Idomeneus, Philoctetes, Meriones, and all the best men 
except Agamemnon, while Epeius himself entered last of 
all. Agamemnon was not allowed by the other Greeks to 
share their adventure, as he was to command the army when 
they returned from Tenedos. They meanwhile launched 
their ships and sailed away. 
But first Menelaus had led Ulysses apart, and told him 
that if they took Troy (and now they must either take it or 
die at the hands of the Trojans), he would owe to Ulysses 
the glory. When they came back to Greece, he wished to 
give Ulysses one of his own cities, that they might always 
be near each other. Ulysses smiled and shook his head; 
he could not leave Ithaca, his own rough island kingdom. 
, But if we both live through the night that is coming,' he 
said, , I may ask you for one gift, and giving it will make 
you none the poorer.' Then J\lenelaus swore by the splen- 
dour of Zeus that Ulysses could ask him for no gift that he 
would not gladly give; so they embraced, and both armed 
themselves and \vent up into the horse. \Vith them were 
all the chiefs except Nestor, whom they \vould not allo\v 
to come, and Agalnelnnon, who, as chief general, had to 
command the anny. They swathed themselves and their 

9 6 rr.A.LES OF 'l

arms in soft silks, that they might not ring and clash, 
when the Troj ans, if they were so foolish, dragged the horse 
up into their town, and there they sat in the dark waiting. 
Meanwhile, the army burned their huts and launched their 
ships, and with oars and sails made their way to the back 
of the isle of Tenedos. 



From the walls the Trojans saw the black smoke go up 
thick into the sky, and the whole fleet of the Greeks sailing 
out to sea. Never were men so glad, and they armed them- 
selves for fear of an ambush, and went cautiously, sending 
forth scouts in front of them, down to the seashore. Here 
they found the huts burned down and the camp deserted, 
and some of the scouts also caught Sinon, who had hid him- 
self in a place where he was likely to be found. They rushed 
on him with fierce cries, and bound his hands with a rope, 
and kicked and dragged him along to the place where Priam 
and the princes were wondering at the great horse of tree. 
Sinon looked round upon them, while some were saying 
that he ought to be tortured with fire to make him tell 
all the truth about the horse. The chiefs in the horse 
must have trembled for fear lest torture should wring the 
truth out of Sinon, for then the Trojans would simply burn 
the machine and them within it. 
But Sinon said: 'l\1iserable man that I am, whom the 
Greeks hate and the Troj ans are eager to slay!' \Vhen 
the Troj ans heard that the Greeks hated him, they \vere 
curious, and asked who he was, and how he came to be there. 
'I \vill tell you all, oh I{ing!' he answered Priam. ' I 


was a friend and squire of an unhappy chief, Palamedes, 
\vhom the wicked Ulysses hated and slew secretly one day, 
when he found him alone, fishing in the sea. I was angry, 
and in my folly I did not hide my anger, and my words came 
to the ears of Ulysses. From that hour he sought occasion 
to slay me. Then Calchas-' here he stopped, saying: 
, But why tell a long tale? If you hate all Greeks alike, 
then slay me ; this is what Agamemnon and Ulysses desire; 
Menelaus would thank you for my head.' 
The Trojans were now more curious than before. They 
bade him go on, and he said that the Greeks had consulted 
an Oracle, \vhich advised them to sacrifice one of their 
army to appease the anger of the Gods and gain a fair 
wind homewards. 'But who was to be sacrificed? They 
asked Calchas, who for fifteen days refused to speak. At 
last, being bribed by Ulysses, he pointed to me, Sinon, 
and said that I must be the victim. I was bound and kept 
in prison, while they built their great horse as a present 
for Pallas Athênê the Goddess. They made it so large that 
you Trojans might never be able to drag it into your city; 
while, if you destroyed it, the Goddess might turn her 
anger against you. And now they have gone home to bring 
back the image that fell from heaven, which they had sent 
to Greece, and to restore it to the Temple of Pallas Athênê, 
when they have taken your town, for the Goddess is angry 
with them for that theft of Ulysses.' 
The Trojans were foolish enough to believe the story of 
Sinon, and they pitied him and unbound his hands. I'hen 
they tied ropes to the wooden horse, and laid rollers in 
front of it, like men launching a ship, and they all took 
turns to drag the horse up to the Scaedn gate. Children 
and women put their hands to the ropes and hauled, and 


with shouts and dances, and hymns they toiled, till about 
nightfall the horse stood in the courtyard of the inmost 
Then all the people of Troy began to dance, and drink, 
and sing. Such sentinels as were set at the gates got as 
drunk as all the rest, who danced about the city till after 
lnidnight, and then they went to their homes and slept 
Meanwhile the Greek ships were returning from behind 
T enedos as fast as the oarsmen could row them. 
One Troj an did not drink or sleep; this ,vas Deiphobus, 
at ,vhose house Helen was no\v living. He bade her come 
with them, for he knew that she was able to speak in the 
very voice of all men and women whom she had ever seen, 
and he armed a few of his friends and \vent with them to 
the citadel. Then he stood beside the horse, holding 
Helen's hand, and whispered to her that she must call 
each of the chiefs in the voice of his wife. She was obliged 
to obey, and she called l\1enelaus in her own voice, and 
Diomede in the voice of his wife, and Ulysses in the very 
voice of Penelope. Then lUenelaus and Diomede were 
eager to answer, but Ulysses grasped their hands and 
whispered the word ' Echo!' Then they remembered that 
this was a name of Helen, because she could speak in all 
voices, and they were silent; but Anticlus was still eager to 
answer, till Ulysses held his strong hand over his mouth. 
There was only silence, and Deiphobus led Helen back to 
his house. vVhen they had gone away Epeius opened the 
side of the horse, and all the chiefs let themselves down 
softly to the ground. Some rushed to the gate, to open it, 
and they killed the sleeping sentinels and let in the Greeks. 
Others sped with torches to burn the houses of the Troj an 


UL YSSES rrHE S..c-\.CKElt O:F crrIES 99 

princes, and terrible was the slaughter of men, unarmed and 
half awake, and loud \vere the cries of the women. But 
Ulysses had slipped away at the first, none knew where. 
Neoptolemus ran to the palace of Priam, \vho was sitting at 
the altar in his courtyard, praying vainly to the Gods, for 
Neoptolemus slew the old man cruelly, and his white hair 
was dabbled in his blood. All through the city was fighting 
and slaying; but Ivlenelaus went to the house of Deìphobus, 
knowing that Helen was there. 
In the doorway he found Deiphobus lying dead in all his 
armour, a spear standing in his breast. There were foot- 
prints marked in blood, leading through the portico and 
into the hall. There Menelaus went, and found Ulysses 
leaning, wounded, against one of the central pillars of the 
great chamber, the firelight shining on his annour. 
, Why hast thou slain Deiphobus and robbed me of my 
revenge ? ' said Menelaus. 'Y ou swore to give me a gift,' 
said Ulysses, 'and will you keep your oath?' 'Ask what 
you will,' said Menelaus; 'it is yours and my oath cannot 
be broken.' 'I ask the life of Helen of the fair hands,' 
said Ulysses; 'this is my own life-price that I pay back to 
her, for she saved my life when I took the Luck of Troy, 
and I swore that hers should be saved.' 
Then Helen stole, glimmering in white robes, from a 
recess in the dark hall, and fell at the feet of Menelaus; 
her golden hair lay in the dust of the hearth, and her hands 
moved to touch his knees. His drawn s\vord fell from the 
hands of J\Ienelaus, and pity and love came into his heart, 
and he raised her from the dust and her white arms were 
round his neck, and they both wept. That night Menelaus 
fought no more, but they tended the wound of Ulysses, for 
the s\vord of Deiphobus had bitten through his hehnet. 


100 'rALES OF r-rROY A

When dawn came Troy lay in ashes, and the women 
were being driven with spear shafts to the ships, and the 
men were left unburied, a prey to dogs and all manner of 
birds. Thus the grey city fell, that had lorded it for many 
cen turies. All the gold and silver and rich embroideries, 
and ivory and amber, the horses and chariots, were divided 
among the army; all but a treasure of silver and gold, 
hidden in a chest within a hollow of the wall, and this 
treasure was found, not very many years ago, by men 
digging deep on the hill where Troy once stood. The 
women, too, were given to the princes, and N eoptolemus 
took Andromache to his home in Argas, to draw water from 
the well and to be the slave of a master, and Agamemnon 
carried beautiful Cassandra, the daughter of Priam, to his 
palace in Mycenae, where they were both slain in one night. 
Only Helen was led with honour to the ship of Menelaus. 




THE Greeks left Troy a mass of smouldering ashes; the 
marks of fire are still to be seen in the ruins on the hill 
which is now called Hissarlik. The Greeks had many 
troubles on their way home, and years passed before some 
of the chiefs reached their own cities. As for Agamemnon, 
while he was at Troy his wife, Clytaemnestra, the sister of 
Helen, had fallen in love with a young man named Aegisthus, 
who wished to be king, so he married Clytaemnestra, just 
as if Agamemnon had been dead. Meanwhile Agamemnon 
was sailing home with his share of the wealth of Troy, 
and many a storm drove him out of his course. At last 
he reached the harbour, about seven miles from his city of 
Mycenae, and he kissed the earth when he landed, thinking 
that all his troubles were over, and that he would find his 
son and daughter, Orestes and Electra, grown up, and his 
wife happy because of his return. 
But Aegisthus had set, a year before, a watchman on a 
high tower, to come with the news as soon as Agamemnon 
landed, and the watchman ran to Mycenae with the good 
news. Aegisthus placed twenty armed men in a hidden 


place in the great hall, and then he shouted for his chariots 
and horses, and drove down to meet Agamemnon, and 
welcome him, and carry him to his own palace. Then he 
gave a great feast, and when men had drunk much wine, 
the armed men, who had been hiding behind curtains, 
rushed out, with sword and spear, and fell on Agamemnon 
and his company. Though taken by surprise they drew 
their swords, and fought so well for their lives that none 
were left alive, not one, neither of the company of 
Agamemnon nor of the company of Aegisthus; they were 
all slain in the hall except Aegisthus, who had hidden 
himself when the fray began. The bodies lay round the 
great mixing bowl of wine, and about the tables, and the 
floor ran with blood. Before Agamemnon died he saw 
Clytaemnestra herself stab Cassandra, the daughter of 
Priam, whom he had brought from Troy. 
In the town of Agamemnon, lVlycenae, deep down in 
the earth, have been found five graves, with bones of men 
and women, and these bones were all covered with beautiful 
ornaments of gold, hundreds of them, and swords and 
daggers inlaid with gold, and golden cups, and a sceptre 
of gold and crystal, and two gold breastplates. There were 
also golden masks that had been made to cover the faces of 
the dead kings, and who knows but that one of these masks 
may show us the features of the famous Agamemnon? 
Ulysses, of course, knew nothing about these murders 
at the time, for he was being borne by the winds into undis- 
covered seas. But later he heard all the story from the 
ghost of a dead prophet, in the Land of the Dead, and he 
determined to be very cautious if ever he reached his own 
island, for who knew what the young men might do, that 
had grown up since he sailed to Troy? 

TIlE 'V.t\
YSSES 103 

Of the other Greeks Nestor soon and safely arrived 
at his town of Pylos, but Menelaus and Helen were borne 
by the winds to Egypt and other strange countries, and 
the ship of the brother of Aias was wrecked on a rock, and 
there he was drowned, and Calchas the prophet died on 
land, on his way across Greece. 
When Ulysses left Troy the wind carried him to the 
coast of Thrace, where the people were allies of the Trojans. 
It was a king of the Thracians that Diomede killed when 
he and Ulysses stole into the camp of the Trojans in the 
night, and drove away the white horses of the king, as swift 
as the winds. Ismarus was the name of the Thracian town 
where Ulysses landed, and his men took it and plundered it, 
yet Ulysses allowed no one to harm the priest of Apollo, 
lYlaron, but protected him and his wife and child, in their 
house within the holy grove of the God. Maron was 
grateful, and gave Ulysses twelve talents, or little wedges, 
of gold, and a great bowl of silver, and t\velve large clay 
jars, as big as barrels, full of the best and strongest wine. 
It was so strong that men put into the mixing bowl but 
one measure of wine to twenty measures of water. These 
presents Ulysses stored up in his ship, and lucky for him it 
was that he was kind to lYlaron. 
Meanwhile his men, instead of leaving the town with 
their plunder, sat eating and drinking till dawn. By that 
time the people of the town had warned their neighbours 
in the country farms, who all came down in full armour, 
and attacked the men of Ulysses. In this fight he lost 
seventy-two men, six from each of his twelve ships, and it 
,vas only by hard fighting that the others were able to get 
on board their ships and sail a\vay. 
A great storm arose and beat upon the ships, and it 

104 'rAl

seems that Ulysses and his men were driven into Fairyland, 
where they remained for ten years. We have heard that 
J{ing Arthur and Thomas the Rhymer were carried into 
Fairyland, but what adventures they met with there we do 
not know. About Ulysses we have the stories which are 
now to be told. For ten days his ships ran due south, 
and, on the tenth, they reached the land of the Lotus 
Eaters, who eat food of flowers. They went on shore and 
drew water, and three men were sent to try to find the people 
of that country, who were a quiet, friendly people, and 
gave the fruit of the lotus to the strange sailors. Now 
whoever tastes of that fruit has no mind ever to go home, 
but to sit between the setting sun and the rising moon, 
dreaming happy dreams, and forgetting the world. The 
three men ate the lotus, and sat down to dream, but Ulysses 
went after them, and drove them to the ships, and bound 
their hands and feet, and threw them on board, and sailed 
away. Then he with his ships reached the coast of the 
land of the Cyclopes, which means the round-eyed men, 
men with only one eye apiece, set in the middle of their 
foreheads. They lived not in houses, but in caves among 
the hills, and they had no king and no laws, and did not 
plough or sow, but wheat and vines grew wild, and they 
kept great flocks of sheep. 
There was a beautiful wild desert island lying across 
the opening of a bay; the isle was full of wild goats, and 
made a bar against the waves, so that ships could lie behind 
it safely, run up on the beach, for there was no tide in that 
sea. There Ulysses ran up his ships, and the men passed 
the time in hunting wild goats, and feasting on fresh meat 
and the wine of Maron, the priest of Apollo. N ext day 
Ulysses left all the ships and men there, except his own 

" Ul.YSSES 105 

ship, and his own crew, and went to see what kind of people 
lived on the mainland, for as yet none had been seen. 
Re found a large cave close to the sea, with laurels gro\ving 
on the rocky roof, and a wall of rough stones built round a 
court in front. Ulysses left all his men but twelve with 
the ship; filled a goat skin \vith the strong wine of lYlaron, 
put some corn flour in a sack, and \vent up to the cave. 
Nobody was there, but there were all the things that are 
usually in a dairy, baskets full of cheese, pails and bowls 
full of milk and whey, and kids and lambs were playing 
in their folds. 
All seemed very quiet and pleasant. The men wanted 
to take as much cheese as they could carry back to the 
ship, but Ulysses wished to see the owner of the cave. 
His men, making themselves at home, lit a fire, and toasted 
and ate the cheeses, far within the cave. Then a shadow 
thrown by the setting sun fell across the opening of the 
cave, and a monstrous man entered, and threw down a 
dry trunk of a tree that he carried for firewood. Next 
he drove in the ewes of his flock, leaving the rams in the 
yard, and he picked up a huge flat stone, and set it so as 
to make a shut door to the cave, for twenty-four yoke 
of horses could not have dragged away that stone. Lastly 
the man milked his ewes, and put the milk in pails to drink 
at supper. All this while Ulysses and his men sat quiet and 
in great fear, for they were shut up in a cave with a one- 
eyed giant, whose cheese they had been eating. 
Then the giant, when he had lit the fire, happened to 
see the men, and asked them who they were. Ulysses said 
that they were Greeks, who had taken Troy, and \vere 
wandering lost on the seas, and he asked the man to be 
kind to them in the name of their chief God, Zeus. 


'We Cyclopes,' said the giant, 'do not care for Zeus or 
the Gods, for we think that we are better men than they. 
Where is your ship?' Ulysses answered that it had been 
wrecked on the coast, to which the man made no answer, 
but snatched up two of the t\velve, knocked out their 
brains on the floor, tore the bodies limb from limb, 
roasted them at his fire, ate them, and, after drinking 
many pailfuls of milk, lay down and fell asleep. Now 
Ulysses had a mind to drive his s\vord-point into the giant's 
liver, and he felt for the place with his hand. But he 
remembered that, even if he killed the giant, he could not 
move the huge stone that was the door of the cave, so he 
and his men would die of hunger, when they had eaten all 
the cheeses. 
In the morning the giant ate two more men for break- 
fast, drove out his ewes, and set the great stone in the door- 
way again, as lightly as a man would put a quiverlid on 
a quiver of arro\vs. Then away he went, driving his flock 
to graze on the green hills. 
Ulysses did not give way to despair. The giant had 
left his stick in the cave: it was as large as the mast of a 
great ship. From this Ulysses cut a portion six feet long, 
and his men cut and rubbed as if they were making a spear 
shaft: Ulysses then sharpened it to a point, and hardened 
the point in the fire. It was a thick rounded bar of wood, 
and the men cast lots to choose four, who should twist the 
bar in the giant's eye when he fell asleep at night. Back 
he came at sunset, and drove his flocks into the cave, rams 
and all. Then he put up his stone door, milked his e\ves, 
and killed two men and cooked them. 
Ulysses meanwhile had filled one of the wooden ivy 
bowls full of the strong wine of Maron, without putting a 

YSSES 107 

drop of water into it. This bowl he offered to the giant, 
who had never heard of wine. He drank one bowl after 
another, and when he was merry he said that he would 
make Ulysses a present. ' What is your name? ' he asked. 
'My name is Nobody,' said Ulysses. 'Then I shall eat the 
others first and Nobody last,' said the giant. 'That shaH 
be your gift.' Then he fell asleep. 
Ulysses took his bar of wood, and made the point red- 
hot in the fire. Next his four men rammed it into the 
giant's one eye, and held it down, while Ulysses twirled it 
round, and the eye hissed like red -hot iron when men dip it 
into cold water, which is the strength of iron. The Cyclops 
roared and leaped to his feet, and shouted for help to the 
other giants who lived in the neighbouring caves. ' Who is 
troubling you, Polyphemus,' they answered. 'Why do you 
wake us out of our sleep?' The giant ans\vered, , Nobody 
is killing me by his cunning, not at all in fair fight.' , Then 
if nobody is harming you nobody can help you,' shouted a 
giant. 'If you are ill pray to your father, Poseidon, who 
is the god of the sea.' So the giants all went back to bed
and Ulysses laughed low to see how his cunning had deceived 
them. Then the giant went and took down his door and 
sat in the doorway, stretching out his arms, so as to catch 
his prisoners as they went out. 
But Ulysses had a plan. He fastened sets of three 
rams together with twisted wi thies, and bound a man to 
each ram in the middle, so that the blind giant's hands 
would only feel the two outside rams. The biggest and 
strongest ram Ulysses seized, and held on by his hands and 
feet to its fleece, under its belly, and then all the sheep went 
out through the doorway, and the giant felt them, but 
did not know that they were carrying out the men. 'Dear 



ram! ' he said to the biggest, which carried Ulysses, 'you 
do not come out first, as usual, but last, as if you were 
slow with sorrow for your master, whose eye Nobody has 
blinded! ' 
Then all the rams went out into the open country, and 
Ulysses unfastened his men, and drove the sheep down 
to his ship and so on board. His crew wept when they heard 
of the death of six of their friends, but Ulysses made them 
row out to sea. When he was just so far away from the 
cave as to be within hearing distance he shouted at the 
Cyclops and mocked him. Then that giant broke off the 
rocky peak of a great hill and threw it in the direction of 
the sound. The rock fell in front of the ship, and raised 
a wave that drove it back to shore, but Ulysses punted 
it off with a long pole, and his men rowed out again, far 
out. Ulysses again shouted to the giant, ' If anyone asks 
who blinded you, say that it was Ulysses, Laertes' son, of 
Ithaca, the stormer of cities.' 
Then the giant prayed to the Sea God, his father, that 
Ulysses might never come home, or if he did, that he might 
come late and lonely, with loss of all his men, and find 
sorrow in his house. Then the giant heaved and threw 
another rock, but it fell at the stern of the ship, and the 
wave drove the ship further out to sea, to the shore of the 
island. There Ulysses and his men landed, and killed 
some of the giant's sheep, and took supper, and drank 
But the Sea God heard the prayer of his son the blind 
gian t. 
Ulysses and his men sailed on, in what direction and 
for how long we do not know, till they saw far off an 
island that shone in the sea. When they came nearer they 

'rIIE 'V
YSSES 109 
found that it had a steep cliff of bronze, with a palace on the 
top. Here lived Aeolus, the King of the Winds, with his 
six sons and six daughters. He received Ulysses kindly 
on his island, and entertained him for a whole month. 
Then he gave him a leather bag, in which he had bound 
the ways of all the noisy winds. This bag was fastened 
with a silver cord, and Aeolus left no wind out except the 
West 'Vind, which would blow Ulysses straight home 
to Ithaca. Where he was we cannot guess, except that 
he was to the west of his own island. 
So they sailed for nine days and nights towards the 
east, and Ulysses always held the helm and steered, but on 
the tenth day he fell asleep. Then his men said to each 
other, 'What treasure is it that he keeps in the leather 
bag, a present from I{ing Aeolus? No doubt the bag is full 
of gold and silver, while we have only empty hands.' So 
they opened the bag when they were so near Ithaca that 
they could see people lighting fires on the shore. Then 
out rushed all the winds, and carried the ship into unknown 
seas, and when Ulysses woke he was so miserable that he 
had a mind to drown himself. But he was of an enduring 
heart, and he lay still, and the ship came back to the isle 
of Aeolus, who cried, , Away with you! You are the most 
luckless of living men: you must be hated by the Gods.' 
Thus Aeolus drove them away, and they sailed for seven 
days and nights, till they saw land, and came to a harbour 
with a narrow entrance, and with tall steep rocks on either 
side. The other eleven ships sailed into the haven, but 
Ulysses did not venture in ; he fastened his ship to a rock 
at the outer end of the harbour. The place must have 
been very far north, for, as it was summer, the sun had 
hardly set till dawn began again, as it does in Norway and 

110 '.rALES O

Iceland, \vhere there are many such narrow harbours within 
walls of rock. These places are called fiords. Ulysses sent 
three men to spy out the country, and at a ,yell outside the 
town they lnet a damsel drawing water; she was the child 
of the king of the people, the Laestrygonians. The damsel 
led them to her father's house; he was a giant and seized 
one of the men of Ulysses, meaning to kill and eat him. 
The two other men fled to the ships, but the Laestry- 
gonians ran along the tops of the cliffs and threw down 
great rocks, sinking the vessels and killing the sailors. When 
Ulysses saw this he drew his sword and cut the cable that 
fastened his ship to the rock outside the harbour, and his 
crew rowed for dear life and so escaped, weeping for the 
death of their friends. Thus the prayer of the blind Cyclops 
,vas being fulfilled, for now out of twelve ships Ulysses 
had but one left. 


On they sailed till they came to an island, and there 
they landed. What the place was they did not know, but 
it was called Aeaea, and here liyed Circe, the enchantress, 
sister of the "vizard king Æetes, who was the Lord of the 
Fleece of Gold, that Jason won from him by help of the 
king's daughter, lVledea. For two days Ulysses and 
his men lay on land beside their ship, which they anchored 
in a bay of the island. On the third morning Ulysses took 
his sword and spear, and climbed to the top of a high hill, 
whence he saw the smoke rising out of the wood where 
Circe had her palace. He thought of going to the house, 
but it seemed better to return to his men and send sonle of 


them to spy out the place. Since the adventure of the 
Cyclops Ulysses did not care to risk himself among unknown 
people, and for all that he knew there might be man-eating 
giants on the island. So he went back, and, as he came 
to the bank of the river, he found a great red deer drinking 
under the shadow of the green boughs. He speared the 
stag, and, tying his feet together, slung the body from his 
neck, and so, leaning on his spear, he came to his fellows. 
Glad they were to see fresh venison, which they cooked, 
and so dined with plenty of wine. 
Next morning Ulysses divided his men into two com- 
panies, Eurylochus led one company and he himself the 
other. Then they put two marked pieces of wood, one for 
Eurylochus, one for Ulysses, in a helmet, to decide who 
should go to the house in the wood. They shook the 
helmet, and the lot of Eurylochus leaped out, and, weeping 
for fear, he led his twenty-two men away into the forest. 
Ulysses and the other twenty-two waited, and, when Eury- 
lochus came back alone, he was weeping, and unable to speak 
for sorrow. At last he told his story: they had come to 
the beautiful house of Circe, within the wood, and tame 
wolves and lions were walking about in front of the house. 
'[hey wagged their tails, and jumped up, like friendly dogs, 
round the men of Ulysses, who stood in the gateway and 
heard Circe singing in a sweet voice, as she went up and 
down before the loom at which she was weaving. Then 
one of the men of Ulysses called to her, and she came out, 
a beautiful lady in white robes covered with jewels of gold. 
She opened the doors and bade them come in, but Eury- 
lochus hid himself and watched, and saw Circe and her 
Inaidens n1Ïx honey and wine for the luen, and bid them 
sit down on chairs at tables, but, \vhen they had drunk of her 

112 "rALES O

cup, she touched them with her wand. Then they were 
all changed into swine, and Circe drove them out and shut 
them up in the styes. 
When Ulysses heard that he slung his sword-belt round 
his shoulders, seized his bow, and bade Eurylochus come back 
with him to the house of Circe; but Eurylochus was afraid. 
l\lone ,vent Ulysses through the woods, and in a dell he 
met a most beautiful young man, who took his hand and 
said, 'Unhappy one! how shalt thou free thy friends 
from so great an enchantress?' Then the young man 
plucked a plant from the ground; the flower was as white as 
milk, but the root was black: it is a plant that men may 
not dig up, but to the Gods all things are easy, and the 
young man was the cunning God Hermes, whom Autolycus, 
the grandfather of Ulysses, used to \vorship. 'Take this 
herb of grace,' he said, 'and when Circe has made thee 
drink of the cup of her enchantments the herb will so work 
that they shall have no power over thee. Then draw 
thy sword, and rush at her, and make her swear that she 
will not harm thee with her magic.' 
Then Hermes departed, and Ulysses went to the house of 
Circe, and she asked him to enter, and seated him on a chair, 
and gave him the enchanted cup to drink, and then smote 
him with her wand and bade him go to the styes of the 
swine. But Ulysses drew his sword, and Circe, with a great 
cry, fell at his feet, saying, 'Who art thou on whom the cup 
has no power? Truly thou art Ulysses of Ithaca, for the 
God Hermes has told me that he should come to my island 
on his way from Troy. Come now, fear not; let us be 
friends ! ' 
Then the maidens of Circe came to them, fairy damsels 
of the wells and woods and rivers. They threw covers of 





purple silk over the chairs, and on the silver tables they 
placed golden baskets, and mixed wine in a silver bowl, 
and heated water, and bathed Ulysses in a polished bath, 
and clothed him in new raiment, and led him to the table 
and bade him eat and drink. But he sat silent, neither 
eating nor drinking, in sorrow for his company, till Circe 
called them out from the styes and disenchanted them. 
Glad they were to see Ulysses, and they embraced him, 
and wept for joy. 
So they went back to their friends at the ship, and told 
them how Circe would have them all to live with her; but 
Eurylochus tried to frighten them, saying that she would 
change them into wolves and lions. Ulysses drew his sword 
to cut off the head of Eurylochus for his cowardice, but the 
others prayed that he might be left alone to guard the ship. 
So Ulysses left him; but Eurylochus had not the courage 
to be alone, and slunk behind them to the house of Circe. 
There she welcomed them all, and gave them a feast, and 
there they dwelt for a whole year, and then they wearied 
for their wives and children, and longed to return to 
Ithaca. They did not guess by what a strange path they 
must sail. 
When Ulysses was alone with Circe at night he told 
her that his men were home-sick, and would fain go to 
I thaca. Then Circe said, 'There is no way but this: you 
must sail to the last shore of the stream of the river Oceanus 
that girdles round the world. There is the Land of the 
Dead, and the House of Hades and Persephone, the King 
and Queen of the ghosts. There you must call up the 
ghost of the blind prophet, Tiresias of Thebes, for he alone 
has knowledge of your way, and the other spirits sweep 
round shadow-Jike.' 



Then Ulysses thought that his heart would break, for 
how should he, a living man, go down to the awful dwellings 
of the dead? But Circe told him the strange things that 
he must do, and she gave him a black ram and a black ewe, 
and next day Ulysses called his men together. All follo\ved 
him to the ship, except one, Elpenor. He had been sleeping, 
for the sake of the cool air, on the flat roof of the house, 
and, when suddenly \vakened, he missed his foothold on 
the tall ladder, and fell to the ground and broke his neck. 
They left him unburned and unburied, and, weeping, they 
followed Ulysses, as follow they must, to see the homes 
of the ghosts and the house of Hades. Very sorrowfully 
they all went on board, taking with them the black ram 
and the black ewe, and they set the sails, and the wind 
bore them at its will. 
Now in mid-day they sailed out of the sunlight into 
darkness, for they had come to the land of the Cim- 
merian men, which the sun never sees, but all is dark 
cloud and mist. There they ran the ship ashore, and 
took out the two black sheep, and walked along the dark 
banks of the river Oceanus to a place of which Circe had 
told Ulysses. There the two rivers of the dead meet, 
where a rock divides the t\VO dark roaring streams. There 
they dug a trench and poured out mead, and \vine, and 
\vater, and prayed to the ghosts, and then they cut the 
throat of the black e\ve, and the grey ghosts gathered to 
smell the blood. Pale spectres came, spirits of brides who 
died long ago, and youths unwed, and old unhappy men; 
and many phantoms were there of men who fell in battle, 
with shadowy spears in their hands, and battered armour. 
Then Ulysses sacrificed the black ram to the ghost of the 
prophet Tiresias, and sat down \vith his s\vord in his hand, 


that no spirit before Tiresias might taste the blood in the 
First the spirit of Elpenor came, and begged Ulysses to 
burn his body, for till his body \vas burned he was not 
allowed to mingle \vith the other souls of dead men. So 
Ulysses promised to burn and bury him \vhen he went back 
to Circe's island. Then came the shadow of the mother 
of Ulysses, who had died when he was at Troy, but, for all 
his grief, he would not allow the shado\v to come near the 
blood till Tiresias had tasted it. At length came the spirit 
of the blind prophet, and he prayed Ulysses to sheathe his 
sword and let him drink the blood of the black sheep. 
vVhen he had tasted it he said that the Sea God was 
angry because of the blinding of his son, the Cyclops, and 
\vould make his voyaging vain. But if the men of Ulysses 
\vere wise, and did not slay and eat the sacred cattle of the 
Sun God, in the isle called Thrinacia, they might all win 
home. If they \vere unwise, and if Ulysses did come home, 
lonely and late he would arrive, on the ship of strangers, and 
he would find proud men wasting his goods and seeking to 
wed his \vife, Penelope. Even if Ulysses alone could kill these 
men his troubles would not be ended. He must wander over 
the land, as he had \vandered over the waters, carrying an 
. oar on his shoulder, till he came to men who had never 
heard of the sea or of boats. vVhen one of these men, 
not knowing \vhat an oar was, came and told him that he 
carried a fan for winno\ving corn, then Ulysses must fix 
the oar in the ground, and offer a sacrifice to the Sea God, 
and go home, where he \vould at last live in peace. Ulysses 
said, 'So be it ! ' and asked how he could have speech \vith 
the ghosts. Tiresias told him how this might be done, 
and then his mother told him ho\v she died of sorro\v for 
I 2 


116 'r.AI
T1:S OF 'rJ{()\T A 
1) Gltf

hlln, and Ulysses tried to enlbrace and kiss her, but his arms 
only clasped the empty air. 
Then came up the beautiful spirits of lllany dead, unhappy 
ladies of old times, and then caIne the souls of Agamelnnon, 
and of Achilles, and of Aias. Achilles was glad \vhen he 
heard how bravely his young son had fought at Troy, but 
he said it was better to be the servant of a poor farmer on 
earth than to rule over all the ghosts of the dead in the still 
grey land \vhcre the sun never shone, and no flo\vers grew 
but the mournful asphodel. Many other spirits of Greeks 
slain at Troy came and asked for ne\vs about their friends, 
but Aias stood apart and silent, still in anger because 
the arms of ... \.chilles had been given to Ulysses. In vain 
Ulysses told him that the Greeks had mourned as much 
for him as for Achilles; he passed silently away into the 
House of Hades. At last the legions of the innumerable 
dead, all that have died since the world began, flocked, and 
filled the air \vith their low "Tailing cries, and fear fell on 
Ulysses, and he went back along that sad last shore of the 
world's end to his ship, and sailed again out of the 
ness into the sunlight, and to the isle of Circe. There they 
burned the body of Elpenor, and piled a mound over it, and 
on the mound set the oar of the dead man, and so went to 
the palace of Circe. 
Ulysses told Circe all his adventures, and then she 
warned him of dangers yet to come, and showed him ho\v 
he might escape them. He listened, and remembered an 
that she spoke, and these t\VO said good-bye for ever. Circe 
wandered a\vay alone into the woods, and Ulysses and his 
men set sail and crossed the unknown seas. Presen t1 y 
the wind fell, and the sea was calm, and they saw a beduti- 
flli island froln which came the sound of S\\Teet singing. 

'rIlE 'VA
YSSES 117 

Ulysses knew who the singers were, for Circe had told him 
that they were the Sirens, a kind of beautiful Mermaids, 
deadly to men. Among the flowers they sit and sing, 
but the flowers hide the bones of men who have listened 
and landed on the island, and died of that strange music, 
which carries the soul away. 
Ulysses now took a great cake of bees' wax and cut it 
up into small pieces, which he bade his men soften and 
place in their ears, that they might not hear that singing. 
But, as he desired to hear it and yet live, he bade the sailors 
bind him tightly to the mast with ropes, and they must 
not unbind him, however much he might implore them to 
set him free. When all this was done the men sat down 
on the benches, all orderly, and smote the grey sea \vith 
their oars, and the ship rushed along through the clear 
still water, and came opposite the island. 
Then the sweet singing of the Sirens was borne over the 


, Hither, come hither, renowned Ulysses, 
Great glory of the Achaean name. 
IIere stay thy ship, that thou mayest listen to our song. 
Never has any man driven his ship past our island 
Till he has heard our voices, sweet as the honeycomb; 
Gladly he has heard, and wiser has he gone on his way. 
Hither, come hither, for we know all things, 
All that the Greeks wrought and endured in Troyland, 
All that shall hereafter be upon the fruitful earth.' 

Thus they sang, offering Ulysses alì knowledge and 
wisdom, which they kne\v that he loved more than any- 
thing in the world. 1'0 other men, no doubt, they would 
have offered other pleasures. Ulysses desired to listen, 
and he nodded to his men to loosen his bonds. But 

118 1.'ALES OJ? 1.'ROY .L\ND GI{I

Perimedes and Eurylochus arose, and laid on hhn yet 
stronger bonds, and the ship was driven past that island, 
till the song of the Sirens faded away, and then the men set 
Ulysses free and took the wax out of their ears. 



They had not sailed far when they heard the sea roaring, 
and saw a great wave, over which hung a thick shining 
cloud of spray. They had drifted to a place where the 
sea narrowed between two high black rocks: under the 
rock on the left was a boiling whirlpool in which no ship 
could live; the opposite rock showed nothing dangerous, 
but Ulysses had been "varned by Circe that here too lay 
great peril. vVe may ask, Why did Ulysses pass through the 
narrows bet\veen these two rocks? why did he not steer on 
the outer side of one or the other? The reason seems to have 
been that, on the outer side of these cliffs, were the tall 
reefs which men called the Rocks VV andering. Between 
them the sea water leaped in high columns of white foam, 
and the rocks themselves rushed together, grindihg and 
clashing, while fire flew out of the crevices and crests as 
from a volcano. 
Circe had told Ulysses about the Rocks Wandering, 
\vhich do not even allow flocks of doves to pass through 
them; eyen one of the doves is always caught and crushed, 
and no ship of men escapes that tries to pass that way, 
and the bodies of the sailors and the planks of the ships are 
confusedly tossed by the waves of the sea and the storms of 


ruinous fire. Of all ships that ever sailed the sea only 
, Argo,' the ship of Jason, has escaped the Rocks Wandering, 
as you may read in the story of the Fleece of Gold. For 
these reasons Ulysses ,vas forced to steer between the 
rock of the whirlpool and the rock which seemed harmless. 
In the narrows between these two cliffs the sea ran like a 
rushing river, and the men, in fear, ceased to hold the oars, 
and do\vn the stream the oars .plashed in confusion. But 
Ulysses, whom Circe had told of this new danger, bade them 
grasp the oars again and row hard. He told the man at 
the helm to steer under the great rocky cliff, on the right, 
and to keep clear of the whirlpool and the cloud of spray 
on the left. Well he knew the danger of the rock on the 
left, for within it was a deep cave, where a monster named 
Scylla lived, yelping with a shrill voice out of her six hideous 
heads. Each head hung do\vn from a long, thin, scaly neck, 
and in each mouth were three rows of greedy teeth, and 
t,velve long feelers, ,vith claws at the ends of them, dropped 
down, ready to catch at men. There in her cave Scylla 
sits, fishing with her feelers for dolphins and other great 
fish, and for men, if any men sail by that way. Against 
this deadly thing none may fight, for she cannot be slain 
with the spear. * 
All this Ulysses knew, for Circe had warned him. But 
he also knew that on the other side of the strait, where the 
sea spray for ever flew high above the rock, was a whirl- 
pool, called Charybdis, which would swallow up his ship if 
it came within the current, while Scylla could only catch 
some of his men. For this reason he bade the helmsman to 
steer close to the rock of Scylla, and he did not tell the 

*' There is a picture of this monster attacking a man in a boat. The picture 
was painted centuries before the time of Ulysses. 


120 TALES OF 1.

sailors that she lurked there with her body hidden in her 
deep cave. He himself put on his armour, and took two 
spears, and went and stood in the raised half deck at the 
front of the ship, thinking that, at least, he would have 
a stroke at Scylla. Then they rowed down the swift sea 
stream, while the wave of the whirlpool now rose up, till 
the spray hid the top of the rock, and now fell, and bubbled 
with black sand. They were watching the whirlpool, when 
out from the hole in the cliff sprang the six heads of Scylla, 
and up into the air went six of Ulysses' men, each calling to 
him, as they were swept within her hole in the rock, where 
she devoured them. 'This was the most pitiful thing,' 
Ulysses said, 'that my eyes have seen, of all my sorrows in 
searching out the paths of the sea.' 
The ship swept through the roaring narrows between 
the rock of Scylla and the whirlpool of Charybdis, into 
the open sea, and the men, weary and heavy of heart, bent 
over their oars, and longed for rest. 
N ow a place of rest seemed near at hand, for in front of 
the ship lay a beautiful island, and the men could hear the 
bleating of sheep and the lowing of cows as they were 
being herded into their stalls. But Ulysses remembered 
that, in the Land of the Dead, the ghost of the blind prophet 
had warned him of one thing. If his men killed and ate the 
cattle of the Sun, in the sacred island of Thrinacia, they 
would all perish. So Ulysses told his crew of this prophecy, 
and bade them row past the island. Eurylochus was angry 
and said that the men were tired, and could row no further, 
but must land, and take supper, and sleep comfortably 
on shore. On hearing Eurylochus, the whole crew shouted 
and said that they would go no further that night, and 
Ulysses had no power to compel them. He could only 





make theln swear not to touch the cattle of the Sun God, 
which they promised readily enough, and so went ashore, 
took supper, and slept. 
In the night a great storm arose: the clouds and driving 
mist blinded the face of the sea and sky, and for a whole 
month the wild south wind hurled the waves on the coast, 
and no ship of these times could venture out in the tempest. 
1\'leanwhile the crew ate up all the stores in the ship, and 
finished the wine, so that they were driven to catch sea 
birds and fishes, of which they took but few, the sea being 
so rough upon the rocks. Ulysses went up into the island 
alone, to pray to the Gods, and when he had prayed he 
found a sheltered place, and there he fell asleep. 
Eurylochus took the occasion, while Ulysses was away, 
to bid the crew seize and slay the sacred cattle of the Sun 
God, \vhich no man might touch, and this they did, so that, 
,,,hen Ulysses wakened, and came near the ship, he smelled 
the roast meat, and knewwhat had been done. He rebuked 
the men, but, as the cattle were dead, they kept eating 
them for six days; and then the storm ceased, the wind 
fell, the sun shone, and they set the sails, and away they 
went. But this evil deed was punished, for when they 
were out of sight of land, a great thunder cloud over- 
shadowed them, the wind broke the mast, which crushed 
the head of the helmsman, the lightning struck the ship in 
the centre; she reeled, the men fell overboard, and the heads 
of the crew floated a moment, like cormorants, above the 
But Ulysses had kept hold of a rope, and, when the 
vessel righted, he walked the deck till a "rave stripped 
off all the tackling, and loosened the sides from the keel. 
Ulysses had only time to lash the broken mast \vith a rope 

122 'rALES Ol? "rIlOY A

to the keel, and sit on this raft with his feet in the \vater, 
while the South vVind rose again furiously, and drove 
the raft back till it came under the rock vvhere \vas the 
whirlpool of Charybdis. Here Ulysses would have been 
drowned, but he caught at the root of a fig tree that grew 
on the rock, and there he hung, clinging with his toes to the 
crumbling stones till the whirlpool boiled up again, and 
up came the timbers. Down on the timbers Ulysses dropped, 
and so sat rowing with his hands, and the wind drifted 
him at last to a shelving beach of an island. 
Here dwelt a kind of fairy, called Calypso, who found 
Ulysses nearly dead on the beach, and was kind to him, and 
kept him in her cave, where he lived for seven long years, 
always desiring to leave the beautiful fairy and return to 
I thaca and his \vife Penelope. But no ship of men ever came 
near that isle, \vhich is the central place of all the seas, and 
he had no ship, and no men to sail and ro\v. Calypso \vas 
very kind, and very beautiful, being the daughter of the 
wizard Atlas, who holds the two pillars that keep earth and 
sea asunder. Eu t Ulysses was longing to see if it were but 
the smoke going up from the houses of rocky Ithaca, and 
he had a desire to die. 



When Ulysses had lived nearly seven years in the island 
of Calypso, his son Telemachus, whom he had left in Ithaca 
as a little child, went forth to seek for his father. In Ithaca 
he and his mother, Penelope, had long been very unhappy. 
As Ulysses did not come home after the war, and as nothing 
\vas heard about him from the day \vhcn the Greeks sailed 



from Troy, it was supposed that he must be dead. But 
Telemachus was still but a boy of twelve years old, and the 
father of Ulysses, Laertes, was very old, and had gone to a 
farm in the country, where he did nothing but take care 
of his garden. There was thus no King in Ithaca, and the 
boys, who had been about ten years old when Ulysses went 
to Troy, were now grown up, and, as their fathers had 
gone to the war, they did just as they pleased. Twelve of 
them wanted to marry Penelope, and they, vvith about a 
hundred others as wild as themselves, from the neighbour- 
ing islands, by way of paying court to Penelope ate and 
drank all day at her house. They killed the cattle, sheep, 
and swine; they drank the vlÏne, and amused themselves 
with Penelope's maidens, of whom she had many. Nobody 
could stop them; they would never go a\vay, they said, till 
Penelope chose one of thelTI to be her husband, and l{ing of 
the island, though Telemachus was the rightful prince. 
Penelope at last promised that she would choose one 
of them when she had finished a great shroud of linen, 
to be the death shroud of old Laertes when he died. All 
day she wove it, but at night, when her wooers had gone 
(for they did not sleep in her house), she unwove it again. 
But one of her maidens told this to the wooers, so she had 
to finish the shroud, and now they pressed her more than 
ever to make her choice. But she kept hoping that Ulysses 
was still alive, and would return, though, if he did, how was 
he to turn so many strong young men out of his house? 
The Goddess of Wisdom, Athênê, had always favoured 
Ulysses, and now she spoke up among the Gods, where they 
sat, as lnen say, in their holy heaven. Not by winds is it 
shaken, nor wet with rain, nor does the snow come thither, 
but clear air is spread about it cloudless, and the white 


light floats over it. Athênê told how good, wise, and 
brave Ulysses was, and how he was kept in the isle of Calypso, 
while men ruined his wealth and wooed his wife. She said 
that she would herself go to Ithaca, and make Telemachus 
appeal to all the people of the country, showing how evilly 
he was treated, and then sail abroad to seek news of his 
father. So Athênê spoke, and flashed down from Olympus 
to Ithaca, where she took the shape of a mortal man, 
IVlentes, a chief of the Taphians. In front of the doors 
she found the proud wooers playing at draughts and other 
games while supper was being made ready. When Tele- 
machus, who was standing apart, saw the stranger, he went 
to him, and led him into the house, and treated him kindly, 
while the wooers ate and drank, and laughed noisily. 
Then Telemachus told Athênê (or, as he supposed, the 
stranger), how evilly he was used, while his father's white 
bones might be wasting on an unknown shore or rolling 
in the billows of the salt sea. Athênê said, or l\ientes said, 
that he himself was an old friend of Ulysses, and had touched 
at Ithaca on his way to Cyprus to buy copper. ' But 
Ulysses,' he said, 'is not dead; he will certainly come home, 
and that speedily. You are so like him, you must be his 
son.' Telemachus replied that he was, and Mentes was full 
of anger, seeing how the wooers insulted him, and told him 
first to complain to an assembly of all the people, and then 
to take a ship, and go seeking news of Ulysses. 
Then Athênê departed, and next day Telemachus called 
an assembly, and spoke to the people, but though they were 
sorry for him they could not help him. One old man, 
however, a prophet, said that Ulysses would certainly come 
home, but the wooers only threatened and insulted him. 
In the evening Athênê came again, in the appearance of 



Mentor, not the same man as Mentes, but an Ithacan, and 
a friend of Ulysses. She encouraged Telemachus to take 
a ship, with twenty oarsmen, and he told the wooers that he 
was going to see Menelaus and Nestor, and ask tidings of his 
father. They only mocked him, but he made all things ready 
for his voyage without telling his mother. It was old Eury- 
cleia, who had been his nurse and his father's nurse, that 
brought him wine and food for his journey; and at night, 
when the sea wind wakens in summer, he and Mentor went 
on board, and all night they sailed, and at noon next day 
they reached Pylos on the sea sands, the city of Nestor the 
Nestor received them gladJy, and so did his sons, Pisis- 
tratus and Thrasymedes, who fought at Troy, and next day, 
when Mentor had gone, Pi$istratus and Telemachus drove 
together, up hill and down dale, a two days' journey, to 
Lacedaemon, lying beneath Mount Taygetus on the bank 
of the clear river Eurotas. 
N at one of the Greeks had seen Ulysses since the day 
when they all sailed from Troy, yet Menelaus, in a strange 
way, was able to tell Telemachus that his father still lived, 
and was with Calypso on a lonely island, the centre of 
all the seas. We shall see how J\1enelaus knew this. When 
Telemachus and Pisistratus came, he was giving a feast, 
and called them to his table. It would not have been 
courteous to ask them who they were till they had been 
bathed and clothed in fresh raiment, and had eaten and drunk. 
After dinner, Menelaus saw how much Telemachus admired 
his house, and the flashing of light from the walls, which 
were covered with bronze panels, and from the cups of gold, 
and the amber and ivory and silver. Such things Telemachus 
had never seen in Ithaca. Noticing his surprise, Menelaus 

.., TJ10Y A

said that he had brought many rich things from Troy, 
after eight years wandering to Cyprus, and Phoenicia, and 
Egypt, and even to Libya, on the north coast of Africa. 
Yet he said that, though he \vas rich and fortunate, he was 
unhappy when he remembered the brave men \vho had 
died for his sake at Troy. But above all he was miserable for 
the loss of the best ot them all, Ulysses, who was so long 
unheard of, and none knew whether, at that hour, he was 
alive or dead. At these words Telemachus hid his face in his 
purple mantle and shed tears, so that l\Ienelaus guessed 
\vho he \vas, but he said nothing. 
Then came into the hall, from her o\vn fragrant chamber, 
Helen of the fair hands, as beautiful as ever she had been, 
her bo\ver maidens carrying her golden distaff, with which 
she span, and a silver basket to hold her wool, for the white 
hands of Helen were never idle. 
Helen kne\v Telemachus by his likeness to his father, 
Ulysses, and \vhen she said this to l\Ienelaus, Pisistratus 
overheard her, and told how Telemachus had come to them 
seeking for news of his father. l\Ienelaus was much moved 
in his heart, and Helen no less, when they saw the son of 
Ulysses, who had been the most trusty of all their friends. 
They could not help shedding tears, for Pisistratus re- 
membered his dear brother Antilochus, whom l\femnon 
sle\v in battle at Troy, 
Iemnon the son of the bright Dawn. 
But Helen wished to comfort them, and she brought a drug 
of magical virtue, which Polydamna, the \vife of Thon, l{ing 
of Egypt had given to her. This drug lulls all pain and 
anger, and brings forgetfulness of every sorro\v, and Helen 
poured it from a golden vial into the mixing bowl of gold, 
and they drank the \vine and were comforted. 
Then Helen told Telemachus what great deeds Ulysses 


did at Troy, and ho\v he crept into the town disguised as a 
beggar, and came to her house, when he stole the Luck of 
Troy. Menelaus told how Ulysses kept him and the other 
princes quiet in the horse of tree, when Deiphobus made 
Helen call to them all in the very voices of their own wives, 
and to Telemachus it was great joy to hear of his father's 
courage and wisdom. 
Next day Telemachus showed to lVlenelaus ho\v hardly 
he and his mother were treated by the proud wooers, and 
Menelaus prayed that Ulysses might come back to Ithaca, 
and slay the wooers everyone. 'But as to what you 
ask me,' he said, , I will tell you all that I have heard about 
your father. In my wanderings after I sailed from Troy 
the storm winds kept me for three weeks in the island 
called Pharos, a day's voyage from the mouth of the river 
" Ægyptus'" (which is the old name of the Nile). 'We were 
almost starving, for our food was done, and my crew went 
round the shores, fishing with hook and line. N ow in that 
isle lives a goddess, the daughter of Proteus, the Old Man of 
the Sea. She advised me that if I could but catch her 
father when he came out of the sea to sleep on the shore 
he would tell me everything that I needed to know. At 
noonday he was used to come out, with all his flock of 
seals round him, and to sleep among them on the sands. 
If I could seize him, she said, he would turn into all manner 
of shapes in my hands: beasts, and serpents, and burning 
fire; but at last he \vould appear in his own shape, and 
answer all my questions. 
'So the goddess spoke, and she dug hiding places in the 
sands for me and three of my men, and covered us \vith the 
skins of seals. At noonday the Old l\Ian came out with 
his seals, and counted them, beginning with us, and then he 


lay down and fell asleep. Then we leaped up and rushed 
at him and gripped him fast. He turned into the shapes 
of a lion, and of a leopard, of a snake, and a huge boar ; then 
he was running water, and next he was a tall, blossoming 
tree. But we held him firmly, and at last he took his 
own shape, and told me that I should never have a fair wind 
till I had sailed back into the river Ægyptus and sacrificed 
there to the gods in heaven. Then I asked him for news 
about my brother, Agamemnon, and he told me how my 
brother was slain in his own hall, and how Aias was drowned 
in the sea. Lastly, he told me about Ulysses: how he 
was kept on a lonely island by the fairy Calypso, and was 
unhappy, and had no ship and no crew to escape and \vin 
home. ' 
This was all that Menelaus could tell Telemachus, who 
stayed with Menelaus for a month. All that time the 
wooers lay in wait for him, with a ship, in a narrow strait 
which they thought he must sail through on his way back 
to Ithaca. In that strait they meant to catch him and 
kill him. 



Now the day after Menelaus told Telemachus that 
Ulysses was still a living man, the Gods sent Hermes to 
Calypso. So Hermes bound on his feet his fair golden 
sandals, that wax not old, and bear him, alike over wet sea 
and dry land, as swift as the wind. Along the crests of 
the waves he flew, like the cormorant that chases fishes 
through the sea deeps, with his plumage wet in the sea 
brine. He reached the island, and went up to the cave of 


Calypso, wherein dwelt the nymph of the braided tresses, and 
he found her within. And on the hearth there was a great 
fire burning, and from afar, through the isle, was smelt the 
fragrance of cleft cedar blazing, and of sandal wood. And 
the nymph within was singing with a sweet voice as she 
fared to and fro before the loom, and wove with a shuttle 
of gold. All round about the cave there was a wood 
blossoming, alder and poplar and sweet smelling cypress. 
Therein roosted birds long of wing-owls and falcons and 
chattering sea-crows, which have their business in the 
waters. And lo! there, about the hollow cave, trailed a 
gadding garden vine, all rich with clusters. And fountains, 
four set orderly, were running with clear water hard by 
one another, turned each to his own course. Around 
soft meadows bloomed of violets and parsley; yea, even 
a deathless God who came thither might wonder at the 
sight and be glad at heart. 
There the messenger, the slayer of Argos, stood and 
wondered. Now when he had gazed at all with wonder, 
he went into the wide cave; nor did Calypso, that fair 
Goddess, fail to know him when she saw him face to face; 
for the Gods use not to be strange one to another, not 
though one have his habitation far away. But he found 
not Ulysses, the great-hearted, within the cave, who sat 
weeping on the shore even as aforetime, straining his soul 
with tears and groans and griefs, and as he wept he looked 
wistfully over the unharvested deep. And Calypso, that 
fair Goddess, questioned Hermes, \vhen she had made him sit 
on a bright shining star: 
'Wherefore, I pray thee, Hermes of the golden wand, 
hast thou come hither, worshipful and welcome, whereas 
as of old thou wert not wont to visit me? Tell me all thy 


thought; my heart is set on fulfilling it, if fulfil it I may, 
and if it hath been fulfilled in the counsel of fate. But now 
follow me further, that I may set before thee the entertain- 
ment of strangers.' 
Therewith the goddess spread a table with ambrosia 
and set it by him, and mixed the ruddy nectar. So the 
messenger, the slayer of Argos, did eat and drink. No\v 
after he had supped and comforted his soul with food, 
at the last he answered, and spake to her on this wise: 
, Thou makest question of me on my coming, a Goddess 
of a God, and I will tell thee this my saying truly, at thy 
command. 'Twas Zeus that bade me come hither, by no 
will of mine; nay, who of his free will would speed over 
such a wondrous space of sea whereby is no city of mortals 
that do sacrifice to the gods. He saith that thou hast with 
thee a man most wretched beyond his fellows, beyond 
those men that round the city of Priam for nine years 
fought, and in the tenth year sacked the city and departed 
homeward. Yet on the way they sinned against Athênê, 
and she raised upon them an evil blast and long waves of 
the sea. Then all the rest of his good company was lost, 
but it came to pass that the wind bare and the wave brought 
him hither. And now Zeus biddeth thee send him hence 
\vith what speed thou mayest, for it is not ordained that he 
die away from his friends, but rather it is his fate to look 
on them even yet, and to come to his high-roofed home and 
his own country.' 
So spake he, and Calypso, that fair Goddess, shuddered 
and spake unto him: 'Hard are ye Gods and jealous ex- 
ceeding, who ever grudge Goddesses openly to mate with 
men. Him I saved as he went all alone bestriding the keel 
of a bark, for that Zeus had crushed and cleft his swift 

 l7L YSSES. 


ship with a white bolt in the midst of the wine-dark deep. 
There all the rest of his good company was lost, but it came 
to pass that the wind bare and the wave brought him 
hither. And him have I loved and cherished, and I said 
that I would make him to know not death and age for ever. 
But I \vill give him no despatch, not I, for I have no ships 
by me \vith oars, nor company to bear him on his way over 
the broad back of the sea. Yet will I be forward to put 
this in his mind, and will hide nought, that all unharmed 
he may come to his own country.' 
Then the messenger, the slayer of Argas, answered her: 
, Yea, speed him now upon his path and have regard unto 
the wrath of Zeus, lest haply he be angered and bear hard 
on thee hereafter.' 
Therewith the great slayer of Argas departed, but the 
lady nymph went on her way to the great-hearted Ulysses, 
when she had heard the message of Zeus. And there she 
found him sitting on the shore, and his eyes were never 
dry of tears, and his sweet life was ebbing away as he 
mourned for his return. In the daytime he would sit on 
the rocks and on the beach, straining his soul with tears, 
and groans, and griefs, and through his tears he would look 
wistfully over the unharvested deep. So, standing near 
him, that fair goddess spake to him: 
, Hapless Ulan, sorrow no more I pray thee in this isle, 
nor let thy good life waste away, for even now will I send 
thee hence with all my heart. Nay, arise and cut long 
beams, and fashion a wide raft with the axe, and lay deck- 
ings high thereupon, that it may bear thee over the misty 
deep. And I will place therein bread and water, and red 
wine to thy heart's desire, to keep hunger far away. And 
I will put raiment upon thee, and send a fair gale, that so 


thou mayest come all unharmed to thine own country, h 
indeed it be the good pleasure of the gods who hold wide 
heaven, who are stronger than I am both to will and 
to do.' 
Then Ulysses was glad and sad: glad that the Gods took 
thought for him, and sad to think of crossing alone the wide 
unsailed seas. Calypso said to him: 
, So it is indeed thy wish to get thee home to thine own 
dear country even in this hour? Good fortune go with 
thee even so! Yet didst thou know in thine heart what 
thou art ordained to suffer, or ever thou reach thine own 
country, here, even here, thou wouldst abide with me and 
keep this house, and wouldst never taste of death, though 
thou longest to see thy wife, for whom thou hast ever a 
desire day by day. Not, in sooth, that I avow me to be less 
noble than she in form or fashion, for it is in no wise meet 
that mortal women should match them with immortals in 
shape and comeliness.' 
And Ulysses of many counsels answered, and spake 
unto her: 'Be not wroth with me, goddess and queen. 
l\tlyself I know it well, how wise Penelope is meaner 
to look upon than thou in comeliness and stature. But 
she is mortal, and thou knowest not age nor death. Yet, 
even so, I wish and long day by day to fare homeward 
and see the day of my returning. Yea, and if some god 
shall wreck me in the wine-dark deep, even so I will endure, 
with a heart within me patient of affliction. For already 
have I suffered full much, and much have I toiled in perils 
of waves and war; let this be added to the tale of those.' 
Next day Calypso brought to Ulysses carpenters' tools, 
and he felled trees, and made a great raft, and a mast, 
and sails out of canvas. In five days he had finished his 


raft and launched it, and Calypso placed in it skins full 
of wine and water, and flour and many pleasant things to 
eat, and so they kissed for that last time and took farewell, 
he going alone on the wide sea, and she turning lonely to 
her own home. He might have lived for ever with the 
beautiful fairy, but he chose to live and die, if he could, 
with his wife Penelope. 



As long as the fair wind blew Ulysses sat and steered his 
raft, never seeing land or any ship of men. He kept his 
eye at night on the Great Bear, holding it always on his 
left hand, as Calypso taught him. Seventeen days he 
sailed, and on the eighteenth day he saw the shadowy 
mountain peaks of an island called Phaeacia. But now 
the Sea god saw him, and remembered how Ulysses had 
blinded his son the Cyclops. In anger he raised a terrible 
storm: great clouds covered the sky, and all the winds met. 
Ulysses wished that he had died when the Trojans gathered 
round him as he defended the dead body of Achilles. For, 
had he died then, he would have been burned and buried 
by his friends, but if he were now drowned his ghost would 
always wander alone on the fringes of the Land of the Dead, 
like the ghost of Elpenor. 
As he thought thus, the winds broke the mast of his 
raft, and the sail and yardarm fell into the sea, and the 
waves dragged him deep down. At last he rose to the 
surface and swam after his raft, and climbed on to it, 
and sat there, while the winds tossed the raft about like a 
feather. The Sea goddess, Ino, saw.
.him and pitied him, 

134 'TALI
S O.F 

and rose froln the water as a seagull rises after it has dived. 
She spoke to him, and threw her bright veil to him, saying, 
'Wind this round your breast, and throw off your clothes. 
Leap from the raft and swim, and, when you reach land, 
cast the veil back into the sea, and turn away your head.' 
Ulysses caught the veil, and wound it about his breast, 
but he determined not to leave the raft while the timbers 
held together. Even as he thought thus, the timbers were 
driven asunder by the waves, and he seized a plank, 
and sat astride it as a man rides a horse. Then the winds 
fell, all but the north wind, which drifted Ulysses on for 
two days and nights. On the third day all was calm, 
and the land was very near, and Ulysses began to swim 
towards it, through a terrible surf, which crashed and 
foamed on sheer rocks, where all his bones would be broken. 
Thrice he clasped a rock, and thrice the back wash of the 
wave dragged him out to sea. Then he swam outside of the 
breakers, along the line of land, looking for a safe place, 
and at last he came to the mouth of the river. Here all 
was smooth, with a shelving beach, and his feet touched 
bottom. He staggered out of the water and swooned 
away as soon as he was on dry land. \Vhen he came to 
himself he unbound the veil of Ino, and cast it into the sea, 
and fell back, quite spent, among the reeds of the river, 
naked and starving. He crept between two thick olive 
trees that grew close together and made a shelter against 
the wind, and he covered himself all over thickly with fallen 
dry leaves, till he grew warm again and fell into a deep 
While Ulysses slept, alone and naked in an unknovvn 
land, a dream came to beautiful N ausicaa, the daughter 
of the King of that country, which is called Phaeacia. The 

'rHE \V A

dream ",vas in the shape of a girl who was a friend of N ausicaa, 
and it said: ' N ausicaa, how has your mother such a careless 
daughter? There are many beautiful garments in the house 
that need to be washed, against your wedding day, when, 
as is the custom, you must give mantles and tunics to the 
guests. Let us go a washing to the river to-morrow, taking 
a car to carry the raiment.' 
When Nausicaa wakened next day she remembered the 
dream, and went to her father, and asked him to lend her 
a car to carry the clothes. She said nothing about her 
marriage day, for though many young princes were in love 
with her, she was in love with none of them. Still, the 
clothes must be washed, and her father lent her a waggon 
with a high frame, and mules to drive. The clothes were 
piled in the car, and food was packed in a basket, every 
sort of dainty thing, and N ausicaa took the reins and drove 
slowly while many girls followed her, her friends of her own 
age. They came to a deep clear pool, that overflowed into 
shallow paved runs of water, and there they washed the 
clothes, and trod them down in the runlets. N ext they 
laid them out to dry in the sun and wind on the pebbles, 
and then they took their meal of cakes and other good 
vVhen they had eaten they threw down their veils 
and began to play at ball, at a game like rounders. N ausicaa 
threw the ball at a girl who was running, but missed her, 
and the ball fell into the deep swift river. All the girls 
screamed and laughed, and the noise they made wakened 
Ulysses where he lay in the little wood. ' Where am I ? ' 
he said to himself; 'is this a country of fierce and savage 
men? A sound of girls at play rings round me. Can they 
be fairies of the hill tops and the rivers, and the water 

136 'rALES OF 'rRüY .l\.

meadows ?' As he had no clothes, and the voices seemed 
to be voices of WOlnen, Ulysses broke a great leafy bough 
\vhich hid all his body, but his feet were bare, his face was 
wild with weariness, and cold, and hunger, and his hair 
and beard were matted and rough with the salt water. 
The girls, when they saw such a face peering over the 
leaves of the bough, screamed, and ran this way and that 
along the beach. But N ausicaa, as became the daughter of 
the King, stood erect and unafraid, and as Ulysses dared not 
go near and kneel to her, he spoke from a distance and said : 
, I pray thee, 0 queen, whether thou art a goddess or a 
mortal! If indeed thou art a goddess of them that keep 
the wide heaven, to Artemis, then, the daughter of great 
Zeus, I mainly liken thee for beauty and stature and 
shapeliness. But if thou art one of the daughters of men 
who dwell on earth, thrice blessed are thy father and thy 
lady mother, and thrice blessed thy brethren. Surely 
their souls ever glow with gladness for thy sake each time 
they see thee entering the dance, so fair a flower of maidens. 
But he is of heart the most blessed beyond all other who 
shall prevail with gifts of wooing, and lead thee to his home. 
Never have mine eyes beheld such an one among mortals, 
neither man nor woman; great awe comes upon me as I 
look on thee. Yet in Delos once I saw as goodly a thing: 
a young sapling of a palm tree springing by the altar of 
Apollo. For thither, too, I went, and much people with me, 
on that path where my sore troubles were to be. Yea! 
and when I looked thereupon, long time I marvelled in 
spirit-for never grew there yet so goodly a shoot from 
ground-even in such wise as I wonder at thee, lady, and am 
astonished and do greatly fear to touch thy knees, though 
. . 
grIevous sorrow IS upon me. 

 - -- --==-:. --- 


p=Q I'..J> 


, Y esterda y, on the twen tieth day, I escaped from the 
wine-dark deep, but all that time continually the wave 
bare me, and the vehement winds drave from the isle 
Ogygia. And now some god has cast me on this shore 
that here too, methinks, some evil may betide me; for 
I think not that trouble will cease; the gods ere that 
time will yet bring many a thing to pass. But, queen, 
have pity on me, for, after many trials and sore, to thee 
first of all am I come, and of the other folk, who hold this 
city and land, I know no man. Nay, show me the town; 
give me an old garment to cast about me, if thou hadst, 
when thou camest here, any wrap for the linen. And may the 
gods grant thee all thy heart's desire: a husband and a 
home, and a mind at one with his may they give-a good 
gift, for there is nothing mightier and nobler than when 
man and wife are of one heart and mind in a house, a grief 
to their foes, and to their friends great joy, but their own 
hearts know it best.' 
Then Nausicaa of the white arms answered him, and 
said : 
'Stranger, as thou seemest no evil man nor foolish 
-and it is Olympian Zeus himself that giveth weal to 
men, to the good and to the evil, to each one as he will, 
and this thy lot doubtless is of him, and so thou must 
in anywise endure it-now, since thou hast come to 
our city and our land, thou shalt not lack raiment nor 
aught else that is the due of a hapless suppliant when he 
has met them who can befriend him. And I will show thee 
the town, and name the name of the people. The Phaea- 
cians hold this city and land, and I am the daughter of 
Alcinous, great of heart, on whom all the Inight and force 
of the Phaeacians depend.' 

138 'rALES O.F 'rllOY A:KI) GREECE 

Thus she spake, and called to her maidens of the fair 
tresses: 'Halt, my maidens, whither flee ye at the sight of 
a man? Ye surely do not take him for an enemy? That 
mortal breathes not, and never will be born, who shall come 
with war to the land of the Phaeacians, for they are very 
dear to the gods. Far apart we live in the wash of the 
wa ves, the outermost of men, and no other mortals are 
conversant with us. Nay, but this man is some helpless 
one come hither in his wanderings, whom now we must 
kindly entreat, for all strangers and beggars are from Zeus, 
and a little gift is dear. So, my maidens, give the stranger 
meat and drink, and bathe him in the river, where there 
is a shelter from the winds.' 
So she spake, but they halted and called each to the 
other, and they brought Ulysses to the sheltered place, and 
made him sit down, as Nausiaca bade them, the daughter of 
Alcinous, high of heart. Beside him they laid a mantle and 
a doublet for raiment, and gave him soft olive oil in the 
golden cruse, and bade him wash in the streams of the 
river. Then goodly Ulysses spake among the maidens, 
saying: 'I pray you stand thus apart while I myself wash 
the brine from my shoulders, and anoint me with olive oil, 
for truly oil is long a stranger to my skin. But in your sight 
I will not bathe, for I am ashamed to make me naked in 
the company of fair-tressed maidens.' 
Then they went apart and told all to their lady. But 
with the river water the goodly Ulysses washed from his 
skin the salt scurf that covered his back and broad shoulders, 
and from his head he wiped the crusted brine of the barren 
sea. But when he had washed his whole body, and 
anointed him with olive oil, and had clad himself in the 
raiment that the unwedded maiden gave him, then Athênê, 


the daughter of Zeus, made him greater and more mighty 
to behold, and from his head caused deep curling locks to 
flow, like the hyacinth flower. And, as when some skilful 
n1an overlays gold upon silver-one that Hephaestus and 
Pallas r-\ thênê have taught all manner of craft, and full of 
grace is his handiwork-even so did Athênê shed grace about 
his head and shoulders. 
Then to the shore of the sea went Ulysses apart, and 
sat down, glowing in beauty and grace, and the princess 
marvelled at him, and spake among her fair-tressed maidens, 
sa )'lng : 
, Listen, my white-armed maidens, and I will say some- 
what. Not without the will of all the gods who hold 
Olympus has this man come among the godlike Phaeacians. 
Erewhile he seemed to me uncomely, but now he is like 
the gods that keep the wide heaven. vVould that such an 
one might be called my husband, dwelling here, and that it 
might please him here to abide! But come, my maidens, 
give the stranger meat and drink.' 
Thus she spake, and they gave ready ear and hearkened, 
and set beside Ulysses meat and drink, and the steadfast 
goodly Ulysses did eat and drink eagerly, for it was long 
since he had tasted food. 
Now Nausicaa of the white arms had another thought. 
She folded the raiment and stored it in the goodly ,vain, 
and yoked the mules, strong of hoof, and herself climbed into 
the car. Then she called on Ulysses, and spake and hailed 
him: ' Up now, stranger, and rouse thee to go to the city, 
that I may convey thee to the house of my wise father, 
where, I promise thee, thou shalt get knowledge of all the 
noblest of the Phaeacians. But do thou even as I tell 
thee, and thou seemest a discreet man enough. So long 


as we are passing along the fields and farms of men, do thou 
fare quickly with the maidens behind the mules and the 
chariot, and I will lead the way. But when we set foot 
within the city, whereby goes a high wall with towers, 
and there is a fair haven on either side of the town, and 
narrow is the entrance, and curved ships are drawn up on 
either hand of the mole, thou shalt find a fair grove of 
Athênê, a poplar grove, near the road, and a spring wells 
forth therein, and a meadow lies all around. 
There is my father's land, and his fruitful close, within 
the sound of a man's shout from the city. Sit thee 
down there and wait until such time as we may have 
come into the city, and reached the house of my father. 
But when thou deem est that we are got to the palace, 
then go up to the city of the Phaeacians, and ask for 
the house of my father, Alcinous, high of heart. I t is 
easily known, and a young child could be thy guide, for 
nowise like it are builded the houses of the Phaeacians, so 
goodly is the palace of the hero Alcinous. But when 
thou art within the shadow of the halls and the court, 
pass quickly through the great chamber till thou comest 
to my Inother, who sits at the hearth in the light of the 
fire, weaving yarn of sea-purple stain, a wonder to behold. 
Her chair is leaned against a pillar, and her maidens sit 
behind her. And there my father's throne leans close to 
hers, wherein he sits and drinks his wine, like an immortal. 
Pass thou by him, and cast thy hands about my mother's 
knees that thou mayest see quickly and with joy the day of 
thy returning, even if thou art from a very far country. 
If but her heart be kindly disposed towards thee, then is 
there hope that thou shalt see thy friends, and come to thy 
well-builded house, and to thine own country.' 


She spake and smote the mules with the shining whip, 
and quickly they left behind them the streams of the river; 
and well they trotted and well they paced, and she took 
heed to drive in such wise that the maidens and Ulysses 
might follow on foot, and cunningly she plied the lash. 
Then the sun set, and they came to the famous grove, the 
sacred place of Athênê; so there the goodly Ulysses sat him 
down. Then straightway he prayed to the daughter of 
mighty Zeus: 'Listen to me, child of Zeus, lord of the 
aegis, unwearied maiden; hear me even now, since before 
thou heardest not when I was smitten on the sea, when the 
renowned earth-shaker smote me. Grant me to come to 
the Phaeacians as one dear and worthy of pity.' 
So he spake in prayer, and Pallas Athênê heard him; 
but she did not yet appear to him face to face, for she had 
regard unto her father's brother, who furiously raged 
against the god-like Ulysses till he should come to his own 
While Nausicaa and her maidens went home, Ulysses 
waited near the temple till they should have arrived, and 
then he rose and walked to the city, wondering at the har- 
bour, full of ships, and at the strength of the walls. The 
Goddess Athênê met him, disguised as a mortal girl, and 
told him again how the name of the king was Alcinous, and 
his wife's name was Arete : she was wise and kind, and had 
great power in the city. The Goddess caused Ulysses to 
pass unseen among the people till he reached the palace, 
which shone with bronze facings to the walls, while within 
the hall were golden hounds and golden statues of young 
men holding torches burning to give light to those \vho 
sat at supper. The gardens were very beautiful, full of 
fruit trees, and watered by
streams that flo\ved from two 


fountains. Ulysses stood and wondered at the beauty of 
the gardens, and then walked, unseen, through the hall, 
and knelt at the feet of Queen Arete, and implored her to 
send him in a ship to his o\vn country. 
A table was brought to him, and food and wine were 
set before him, and Alcinous, as his guests were going 
home, spoke out and said that the stranger was to be 
entertained, whoever he might be, and sent safely on his 
way. The guests departed, and Arete, looking at Ulysses, 
saw that the clothes he wore were possessions of her house, 
and asked him who he was, and how he got the raiment? 
Then he told her how he had been shipwrecked, and ho\v 
N ausicaa had given him food, and garments out of those 
which she had been washing. Then Arete said that Nau- 
sicaa should have brought Ulysses straight to her house; 
but Ulysses answered: 'Chide not, I pray you, the blame- 
less damsel,' and explained that he himself was shy, and 
afraid that Nausicaa's parents might not like to see her 
coming with an unknown stranger. I{ing Alcinous answered 
that he was not jealous and suspicious. T a a stranger so 
noble as Ulysses he would very gladly see his daughter 
married, and would give him a house and plenty of every- 
thing. But if the stranger desired to go to his own country, 
then a ship should be made ready for him. Thus courteous 
was Alcinous, for he readily saw that Ulysses, who had not 
yet told his name, was of noble birth, strong and wise. 
Then all went to bed, and Ulysses had a soft bed and a 
warm, with blankets of purple. 
Next day Alcinous sent two-and-fifty young men to 
prepare a ship, and they moored her in readiness out in the 
shore water; but the chiefs dined with Alcinous, and the 
minstrel sang about the Trojan war, and so stirred the heart 

YSSES 143 

of Ulysses, that he held his mantle before his face and wept. 
When Alcinous saw that, he proposed that they should go 
and amuse themselves with sports in the open air; races, 
wrestling, and boxing. The son of Alcinous asked Ulysses 
if he would care to take part in the games, but Ulysses 
ans\vered that he was too heavy at heart. To this a young 
man, Euryalus, said that Ulysses was probably a captain 
of a merchant ship, a tradesman, not a sportsman. 
At this Ulysses was ill pleased, and replied that while he 
was young and happy, he was well skilled in all sports, 
but now he was heavy and weak with war and wandering. 
Still, he would show what he could do. Then he seized a 
heavy weight, much heavier than any that the Phaeacians 
used in putting the stone. He whirled it up, and hurled it 
far-far beyond the furthest mark that the Phaeacians had 
reached when putting a lighter weight. Then he challenged 
any man to run a race with him or box with him, or shoot 
at a mark with him. Only his speed in running did he 
doubt, for his limbs were stiffened by the sea. Perhaps 
Alcinous saw that it would go ill with any man who matched 
himself against the stranger, so he sent for the harper, who 
sang a merry song, and then he made the young men dance 
and play ball, and bade the elder men go and bring rich 
presents of gold and garments for the \vanderer. Alcinous 
himself gave a beautiful coffer and chest, and a great 
golden cup, and Arete tied up all the gifts in the coffer, 
while the damsels took Ulysses to the bath, and bathed him 
and anointed him with oil. 
As he left the bath he met Nausicaa, standing at the 
entrance of the hall. She bade him good-bye, rather sadly, 
saying: 'Farewell, and do not soon forget me in your own 
country, for to me you o\ve the ransom of your Jife.' 'l\1ay 

144 TALES OF TROY .i\.

God grant to me to see my own country, lady,' he answered, 
, for there I will think of you with worship, as I think of the 
blessed Gods, all my days, for to you, lady, I owe my very 
life.' These were the last words they spoke to each other, 
for N ausicaa did not sit at meat in the hall with the great 
company of men. When they had taken supper, the blind 
harper sang again a "song about the deeds of Ulysses at 
Troy, and again Ulysses wept, so that Alcinous asked him: 
'Hast thou lost a dear friend or a kinsman in the great 
war?' Then Ulysses spoke out: 'I am Ulysses, Laertes' 
son, of whom all men have heard tell.' While they sat 
amazed, he began, and told them the whole story of his 
adventures, from the day when he left Troy till he arrived 
at Calypso's island; he had already told them how he was 
shipwrecked on his way thence to Phaeacia. 
All that wonderful story he told to their pleasure, and 
Euryalus made amellds for his rude words at the games, and 
gave Ulysses a beautiful sword of bronze, with an ivory 
hilt set with studs of gold. Many other gifts were given to 
him, and were carried and stored on board the ship which 
had been made ready, and then Ulysses spoke good-bye to 
the Queen, saying: 'Be happy, oh Queen, till old age and 
death come to you, as they come to all. Be joyful in your 
house with your children and your people, and Alcinous the 
King.' Then he departed, and lay down on sheets and 
cloaks in the raised deck of the ship, and soundly he slept 
while the fifty oars divided the waters of the sea, and drove 
the ship to Ithaca. 




When Ulysses awoke, he found himself alone, ,,,rapped 
in the linen sheet and the bright coverlet, and he knew not 
where he was. The Phaeacians had carried him from the 
ship as he slept, and put him on shore, and placed all the 
rich gifts that had been given him under a tree, and then 
had sailed away. There was a morning mist that hid the 
land, and Ulysses did not know the haven of his own island, 
Ithaca, and the rock whence sprang a fountain of the 
water fairies that men call Naiads. He thought that the 
Phaeacians had set him in a strange country, so he counted 
all his goods, and then walked up and down sadly by the 
seashore. Here he met a young man, delicately clad, like
king's son, with a double mantle, such as kings wear, folded 
round his shoulders, and a spear in his hand. 'Tell me 
pray,' said Ulysses, 'what land is this, and what men 
dwell here ? ' 
The young man said: 'Truly, stranger, you know 
little, or you come from far away. This isle is Ithaca, and 
the name of it is known even in Troyland.' 
Ulysses was glad, indeed, to learn that he was at home at 
last; but ho\v the young men who had grown up since he 
went away would treat him, all alone as he was, he could 
not tell. So he did not let out that he was Ulysses the 
I{ing, but said that he was a Cretan. The stranger would 
wonder why a Cretan had come alone to Ithaca, with great 
riches, and yet did not know that he was there. So he pre- 
tended that, in Crete, a son of Idomeneus had tried to rob 

14 6 '.rALES OF 'rItOY AND GRI

him of all the spoil he took at Troy, and that he had killed 
this prince, and packed his wealth and fled on board a 
ship of the Phoenicians, who promised to land him at 
Pylas. But the wind had borne them out of their way, 
and they had all landed and slept on shore, here; but the 
Phoenicians had left him asleep and gone off in the dawn. 
On this the young man laughed, and suddenly appeared 
as the great Goddess, Pallas Athênê. 'How clever you are,' 
she said; 'yet you did not kno\v me, who helped you in 
Troyland. But much trouble lies before you, and you 
must not let man or woman know who you really are, your 
enemies are so many and powerful.' I 
, You never helped me in my dangers on the sea,' said 
Ulysses, 'and no\v do you make mock of me, or is this 
really mine own country ? ' 
, I had no mind,' said the Goddess, , to quarrel with my 
brother the Sea God, who had a feud against you for the 
blinding of his son, the Cyclops. But come, you shall see 
this is really Ithaca,' and she scattered the white mist, 
and Ulysses saw and knew the pleasant cave of the Naiads, 
and the forests on the side of the mountain called N eriton. 
So he knelt down and kissed the dear earth of his own 
country, and prayed to the Naiads of the cave. Then the 
Goddess helped him to hide all his gold, and bronze, and 
other presents in a secret place in the cavern; and she 
taught him how, being lonely as he was, he might destroy 
the proud wooers of his wife, who would certainly desire to 
take his life. 
The Goddess began by disguising Ulysses, so that his 
skin seemed wrinkled, and his hair thin, and his eyes dull, 
and she gave him dirty old wraps for clothes, and over all a 
great bald skin of a stag, like that which he wore when he 


stole into Troy disguised as a beggar. She gave him a staff, 
too, and a wallet to hold scraps of broken food. There was 
not a man or a woman that knew Ulysses in this disguise. 
N ext, the Goddess bade him go across the island to his 
own swineherd, who remained faithful to him, and to stay 
there among the swine till she brought home Telemachus, 
\vho was visiting Helen and Menelaus in Lacedaemon. 
She fled a\vay to Lacedaemon, and Ulysses climbed the hills 
that lay between the cavern and the farm where the swine- 
herd lived. 
When Ulysses reached the farmhouse, the swineherd, 
Eumaeus, was sitting alone in front of his door, making 
himself a pair of brogues out of the skin of an ox. He was 
a very honest man, and, though he was a slave, he was the 
son of a prince in his own country. When he was a little 
child some Phoenicians came in their ship to his father's 
house and made friends with his 'nurse, who was a Phoe- 
nician \voman. One of them, who made love to her, asked 
her who she was, and she said that her father was a rich 
man in Sidon, but that pirates had carried her away and 
sold her to her master. The Phoenicians promised to bring 
her back to Sidon, "and she fled to their ship, carrying with 
her the child whom she nursed, little Eumaeus; she also 
stole three cups of gold. The "'
oman died at sea, and the 
pirates sold the boy to Laertes, the father of Ulysses, who 
treated him kindly. Eumaeus was fond of the family 
which he served, and he hated the proud wooers for their 
When Ulysses came near his house the four great dogs 
rushed out and barked at him; they would have bitten, too, 
but Eumaeus ran up and threw stones at them, and no farm 
dog can face a shower of stones. He took Ulysses in to his 

14 8 '"rALES O.F Tl{o\r A

house, gave him food and wine, and told him all about the 
greed and pride of the wooers. Ulysses said that the 
master of Eumaeus would certainly come home, and told a 
long story about himself. He was a Cretan, he said, and had 
fought at Troy, and later had been shipwrecked, but reached 
a country called Thesprotia, where he learned that Ulysses 
was alive, and was soon to leave Thesprotia and return to 
Eumaeus did not believe this tale, and supposed that the 
beggar man only meant to say what he would like to hear. 
However, he gave Ulysses a good dinner of his own pork, 
and Ulysses amused him and his fellow slaves with stories 
about the Siege of Troy, till it was bedtime. 
In the meantime Athênê had gone to Lacedaemon to 
the house of Menelaus, where Telemachus was lying awake. 
She told him that Penelope, his mother, meant to marry 
one of the wooers, and advised him to sail home at once, 
avoiding the strait between I thaca and another isle, 
where his enemies were lying in wait to kill him. When 
he reached Ithaca he must send his oarsmen to the town, 
but himself walk alone across the island to see the swine- 
herd. In the morning Telemachus and his friend, Pisis- 
tratus, said good-bye to Menelaus and Helen, who wished 
to make him presents, and so went to their treasure house. 
Now when they came to the place where the treasures were 
stored, then Atrides took a double cup, and bade his son, 
Megapenthes, to bear a mixing-bowl of silver. And Helen 
stood by the coffers, wherein were her robes of curious 
needlework which she herself had wrought. So Helen, 
the fair lady, lifted one and brought it out-the widest and 
most beautifully embroidered of all-and it shone like a 
star, and lay far beneath the rest. 


Then they went back through the house till they came 
to Telemachus; and Menelaus, of the fair hair, spake to 
him, saying: 
, Telemachus, may Zeus the thunderer, and the lord of 
Hera, in very truth bring about thy return according to the 
desire of thy heart. And of the gifts, such as are treasures 
stored in my house, I will give thee the goodliest and 
greatest of price. I will give thee a mixing-bowl beauti- 
fully wrought; it is all of silver, and the lips thereof are 
finished with gold, the work of Hephaestus; and the hero 
Phaedimus, the king of the Sidonians, gave it to me when 
his house sheltered me, on my coming thither. This cup I 
would give to thee.' 
Therewith the hero Atrides set the double cup in his 
hands. And the strong Megapenthes bare the shining 
silver bowl and set it before him. And Helen came up, 
beautiful Helen, with the robe in her hands, and spake and 
hailed him : 
, Lo! I, too, give thee this gift, dear child, a memorial 
of the hands of Helen, against the day of thy desire, even 
of thy bridal, for thy bride to wear it. But, meanwhile, 
let it lie by thy dear mother in her chanlber. And may joy 
go \\;th thee to thy well-builded house and thine own 
country. ' 
Just when Telemachus ,vas leaving her palace door, an 
eagle stooped from the sky and flew away with a great white 
goose that was feeding on the grass, and the farm servants 
rushed out shouting, but the eagle passed away to the right 
hand, across the horses of Pisistratus. 
Then Helen explained the meaning of this omen. 'Hear 
me, and I ,vill prophesy as the immortals put it into my 
heart, and as I deem it \vill be accomplished. Even as 


yonder eagle came down from the hill, the place of his 
birth and kin, and snatched avvay the goose that was 
fostered in the house, even so shall Ulysses return home 
after much trial and long wanderings and take vengeance ; 
yea! or even now is he at home and so\ving the seeds of 
evil for all the wooers.' We are told no more about Helen 
of the fair hands, except that she and Menelaus never died, 
but were carried by the Gods to the beautiful Elysian 
plain, a happy place where war and trouble never came, 
nor old age, nor death. After that she was \vorshipped 
in her own country as if she had been a Goddess, kind, 
gentle, and beautiful. 
Telemachus thanked Helen for prophesying good 
luck, and he drove to the city of Nestor, on the sea, but 
\vas afraid to go near the old king, \vho would have kept 
him and entertained him, while he must sail at once for 
Ithaca. He went to his own ship in the harbour, and, 
\vhile his crew made ready to sail, there came a man running 
hard, and in great fear of the avenger of blood. This was 
a second-sighted man, called Theoclymenus, and he implored 
Telemachus to take him to Ithaca, for he had slain a man 
in his own country, who had killed one of his brothers, and 
now the brothers and cousins of that man were pursuing 
him to take his life. Telemachus made him \velcome, and 
so sailed north to Ithaca, wondering whether he should be 
able to slip past the wooers, who were lying in wait to kill 
him. Happily the ship of Telemachus passed them unseen 
in the night, and arrived at Ithaca. He sent his cre\v to the 
to\vn, and was just starting to walk across the island to the 
swineherd's house, when the second-sighted man asked 
what he should do. Telemachus told Piraeus, one of his 
friends, to take the man home and be kind to him, which he 


gladly promised to do, and then hE; set off to seek the swine- 
The swineherd, with Ulysses, had just lit a fire to cook 
breakfast, \vhen they saw the farm dogs frolicking round a 
young man who was walking towards the house. The dogs 
welcomed him, for he was no stranger, but Telemachus. 
Up leaped the swineherd in delight, and the bowl in which 
he was mixing wine and water fell from his hands. He had 
been unhappy for fear the wooers who lay in \vait for 
Telemachus should kill him, and he ran and embraced the 
young man as gladly as a father welcomes a son who has 
long been in a far country. Telemachus, too, was anxious 
to hear \vhether his mother had married one of the wooers, 
and glad to know that she still bore her troubles patiently. 
When Telemachus stepped into the s\vineherd's house 
Ulysses arose from his seat, but Telemachus bade the old 
beggar man sit down again, and a pile of brushwood with 
a fleece thrown over it was brought for himself. They 
breakfasted on what was ready, cold pork, wheaten bread, 
and wine in cups of ivy wood, and Eumaeus told Telemachus 
tha t the old beggar gave himself out as a \vanderer from 
Crete. Telemachus answered that he could not take 
strangers into his mother's house, for he was unable to pro- 
tect them against the violence of the wooers, but he would 
give the wanderer clothes and shoes and a s\vord, and he 
might stay at the farm. He sent the swineherd to tell his 
mother, Penelope, that he had returned in safety, and 
Eumaeus started on his journey to the town. 
At this moment the farm dogs, which had been taking their 
share of the breakfast, began to whine, and bristle up, and 
slunk with their tails between their legs to the inmost corner 
of the room. Telemachus could not think why they wer

152 "rAI

afraid, or of what, but Ulysses saw the Goddess Athênê, who 
appeared to him alone, and the dogs knew that something 
strange and terrible was coming to the door. Ulysses 
went out, and Athênê bade him tell Telemachus who he 
really was, now that they were alone, and she touched 
Ulysses with her golden wand, and made him appear like 
himself, and his clothes like a king's raiment. 
Telemachus, \vho neither saw nor heard Athênê, wondered 
greatly, and thought the beggar man must be some God, 
wandering in disguise. But Ulysses said, 'No God am I, 
but thine own father,' and they embraced each other and 
wept for joy. 
At last Ulysses told Telemachus how he had come home 
in a ship of the Phaeacians, and how his treasure was 
hidden in the cave of the Naiads, and asked him how many 
the wooers were, and how they might drive them from the 
house. Telemachus replied that the wooers were one hundred 
and eight, and that Medon, a servant of his own, took part 
with them; there was also the minstrel of the house, whom 
they compelled to sing at their feasts. They were all 
strong young men, each with his sword at his side, 
but they had with them no shields, hehnets, and breast- 
plates. Ulysses said that, with the help of the Goddess, 
he hoped to get the better of them, many as they were. 
Telemachus must go to the house, and Ulysses would come 
next day, in the disguise of an old beggar. However 
ill the wooers might use him, Telemachus must take no 
notice, beyond saying that they ought to behave better. 
Ulysses, when he saw a good chance, would give Telemachus 
a sign to take away the shields, helmets, and weapons 
that hung on the walls of the great hall, and to hide 
them in a secret place. If the wooers missed them, he must 

'TIlE "\V A

say-first, that the smoke of the fire was spoiling them; and, 
again, that they were better out of the reach of the wooers, 
in case they quarrelled over their wine. Telemachus must 
keep two swords, two spears, and two shields for himself 
and Ulysses to use, if they saw a chance, and he must 
let neither man nor woman know that the old beggar man 
was his father. 
While they were talking, one of the crew of Telemachus 
and the swineherd went to Penelope and told her how her 
son had landed. On hearing this the wooers held a council 
as to how they should behave to him: Antinous was for 
killing him, but Amphinomus and Eurymachus were for 
waiting, and seeing what would happen. Before Eumaeus 
came back from his errand to Penelope, Athene changed 
Ulysses into the dirty old beggar again. 



Next morning Telemachus went home, and comforted 
his mother, and told her how he had been with Nestor 
and lVlenelaus, and seen her cousin, Helen of the fair hands, 
but this did not seem to interest Penelope, who thought 
that her beautiful cousin ,vas the cause of all her misfortunes. 
Then Theoclymenus, the second-sighted man whom Tele- 
machus brought from Pylas, prophesied to Penelope that 
Ulysses was now in Ithaca, taking thought how he might 
kill the wooers, who were then practising spear-throwing at 
a nlark, while some of them were killing swine and a cow 
for breakfast. 

154 TAI

Meanwhile Ulysses, in disguise, and the swineherd were 
coming near the town, and there they met the goatherd, 
l\felanthius, who was a friend of the wooers, and an insolent 
and violent slave. He insulted the old beggar, and advised 
him not to come near the house of Ulysses, and kicked him 
off the road. Then Ulysses was tempted to slay him with 
his hands, but he con trolled himself lest he should be dis- 
covered, and he and Eumaeus walked slowly to the palace. 
As they lingered outside the court, lo! a hound raised 
up his head and pricked his ears, even where he lay: Argos, 
the hound of Ulysses, of the hardy heart, which of old 
himself had bred. Now in time past the young men used 
to lead the hound against wild goats and deer and hares; 
but, as then, he lay despised (his master being afar) in the 
deep dung of mules and kine, whereof an ample bed was 
spread before the doors till the slaves of Ulysses should 
carry it away to dung therewith his wide demesne. There 
lay the dog Argos, full of vermin. Yet even now, when he 
was aware of Ulysses standing by, he wagged his tail and 
dropped both his ears, but nearer to his master he had 
not now the strength to draw. But Ulysses looked aside 
and wiped away a tear that he easily hid from Eumaeus, 
and straightway he asked him, saying: 
'Eumaeus, verily this is a great marvel: this hound 
lying here in the dung. Truly he is goodly of growth, 
but I know not certainly if he have speed with this beauty, 
or if he be comely only, like men's trencher dogs that their 
lords keep for the pleasure of the eye.' 
Then answered the swineherd Eumaeus: 'In very 
truth this is the dog of a man that has died in a far 
land. If he were what once he was in limb and in the 
feats of the chase, when Ulysses left him to go to Troy, 


soon wouldst thou marvel at the sight of his swiftness and 
his strength. There was no beast that could flee from him 
in the deep places of the wood when he was in pursuit; 
for even on a track he was the keenest hound. But now he 
is holden in an evil case, and his lord hath perished far 
from his own country, and the careless women take no 
charge of him.' 
Therewith he passed within the fair-lying house, and 
went straight to the hall, to the company of the proud 
wooers. But upon Argos came death even in the hour that 
he beheld Ulysses again, in the twentieth year. 
Thus the good dog knew Ulysses, though Penelope 
did not know him when she saw him, and tears came into 
Ulysses' eyes as he stood above the body of the hound 
that loved him well. Eumaeus went into the house, but 
Ulysses sat down where it was the custom for beggars 
to sit, on the wooden threshold outside the door of the 
hall. Telemachus saw him, from his high seat under the 
pillars on each side of the fire, in the middle of the room, 
and bade Eumaeus carry a loaf and a piece of pork to the 
beggar, who laid them in his wallet between his feet, and ate. 
Then he thought he would try if there were one courteous 
man among the wooers, and he entered the hall and began 
to beg among them. Some gave him crusts and bones, 
but Antinous caught up a footstool and struck him hard 
on the shoulder. ' :rvfay death come upon Antinous before 
his .wedding day! ' said Ulysses, and even the other wooers 
rebuked him for striking a beggar. 
Penelope heard of this, and told Eumaeus to bring the 
beggar to her; she thought he might have news of her 
husband. But Ulysses made Eumaeus say that he had 
been struck once in the hall, and would not come t-o her 

I56 'l

till after sunset, when the wooers left the hOl"!.se. Then 
Eumaeus went to his own farmhouse, after telling Tele- 
machus that he would come next day, driving swine for 
the wooers to eat. 
Ulysses was the new beggar in Ithaca: he soon found 
that he had a rival, an old familiar beggar, named Irus. 
This man came up to the palace, and was angry when he 
saw a newcomer sitting in the doorway, 'Get up,' he said, 
'I ought to drag you away by the foot: begone before 
we quarrel!' 'There is room enough for both of us,' 
said Ulysses, 'do not anger me.' lrus challenged him to 
fight, and the wooers thought this good sport, and they 
made a ring, and promised that the winner should be beggar- 
in-chief, and have the post to himself. Ulysses asked 
the wooers to give him fair play, and not to interfere, and 
then he stripped his shoulders, and kilted up his rags, 
showing strong arms and legs. As for Irus he began to 
tremble, but Antinous forced him to fight, and the two 
put up their hands. Irus struck at the shoulder of Ulysses, 
who hit him \vith his right fist beneath the ear, and he fell, 
the blood gushing from his mouth, and his heels drumming 
in the ground, and VI ysses dragged him from the door- 
way and propped him against the \vall of the court, while 
the wooers laughed. Then Ulysses spoke gravely to 
Amphinomus, telling him that it would be wise in him to go 
home, for that if Ulysses came back it might not be so easy 
to escape his ha1].ds. 
After sunset Ulysses spoke so fiercely to the maidens of 
Penelope, who insulted him, that they ran to their own 
rooms, but Eurymachus threw a footstool at him. He 
slipped out of the way, and the stool hit the cupbearer and 
knocked him down, and all was disorder in the hall. The 

' ULYSSES 157 

wooers themselves were weary of the noise and disorder, 
and went home to the houses in the town where they slept. 
Then Telemachus and Ulysses, being left alone, hid the 
shields and helmets and spears that hung on the walls of 
the hall in an armoury within the house, anà when this 
was done Telemachus went to sleep in his own chamber, 
in the courtyard, and Ulysses waited till Penelope should 
come in to the hall. 
Ulysses sat in the dusky hall, where the wood in the 
braziers that gave light had burned low, and waited to see 
the face of his wife, for whom he had left beautiful Calypso. 
The maidens of Penelope came trooping, laughing, and 
cleared away the food and the cups, and put faggots in 
the braziers. They were all giddy girls, in love with the 
handsome wooers, and one of them, Melantho, bade Ulysses 
go away, and sleep at the blacksmith's forge, lest he should 
be beaten with a torch. Penelope heard Melantho, whom 
she had herself brought up, and she rebuked her, and 
ordered a chair to be brought for Ulysses. When he was 
seated, she asked him who he was, and he praised her 
beauty, for she was still very fair, but did not answer her 
question. She insisted that he should tell her who he 
was, and he said that he was a Cretan prince, the younger 
brother of Idomeneus, and that he did not go to fight in 
Troyland. In Crete he stayed, and met Ulysses, who 
stopped there on his way to Troy, and he entertained 
Ulysses for a fortnight. Penelope wept when she heard 
that the stranger had seen her husband, but, as false stories 
were often told to her by strangers who came to Ithaca, 
she asked how Ulysses was dressed, and what manner of 
men were with him. 
The beggar said that Ulysses wore a double mantle of 


purple, clasped with a gold brooch fastened by two safety 
pins (for these were used at that time), and on the face of 
the brooch was a figure of a hound holding a struggling 
fawn in his forepaws. (Many such brooches have been 
found in the graves in Greece). Beneath his mantle Ulysses 
wore a shining smock, smooth and glittering like the skin 
of an onion. Probably it was made of silk: women greatly 
admired it. With him was a squire named Eurybates, a 
brown, round-shouldered man. 
On hearing all this Penelope wept again and said that 
she herself had given Ulysses the brooch and the garments. 
She now knew that the beggar had really met Ulyssps, and 
he went on to tell her that, in his wanderings, he had heard 
how Ulysses was still alive, though he had lost all his com- 
pany, and that he had gone to Dodona in the west of 
Greece to ask for advice from the oak tree of Zeus, the 
whispering oak tree, as to how he should come home, openly 
or secretly. Certainly, he said, Ulysses would return that 
Penelope was still unable to believe in such good news, 
but she bade Eurycleia, the old nurse, wash the feet of the 
beggar in warm water, so a foot bath was brought. Ulysses 
turned his face away from the firelight, for the nurse said 
that he was very like her master. As she washed his legs 
she noticed the long scar of the wound made by the boar, 
when he hunted with his cousins, long ago, before he was 
married. The nurse knew him now, and spoke to him in 
a whisper, calling him by his name. But he caught her 
throat with his hand, and asked why she would cause his 
death, for the wooers would slay him if they knew who 
he was. Eurycleia called him her child, and promised 
that she would be silent, and then she ,vent to fetch more hot 


water, for she had let his foot fall into the bath and upset 
it when she found the scar. 
When she had washed him, Penelope told the beggar 
that she could no longer refuse to marry one of the wooers. 
Ulysses had left a great bow in the house, the old bow of 
King Eurytus, that few could bend, and he had left twelve 
iron axes, made with a round opening in the blade of each. 
Axes of this shape have been found at Lacedaemon, where 
Helen lived, so we know what the axes of Ulysses were like. 
When he was at home he used to set twelve of them in a 
straight line, and shoot an arrow through the t,velve holes 
in the blades. Penelope therefore intended, next day, 
to bring the bow arid the axes to the wooers, and to marry 
anyone of them who could string the bow, and shoot an 
arro,v through the t\velve axes. 
'I think,' said the beggar, 'that Ulysses will be here 
before any of the wooers have bent his bow.' Then 
Penelope went to her upper chamber, and Ulysses slept in 
an outer gallery of the house on piled-up sheep skins. 
There Ulysses lay, thinking how he might destroy all 
the wooers, and the Goddess Athênê came and comforted 
him, and, in the morning, he rose and made his prayer 
to Zeus, asking for signs of his favour. There came, first 
a peal of thunder, and then the voice of a woman, weak and 
old, \vho was grinding corn to make bread for the wooers. 
All the other women of the mill had done their work and 
were asleep, but she was feeble and the round upper stone 
of the quern, that she rolled on the corn above the under 
stone, was too heavy for her. 
She prayed, and said, 'Father Zeus, I<:ing of Gods and 
men, loudly hast thou thundered. Grant to me my prayer, 
unhappy as I am. l\Iay this be the last day of the feasting 

160 'r.A.LE

of the wooers in the hall of Ulysses: they have loosened 
my knees with cruel labour in grinding barley for them: may 
they now sup their last!' Hearing this prayer Ulysses 
was glad, for he thought it a lucky sign. Soon the servants 
were at work, and Eumaeus came with swine, and was as 
courteous to the beggar as lVlelanthius, who brought some 
goats, was insolent. The cowherd, called Philoetius, 
also arrived; he hated the wooers, and spoke friendly to the 
beggar. Last appeared the wooers, and went in to their 
meal, while Telemachus bade the beggar sit on a seat just 
within the hall, and told the servants to give him as good 
a share of the food as any of them received. One wooer, 
C tesippus, said: 'His fair share this beggar man has had, 
as is right, but I will give him a present over and above it ! ' 
Then he picked up the foot of an ox, and threw it with all 
his might at Ulysses, who merely moved aside, and the ox 
foot struck the wall. 
Telemachus rebuked him, and the wooers began to 
laugh wildly and to weep, they knew not why, but Theo- 
clymenus, the second-sighted man, knew that they were all 
fey men, that is, doomed to die, for such men are gay without 
reason. 'Unhappy that you are,' cried Theoclymenus, 
'what is coming upon you? I see shrouds covering you 
about your knees and about your faces, and tears are on 
your cheeks, and the walls and the pillars of the roof are 
dripping blood, and in the porch and the court are your 
fetches, shadows of yourselves, hurrying hellward, and the 
sun is darkened.' 
On this all the wooers laughed, and advised him to go 
out of doors, where he would see that the sun was shining. 
, My eyes and ears serve me well,' said the second-sighted 
man, 'but out I will go, seeking no more of your company, 


for death is coming on every man of you.' Then he arose 
and went to the house of Piraeus, the friend of Telemachus. 
The wooers laughed all the louder, as fey men do, and 
told Telemachus that he was unlucky in his guests: one 
a beggar, the other a madman. But Telemachus kept 
watching his father while the wooers were cooking a meal 
that they did not live to enjoy. 
Through the crowd of them came Penelope, holding in 
her hand the great bow of Eurytus, and a quiver full of 
arrows, while her maidens followed, carrying the chest 
in which lay the twelve iron axes. She stood up, stately 
and scornful, among the wooers, and told them that, as 
marry she must, she would take the man who could string 
the bow and shoot the arrow through the axes. Telemachus 
said that he would make the first trial, and that, if he suc- 
ceeded, he would not allow any man of the wooers to take 
his mother away with him from her own house. Then 
thrice he tried to string the bow, and the fourth time he 
would have strung it, but Ulysses made a sign to him, 
and he put it down. 'I am too weak,' he said, 'let a 
stronger man achieve this adventure.' So they tried each 
in turn, beginning with the man who sat next the great 
mixing-bowl of wine, and so each rising in his turn. 
First their prophet tried, Leiodes the Seer, who sat 
next the bowl, but his white hands were too weak, and he 
prophesied, saying that the bow would be the death of all 
of them. Then Antinous bade the goatherd light a fire, 
and bring grease to heat the bow, and make it more supple. 
They warmed and greased the bow, and one after another 
tried to bend it. Eumaeus and the cowherd went out 
into the court, and Ulysses followed them. 'Whose side 
would you two take,' he asked, 'if Ulysses came home? 



 I \I'II/,, 

: ". 
 - ,,--'.;,,;.,.;.. .----'>
 . ' 
:.' I' I II!
 . 1 ;;' 1..


.>- --:oò - 
.-' .' 
b," 'I 'r e l
 ' I I

.;/.fT- /' ,,' ,,,

I' , 1 l . 

 --;.- ,
. 'i,-:::':;!"':.. #C' <1" 
..'II,. - 
J.t - 
 .'1 \ ', I ::=-=r. 
l"..,..' " Jir --!
- -
- -:'" . . "'. . 

'11 111,
' - 
 ,r...-.....q -
,i,:, .:

.- ,'.; {
_ : 


.. !" \ ', \ ' )1 1 .' '., . 
 \ ' 

 -=- -==-:, - ---
- < 
r \ ' \ ',. . \', . J . .,
I : ' II '"
 f l fJ" 
. '\ ," . .\;;;:-
...: i - ....--

. i'J,i

t , ":t br,' ;/ ;' .::.'-.:: . ':' -JP - - :,
 ,,,.::::- --':iì'
 .' r. I'
"" .

'?f4';;':: -' _ -
./' . 
 J ,\ Itf.I 
 <: '."

_ - . \',1 .'7 /.,r.



II I.',,' 
'/ ."=' Y .' ) 

 ,- :::=.

 ""'_....... , 
. ,'. '// l . "'
 ...... I' -
-, '., -- 
 æ . 
- ;- 
Þ,"-:' I ( '." A << ':0; :

-'= ,:', · . .
 " P-
. . _- I 
, \ II" I/
:' . t f . . 
! '; .
. 1 

 I I ..' ,tÁ , 
 I). .Il " '- ß. 
_.. .'r" j 11\ .,J '/ / /E ' 
I :I 
 ' . lÚ/' I 'I. .'!II/". ..."" 1\:: . _ .'
'""' . -';'
 - . ' . '. 'f.11 I'
 ì-- r. .. 
: Jits. fr ,1' . 
 - i, 
) I 
. I 1iI"
 i#-'- .
; If , ""1' . \' ./} 
I ' Y ,. ,

. .
 '/' .' -:: tt) .:;.t".; ".
. J;

,., - ,I ,I. 
I: ' I) I l 
}-r_ .r?! - 


 ,. Y:llj'-A', 
I' II I (Irt \ 
'(/.. " '. í

fi: .. r ,_ -: ,I: 
1t- " \'1: I 
11./\ II i
 JI !:. 
 I J , II 
 ' J 
 Ô.tl> c
 ' .


 \' ,'" / '\J d !


 . :' 

 '01 I I 1 / 1/ , 1 .1' 
 .\) :::.. ' , t. !l1/!! '
 . \ " 

-< -SIr 

' : I il ! I .'
 I '" l' -f' .,: ,";'1>y,.t f 1/ 'í I.' 
 . :.,
"""" '
'"-' . -'I''' 
I II:' ',', I, II, J. '
' / ': ( I ,-:'[\': '/,' 

: it" ' 
 1'- I I' · .


 '-!- il l:' 
' I \ , 
 'I.' '.1; ,"'
.. ,"......., .,. (
)1'i' c- '!J .;,
}. t:.... ..t'. , 

- ...

. '.. . 1./:, J> 
' 1Æ
li,',. .,. \
', i..
'i. , ! 1})f 
 \7' '1"
 l ii

, i,
 I, <
 I f ' ,:,PI,' v' ).' . ( :r ;;. 
 Æjl I 4 . !t!

 H \



r II 'l'! /1 ) / Q!lJ ; 1/1 }i
 ,: ';': t Qj 
 \ ,. '
.. j 4þ;À\

 .. I ' 

j' tlllJr ,1 W4'i II '- \ v
, 'ft' 
' ..... 
i lil "
 I,"!, /' 'j4 ."
 ': . ' '..,:. .;,1.." J
l " ,r '.
t ]' ;. 'wr 
 ,1J/ ./ I Jf t r """ j ',. "I' ... flJlI(< J' -}" 'I 
 ' HI

: :I,}"./;t
r l : 


 fit ' 


;..4.,' 11\ 
 I ./j l' fl ",. C" 
 .' L ',:! 
. 'I J 
/.ti':.;. .J,

,., t

'. /i/Â' 
" '\ 
 '" " / ) "'
'/ '-.. 
" ,/1'1. " . 

 ' . \.
h. , . f4.
\ . s-; 
.. '. " r!III \
 u, , 
 \ ..!, C;;' ì // I //" . 
/:: ';""-' \ 
." '. '-, I'., :'
'... " I Let:. - /rII 
I k -"-_.-' :::. -, - - -.. .,., 6t.s..1.. ':' .-=-=-'
, I 'I'"" "'- ;./ _____ 
"" ./ - ... 
'1. c,.;:::- . ;-, 
-; ""- .. .. 
 ?'_ ____..' 

 -' ...""" p- 

... -r.: . 

!:. t1




wooers made such an uproar that he laid it down, in fear for 
his life. But Telemachus threatened to punish him if he did 
not obey his master, .so he placed the bow in the hands of 
Ulysses, and then went and told Eurycleia to lock the women 
servants up in their own separate hall. Philoetius slipped 
into the courtyard, and made the gates fast with a strong 
rope, and then came back, and watched Ulysses, who was 
turning the bow this way and that, to see if the horns were 
still sound, for horns were then used in bow making. The 
wooers were mocking him, but suddenly he bent and strung 
the great bow as easily as a harper fastens a new string to 
his harp. He tried the string, and it twanged like the note 
of a swallow. He took up an arrow that lay on the table 
(the others were in the quiver beside him), he fitted it to the 
string, and from the chair where he sat he shot it through 
all the twelve axe heads. 'Your guest has done you no 
dishonour, Telemachus,' he said, 'but surely it is time to 
eat,' and he nodded. Telemachus dre\v his sword, took 
a spear in his left hand, and stood up beside Ulysses. 



Ulysses let all his rags fall down, and with one leap he 
reached the high threshold, the door being behind him,. 
and he dropped the arrows from the quiver at his feet. 
, Now,' he said, 'I will strike another mark that no man 
yet has stricken!' He aimed the arrow at Antinous, who 
was drinking out of a golden cup. The arrow passed 
clean through the throat of Antinous; he fell, the cup 
rang on the ground, and the wooers leaped up, looking 


round the walls for shields and spears, but the walls were 
'Thou shalt die, and vultures shall devour thee,' they 
shouted, thinking the beggar had let the arrow fly by 
'Dogs!' he answered, 'ye said that never should I 
come home from Troy; ye wasted my goods, and insulted 
my wife, and had no fear of the Gods, but now the day 
of death has come upon you! Fight or flee, if you may, 
but some shall not escape! ' 
'Draw your blades!' cried Eurymachus to the others; 
, draw your blades, and hold up the tables as shields against 
this man's arrows. Have at him, and drive him from 
the doorway.' He drew his own sword, and leaped on 
Ulysses with a cry, but the swift arrow pierced his breast, 
and he fell and died. Then Amphinomus rushed towards 
Ulysses, but Telemachus sent his spear from behind through 
his shoulders. He could not draw forth the spear, but he 
ran to his father, and said, 'Let me bring shields, spears, 
and helmets from the inner chamber, for us, and for the 
swineherd and cowherd.' 'Go!' said Ulysses, and Tele- 
machus ran through a narrow doorway, down a gallery to 
the secret chamber, and brought four shields, four helmets, 
and eight spears, and the men armed themselves, while 
Ulysses kept shooting down the wooers. \Vhen his arrows 
were spent he armed himself, protected by the other three. 
But the goatherd, Melanthius, knew a way of reaching the 
armoury, and he climbed up, and brought twelve helmets, 
spears, and shields to the wooers. 
Ulysses thought that one of the women was showering 
down the weapons into the hall, but the swineherd _ 
cowherd went to the armoury, through the doorway, as 


Telemachus had gone, and there they caught Melanthius, and 
bound him like a bundle, with a rope, and, throwing the 
rope over a rafter, dragged him up, and fastened him there, 
and left him swinging. Then they ran back to Ulysses, 
four men keeping the doorway against all the wooers that 
were not yet slain. But the Goddess Athênê appeared 
to Ulysses, in the form of Mentor, and gave him courage. 
He needed it, for the wooers, having spears, threw them in 
volleys, six at a time, at the four. They missed, but the 
spears of the four slew each his man. Again the wooers 
threw, and dealt two or three slight wounds, but the spears 
of the four were winged with death. They charged, strik- 
ing with spear and sword, into the cro\vd, who lost heart, 
and flew here and there, crying for mercy and falling 
at every blow. Ulysses slew the prophet, Leiodes, but 
Phemius, the minstrel, he spared, for he had done no wrong, 
and Medon, a slave, crept out from beneath an ox hide, where 
he had been lying, and asked Telemachus to pity him, 
and Ulysses sent him and the minstrel into the courtyard, 
where they sat trembling. All the rest of the wooers lay 
dead in heaps, like heaps of fish on the sea shore, when 
they have been netted, and drawn to land. 
Then Ulysses sent Telemachus to bring Eurycleia, who, 
when she came and saw the wooers dead, raised a scream 
of joy, but Ulysses said' it is an unholy thing to boast over' He bade Telemachus and the servants carry 
the corpses into the courtyard, and he made the women 
wash and clean the hall, and the seats, and tables, and the 
pillars. When all was clean, they took Melanthius and 
slew him, and then they washed themselves, and the maidens 
who were faithful to Penelope came out of their rooms, 
with torches in their hands, for it was now night, and they 


kissed Ulysses with tears of joy. These were not young 
women, for Ulysses remembered all of them. 
Meanwhile old Eurycleia ran to tell Penelope all the 
good news: up the stairs to her chamber she ran, tripping, 
and falling, and rising, and laughing for joy. In she came 
and awakened Penelope, saying: 
, Come and see what you have long desired: Ulysses in 
his own house, and all the wicked wooers slain by the 
sword.' , Surely you are mad, dear nurse,' said Penelope, 
, to waken me with such a wild story. N ever have I slept 
so sound since Ulysses went to that ill Ilios, never to be 
named. Angry would I have been \vith any of the girls 
that wakened me \vith such a silly story; but you are old: 
go back to the women's working room.' The good nurse 
answered: 'Indeed, I tell you no silly tale. Indeed he is 
in the hall; he is that poor guest whom all men struck and 
insulted, but Telemachus knew his father.' 
Then Penelope leaped up gladly, and kissed the nurse, 
but yet she was not sure that her husband had come, she 
feared that it might be some God disguised as a man, or 
some evil man pretending to be Ulysses. ' Surely Ulysses 
has met his death far away,' she said, and though Eurycleia 
vowed that she herself had seen the scar dealt by the boar, 
long ago, she would not be convinced. 'N one the less,' 
she said, 'let us go and see my son, and the wooers lying 
dead, and the man who slew them.' So they went down 
the stairs and along a gallery on the ground floor that led 
into the courtyard, and so entered the door of the hall, and 
crossed the high stone threshold on which Ulysses stood 
when he shot down Antinous. Penelope went up to the 
hearth and sat opposite Ulysses, who was leaning against 
one of the four tall pillars that supported the roof; there 

'l'HE W A

she sat and gazed at him, still wearing his rags, and still 
not cleansed from the blood of battle. She did not know 
him, and was silent, though Telemachus called her hard 
of belief and cold of heart. 
, My child,' she said, , I am bewildered, and can hardly 
speak, but if this man is Ulysses, he knows things unknown 
to any except him and me.' Then Ulysses bade T ele- 
machus go to the baths and wash, and put on fresh garments, 
and bade the maidens bring the minstrel to play music, 
while they danced in the hall. In the town the friends 
and kinsfolk of the wooers did not know that they were 
dead, and when they heard the music they would not 
guess that anything strange had happened. It was neces- 
sary that nobody should know, for, if the kinsfolk of the 
dead men learned the truth, they would seek to take revenge, 
and might burn down the house. Indeed, Ulysses was 
still in great danger, for the law \vas that the brothers and 
cousins of slain men must slay their slayers, and the dead 
were many, and had many clansmen. 
Now Eurynome bathed Ulysses himself, and anointed 
him with oil, and clad him in new raiment, so that he looked 
like himself again, full of strength and beauty. He sat 
down on his own high seat beside the fire, and said: 'Lady, 
you are the fairest and most cruel Queen alive. No other 
woman would harden her heart against her husband, come 
home through many dangers aftar so many years. 'Nurse,' 
he cried to Eurycleia, 'strew me a bed to lie alone, for her 
heart is hard as iron.' 
Now Penelope put him to a trial. 'Eurycleia,' she 
said, 'strew a bed for him outside the bridal chamber that 
he built for himself, and bring the good bedstead out of 
that room for him.' 


'Ho\v can any man bring out that bedstead?' said 
Ulysses, 'did I not make it with my own hands, with a 
standing tree for the bedpost? N a man could move that 
bed unless he first cut down the tree trunk.' 
Then at last Penelope 
an to Ulysses and threw her arms 
round his neck, kissing him, and said: 'Do not be angry, 
for always I have feared that some strange man of cunning 
would come and deceive me, pretending to be my lord. 
But now you have told me the secret of the bed, \vhich no 
mortal has ever seen or knows but you and I, and my 
maiden whom I brought from my own home, and who 
kept the doors of our chamber.' Then they embraced, and 
it seemed as if her white arms would never quite leave their 
hold on his neck. 
Ulysses told her many things, all the story of his wander- 
ings, and ho\v he must \vander again, on land, not on the 
sea, till he came to the country of men who had never seen 
salt. 'The Gods will defend you and bring you home 
to your rest in the end,' said Penelope, and then they went 
to their own chamber, and Eurynome went before them 
with lighted torches in her hands, for the Gods had brought 
them to the haven where they would be. 



With the cOIning of the golden dawn Ulysses awoke, for 
he had still much to do. He and Telemachus and the 
cowherd and Eumaeus put on full armour, and took swords 
and spears, and walked to the farm where old Laertes, the 
father of Ulysses, lived among his servants and worked in 




his garden. Ulysses sent the others into the farmhouse to 
bid the old housekeeper get breakfast ready, and he went 
alone to the vines, being sure that his father was at work 
among them. 
There the old man was, in his rough gardening clothes, 
with leather gloves on, and patched leather leggings, digging 
hard. His servants had gone to gather loose stones to make 
a rough stone dyke, and he was all alone. He never looked 
up till Ulysses went to him, and asked him whose slave he 
was, and who owned the garden. He said that he was a 
stranger in Ithaca, but that he had once met the king of 
the island, who declared that one Laertes was his father. 
Laertes was amazed at seeing a warrior all in mail come 
into his garden, but said that he was the father of Ulysses, 
who had long been unheard of and unseen. 'And who are 
you?' he asked. ' Where is your own country?' Ulysses 
said that he came from Sicily, and that he had met Ulysses 
five years ago, and hoped that by this time he had come 
Then the old man sat down and wept, and cast dust on 
his head, for Ulysses had not arrived from Sicily in five long 
years; certainly he must be dead. Ulysses could not bear 
to see his father weep, and told him that he was himself, 
come home at last, and that he had killed all the wooers. 
But Laertes asked him to prove that he really was 
Ulysses, so he showed the scar on his leg, and, looking 
round the garden, he said: ' Come, I will show you the very 
trees that you gave me when I was a little boy running 
about after you, and asking you for one thing or another, 
as children do. These thirteen pear trees are illY very 
own ; you gave them to me, and mine are these fifty rows 
of vines, and these forty fig trees.' 


Then Laertes was fainting for joy, but Ulysses caught 
him in his arms and comforted him. But, when he came 
to himself, he sighed, and said: 'How shall we meet the 
feud of all the kin of the slain men in Ithaca and the other 
islands ?' 'Be of good courage, father,' said Ulysses. 
, And now let us go to the farmhouse and breakfast with 
T elemach us.' 
So Laertes first went to the baths, and then put on fresh 
raiment, and Ulysses wondered to see him look so straight 
and strong. ' Would I were as strong as when I took the 
castle of Nericus, long ago,' said the old man, 'and would 
that I had been in the fight against the wooers!' Then 
all the old man's servants came in, overjoyed at the return 
of Ulysses, and they breakfasted merrily together. 
By this time all the people in the town knew that the 
wooers had been slain, and they crowded to the house of 
Ulysses in great sorrow, and gathered their dead and buried 
them, and then met in the market place. The father of 
Antinous, Eupeithes, spoke, and said that they would all 
be dishonoured if they did not slay Ulysses before he could 
escape to Nestor's house in Pylos. It was in vain that 
an old prophet told them that the young men had deserved 
their death. The most of the men ran home and put on 
armour, and Eupeithes led them towards the farm of Laertes, 
all in shining mail. But the Gods in heaven had a care for 
Ulysses, and sent Athênê to make peace between him and 
his subjects. 
She did not come too soon, for the avengers were drawing 
near the farmhouse, which had a garrison of only twelve 
men: Ulysses, Laertes, Telemachus, the swineherd, the cow- 
herd, and servants of Laertes. They all armed themselves, 
and not choosing to defend the house, they went boldly out 


to meet their enemies. They encouraged each other, and 
Laertes prayed to Athênê, and then threw his spear at 
Eupeithes. The spear passed clean through helmet and 
through head, and Eupeithes fell with a crash, and his 
armour rattled as he fell. But now Athênê appeared, and 
cried: 'Hold your hands, ye men of Ithaca, that no more 
blood may be shed, and peace may be made.' The foes 
of Ulysses, hearing the terrible voice of the Goddess, turned 
and fled, and Ulysses uttered his war-cry, and was rush- 
ing among them, when a thunderbolt fell at his feet, and 
Athênê bade him stop, lest he should anger Zeus, the Lord 
of Thunder. Gladly he obeyed, and peace was made with 
oaths and with sacrifice, peace in Ithaca and the islands. 
Here ends the story of Ulysses, Laertes' son, for we do 
not know anything about his adventures when he went 
to seek a land of men who never heard of the sea, nor eat 
meat savoured with salt. 




WHILE Troy still stood fast, and before King Priam was 
born, there was a king called Athamas, who reigned in a 
country beside the Grecian sea. Athamas was a young 
man, and was unmarried; because none of the princesses 
who then lived seemed to him beautiful enough to be his 
wife. One day he left his palace and climbed high up into 
a mountain, following the course of a little river. He came 
to a place where a great black rock stood on one side of the 
river, jutting into the stream. Round the rock the water 
flowed deep and dark. Yet, through the noise of the 
river, the king thought he heard laughter and voices like the 
voices of girls. So he climbed very quietly up the back of 
the rock, and, looking over the edge, there he saw three 
beautiful maidens bathing in a pool, and splashing each 
other with the water. Their long yellow hair covered them 
like cloaks and floated behind them on the pool. One of 
them was even more beautiful than the others, and as 
soon as he saw her the king fell in love with her, and said to 
himself, , This is the wife for me.' 
As he thought this, his arm touched a stone, which 
slipped from the top of the rock where he lay, and went 



leaping, faster and faster as it fell, till it dropped with a 
splash in to the pool below. Then the three maidens heard 
it, and were frightened, thinking some one was near. So 
they rushed out of the pool to the grassy bank where their 
clothes lay, lovely soft clothes, white and gray, and rosy- 
coloured, all shining with pearl drops, and diamonds like 
In a moment they had dressed, and then it was as if they 
had wings, for they rose gently from the ground, and 
floated softly up and up the \vindings of the brook. Here 
and there among the green tops of the mountain-ash trees 
the king could just see the white robes shining and dis- 
appearing, and shining again, till they rose far off like a mist, 
and so up and up into the sky, and at last he only followed 
them with his eyes, as they floated like clouds among the 
other clouds across the blue. All day he watched them, 
and at sunset he saw them sink, golden and rose-coloured 
and purple, and go down into the dark \vith the setting 
The king went home to his palace, but he was very 
unhappy, and nothing gave him any pleasure. All day he 
roamed about among the hills, and looked for the beautiful 
girls, but he never found them, and all night he dreamed 
about them, till he grew thin and pale and was like to die. 
Now, the way with sick men then was that they made 
a pilgrimage to the temple of a god, and in the temple they 
offered sacrifices. Then they hoped that the god would 
appear to them in a dream, or send them a true dream 
at least, and tell them how they might be made well again. 
So the king drove in his chariot a long way, to the town 
where this temple was. When he reached it, he found it 
a strange place. The priests were dressed in dogs' skins, 


with the heads of the dogs drawn down over their faces, and 
there were live dogs running all about the shrines, for they 
were the favourite beasts of the god, whose name was 
Asclepius. There was an image of him, with a dog crouched 
at his feet, and in his hand he held a serpent, and fed it from 
a bowl. 
The king sacrificed before the god, and when night fell 
he was taken into the temple, and there were many beds 
strewn on the floor and many people lying on them, both 
rich and poor, hoping that the god would appear to them 
in a dream, and tell them how they might be healed. There 
the king lay, like the rest, and for long he could not close his 
eyes. At length he slept, and he dreamed a dream. But it 
was not the god of the temple that he saw in his dream; 
he saw a beautiful lady, she seemed to float above him in a 
chariot drawn by doves, and all about her was a crowd of 
chattering sparrows, and he knew that she was Aphrodite, 
the Queen of Love. She was more beautiful than any woman 
in the world, and she smiled as she looked at the king, and 
said, , Oh, King Athamas, you are sick for love! Now this 
you must do : go home and on the first night of the new 
moon, climb the hills to that place where you saw the 
Three Maidens. In the dawn they will come again to the 
river, and bathe in the pool. Then do you creep out of 
the wood, and steal the clothes of her you love, and she 
will not be able to flyaway with the rest, and she will be 
your wife.' 
Then she smiled again, and her doves bore her away, 
and the king woke, and remembered the dream, and thanked 
the lady in his heart, for he knew that she was a goddess, 
the Queen of Love. 
Then he drove home, and did all that he had been told 





to do. On the first night of the new moon, when she shines 
like a thin gold thread in the sky, he left his palace, and 
climbed up through the hills, and hid in the wood by the 
edge of the pool. When the dawn began to shine silvery, he 
heard voices, and saw the three girls come floating through 
the trees, and alight on the river bank, and undress, and run 
into the water. There they bathed, and splashed each other 
with the water, laughing in their play. Then he stole to 
the grassy bank, and seized the clothes of the most beautiful 
of the three; and they heard him move, and rushed out to 
their clothes. Two of them were clad in a moment, and 
floated away up the glen, but the third crouched sobbing 
and weeping under the thick cloak of her yellow hair. Then 
she prayed the king to give her back her soft gray and rose- 
coloured raiment, but he would not till she had promised to 
be his wife. And he told her how long he had loved her, 
and how the goddess had sent him to be her husband, and 
at last she promised, and took his hand, and in her shining 
robes went down the hill with him to the palace. But he 
felt as if he walked on the air, and she scarcely seemed to 
touch the ground with her feet. She told him that her 
name was Nephele, which meant' a cloud,' in their language, 
and that she was one of the Cloud Fairies who .bring the 
rain, and live on the hilltops, and in the high lakes, and 
water springs, and in the sky. 
So they were married, and lived very happily, and had 
two children, a boy called Phrixus, and a daughter named 
Helle. The 
wo children had a beautiful pet, a Ram with 
a fleece all of gold, which was given them by the young god 
called Hermes, a beautiful god, with wings on his shoon,- 
for these were the very Shoon of Swiftness, that he lent 
afterwards to the boy, Perseus, who slew the Gorgon, and 


took her head. This Ram the children used to play with, 
and they would ride on his back, and roll about with him 
on the flowery meadows. 
They would all have been happy, but for one thing. 
When there were clouds in the sky, and when there was 
rain, then their mother, Nephele, was always with them; 
but when the summer days were hot and cloudless, then 
she went away, they did not know where. The long dry 
days made her grow pale and thin, and, at last, she would 
vanish altogether, and never come again, till the sky grew 
soft and gray with rain. 
King Athamas grew weary of this, for often his wife would 
be long away. Besides there was a very beautiful girl 
called Ino, a dark girl, who had come in a ship of Phænician 
merchantmen, and had stayed in the city of the king when 
her friends sailed from Greece. The king saw her, and 
often she would be at the palace, playing with the children 
when their mother had disappeared with the Clouds, her 
This Ino was a witch, and one day she put a drug into 
the king's wine, and when he had drunk it, he quite forgot 
Nephele, his wife, and fell in love with Ino. At last he 
married her, and they had two children, a boy and a girl, 
and Ino wore the crown, and was queen, and gave orders 
tha t N ephele should never be allowed to enter the palace 
any more. So Phrixus and Helle never saw their mother, 
and they were dressed in ragged old skins of deer, and were 
ill fed, and were set to do hard work in the house, while the 
children of Ino wore gold crowns in their hair, and were 
dressed in fine raiment, and had the best of everything. 
One day when Phrixus and Helle were in the field, 
herding the sheep (for now they were treated like peasant 



children, and had to work for their bread}, they met an 
old woman, all wrinkled, and poorly clothed, and they took 
pity on her, and brought her home with them. Queen luo 
saw her, and as she wanted a nurse for her own children, 
she took her in to be the nurse, and the old woman had 
charge of the children, and lived in the house, and she was 
kind to Phrixus and Helle. But neither of them knew that 
she was their own mother, Nephele, who had disguised herself 
as an old woman and a servant, that she might be with her 
Phrixus and Helle grew strong and tall, and more 
beautiful than Ino's children, so she hated them, and deter- 
mined, at last, to kill them. They all slept at night in one 
room, but Ino's children had gold crowns in their hair, and 
beautiful coverlets on their beds. One night, Phrixus was 
half awake, and he heard the old nurse come, in the dark, 
and put something on his head, and on his sister's, and 
change their coverlets. But he was so drowsy that he 
half thought it was a dream, and he lay and fell asleep. 
In the dead of night, the wicked stepmother, Ino, crept 
into the room with a dagger in her hand, and she stole up 
to the bed of Phrixus, and felt his hair, and his coverlet. 
Then she went softly to the bed of Helle, and felt her coverlet, 
and her hair with the gold crown on it. So she supposed 
these to be her own children, and she kissed them in the 
dark, and went to the beds of the other two children. She 
felt their heads, and they had no crowns on, so she killed 
them, supposing that they were Phrixus and Helle. Then 
she crept downstairs and went back to bed. 
In the morning, there lay the stepmother Ino's children 
cold and dead, and nobody knew who had killed them. 
Only the wicked queen knew, and she, of course, would not 


178 'l'ALES O:F 'l'ROY ..1ND GREECE 

tel1 of herself, but if she hated Phrixus and Helle before, 
now she hated them a hundred times worse than ever. 
But the old nurse was gone; nobody ever saw her there 
ag.ain, and everybody but the queen thought that she had 
killed the two children. Everywhere the king sought for 
her, to burn her alive, but he never found her, for she had 
gone back to her sisters, the Clouds. 
And the Clouds were gone, too! For six long months, 
from winter to harvest time, the rain never fell. The country 
was burned up, the trees grew black and dry, there was 
no water in the streams, the com turned yellow and died 
before it was come into the ear. The people were starving, 
the cattle and sheep were perishing, for there was no grass. 
And every day the sun rose hot and red, and went blazing 
through the sky without a cloud. 
Here the wicked stepmother, Ino, saw her chance. The 
king sent messengers to Pytho, to consult the prophetess, 
and to find out what should be done to bring back the 
clouds and the rain. Then Ino took the messengers, 
before they set out on their journey, and gave them gold, 
and threatened also to kill them, if they did not bring the 
message she wished from the prophetess. N ow this message 
was that Phrixus and Helle must be burned as a sacrifice to 
the gods. 
So the messengers went, and came back dressed in 
mourning. And when they were brought before the king, 
at first they would tell him nothing. But he commanded 
them to spéak, and then they told him, not the real message 
from the prophetess, but what Ino had bidden them to say: 
that Phrixus and Helle must be offered as a sacrifice to 
appease the gods. 
The king was very sorrowful at this news, but he could 



not disobey the gods. So poor Phrixus and Helle were 
wreathed with flowers, as sheep used to be when they were 
led to be sacrificed, and they were taken to the altar, all the 
people following and weeping, and the Golden Ram went 
between them, as they \valked to the temple. Then they 
came within sight of the sea, which lay beneath the cliff 
where the temple stood, all glittering in the sun, and the 
happy white sea-birds flying over it. 
Here the Ram stopped, and suddenly he spoke to 
Phrixus, for the god gave him utterance, and said: 'Lay 
hold of my horn, and get on my back, and let Helle climb 
up behind you, and I will carry you far away.' 
Then Phrixus took hold of the Ram's horn, and Helle 
mounted behind him, and grasped the golden fleece, and 
suddenly the Ram rose in the air, and flew above the people's 
heads, far away over the sea. 
Far away to the eastward he flew, and deep below 
them they saw the sea, and the islands, and the white 
towers and temples, and the fields, and ships. Eastward 
always he went, toward the sun-rising, and Helle grew 
dizzy and weary. At last a deep sleep came over her, and 
she let go her hold of the Fleece, and fell from the Ram's 
back, down and down, into the narrow seas, that run between 
Europe and Asia, and there she was drowned. And that 
strait is called Helle's Ford, or Hellespont, to this day. 
But Phrixus and the Ram flew on up the narrow seas, 
and over the great sea which the Greeks called the Euxine 
and we call the Black Sea, till they reached a country named 
Colchis. I'here the Ram alighted, so tired and weary that 
he died, and Phrixus had his beautiful Golden Fleece stripped 
off, and hung on an oak tree in a dark wood. And there it was 
guarded by a monstrous Dragon, so that nobody dared 
x ? 


to go near it. And Phrixus married the king's daughter, 
and lived long, till he died also, and a king called Æêtes, the 
brother of the enchantress, Circe, ruled that country. Of 
all the things he had, the rarest was the Golden Fleece, and 
it became a proverb that nobody could take that Fleece 
away, nor deceive the Dragon who guarded it. 



Some years after the Golden Ram died in Colchis, far 
across the sea, a certain king reigned in Iolcos in Greece, 
and his name was Pelias. He was not the rightful king, 
for he had turned his stepbrother, King Æson, from the 
throne, and taken it for himself. Now, Æson had a son, 
a boy called Jason, and he sent him far away from Pelias, 
up into the mountains. In these hills there was a great 
cave, and in that cave lived Chiron the Wise, who, the 
story says, was half a horse. He had the head and breast 
of a man, but a horse's body and legs. He was famed for 
knowing more about everything than anyone else in all 
Greece. He knew about the stars, and the plants of earth, 
which were good for medicine and which were poisonous. 
He was the best archer with the bow, and the best player 
of the harp ; he could sing songs and tell stories of old times, 
for he was the last of a people, half horse and half man, 
who had dwelt in ancient days on the hills. Therefore the 
kings in Greece sent their sons to him to be taught shooting, 
singing, and telling the truth, and that was all the teaching 
they had then, except that they learned to hunt, fish, and 
fight, and throw spears, and toss the hammer and the stone. 



There Jason lived with Chiron and the boys in the cave, 
and many of the boys became famous. 
There was Orpheus who played the harp so sweetly that 
wild beasts followed his minstrelsy, and even the trees danced 
after him, and settled where he stopped playing. There was 
Mopsus who could understand what the birds say to each 
other; and there was Butes, the handsomest of men; and 
Tiphys, the best steersman of a ship; and Castor, with his 
brother Polydeuces, the boxer. Heracles, too, the strongest 
man in the whole world, was there; and Lynceus, whom they 
called Keen-eye, because he could see so far, and could see 
even the dead men in their graves under the earth. There 
was Ephemus, so swift and light-footed that he could run 
upon the gray sea and never wet his feet ; and there were 
Calais and Zetes, the two sons of the North Wind, with 
golden wings upon their feet. There also was Peleus, who 
later married Thetis of the silver feet, goddess of the sea 
foam, and was the father of Achilles. Many others were 
there whose names it would take too long to tell. They all 
grew up together in the hills good friends, healthy, and 
brave, and strong. And they all went out to their own 
homes at last; but Jason had no home to go to, for his 
uncle, Pelias, had taken it, and his father was a wanderer. 
So at last he wearied of being alone, and he said good-bye 
to his teacher, and went down through the hills to\\"ard 
Jolcos, his father's old home, where his wicked uncle Pelias 
was reigning. As he went, he came to a great, flooded 
river, running red from bank to bank, rolling the round 
boulders along. And there on the bank was an old woman 
, Cannot you cross, mother ? ' said Jason ; and she said 


she could not, but must wait until the flood fell, for there 
was no bridge. 
, I'll carry you across,' said Jason, 'if you will let me 
carry you.' 
So she thanked him, and said it was a kind deed, for she 
was longing to reach the cottage where her little grandson 
lay sick. 
Then he knelt down, and she climbed upon his back, 
and he used his spear for a staff, and stepped into the river. 
It was deeper than he thought, and stronger, but at last 
he staggered out on the farther bank, far below where he 
went in. And then he set the old woman down. 
, Bless you, my lad, for a strong man and a brave! ' 
she said, 'and my blessing go with you to the world's end.' 
Then he looked and she was gone he did not know where, 
for she was the greatest of the goddesses, Hera, the wife of 
Zeus, who had taken the shape of an old woman, to try 
Jason, whether he was kind and strong, or rude and churlish. 
From this day her grace went with him, and she helped 
him in all dangers. 
Then Jason went down limping to the city, for he had 
lost one shoe in the flood. And when he reached the town 
he went straight up to the palace, and through the court, 
and into the open door, and up the hall, where the king was 
sitting at his table among his men. There Jason stood, 
leaning on his spear. 
When the king saw him he turned white with terror. 
For he had been told by the prophetess of Pytho that a man 
with only one shoe would come some day and take away 
his kingdom. And here was the half-shod man of whom 
the prophecy had spoken. 
But Pelias still remembered to be courteous, and he 



bade his men lead the stranger to the baths, and there the 
attendants bathed him, pouring hot water over him. And 
they anointed his head with oil, and clothed him in new 
raiment, and brought him back to the hall, and set him 
down at a table beside the king, and gave him meat and 
vVhen he had eaten and was refreshed, the king said: 
, Now it is time to ask the stranger who he is, and who his 
parents are, and whence he comes to Iolcos ? ' 
And Jason answered, 'I am Jason, son of the rightful 
king, Æson, and I am conle to take back my kingdom.' 
The king grew pale again, but he was cunning, and he 
leaped up and embraced the lad, and made much of him, 
and caused a gold circlet to be twisted in his hair. Then he 
said he was old, and \veary of judging the people. 'And 
weary work it is,' he said, 'and no joy therewith shall any 
king have. For there is a curse on the country, that shall 
not be taken away till the Fleece of Gold is brought home, 
from the land of the world's end. The ghost of Phrixus 
stands by my bedside every night, wailing and will not be 
comforted, till the Fleece is brought home again.' 
When Jason heard that he cried, , I shall take the curse 
away, for by the splendour of Lady Hera's bro\v, I shall 
bring the Fleece of Gold from the land of the world's end 
before I sit on the throne of my father.' 
Now this was the very thing that the king wished, for 
he thought that if once Jason went after the Fleece, certainly 
he would never come back living to Iolcos. So he said that 
it could never be done, for the land was far away across the 
sea, so far that the birds could not come and go in one year, 
so great a sea was that and perilous. Also, there was a 


dragon that guarded the Fleece of Gold, and no man could 
face it and live. 
But the idea of fighting a dragon was itself a temptation 
to Jason, and he made a great vow by the water of Styx, an 
oath the very gods feared to break, that certainly he would 
bring home that Fleece to Iolcos. And he sent out mes- 
sengers all over Greece, to all his old friends, \vho were with 
him in the Centaur's cave, and bade them come and help 
him, for that there was a dragon to kill, and that there 
would be fighting. And they all came, driving in their 
chariots down dales and across hills: Heracles, the strong 
man, with the bow that none other could bend; and 
Orpheus with his harp, and Castor and Polydeuces, and 
Zetes and Calais of the golden wings, and Tiphys, the 
steersman, and young H ylas, still a boy, and as fair as a 
girl, who always went with Heracles the strong. 
These came, and many more, and they set shipbuilders 
to work, and oaks were felled for beams, and ashes for oars, 
and spears were made, and arrows feathered, and swords 
sharpened. But in the prow of the ship they placed a 
bough of an oak tree from the forest of Zeus in Dodona 
where the trees can speak, and that bough spoke, and 
prophesied things to come. They called the ship 'Argo,' 
and they launched her, and put bread, and meat, and 
wine on board, and hung their shields outside the bul- 
warks. Then they said good-bye to their friends, went 
aboard, sat down at the oars, set sail, and so away eastward 
to Colchis, in the land of the world's end. 
All day they rowed, and at night they beached the ship, 
as was then the custom, for they did not sail at night, and 
they went on shore, and took supper, and slept, and next 
day to the sea again.. And old Chiron, the man-horse, saw 


r 8 5 

the swift ship from his mountain heights, and ran down to 
the beach; there he stood with the waves of the gray sea 
breaking over his feet, waving with his mighty hands, and 
wishing his boys a safe return. And his wife stood beside 
him, holding in her arms the little son of one of the ship's 
company, Achilles, the son of Peleus of the Spear, and of 
Thetis the goddess of the Sea Foam. 
So they rowed ever eastward, and ere long they came to 
a strange isle where dwelt men with six hands apiece, unruly 
giants. And these giants lay in wait for them on cliffs 
above the river's mouth where the ship was moored, and 
before the dawn they rolled down great rocks on the crew. 
But Heracles drew his huge bow, the bow for which he slew 
Eurytus, king of Oechalia, and wherever a giant showed 
hand or shoulder above the cliff, he pinned him through 
with an arrow, till all were slain. After that they still 
held eastward, passing many islands, and towns of men, till 
they reached 
Iysia, and the Asian shore. Here they landed, 
with bad luck. For while they were cutting reeds and 
grass to strew their beds on the sands, young Hylas, beautiful 
Hylas, went off with a pitcher in his hand to draw water. 
He came to a beautiful spring, a deep, clear, green pool, 
and there the water-fairies lived, whom men called Nereids. 
There were Eunis, and N ycheia with her April eyes, and 
when they saw the beautiful H ylas, they longed to have 
him always with them, to live in the crystal caves beneath 
the water, for they had never seen anyone so beautiful. 
As he stooped \vith his pitcher and dipped it into the stream, 
they caught him softly in their arms, and drew him down 
below, and no man ever saw him any more, but he dwelt 
with the water-fairies. 
But Heracles the strong, who loved him like a younger 


brother, wandered all over the coun try crying 'H ylas ! 
Hylas !' and the boy's voice answered so faintly from 
below the stream that Heracles never heard him. So he 
roamed alone in the forests, and the rest of the crew thought 
he was lost. 
Then the sons of the North Wind were angry, and bade 
them set sail without him, and sail they did, leaving the 
strong man behind. Long afterward, when the Fleece was 
won, Heracles met the sons of the North Wind, and slew 
them with his arrows. And he buried them, and set a great 
stone on each grave, and one of these is ever stirred, and 
shakes when the North VVind blows. There they lie, and 
their golden wings are at rest. 
Still they sped on, with a west wind blowing, and they 
came to a country whose king was strong, and thought 
himself the best boxer then living, so he came down to the 
ship and challenged anyone of that crew; and Polydeuces, 
the boxer, took up the challenge. All the rest, and the 
people of the country, made a ring, and Polydeuces and 
huge King Amycus stepped into the midst, and put up 
their hands. First they moved round each other cautiously, 
watching for a chance, and then, as the sun shone forth in 
the Giant's face, Polydeuces leaped in and struck him 
between the eyes with his left hand, and, strong as he was, 
the Giant staggered and fell. Then his friends picked him 
up, and sponged his face with ,vater, and all the crew of 
, Argo' shouted with joy. He was soon on his feet again, 
and rushed at Polydeuces, hitting out so hard that he would 
have killed him if the blow had gone home. But Poly- 
deuces just moved his head a little on one side, and the 
blow went by, and, as the Giant slipped, Polydeuces planted 


18 7 

one in his mouth and another beneath his ear, and was 
away before the Giant could recover. 
There they stood, breathing heavily, and glaring at each 
other, till the Giant made another rush, but Polydeuces 
avoided him, and struck him several blows quickly in the 
eyes, and now the Giant was almost blind. Then Poly- 
deuces at once ended the combat by a right-hand blow 
on the tenlple. The Giant fell, and lay as if he were dead. 
When he came to himself again, he had no heart to go on, 
for his knees shook, and he could hardly see. So Poly- 
deuces made him swear never to challenge strangers again 
as long as he lived, and then the crew of ' Argo' crowned 
Polydeuces with a wreath of poplar leaves, and they took 
supper, and Orpheus sang to them, and they slept, and next 
day they came to the country of the unhappiest of kings. 
His name was Phineus, and he was a prophet; but, 
when he came to meet Jason and his company, he seemed 
more like the ghost of a beggar than a crowned king. For 
he was blind, and very old, and he wandered like a dream, 
leaning on a staff, and feeling the wall with his hand. His 
limbs all trembled, he was but a thing of skin and bone, and 
foul and filthy to see. At last he reached the doorway of 
the house where Jason was, and sat down, with his purple 
cloak fallen round him, and he held up his skinny hands, 
and welcomed Jason, for, being a prophet, he knew that 
now he should be delivered from his wretchedness. 
He lived, or rather lingered, in all this misery because he 
had offended the gods, and had told men what things were 
to happen in the future beyond what the gods desired that 
men should know. So they blinded him, and they sent 
against him hideous monsters with wings and crooked 
claws, called Harpies, which fell upon him at his meat, 


and carried it away before he could put it to his mouth. 
Sometimes they flew off with all the meat; sometimes they 
left a little, that he might not quite starve, and die, and be 
at peace, but might live in misery. Yet what they left was 
made so foul, and of such evil savour, that even a starving 
man could scarcely take it within his lips. Thus this king 
was the most miserable of all men living. 
He welcomed the heroes, and, above all, Zetes and 
Calais, the sons of the North Wind, for they, he knew, would 
help him. And they all went into his wretched, naked hall, 
and sat down at the tables, and the servants brought meat 
and drink and placed it before them, the latest and last 
supper of the Harpies. Then down on the meat swooped 
the Harpies, like lightning or wind, with clanging brazen 
wings, and iron claws, and the smell of a battlefield where 
men lie dead; down they swooped, and flew shrieking away 
with the food. But the two sons of the North Wind drew 
their short swords, and rose in the air on their golden wings, 
and followed where the Harpies fled, over many a sea and 
many a land, till they came to a distant isle, and there they 
slew the Harpies with their swords. And that isle was 
called 'Turn Again,' for there the sons of the North Wind 
turned, and it was late in the night when they came back 
to the hall of Phineus, and to their companions. 
Here Phineus was telling Jason and his company how 
they might win their way to Colchis and the world's end, 
and the wood of the Fleece of Gold. ,'First,' he said, 'you 
shall come in your ship to the Rocks Wandering, for these 
rocks wander like living things in the sea, and no ship 
has ever sailed between them. They open, like a great 
mouth, to let ships pass, and when she is between their lips 
they clash again, and crush her in their iron jaws. By this 


18 9 

way even winged things may never pass; nay, not even the 
doves that bear ambrosia to Father Zeus, the lord of Olym- 
pus, but the rocks ever catch one even of these. So, when 
you come near them, you must let loose a dove from the 
ship, and let her go before you to try the way. And if she 
flies safely between the rocks from one sea to the other sea, 
then row with all your might when the rocks open again. 
But if the rocks close on the bird, then return, and do not 
try the adventure. But, if you win safely through, then 
hold right on to the mouth of the River Phasis, and there 
you shall see the towers of Æêtes, the king, and the grove 
of the Fleece of Gold. And then do as well as you may.' 
So they thanked him, and the next morning they set 
sail, till they came to a place where the Rocks VVandering 
wallowed in the water, and all was foam; but when the 
Rocks leaped apart the stream ran swift, and the waves 
roared beneath the rocks, and the wet cliffs bellowed. Then 
Euphemus took the dove in his hands, and set her free, 
and she flew straight at the pass where the rocks met, and 
sped right through, and the rocks gnashed like gnashing 
teeth, but they caught only a feather from her tail. 
Then slowly the rocks opened again, like a wild beast's 
mouth that opens, and Tiphys, the helmsman, shouted, 
, Rowan, hard all ! ' and he held the ship straight for the 
pass. Then the oars bent like bows in the hands of men, 
and the good ship leaped at the stroke. Three strokes 
they pulled, and at each the ship leaped, and now they were 
within the black jaws of the rocks, the water boiling round 
them, and so dark it was that overhead they could see the 
stars, _but the oarsmen could not see the daylight behind 
them, and the steersman could not see the daylight in front. 
Then the great tide rushed in between the rocks like a 

190 'rAI
ES OF 'I'llOY ...-\.ND GR


rushing river, and lifted the ship as if it were lifted by a hand, 
and through the strait she passed like a bird, and the rocks 
clashed, and only broke the carved wood of the ship's stern. 
And the ship reeled into the seething sea beyond, and all the 
men of Jason bowed their heads over their oars, half dead 
with the fierce rowing. 
Then they set all sail, and the ship sped merrily on, 
past the shores of the inner sea, past bays and towns, and 
river mouths, and round green hills, the tombs of men slain 
long ago. And, behold, on the top of one mound stood a 
tall man, clad in rusty armour, and with a broken sword 
in his hand, and on his head a helmet with a blood-red crest. 
Thrice he waved his hand, and thrice he shouted aloud, 
and was no more seen, for this was the ghost of Sthenelus, 
Actæon's son, whom an arrow had slain there long since, 
and he had come forth from his tomb to see men of his 
own blood, and to greet Jason and his company. So they 
anchored there, and slew sheep in sacrifice, and poured 
blood and wine on the grave of Sthenelus. There 
Orpheus left a harp, placing it in the bough of a tree, that 
the wind might sing in the chords, and make music to 
Sthenelus below the earth. 
Then they sailed on, and at evening they saw above 
their heads the snowy crests of Mount Caucasus, flushed in . 
the sunset; and high in the air they saw, as it were, a black 
speck that grew greater and greater, and fluttered black 
wings, and then fell sheer down like a stone. Then they 
heard a dreadful cry from a valley of the mountain, for there 
Prometheus was fastened to the rock, and the eagles fed 
upon him, because he stole fire from the gods, and gave it to 
men. All the heroes shuddered when they heard his cry; 


19 1 

but not long after Heracles came that way, and he slc\v the 
eagle with his bow, and set Prometheus free. 
But at nightfall they came into the wide mouth of the 
River Phasis, that flows through the land of the world's end, 
and they saw the lights burning in the palace of Æêtes 
the king. So now they were come to the last stage of their 
journey, and there they slept, and dreamed of the Fleece 
of Gold. 



Next morning the heroes awoke, and left the ship 
moored in the river's mouth, hidden by tall reeds, for they 
took down the mast, lest it should be seen. Then they 
walked toward the city of Colchis, and they passed through 
a strange and horrible wood. Dead men, bound together 
\vith cords, were hanging from the branches, for the Colchis 
people buried women, but hung dead men from the branches 
of trees. Then they came to the palace, where King 
Æêtes lived, with his young son Absyrtus, and his daughter 
Chalciope, who had been the wife of Phrixus, and his 
younger daughter, Medea, \vho was a witch, and the priestess 
of Brimo, a dreadful goddess. Now Chalciope came out 
and welcomed Jason, for she knew the heroes were of her 
dear husband's country. And beautiful Medea, the dark 
witch-girl, came forth and saw Jason, and as soon as she 
saw him she loved him more than her father and her 
brother and all her father's house. For his bearing was 
gallant, and his arm our golden, and long yellow hair fell 
over his shoulders, and over the leopard skin that he wore 

19 2 rrALES OF rrltOy A

above his armour. IVledea turned white and then red 
and cast down her eyes, but Chalciope took the heroes to 
the baths, and gave theln food, and they were brought to 
Æêtes, who asked them why they came, and they told him 
that they desired the Fleece of Gold, and he was very 
angry, and told them that only to a better man than himself 
would he give up that Fleece. If any wished to prove 
himself worthy of it he must tame two bulls which breathed 
flame from their nostrils, and must plough four acres with 
these bulls, and next he must sow the field with the teeth 
of a dragon, and these teeth when sown would immediately 
grow up into armed men. Jason said that, as it must be, 
he would try this adventure, but he went sadly enough 
back to the ship and did not notice how kindly Medea was 
looking after him as he went. 
Now, in the dead of night, Medea could not sleep, be- 
cause she was so sorry for the stranger, and she knew that 
she could help him by her magic. But she remembered 
how her father would burn her for a witch if she helped 
Jason, and a great shame, too, came on her that she should 
prefer a stranger to her own people. So she arose in the 
dark, and stole just as she was to her sister's room, a 
white figure roaming like a ghost in the palace. At her 
sister's door she turned back in shame, saying, 'No, I will 
never do it,' and she went back again to her chamber, and 
came again, and knew not what to do; but at last she 
returned to her own bower, and threw herself on her bed, 
and wept. Her sister heard her weeping, and came to her 
and they cried together, but softly, that no one might hear 
them. For Chalciope was as eager to help the Greeks for 
love of Phrixus, her dead husband, as Medea was for the 
love of Jason. 



A t last rv!edea promised to carry to the temple of the 
goddess of whom she was a priestess, a drug that would 
tame the bulls which dwelt in the field of that temple. 
But still she wept and wished that she were dead, and had 
a mind to slay herself; yet, all the time, she was longing 
for the dawn, that she might go and see Jason, and give him 
the drug, and see his face once more, if she was never to see 
him again. So, at dawn she bound up her hair, and bathed 
her face, and took the drug, which was pressed from a flower. 
Tha t flower first blossomed when the eagle shed the blood 
of Prometheus on the earth. The virtue of the juice of the 
flower was this, that if a man anointed himself with it, he 
could not that day be wounded by swords, and fire could 
not burn him. So she placed it in a vial beneath her girdle, 
and she went with other girls, her friends, to the temple 
of the goddess. Now Jason had been warned by Chalciope 
to meet her there, and he was coming with Mopsus who 
knew the speech of birds. But l\Iopsus heard a crow that 
sat on a poplar tree speaking to another crow, saying: 
'Here comes a silly prophet, and sillier than a goose. 
He is walking with a young man to meet a maid, and does 
not know that, while he is there to hear, the maid will not 
say a word that is in her heart. Go away, foolish prophet; 
it is not you she cares for.' 
Then Mopsus smiled, and stopped \vhere he was; but 
Jason went on, where rvledea was pretending to play with 
the girls, her companions. vVhen she sa\v Jason she felt 
as if she could neither go forward, nor go back, and she 
was very pale. But Jason told her not to be afraid, and 
asked her to help him, but for long she could not answer 
him; however, at the last, she gave him the drug, and 
taught him how to use it. 'So shall you carry the fleec

194 T.c\LES OF 'l'ROY .é\

to JaIcos, far away, but what is it to me where you go 
when you have gone from here? Still remember the name 
of me, Medea, as I shall remember you. And may there 
come to me some voice, or some bird bearing the message, 
whenever you have quite forgotten me.' 
But Jason answered, 'Lady, let the winds blow what 
voice they will, and what that bird will, let him bring. But 
no wind or bird shall ever bear the news that I have forgotten 
you, if you will cross the sea with me, and be my wife.' 
Then she was glad, and yet she was afraid, at the thought 
of that dark voyage, with a stranger, from her father's 
home and her own. So they parted, Jason to the ship, and 
Medea to the palace. But in the morning Jason anointed 
himself and his armour with the drug, and all the heroes 
struck at him with spears and swords, but the swords would 
not bite on him nor on his armour. He felt so strong and 
light that he leaped in the air with joy, and the sun shone 
on his glittering shield. Now they all went up together 
to the field where the bulls were breathing flame. There 
already was Æêtes, with Medea, and all the Colchians had 
come to see Jason die. A plough had been brought to which 
he was to harness the bulls. Then he walked up to them, 
and they blew fire at him that flamed all round him, but the 
magic drug protected him. He took a horn of one bull in 
his right hand, and a horn of the other in his left, and dashed 
their heads together so mightily that they fell. 
When they rose, all trembling, he yoked them to the 
plough, and drove them with his spear, till all the field was 
ploughed in straight ridges and furrows. Then he dipped 
his helmet in the river, and drank water, for he was weary; 
and next he sowed the dragon's teeth on the right and left. 
Then you might see spear points, and sword points, and 



crests of helmets break up from the soil like shoots of corn, 
and presently the earth was shaken like sea waves, as armed 
men leaped out of the furrows, all furious for battle, and all 
rushed to slay Jason. But he, as Medea had told him to do, 
caught up a great rock, and threw it among them, and he 
who was struck by the rock said to his neighbour, 'You 
struck me; take that!' and ran his spear through that 
man's breast, but before he could draw it out another man 
had cleft his helmet \vith a stroke, and so it went: an hour 
of striking and shouting, while the sparks of fire sprang 
up from helmet and breastplate and shield. The furrows 
ran red with blood, and wounded men crawled on hands 
and knees to strike or stab those that were yet standing 
and fighting. So axes and sword and spear flashed and fell, 
till now all the men \vere do\vn but one, taller and stronger 
than the rest. Round him he looked, and saw only Jason 
standing there, and he staggered to\vard him, bleeding, and 
lifting his great axe above his head. But Jason only stepped 
aside from the blow which would have cloven him to the 
waist, the last blow of the Men of the Dragon's Teeth, for he 
who struck fell, and there he lay and died. 
Then Jason went to the king, where he sat looking darkly 
on, and said, '0 I{ing, the field is ploughed, the seed is 
sown, the harvest is reaped. Give me now the Fleece of 
Gold, and let me be gone.' But the king said, 'Enough is 
done. To-morrow is a new day. To-morrow shall you 
win the Fleece.' 
Then he looked sidewise at Medea, and she knew that he 
suspected her, and she was afraid. 
Æêtes went and sat brooding over his wine with the 
captains of his people; and his mood was bitter, both for 
loss of the Fleece, and because Jason had \von it not by 


his own prowess, but by the magic aid of l\ledea. As for 
Medea herself, it was the king's purpose to put her to a cruel 
death, and this she needed not her witchery to know, and 
a fire was in her eyes, and terrible sounds were ringing in her 
ears, and it seemed she had but two choices: to drink poison 
and die, or to flee with the heroes in the ship 'Argo.' But 
at last flight seemed better than death. So she hid all her 
engines of witchcraft in the folds of her gown, and she kissed 
her bed where she would never sleep again, and the posts 
of the door, and she caressed the very walls with her hand 
in that last farewell. And she cut a long lock of her yellow 
hair, and left it in the room, a keepsake to her mother dear, 
in memory of her maiden days. 'Good-bye, my mother,' 
she said, 'this long lock I leave thee in place of me; good- 
bye, a long good-bye, to me who am going on a long jour- 
ney; good-bye, my sister Chalciope, good-bye! dear house, 
good-bye! ' 
Then she stole from the house, and the bolted doors 
leaped open at their own accord at the swift spell Medea 
murmured. With her bare feet she ran down the grassy 
paths, and the daisies looked .black against the white feet 
of l\fedea. So she sped to the temple of the goddess, and 
the moon overhead looked down on her. l\1any a time had 
she darkened the moon's face with her magic song, and now 
the Lady l\,foon gazed white upon her, and said, , I am not, 
then, the only one that wanders in the night for love, as I 
love Endymion the sleeper, who sleeps on the crest of the 
Latmian hill, and beholds me in his dreams. Many a time 
hast thou darkened my face with thy songs, and made 
night black with thy sorceries, and now thou too art in 
love! So go thy way, and bid thy heart endure, for a 
sore fate is before thee ! ' 



But Medea hastened on till she came to the high river 
bank, and saw the heroes, merry at their wine in the light 
of a blazing fire. Thrice she called aloud, and they heard 
her, and came to her, and she said, 'Save me, my friends, 
for all is known, and my death is sure. And I will give you 
the Fleece of Gold for the price of my life.' 
Then Jason swore that she should be his wife, and more 
dear to him than all the world. So she went aboard their 
boat, and swiftly they rowed up stream to the dark wood 
where the dragon who never sleeps lay guarding the Fleece 
of Gold. There she landed, and Jason, and Orpheus with 
his harp, and through the \vood they went, but that old 
serpent saw them coming, and hissed so loud that women 
wakened in Colchis town, and children cried to their mothers. 
But Orpheus struck softly on his harp, and he sang a hymn 
to Sleep, bidding him come and cast a slumber on the 
dragon's \vakeful eyes. This was the song he sang: 
Sleep! King of Gods and men! 
Come to my call again, 
Swift over field and fen, 
Mountain and deep: 
Con1e, bid the waves be still ; 
Sleep, strean1S on height and hill ; 
Beasts, birds, and snakes, thy will 
Conquereth, Sleep! 
COine on thy golden wings, 
COine ere the swallow sings, 
Lulling all living things, 
Fly they or creep! 
Conle with thy leaden wand, 
C0111e with thy kindly hand, 
Soothing on sea or land 
Mortals that weep. 

198 1.'ALES OF TROY 

Come from the cloudy west, 
Soft over brain and breast, 
Bidding the Dragon rest, 
Come to me, Sleep! 
This was Orpheus's song, and he sang so sweetly that the 
bright, small eyes of the dragon closed, and all his hard 
coils softened and uncurled. Then Jason set his foot on 
the dragon's neck and hewed off his head, and lifted down the 
Golden Fleece from the sacred oak tree, and it shone like a 
golden cloud at dawn. He waited not to wonder at it, but 
he and Medea and Orpheus hurried through the wet wood- 
paths to the ship, and threw it on board, cast a cloak over it, 
and bade the heroes sit down to the oars, half of them, but 
the others to take their shields and stand each beside the 
oarsmen, to guard them from the arrows of the Colchians. 
Then he cut the stern cables with his sword, and softly 
they rowed, under the bank, down the dark river to the 
sea. But the hissing of the dragon had already awakened 
the Colchians, and lights were flitting by the palace win- 
dows, and Æêtes was driving in his chariot with all his men 
down to the banks of the river. Then their arrows fell like 
hail about the ship, but they rebounded from the shields 
of the heroes, and the swift ship sped over the bar, and 
leaped as she felt the first waves of the salt sea. 
And now the Fleece was won. But it was weary work 
bringing it home to Greece, and Medea and Jason did a 
deed which angered the gods. They slew her brother 
Absyrtus, who followed after them with a fleet, and cut him 
limb from limb, and when Æêtes came with his ships, and 
saw the dead limbs, he stopped, and went home, for his heart 
was broken. The gods would not let the Greeks return by 
the way they had come, but by strange ways where never 


, __0'.--... . I
-- _ '(-, '\.'"".2 -. 71, 
. . . _
..... ";'--"!I 

 ':, :;:J. 1(1 
.. ç ,..., 
 '\ S '.) .... 


, . ,fIr" . ., , "".
\ \ )


 . _ I(

- r-',(,r !rß ' / " 

 \ 1 
"'''';l C' . _ . , 
,Jh.: I I, 
V" ' 
. .
':.., í;r;}.. - - 
 - r;;g,
 . It 

' \
d þ'i
 ( w"
 ., '" . 'Ii J 
 , (í, ! 
(/" . '
 "6::', \ !;. ( .tl 
\, ," ":..: 
. _' j '" ',
" I , fA' 
 '\ I: ,f;, (\ '\ 
Ir ," 
 .... t ' 

 ,t ;1)'
 '.I' \ ,
 Y' .

'I I 
?,A I - " '. V' } I 
 ' I . ':J 11:/ ' 
l\ t: "'

\1 L. 
 J" ' þi1' "III'- \.. I \ 1 
X' \' 
'i /', 
..,lð!fì} , " '\ ' 
 If \' 
 J 1/ 

 .' '-::.
 I i;.

 1(" . \) I 
\ I ".' 



 f.l.f '.'

" r. f 
 \ 'I
f 't 


f." ,

I/ \ 1 ' 
. ..".
..QiI 1..# 
 j \I'

 J ...
,' '),
' I. 
: 1 
 ,IYk-l .;j. 

,'" , \\



 .,,;.:tt:: I 
'l'#J' '
 IV' r'Ir 

 ' ( 
; J
Jf7 '



f:' ä l ,{ . 

, . a 

' , 

 ' . 
 !:,,'I nr 

' .IJ

 'f" " 11 ' AI .-' < 1 l"
' I 
I& tf' 
...' :f. ' j 

t Wlffi\ 




I '(


.. I ""
J. J' W' 
_' ;
"..,;? I' 

 t-, . - .J . ' "'o;?-- r' !' - w- 
! ,I Ii , t! '1'\' . 
 ,_ ;... ,b, 
 _...... __ . 
f' :i

 . '

'" ,/




 I !....
p. · 





 ,.\ J! 



" D7'}Yf 
I f; '(lf51fAir
 -< ):::4"""'" 



li L p" <


t1 , è'''<(,( cJ 

 - "" '7""L..ti;
N .



TJFiJ r- .........; 




another ship has sailed. Up the Ister (the Danube) they 
rowed, through countries of savage men, till the' Argo' 
could go no farther, by reason of the narrowness of the 
stream. Then they hauled her overland, where no man 
knows, but they launched her on the Elbe at last, and out 
into a sea where never sail had been seen. Then they were 
driven wandering out into Ocean, and to a fairy, far-off isle 
where Lady Circe dwelt. Circe was the sister of King Æêtes, 
both were children of the Sun God, and l\ledea hoped that 
Circe would be kind to her, as she could not have heard of 
the slaying of Absyrtus. Medea and Jason went up through 
the woods of the isle to the house of Circe, and had no fear 
of the lions and wolves and bears that guarded the house. 
These knew that J\;ledea was an enchantress, and they 
fawned on her and Jason and let them pass. But in 
the house they found Circe clad in dark mourning raiment, 
and all her long black hair fell wet and dripping to her feet, 
for she had seen visions of terror and sin, and therefore 
she had purified herself in salt water of the sea. The walls 
of her chamber, in the night, had shone as with fire, and 
dripped as with blood, and a voice of wailing had broken 
forth, and the spirit of dead Absyrtus had cried in her ears. 
When Medea and Jason entered her hall, Circe bade 
them sit down, and called her bower maidens, fairies of 
woods and waters, to strew a table with a cloth of gold, and 
set on it food and wine. But Jason and Medea ran to the 
hearth, the sacred place of the house to which men that 
have done murder flee, and there they are safe, when they 
come in their flight to the house of a stranger. They cast 
ashes from the hearth on their heads, and Circe knew 
that they had slain Absyrtus. Yet she was of IVledea's 
near kindred, and she respected the law of the hearth. 

200 rrALES OF' 1.'ROY ...\.ND GIlEECE 

Therefore she did the rite of purification, as was the custom, 
cleansing blood wi th blood, and she burned in the fire a 
cake of honey, and meal, and oil, to appease the Furies who 
revenge the deaths of kinsmen by the hands of kinsmen. 
When all was done, Jason and Medea rose from their 
knees, and sat down on chairs in the hall, and Medea told 
Circe all her tale, except the slaying of Absyrtus. 
, More and worse than you tell me you have done,' said 
Circe, 'but you are my brother's daughter.' 
Then she advised them of all the dangers of their way 
home to Greece, how they must shun the Sirens, and Scylla 
and Charybdis, and she sent a messenger, Iris, the goddess 
of the Rainbow, to bid Thetis help them through the perils 
of the sea, and bring them safe to Phæacia, where the 
Phæacians would send them home. 
, But you shall never be happy, nor know one good year 
in all your lives,' said Circe, and she bade them farewell. 
They went by the way that Ulysses went on a later 
day; they passed through many perils, and came to Jolcos, 
where Pelias was old, and made Jason reign in his stead. 
But Jason and Medea loved each other no longer, and 
many stories, all different from each other, are told con- 
cerning evil deeds that they wrought, and certainly they 
left each other, and Jason took another wife, and Medea 
went to Athens. Here she liyed in the palace of Ægeus, 
an unhappy king who had been untrue to his own true love, 
and therefore the gods took from him courage and strength. 
But about Medea at Athens the story is told in the next 
tale, the tale of Theseus, Ægeus's son. 





LONG before Ulysses was born, there lived in Athens a young 
king, strong, brave, and beautiful, named Ægeus. Athens, 
which later became so great and famous, was then but a little 
town, perched on the top of a cliff which rises out of the 
plain, t\VO or three miles from the sea. No doubt the place 
was chosen so as to be safe against pirates, who then used 
to roam all about the seas, plundering merchant ships, rob- 
bing cities, and carrying away men, women, and children, 
to sell as slaves. The Athenians had then no fleet with 
which to put the pirates down, and possessed not so much 
land as would make a large estate in England: other little 
free towns held the rest of the surrounding country. 
I(ing Ægeus was young, and desired to take a wife, in- 
deed a wife had been found for him. But he wanted to be 
certain, if he could, that he was to have sons to succeed 
him: so many misfortunes happen to kings who have no 
children. But how was he to find out whether he should 
have children or not? At that time, and always in Greece 
before it was converted to Christianity, there were temples 
of the gods in various places, at which it was supposed 
that men might receive answers to their questions. These 


temples were called oracles, or places where oracles were 
given, and the most famous of them was the temple of Apollo 
at Pytho, or Delphi, far to the north-west of Athens. Here 
was a deep ravine of a steep mountain, where the god 
Apollo was said to have shot a monstrous dragon with his 
arrows. He then ordered that a temple should be built 
here, and in this temple a maiden, being inspired by the god, 
gave her prophecies. The people who came to consult her 
made the richest presents to the priests, and the temple 
was full of cups and bowls of gold and silver, and held more 
wealth in its chambers than the treasure houses of the 
richest kings. 
Ægeus determined to go to Delphi to ask his question: 
would he have sons to come after him? H
 did not tell 
his people where he was going; he left the kingdom to be 
governed by his brother Pallas, and he set out secretly at 
night, taking no servant. He did not wear royal dress, 
and he drove his own chariot, carrying for his offering only 
a small cup of silver, for he did not wish it to be known that 
he was a king, and told the priests that he was a follower 
of Peleus, King of Phthia. In answer to his question, the 
maiden sang two lines of verse, for she always prophesied 
in verse. Her reply was difficult to understand, as oracles 
often were, for the maiden seldom spoke out clearly, but in a 
kind of riddle that might be understood in more ways than 
one; so that, whatever happened, she could not be proved 
to have made a mistake. 
Ægeus was quite puzzled by the answer he got. He did 
not return to Athens, but went to consult the prince of 
Troezene, named Pittheus, who was thought the wisest man 
then living. Pittheus did not know who Ægeus was, but 
saw that he seemed of noble birth, tall and handsome, so he 


20 3 

received him very kindly, and kept him in his house for some 
time, entertaining him with feasts, dances, and hunting 
parties. Now Pittheus had a very lovely daughter, named 
Æthra. She and Ægeus fell in love with each other, so 
deeply that they desired to be married. I t was the custom 
that the bridegroom should pay a price, a number of cattle, 
to the father of the bride, and Ægeus, of course, had no 
cattle to give. But it was also the custom, if the lover 
did some very brave and useful action, to reward him with 
the hand of his lady, and Ægeus had his opportunity. 
A fleet of pirates landed at Troezene and attacked the town, 
but Ægeus fought so bravely and led the men of Pittheus 
so well, that he not only slew the pirate chief, and defeated 
his men, but also captured some of his ships, which were 
full of plunder, gold, and bronze, and iron, and slaves. 
vVith this wealth Ægeus paid the bride price, as it was called, 
for Æthra, and they were married. Pittheus thought him- 
self a lucky man, for he had no son, and here was a son-in- 
law who could protect his little kingdom, and wear the 
crown when he himself was dead. 
Though Pittheus was believed to be very wise, in this 
matter he was very foolish. He never knew who Ægeus 
really was, that is the king of Athens, nor did poor Æthra 
know. In a short time Ægeus wearied of beautiful Æthra, 
who continued to love him dearly. He ,vas anxious also to 
return to his kingdom, for he heard that his brother Pallas 
and his many sons were governing badly; and he feared 
that Pallas might keep the crown for himself, so he began 
to speak mysteriously to Æthra, talking about a long and 
dangerous journey which he was obliged to make, for secret 
reasons, and from which he might never return alive. Æthra 
wept bitterly, and sometimes thought, as people did in 

204 'rALES OJ? 'rROY .L-\

these days, that the beautiful stranger might be no man, 
but a god, and that he might return to Olympus, the home 
of the gods, and forget her ; for the gods never tarried long 
with the mortal women who loved them. 
At last Ægeus took Æthra to a lonely glen in the woods, 
where, beside a little mountain stream, lay a great moss- 
grown boulder that an earthquake, long ago, had shaken 
from the rocky cliff above. 'The time is coming,' said Ægeus 
'when you and I must part, and only tp-e gods can tell 
when we shall meet again! It may be that you will bear 
a child, and, if he be a boy, when he has come to his strength 
you must lead him to this great stone, and let no man or 
woman be there but you two only. You must then bid 
him roll away the stone, and, if he has no strength to raise 
it, so must it be. But if he can roll it away, then let him take 
such things as he finds there, and let him consider them well, 
and do what the gods put into his heart.' 
Thus Ægeus spoke, and on the dawn of the third night 
after this day, when Æthra awoke from sleep, she did not 
find him by her side. She arose, and ran through the 
house, calling his name, but there came no answer, and 
from that time Ægeus was never seen again in Troezene, 
and people marvelled, thinking that he, who came whence 
no man knew, and was so brave and beautiful, must be 
one of the immortal gods. 'Who but a god,' they said, 
, would leave for no cause a bride, the flower of Greece for 
beauty, young, and loving; and a kingdom to which he was 
not born? Truly he must be Apollo of the silver bow, or 
Hermes of the golden wand.' 
So they spoke among each other, and honoured Æthra 
greatly, but she pined and drooped with sorrow, like a tall 
lily flower, that the frost has touched in a rich man's garden. 


2 0 5 



Time went by, and Æthra had a baby, a son. This was 
her only comfort, and she thought that she saw in him a 
likeness to his father, whose true name she did not know. 
Certainly he \vas a very beautiful baby, well formed and 
strong, and, as soon as he could walk he was apt to quarrel 
with other children of his own age, and fight with them in a 
harmless way. He never was an amiable child, though he 
was always gentle to his mother. From the first he was 
afraid of nothing, and when he was about four or five he 
used to frighten his mother by wandering from home, with 
his little bow and arrows, and staying by himself in the 
woods. However, he always found his own way back again, 
sometimes with a bird or a snake that he had shot, and once 
dragging the body of a fawn that was nearly as heavy as 
himself. Thus his mother, from his early boyhood, had 
many fears for him, that he might be killed by some fierce 
wild boar in the woods, for he would certainly shoot at 
whatever beast he met; or that he might kill some other 
boy in a quarrel, when he would be obliged to leave the 
country. The other boys, however, soon learned not to 
quarrel with Theseus (so Æthra had named her son), for 
he was quick of temper, and heavy of hand, and, as for the 
wild beasts, he was cool as well as eager, and seemed to have 
an untaught knowledge of how to deal \vith them. 
Æthra was therefore very proud of her son, and began to 
hope that when he was older he would be able to roll away 
the great stone in the glen. She told him nothing about it 
when he was little, but, in her walks \vith him in the woods 

206 TAI

or on the sea shore, she would ask him to try his force in lifting 
large stones. \Vhen he succeeded she kissed and praised 
him, and told him stories of the famous strong man, Heracles, 
whose name was well known through all Greece. Theseus 
could not bear to be beaten at lifting any weight, and, if he 
failed, he would rise early and try again in the morning, 
for many men, as soon as they rise from bed, can lift weights 
which are too heavy for them later in the day. 
When Theseus was seven years old, Æthra found for 
him a tutor, named Connidas, who taught him the arts of 
netting beasts and hunting, and how to manage the dogs, 
and how to drive a chariot, and wield sword and shield, 
and to throw the spear. Other things Connidas taught him 
which were known to few men in Greece, for Connidas came 
from the great rich island of Crete. He had killed a man 
there in a quarrel, and fled to Troezene to escape the revenge 
of the man's brothers and cousins. In Crete many people 
could read and write, which in Greece, perhaps none could do, 
and Connidas taught Theseus this learning. 
When he was fifteen years old, Theseus went, as was 
the custom of young princes, to the temple of Delphi, not to 
ask questions, but to cut his long hair, and sacrifice it to 
the god, Apollo. He cut the forelock of his hair, so that 
no enemy, in battle, might take hold of it, for Theseus 
intended to fight at close quarters, hand to hand, in war, 
not to shoot arrows and throw spears from a distance. 
By this time he thought himself a man, and was always 
asking where his father was, while Æthra told him how her 
husband had left her soon after their marriage, and that 
she had never heard of him since, but that some day Theseus 
might find out all about him for himself, which no other 
person would ever be able to do. 


20 7 

Æthra did not wish to tell Theseus too soon the secret 
of the great stone, which hid she knew not what. She saw 
that he would leave her and go to seek his father, if he was 
able to raise the stone and find out the secret, and she 
could not bear to lose him, now that day by day he grew more 
like his father, her lost lover. Besides, she wanted him 
not to try to raise the stone till he came to his strength. 
But when he was in his nineteenth year, he told her that he 
would now go all over Greece and the whole world seeking 
for his father. She saw that he meant what he said, and 
one day she led him alone to the glen where the great stone 
lay, and sat down with him there, now talking, and now 
silent as if she were listening to the pleasant song of the 
burn that fell from a height into a clear deep pool. Really 
she was listening to make sure that no hunter and no lovers 
were near them in the wood, but she only heard the songs 
of the water and the birds, no voices, or cry of hounds, or 
fallen twig cracking under a footstep. 
At last, when she was quite certain that nobody was 
near, she whispered, and told Theseus how her husband, 
before he disappeared, had taken her to this place, and 
shown her the great moss-grown boulder, and said that, 
\vhen his son could lift that stone away, he would find 
certain tokens, and that he must then do what the gods 
put into his heart. Theseus listened eagerly, and said, 'If 
my father lifted that stone, and placed under it certain 
tokens, I also can lift it, perhaps not yet, but some day I 
shall be as strong a man as my father.' Then he set himself 
to move the stone, gradually putting out all his force, but 
it seemed rooted in the earth, though he tried it now on one 
side and now on another. At last he flung himself at his 
mother's feet, with his head in the grass, and lay without 


speaking. His breath came hard and quick, and his hands 
were bleeding. Æthra laid her hand on his long hair, 
and was silent. 'I shall not lose my boy this year' she 
They were long in that lonely place, but at last Theseus 
rose, and kissed his mother, and stretched his arms. 'N ot 
to-day! ' he said, but his mother thought in her heart, 'Not 
for many a day, I hope!' Then they walked home to the 
house of Pittheus, saying little, and when they had taken 
supper, Theseus said that he would go to bed and dream of 
better fortune. So he arose, and went to his own chamber, 
which was built apart in the court of the palace, and soon 
Æthra too went to sleep, not unhappy, for her boy, she 
thought, would not leave her for a long time. 
But in the night Theseus arose, and put on his shoes, and 
his smock, and a great double mantle. He girt on his sword 
of bronze, and went into the housekeeper's chamber, where 
he took a small skin of wine, and some food. These he 
placed in a wallet which he slung round his neck by a cord, 
and, lastly he stole out of the court, and walked to the lonely 
glen, and to the pool in the burn near which the great 
stone lay. Here he folded his purple mantle of fine wool 
round him, and lay down to sleep in the grass, \vith his sword 
lying near his hand. 
When he awoke the clear blue morning light was round 
him, and all the birds were singing their song to the dawn. 
Theseus arose, threw off his mantle and smock, and plunged 
into the cold pool of the burn, and then he drank a little of 
the wine, and ate of the bread and cold meat, and set himself 
to move the stone. At the first effort, into which he put all 
his strength, the stone stirred. With the second he felt it 
rise a little way from the ground, and then he lifted with all 



>c.' ërl 
 I I '
,l\ (I/AÞ, 
. ,. 
j,\ ),

\\ ,,


( J'li1tl1 
. - "'. II
 ...-.;, .-!!'" 
 '1\ : 
"ç \:. V . 
j , · - 
 . .,.'
 ' ' \\'i ì' .
. " . .

 >' '-';".,J';;: 
<J>::' . 
'"'?1 I I :,
'r 'f""";
. . \



 6A //. '

L""" -J 

. '\' 
 .'C :

 J ' W

... ì 
 "";.. .' 
' I')" .

 I' - 

. -'- 
:-Ð. :.:f,'Io')_
 .J: ,\
' .;>.
; , \ *' 
. , .,' I ,- .... -<< -')ò 
 "" _ 
 'Boo,- ' 
 f:Þ1I.\ .-



, ,
') 1.\ '. -.

 '\ ,\ 
'ä'l V=<" f 

\ '. 
 , . -'" l' :'..
, , '
I:IIIWI .. ,." ,\ "':

 \1) )' J ' , ' 
\ . 
 '.: 1.\, í ( 
 V \

 WI " I' I I ,I I ... 
 ,. . . ), \- 

 0:, !, '\, 
 . .' . 

 'I I 
 fti l -. : _ ) "
I \'
, I , /I 
 'II \.' ;.. 
 11 I _ _ 
. . _. ,_ 
1\ I 
 , .:.- . '."" . " : ,
I I I '''' ./ ...-" _-. 
.., . .. \
 I t 
l>o' ; \1 :::: I ,I L ;..;

- /:
' :.., ,:', "
I I.
, JL '. 
,"I 1,1: 
,: 1(' I\,: 
,///r/r:."'\, ...:, \Ih

 .. '-', 

\\\ ',' " ; I 
v 1
r--', J; 

 I )
Jpj/)íJJ llt


r fl'
I' \\ 
;I ! . I} . i;
 I:: U ", ;f;


r-71(\ \} \111 11ìJf

t\ fl f ;if
. \ 
)/ r
 t " /vlJ' '.


 " \. J If I 'i \, (

 . .!J 



j I . \ "., \'.';/,. --1, 
, f . 
, ," -'


J "II ''. I / 
:-:-:-ij ,}'j . . 
{ .,
;' '_____


 :\ '. f' A ..- <

- 0-" 

 fl ' \ \

.;-- J, , 

 :. "-," '
 I It, 

 NLJ4. /.. ,./!. ...,. 

, _ "- I. .
'j I 'lfJ. <'i
 " . ,r{!f '. ;

 ! t:-' 


:==-'" f, I 
:. -
;,-- .....<. 
_ -.' , 
/1 r."" 

 'I - .r' 'f -


\: ;..b )-_
i :i
",.;rii.','; IM
 L /:_-
 _.- J 1 
, -'I.,[
 II jJ'l : 

-;: ., 'i?

'I I 




' '" 
 I'A '11 
 \.:'11 r
L.. ïl,! ; ", -:=--.J:r,--, 
 " , / ,J 

' ì :' ,


14 rA
:>i< t1(, JI 
. ' 
.A ,- lJ Î) /, 
Æ7 'fJ. I ':l' II


 _1" . Ö



20 9 

the might in his heart and body, and rolled the stone clean 
Beneath it there was nothing but the fresh turned soil, 
but in a hollow of the foot of the rock, which now lay upper- 
most, there was a wrapping of purple woollen cloth, that 
covered something. Theseus tore put the packet, un- 
wrapped the cloth, and found within it a wrapping of white 
linen. This wrapping was in many folds, which he undid, 
and at last he found a pair of shoon, such as kings wear, 
adorned with gold, and also the most beautiful sword that 
he had ever seen. The handle was of clear rock crystal, and 
through the crystal you could see gold, inlaid with pictures of 
a lion hunt done in different shades of gold and silver. The 
sheath was of leather, with patterns in gold nails, and the 
blade was of bronze, a beautiful pattern ran down the centre 
to the point, the blade was straight, and double edged, supple, 
sharp, and strong. Never had Theseus seen so beautiful a 
sword, nor one so well balanced in his hand. 
He saw that this was a king's sword; and he thought 
that it had not been wrought in Greece, for in Greece was 
no sword-smith that could do such work. Examining it 
very carefully he found characters engraved beneath the 
hilt, not letters such as the Greeks used in later times, 
but such Cretan signs as Connidas had taught him to read, 
for many a weary hour, when he would like to have been 
following the deer in the forest. 
Theseus pored over these signs till he read: 
Icmalius me 111ade. Of .LEgeus of Athens an1 I. 
Now he knew the secret. His father was Ægeus, the 
king of Athens. Theseus had heard of him and knew that 
he yet lived, a sad life full of trouble. For Ægeus had 



no child by his Athenian wife, and the fifty sons of his 
brother, Pallas (who were called the Pallantidæ) despised 
him, and feasted all day in his hall, recklessly and fiercely, 
robbing the people, and Ægeus had no power in his own 
, Methinks that my father has need of me ! ' said Theseus 
to himself. Then he wrapped up the sword and shoon in 
the linen and the cloth of wool, and walked home in the 
early morning to the palace of Pittheus. 
vVhen Theseus came to the palace, he went straight to 
the upper chamber of his mother, where she was spinning 
wool with a distaff of ivory. When he laid before her the 
sword and the shoon, the distaff fell from her hand, and 
she hid her head in a fold of her robe. Theseus kissed her 
hands and comforted her, and she dried her eyes, and 
praised him for his strength. ' These are the sword and the 
shoon of your father,' she said, 'but truly the gods have 
taken away his strength and courage. For all men say 
that Ægeus of Athens is not master in his own house; his 
brother's sons rule him, and with them Medea, the witch 
\-voman, that once was the wife of Jason.' 
, The more he needs his son! ' said Theseus. 'lVlother, 
I must go to help him, and be the heir of his kingdom, where 
you shall be with me always, and rule the people of Cecrops 
that fasten the locks of their hair with grasshoppers of 
'So may it be, my child,' said Æthra, , if the gods go with 
you to protect you. But you will sail to Athens in a ship 
with fifty oarsmen, for the ways by land are long, and steep, 
and dangerous, beset by cruel giants and monstrous men.' 
, Nay, mother,' said Theseus, 'by land must I go, for I 
would not be kno\vn in Athens, till I see how matters fall 



out; and I would destroy these giants and robbers, and give 
peace to the people, and win glory among men. This very 
nigh t I shall set forth.' 
He had a sore and sad parting from his mother, but under 
cloud of night he went on his way, girt with the sword of 
Ægeus, his father, and carrying in his wallet the shoon with 
ornaments of gold. 



Theseus walked through the night, and slept for most 
of the next day at a shepherd's hut. The shepherd was 
kind to him, and bade him beware of one called the Mace- 
man, who guarded a narrow path with a sheer cliff above, 
and a sheer precipice below. 'No man born may deal 
with the Maceman,' said the shepherd, 'for his great 
club is of iron, that cannot be broken, and his strength is 
as the strength of ten men, though his legs have no force to 
bear his body. l\len say that he is the son of the lame god, 
Hephaestus, who forged his iron mace; there is not the like 
of it in the world.' 
'Shall I fear a lame man ? ' said Theseus, 'and is it 
not easy, even if he be so terrible a fighter, for me to pass 
him in the darkness, for I walk by night? ' 
The shepherd shook his head. 'Few men have passed 
Periphetes the Macelnan,' said he, 'and wiser are they 
who trust to swift ships than to the upland path.' 
, You speak kindly, father,' said Theseus, 'but I am 
minded to make the upland paths safe for all men.' 
So they parted, and Theseus walked through the sunset 
and the dusk, ahvays on a rising path, and the further he 



212 rrALES O.F "rllOY .L\

went the harder it was to see the way, for the path was 
overgrown with grass, and the shadows were deepening. 
Night fell, and Theseus hardly dared to go further, for on 
his left hand was a wall of rock, and on his right hand a 
cliff sinking sheer and steep to the sea. But now he saw 
a light in front of him, a red light flickering, as from a great 
fire, and he could not be content till he knew why that fire 
was lighted. So he went on, slo\vly and warily, till he came 
in full view of the fire which covered the whole of a little 
platform of rock; on one side the blaze shone up the wall 
of cliff on his left hand, on the other was the steep fall to 
the sea. In front of this fire was a great black bulk; 
Theseus knew not what it might be. He walked forward 
till he saw that the black bulk was that of a monstrous 
man, who sat with his back to the fire. The man nodded 
his heavy head, thick with red unshorn hair, and Theseus 
went up close to him. 
, Ho, sir,' he cried, 'this is my road, and on my road I 
must pass! ' 
The seated man opened his eyes sleepily. 
, Not without my leave,' he said, 'for I keep this way, 
I and my club of iron.' 
, Get up and begone! ' said Theseus. 
'That were hard for me to do,' said the monstrous man, 
, for my legs will not bear the weight of my body, but my 
arms are strong enough.' 
'That is to be seen !' said Theseus, and he drew his 
sword, and leaped within the guard of the iron club that the 
monster, seated as he was, swung lightly to this side and 
that, covering the whole width of the path. The Maceman 
swung the club at Theseus, but Theseus sprang aside, and 
in a moment, before the monster could recover his stroke, 


21 3 

drove through his throat the sword of Ægeus, and he fell 
back dead. 
, He shall have his rights of fire, that his shadow may not 
wander outside the House of Hades,' said Theseus to him- 
self, and he toppled the body of the Maceman into his own 
great fire. Then he went back some way, and wrapping 
himself in his mantle, he slept till the sun was high in heaven, 
while the fire had sunk into its embers, and Theseus lightly 
sprang over them, carrying with him the Maceman's iron 
club. The path now led do\vnwards, and a burn that ran 
through a green forest kept him company on the way, 
and brought him to pleasant farms and houses of men. 
They marvelled to see him, a young man, carrying the 
club of the Maceman. 'Did you find him asleep? ' they 
asked, and Theseus smiled and said, 'No, I found him 
awake. But now he sleeps an iron sleep, from which he 
will never waken, and his body had due burning in his own 
watchfire.' Then the men and women praised Theseus, 
and wove for him a crown of leaves and flowers, and sacri- 
ficed sheep to the gods in heaven, and on the meat they 
dined, rejoicing that now they could go to Troezene by 
the hill path, for they did not love ships and the sea. 
When they had eaten and drunk, and poured out the 
last cup of wine on the ground, in honour of Hermes, the 
God of Luck, the country people asked Theseus where he 
was going? He said that he was going to walk to Athens, 
and at this the people looked sad. 'N 0 man may walk 
across the neck of land where Ephyre is built,' they said, 
, because above it Sinis the Pine-Bender has his castle, and 
watches the way.' 
, And who is Sinis, and why does he bend pine trees? ' 
asked Theseus. 


'He is the strongest of men, and when he catches a 
traveller, he binds him hand and foot, and sets him between 
two pine trees. Then he bends them down till they meet, 
and fastens the traveller to the boughs of each tree, and lets 
them spring apart, so that the man is riven asunder.' 
'Two can play at that game,' said Theseus, smiling, 
and he bade farewell to the kind country people, shouldered 
the iron club of Periphetes, and went singing on his way. 
The path led him over moors, and past fann-houses, and at 
last rose towards the crest of the hill whence he would see 
the place where two seas would have met, had they not 
been sundered by the neck of land which is now called 
the Isthmus of Corinth. Here the path was very narro\v, 
with thick forests of pine trees on each hand, and 'here,' 
thought Theseus to himself, , I am likely to meet the Pine- 
Bender. ' 
Soon he knew that he was right, for he saw the ghastly 
remains of dead men that the pine trees bore like horrible 
fruit, and presently the air was darkened overhead by the 
waving of vultures and ravens that prey upon the dead. 
, I shall fight the better in the shade,' said Theseus, and he 
loosened the blade of the sword in its sheath, and raised 
the club of Periphetes aloft in his hand. 
Well it was for him that he raised the iron club, for, 
just as he lifted it, there flew out from the thicket something 
long, and slim, and black, that fluttered above his head for a 
moment, and then a loop at the end of it fell round the 
head of Theseus, and was drawn tight with a sudden jerk. 
But the loop fell also above and round the club, which 
Theseus held finn, pushing away the loop, and so pushed 
it off that it did not grip his neck. Drawing with his left 
hand his bronze dagger, he cut through the leather lasso 


2 1 5 

with one stroke, and bounded into the bushes from which 
it had flown. Here he found a huge man, clad in the skin 
of a lion, with its head fitting to his own like a mask. The 
man lifted a club made of the trunk of a young pine tree, 
with a sharp-edged stone fastened into the head of it like 
an axe-head. But, as the monster raised his long weapon 
it struck on a strong branch of a tree above him, and was 
entangled in the boughs, so that Theseus had time to thrust 
the head of the iron club full in his face, with all his force, 
and the savage fell with a crash like a falling oak among the 
bracken. He was one of the last of an ancient race of 
savage men, who dwelt in Greece before the Greeks, and 
he fought as they had fought, with weapons of wood and 
Theseus dropped \vith his knees on the breast of the Pine- 
Bender, and grasped his hairy throat \vith both his hands, 
not to strangle him, but to hold him sure and firm till he 
came to himself again. When at last the monster opened 
his eyes, Theseus gripped his throat the harder, and spoke, 
'Pine-Bender, for thee shall pines be bent. But I am a 
man and not a monster, and thou shalt die a clean death 
before thy body is torn in twain to be the last feast of thy 
vultures.' Then, squeezing the throat of the wretch with 
his left hand, he drew the sword of Ægeus, and drove it 
into the heart of Sinis the Pine-Bender, and he gave a cry 
like a bull's, and his soul fled from him. Then Theseus 
bound the body of the savage with his own leather cord, 
and, bending down the tops of two pine trees, he did to the 
corpse as Sinis had been wont to do to living men. 
Lastly he cleaned the sword-blade carefully, wiping it 
\vith grass and bracken, and thrusting it to the hilt through 
the soft fresh_ ground under the trees, and so went on his 


way till he came to a little s tream that ran towards the sea 
from the crest of the hill above the town of Ephyre, which 
is now called Corinth. But as he cleansed himself in the 
clear water, he heard a rustle in the boughs of the wood, 
and running with sword drawn to the place whence the 
sound seemed to come, he heard the whisper of a WOlnan. 
Then he saw a strange sight. A tall and very beautiful 
girl was kneeling in a thicket, in a patch of asparagus thorn, 
and was weeping, and praying, in a low voice, and in a 
childlike innocent manner, to the thorns, begging them to 
shelter and defend her. 
Theseus wondered at her, and, sheathing his sword, came 
softly up to her, and bade her have no fear. Then she 
threw her arms about his knees, and raised her face, all 
wet with tears, and bade him take pity upon her, for she 
had done no harm. 
'Who are you, maiden ? You are safe with me,' said 
Theseus. ' Do you dread the Pine-Bender? ' 
'Alas, sir,' answered the girl, 'I am his daughter, 
Perigyne, and his blood is on your hands.' 
, Yet I do not war with women,' said Theseus, 'though 
that has been done which was decreed by the gods. If 
you follow with me, you shall be kindly used, and marry, 
if you will, a man of a good house, being so beautiful as 
you are.' 
When she heard this, the maiden rose to her feet, and 
would have put her hand in his. ' Not yet,' said Theseus, 
kindly, 'till water has clean washed away that which is 
between thee and me. But wherefore, maiden, being in 
fear as you were, did you not call to the gods in heaven 
to keep you, but to the asparagus thorns that cannot hear 
or help? ' 


21 7 

, My father, sir,' she said, ' knew no gods, but he cam{'\ 
of the race of the asparagus thorns, and to them I cried in 
my need.' 
Theseus marvelled at these words, and said, 'From this 
day you shall pray to Zeus, the Lord of Thunder, and to 
the other gods.' Then he went forth from the wood, with 
the maiden following, and wholly cleansed himself in the 
brook that ran by the way. 
So they passed down to the rich city of Ephyre, where the 
king received him gladly, when he heard of the slaying of 
the l\laceman, Periphetes, and of Sinis the Pine-Bender. 
The Queen, too, had pity on Perigyne, so beautiful she was, 
and kept her in her own palace. Afterwards Perigyne 
married a prince, Deione
, son of Eurytus, King of CEchalia, 
whom the strong man Heracles slew for the sake of his 
bow, the very bow with which Ulysses, many years after- 
wards, destroyed the Wooers in his halls. The sons of 
Perigyne and Deiones later crossed the seas to Asia, and 
settled in a land called Caria, and they never burned or 
harmed the asparagus thorn to which Perigyne had prayed 
in the thicket. 
Greece was so la\vless in these days that all the road from 
Troezene northward to Athens was beset by violent and 
lawless men. They loved cruelty even more than robbery, 
and each of them had carefully thought out his particular 
style of being cruel. The cities were small, and at war with 
each other, or at war among themselves, one family fighting 
against another for the crown. Thus there was no chance 
of collecting an army to destroy the monstrous men of the 
roads, which it would have been easy enough for a small 
body of archers to have done. Later Theseus brought all 


into great order, but now, being but one man, he went 
seeking adventures. 
On the border of a small country called l\legara, whose 
people were much despised in Greece, he found a chance of 
advancing himself, and gaining glory. He was walking in 
the middle of the day along a narrow path at the crest of a 
cliff above the sea, when he saw the flickering of a great 
fire in the blue air, and steam going up from a bronze 
caldron of water that was set on the fire. On one side of 
the fire was a foot-bath of glittering bronze. Hard by was 
built a bower of green branches, very coolon that hot 
day, and from the door of the bower stretched a great 
thick hairy pair of naked legs. 
Theseus guessed, from what he had been told, that the 
owner of the legs was Sciron the Kicker. He was a fierce 
outlaw who was called the Kicker because he made all 
travellers wash his feet, and, as they were doing so, kicked 
them over the cliff. Some say that at the foot of the cliff 
dwelt an enormous tortoise, which ate the dead and dying 
when they fell near his lair, but as tortoises do not eat flesh, 
generally, this may be a mistake. Theseus was determined 
not to take any insolence from Sciron, so he shouted- 
'Slave, take these dirty legs of yours out of the way 
of a Prince. 
, Prince!' ans"rered Sciron, 'if my legs are dirty, the 
gods are kind \vho have sent you to vvash them for me.' 
Then he got up, lazily, laughing and showing his ugly 
teeth, and stood in front of his bath with his heavy wooden 
club in his hand. He whirled it round his head insultingly, 
but Theseus was quicker than he, and again, as when he 
slew the Pine-Bender, he did not strike, for striking is slow 
compared to thrusting, but like a flash he lunged forward 




and drove the thick end of his iron club into the breast 
of Sciron. He staggered, and, as he reeled, Theseus dealt 
him a blow across the thigh, and he fell. Theseus seized 
the club which dropped from the hand of Sciron, and threw 
it over the cliff; it seemed long before the sound came up 
from the rocks on which it struck. 'A deep drop into a 
stony way, Sciron,' said Theseus, 'now wash my feet! 
Stand up, and turn your back to me, and be ready when I 
tell you.' Sciron rose, slowly and sulkily, and stood as 
Theseus bade him do. 
Now Theseus was not wearing light shoes or sandals, 
like the golden sandals of Ægeus, which he carried in his 
wallet. He was wearing thick boots, with bronze nails 
in the soles, and the upper leathers were laced high up his 
legs, for the Greeks wore such boots when they took long 
walks on mountain roads. As soon as Theseus had trained 
Sciron to stand in the proper position, he bade him stoop to 
undo the lacings of his boots. As Sciron stooped, Theseus 
gave him one tremendous kick, that lifted him over the 
edge of the cliff, and there was an end of Sciron. 
Theseus left the marches of IHegara, and walked singing 
on his way, above the sea, for his heart was light, and 
he was finding adventures to his heart's desire. Being so 
young and well trained, his foot and hand, in a combat, 
moved as swift as lightning, and his enemies were older 
than he, and, though very strong, were heavy with full 
feeding, and slow to move. Now it is speed that wins in 
a fight, whether between armies or single men, if strength 
and courage go with it. 
At last the road led Theseus down from the heights to 
a great fertile plain, called the Thriasian plain, not far from 
Athens. There, near the sea, stands the famous old city 

220 TALES OF 1'ROY .L\

of Eleusis. When Hades, the God of the Dead, carried 
away beautiful Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the 
Goddess of corn and all manner of grain, to his dark palace 
beside the stream of Ocean, it was to Eleusis that Demeter 
wandered. She was clad in mourning robes, and she sat 
down on a stone by the way, like a weary old woman. Now 
the three da ugh ters of the king who then reigned in Eleusis 
came by, on the way to the well, to fetch water, and when 
they saw the old woman they set down their vessels and 
came round her, asking what they could do for her, who 
was so tired and poor. They said that they had a baby 
brother at home, who was the favourite of them all, and 
that he needed a nurse. Demeter was pleased with their 
kindness, and they left their vessels for water beside her, 
and ran home to their mother. Their long golden hair 
danced on their shoulders as they ran, and they came, 
out of breath, to their mother the Queen, and asked her to 
take the old woman to be their brother's nurse. The 
Queen was kind, too, and the old woman lived in their 
house, till Zeus, the chief God, made the God of the Dead 
send back Persephone, to be with her mother through 
spring, and summer, and early autumn, but in winter she 
must live with her husband in the dark palace beside the 
river of Ocean. 
Then Demeter was glad, and she caused the grain to 
grow abundantly for the people of Eleusis, and taught 
them ceremonies, and a kind of play in which all the story 
of her sorrows and joy was acted. It was also taught that 
the souls of men do not die with the death of their bodies, 
any more than the seed of corn dies when it is buried in 
the dark earth, but that they live again in a world more 
happy and beautiful than ours. These ceremonies were 



called the 
Iysteries of Eleusis, and were famous in all the 
Theseus might have expected to find Eleusis a holy city, 
peaceful and quiet. But he had heard, as he travelled, that 
in Eleusis was a strong bully, named Cercyon; he was 
one of the rough Highlanders of Arcadia, who lived in 
the hills of the centre of Southern Greece, which is called 
Peloponnesus. He is said to have taken the kingship, and 
driven out the descendants of the king whose daughters 
were kind to Demeter. The strong man used to force all 
strangers to wrestle with him, and, when he threw them, 
for he had never been thrown, he broke their backs. 
Knowing this, and being himself fond of wrestling, 
Theseus walked straight to the door of the king's house, 
though the men in the town warned him, and the women 
looked at him with sad eyes. He found the gate of the 
courtyard open, with the altar of Zeus the high God smoking 
in the middle of it, and at the threshold two servants wel- 
comed him, and took him to the polished bath, and women 
washed him, and anointed him with oil, and clothed him 
in fresh raiment, as was the manner in kings' houses. Then 
they led him in to the hall, and he walked straight up to the 
high seats between the four pillars beside the hearth, in the 
middle of the hall. 
There Cercyon sat, eating and drinking, surrounded 
by a score of his clan, great, broad, red-haired men, but 
he himself was the broadest and the most brawny. He 
welcomed Theseus, and caused a table to be brought, with 
meat, and bread, and wine, and when Theseus had put 
away his hunger, began to ask him ,vho he was and whence 
he came. Theseus told him that he had walked from 
Troe.tene, and ,vas on his way to the court of l{ing Peleus 

ES OF 'fltOY 

(the father of Achilles), in the north, for he did not want the 
news of his coming to go before him to Athens. 
, You walked from Troezene?' said Cercyon. 'Did 
you meet or hear of the man who killed the Maceman 
and slew the Pine-Bender, and kicked Sciron in to the sea ? ' 
, I walk fast, but news flies faster,' said Theseus. 
'The news came through my second-sighted man,' 
said Cercyon, , there he is, in the corner,' and Cercyon threw 
the leg bone of an ox at his prophet, who just managed to 
leap out of the way. ' He seems to have foreseen that the 
bone was coming at him,' said Cercyon, and all his friends 
laughed loud. 'He told us this morning that a stranger 
was coming, he who had killed the three watchers of the 
way. From your legs and shoulders, and the iron club that 
you carry, methinks you are that stranger? ' 
Theseus smiled, and nodded upwards, which the Greeks 
did \vhen they meant' Yes! ' 
, Praise be to all the gods !' said Cercyon. 'I t is long 
since a good man came my way. Do they practise wrestling 
at Troezene ? ' 
, Now and then,' said Theseus. 
'Then you will try a fall with me? There is a smooth 
space strewn with sand in the courtyard.' 
Theseus answered that he had come hoping that the 
king would graciously honour him by trying a fall. Then 
all the wild guests shouted, and out they all went and 
made a circle round the wrestling-place, while Theseus and 
Cercyon threw down their clothes and were anointed with 
oil over their bodies. To it they went, each straining for- 
ward and feeling for a grip, till they were locked, and then 
they swayed this \vay and that, their feet stamping the 
ground; and now one \vould yield a little, now the other, 



while the rough guests shouted, encouraging each of them. 
At last they rested and breathed, and now the men began 
to bet; seven oxen to three was laid on Cercyon, and taken 
in several places. Back to the wrestle they went, and 
Theseus found this by far the hardest of his adventures, 
for Cercyon was heavier than he, and as strong, but not 
so active. So Theseus for long did little but resist the 
awful strain of the arms of Cercyon, till, at last, for a 
moment Cercyon weakened. Then Theseus slipped his hip 
under the hip of Cercyon, and heaved him across and up, 
and threw him on the ground. He lighted in such a way 
that his neck broke, and there he lay dead. 
, Was it fairly done? ' said Theseus. 
, It was fairly done! ' cried the Highlanders of Arcadia ; 
and then they raised such a wail for the dead that Theseus 
deemed it wise to put on his clothes and walk out of the 
court; and, leaping into a chariot that stood empty by the 
gate, for the servant in the chariot feared the club of iron, 
he drove away at full speed. 
Though Cercyon was a cruel man and a wild, Theseus 
was sorry for him in his heart. 
The groom in the chariot tried to leap out, but Theseus 
gripped him tight. ' Do not hurry, my friend,' said Theseus, 
'for I have need of you. I am not stealing the chariot 
and horses, and you shall drive them back after we reach 
Athens. ' 
'But, my lord,' said the groom, 'you will never reach 
, Why not ? ' asked Theseus. 
, Because of the man Procrustes, who dwells in a strong 
castle among the hills on the way. He is the maimer of 
all mortals, and has at his command a company of archers 

224 'rALES OF 1-
ltOY ...\ND Gl{EECE 

and spearmen, pirates from the islands. He meets every 
traveller, and speaks to him courteously, praying him to 
be his guest, and if any refuses the archers leap out of 
ambush and seize and bind him. With them no one man 
can contend. He has a bed which he says is a thing magical, 
for it is of the same length as the tallest or the shortest 
man who sleeps in it, so that all are fitted. N ow the 
manner of it is this-there is an engine with ropes at the 
head of the bed, and a saw is fitted at the bed foot. If a 
man is too short, the ropes are fastened to his hands, and 
are strained till he is drawn to the full length of the bed. 
If he is too long the saw shortens him. Such a monster is 
'Verily, my lord, King Cercyon was to-morrow to lead 
an army against him, and the King had a new device, as 
you may see, by which two great shields are slung along 
the side of this chariot, to ward off the arrows of the men of 
'Then you and I will wear the shields when we come 
Lear the place where Procrustes meets tra vellers by the 
way, and I think that to-night his own bed will be too 
long for him,' said Theseus. 
To this the groom made no answer, but his body trem- 
'fheseus drove swiftly on till the road began to climb 
the lowest spur of Mount Parnes, and then he drew rein, 
and put on one of the great shields that covered all his 
body and legs, and he bade the groom do the like. Then 
he drove slowly, watching the bushes and underwood beside 
the way. Soon he saw the smoke going up from the roof 
of a great castle high in the woods beside the road; and 
on the road there \vas a man waiting. Theseus, as he 



drove towards him, saw the glitter of armour in the under- 
\vood, and the setting sun shone red on a spear-point above 
the leaves. 'Here is our man,' he said to the groom, and 
pulled up his horses beside the stranger. He loosened his 
sword in the sheath, and leaped out of the chariot, holding 
the reins in his left hand, and bowed courteously to the 
man, who was tall, weak-looking, and old, with grey hair 
and a clean-shaven face, the colour of ivory. He was 
clad like a king, in garments of dark silk, with gold bracelets, 
and gold rings that clasped the leather gaiters on his legs, 
and he smiled and smiled, and rubbed his hands, while 
he looked to right and left, and not at Theseus. 
'I am fortunate, fair sir,' said he to Theseus, 'for I 
love to entertain strangers, with whom goes the favour 
and protection of Zeus. Surely strangers are dear to all 
men, and holy ! You, too, are not unlucky, for the night 
is falling, and the ways will be dark and dangerous. You 
will sup and sleep with me, and to-night I can give you a 
bed that is well spoken of, for its nature is such that it 
fits all men, the short and the tall, and you are of the 
tallest. ' 
, To-night, fair sir,' quoth Theseus, 'your own bed will 
be full long for you.' And, drawing the sword of Ægeus, 
he cut sheer through the neck of Procrustes at one blow, 
and the head of the man flew one way, and his body fell 
another way. 
Then with a swing of his hand Theseus turned his 
shield from his front to his back, and leaped into the chariot. 
He lashed the horses forward with a cry, while the groom 
also turned his own shield from front to back; and the 
arrows of the bowmen of Procrustes rattled on the bronze 
shields as the chariot flew along, or struck the sides and 


the seat of it. One arrow grazed the flank of a horse, and 
the pair broke into a wild gallop, while the yells of the 
bowmen grew faint in the distance. At last the horses 
slackened in their pace as they climbed a hill, and from 
the crest of it Theseus saw the lights in the city of Aphidnæ. 
'Now, my friend,' he said to the groorn, 'the way is 
clear to Athens, and on your homeward road with the 
horses and the chariot you shall travel well guarded. By 
the splendour of Lady Athênê's brow, I will burn that 
raven's nest of Procrustes! ' 
So they slept that night on safe beds at the house of 
the sons of Phytalus, who bore rule in Aphidnæ. Here 
they were kindly welcomed, and the sons of Phytalus re- 
joiced when they heard how Theseus had made safe the 
ways, and slain the beasts that guarded them. 'We are 
your men,' they said, 'we and all our people, and our 
spears will encircle you when you make yourself l{ing of 
Athens, and of all the cities in the Attic land.' 



N ext day Theseus said farewell to the sons of Phytalus, 
and drove slowly through the pleasant green woods that 
overhung the clear river Cephisus. He halted to rest his 
horses in a glen, and saw a very beautiful young man \valking 
in a meadow on the other side of the river. In his hand 
he bore a white flower, and the root of it was black; in 
the other hand he carried a golden wand, and his upper 
lip was just beginning to darken, he was of the age when 
youth is most gracious. He came towards Theseus, and 



crossed the stream where it broke deep, and swift, and 
white, above a long pool, and it seemed to Theseus that his 
golden shoon did not touch the water. 
'Come, speak with me apart,' the young man said; 
and Theseus threw the reins to the groom, and went aside 
with the youth, watching him narrowly, for he knew not 
what strange dangers might beset him on the way. 
'Whither art thou going, unhappy one,' said the youth, 
'thou that knowest not the land? Behold, the sons of 
Pallas rule in Athens, fiercely and disorderly. Thy father 
is of no force, and in the house with him is a fair witch 
woman from a far country. Her name is Medea, the 
daughter of Æêtes, the brother of Circe the Sorceress. She 
wedded the famous Jason, and won for him the Fleece of 
Gold, and slew her own brother Absyrtus. Other evils she 
wrought, and now she dwells with Ægeus, who fears and 
loves her greatly. Take thou this herb of grace, and if 

fedea offers you a cup of wine, drop this herb in the cup, 
and so you shall escape death. Behold, I am Hermes of 
the golden \vand.' 
Then he gave to Theseus the flower, and passed into 
the wood, and Theseus saw him no more; so then Theseus 
knelt down, and prayed, and thanked the gods. The flower 
he placed in the breast of his garment, and, returning to 
his chariot, he took the reins, and drove to Athens, and 
up the steep narrow way to the crest of the rock where 
the temple of Athênê stood and the palace of l{ing ...
Theseus drove through to the courtyard, and left his 
chariot at the gate. In the court young men were throwing 
spears at a mark, while others sat at the house door, playing 
draughts, and shouting and betting. They were heavy, 
lumpish, red-faced young men, all rather like each other. 
<2 2 

228 'l

They looked up and stared, but said nothing. Theseus 
knew that they were his cousins, the sons of Pallas, but as 
they said nothing to him he walked through them, iron 
club on shoulder, as if he did not see them, and as one 
tall fellow stood in his way, the tall fellow spun round 
from a thrust of his shoulder. A t the hall door Theseus 
stopped and shouted, and at his cry two or three servants 
came to him. 
'Look to my horses and man,' said Theseus; 'I come 
to see your master.' And in he went, straight up to the 
high chairs beside the fire in the centre. The room was 
empty, but in a high seat sat, fallen forward and half- 
asleep, a man in whose grey hair was a circlet of gold and 
a golden grasshopper. Theseus knew that it was his father, 
grey and still, like the fallen fire on the hearth. As the 
king did not look up, Theseus touched his shoulder, and 
then knelt down, and put his arms round the knees of the 
king. The king aroused himself with a start. ' Who? 
What want you? ' he said, and rubbed his red, bloodshot 
, A suppliant from Troezene am I, who come to your 
knees, oh, king, and bring you gifts.' 
, From Troezene ! ' said the king sleepily, as if he were 
trying to remember something. 
'From Æthra, your wife, your son brings your sword 
and your shoon,' said Theseus; and he laid the sword 
and the shoon at his father's feet. 
The king rose to his feet with a great cry. ' Y ou have 
come at last,' he cried, 'and the gods have forgiven me 
and heard my prayers. But gird on the sword, and hide 
the shoon, and speak not the name of "wife," for there is 
one that hears.' 



'One that has heard,' said a sweet silvery voice; and 
from behind a pillar came a woman, dark and pale, but 
very beautiful, clothed in a rich Eastern robe that shone 
and shifted from colour to colour. Lightly she thre\v hel 
white arms round the neck of Theseus, lightly she kissed 
his cheeks, and a strange sweet fragrance hung about her 
Then, holding him apart, with her hands on his shoulders, 
she laughed, and half-turning to Ægeus, who had fallen 
back in to his chair, she said : ' My lord, did you think that 
you could hide anything from me ?' Then she fixed her 
great eyes on the eyes of Theseus. ' We are friends? ' she 
said, in her silvery voice. 
'Lady, I love you even as you love my father, King 
Ægeus,' said Theseus. 
'Even so much?' said the lady Medea. 'Then we 
must both drink to him in wine.' She glided to the great 
golden mixing-cup of wine that stood on a table behind 
Ægeus, and with her back to Theseus she ladled wine into 
a cup of strange coloured glass. 'Pledge me and the 
king,' she said, bringing the cup to Theseus. He took it, 
and from his breast he drew the flower of black root and 
white blossom that Hermes had given him, and laid it in 
the wine. Then the wine bubbled and hissed, and the cup 
burst and broke, and the wine fell on the floor, staining it 
as with blood. 
Medea laughed lightly. ' Now we are friends indeed, 
for the gods befriend you,' she said, 'and I swear by the 
Water of Styx that your friends are my friends, and your 
foes are my foes, always, to the end. The gods are with 
you; and by the great oath of the gods I swear, which 
cannot be broken; for I come of the kin of the gods who 
live for ever.' 


Now the father of the father of Medea was the Sun 
Theseus took both her hands. 'I also swear,' he said, 
'by the splendour of Zeus, that your friends shall be my 
friends, and that your foes shall be my foes, always, to the 
end. ' 
Then l'vledea sat by the feet of Ægeus. and drew down 
his head to her shoulder, while Theseus took hold of his 
hand, and the king wept for joy. For the son he loved, 
and the woman whom he loved and feared, were friends, 
and they two were stronger than the sons of Pallas. 
While they sat thus, one of the sons of Pallas-the 
Pallantidæ they were called-slouched into the hall to see 
if dinner was ready. He stared, and slouched out again, 
and said to his brothers: 'The old man is sitting in the 
embraces of the foreign woman, and of the big stranger 
with the iron club!' Then they all came together, and 
growled out their threats and fears, kicking at the stones 
in the courtyard, and quarrelling as to what it was best 
for them to do. 
IVleanwhile, in the hall, the servants began to spread 
the tables with meat and drink, and Theseus was taken 
to the bath, and clothed in new raiment. 
While Theseus was at the bath Medea told Ægeus what 
he ought to do. So when Theseus came back into the 
hall, where the sons of Pallas were eating and drinking 
noisily, Ægeus stood up, and called to Theseus to sit down 
at his right hand. He added, in a loud voice, looking all 
round the hall: 'This is my son, Theseus, the slayer of 
monsters, and his is the power in the house! ' 
The sons of Pallas grew pale \vith fear and anger, but 
not one dared to make an insolent ans\ver. They kne\v 


23 I 

that they were hated by the people of Athens, except some 
young men of their own sort, and they did not dare to do 
anything against the man who had slain Periphetès and 
Sinis, and Cercyon, and Sciron, and, in the midst of his 
paid soldiers, had struck off the head of Procrustes. Silent 
all through dinner sat the sons of Pallas, and, when they 
had eaten, they walked out silently, and went to a lonely 
place, where they could make their plans without being 
Theseus went with Medea into her fragrant chamber, 
and they spake a few \vords together. Then Medea took 
a silver bowl, filled it with water, and, drawing her dark 
silken mantle over her head, she sat gazing into the bowl. 
When she had gazed sHen tly for a long time she said : ' Some 
of them are going towards Sphettus, where their father 
. dwells, to summon his men in arms, and some are going to 
Gargettus on the other side of the city, to lie in ambush, 
and cut us off when they of Sphettus assail us. They will 
attack the palace just before the dawn. Now I will go 
through the town, and secretly call the trusty men to arm 
and come to defend the palace, telling them that the SOIl 
of Ægeus, the man who cleared the \va ys, is with us. And 
do you take your chariot, and drive speedily to the sons of 
Phytalus, and bring all their spears, chariot men and foot 
men, and place them in ambush around the village of 
Gargettus, where one band of the Pallantidæ will lie to-night 
till dawn. The rest you know.' 
Theseus nodded and smiled. He drove at full speed 
to Aphidnæ, where the sons of Phytalus armed their men, 
and by midnight they lay hidden in the woods round the 
village of Gargettus. When the stars had gone onward, 
and the second of the three watches of the night was nearly 


past, they set bands of men to guard every way from the 
little town, and Theseus with another band rushed in, 
and slew the men of the sons of Pallas around their fires, 
some of them awake, but most of them asleep. Those who 
escaped were taken by the bands who watched the ways, 
and when the sky was now clear at the earliest da
Theseus led his companions to the palace of Ægeus, where 
they fell furiously upon the rear of the men from Sphettus, 
who were besieging the palace of Ægeus. 
The Sphettus company had broken in the gate of the 
court, and were trying to burn the house, while arrows 
flew thick from the bows of the trusty men of Athens on 
the palace roof. The Pallantids had set no sentinels, for 
they thought to take Theseus in the palace, and there to 
burn him, and win the kingdom for themselves. Then 
silently and suddenly the friends of Theseus stole into the 
courtyard, and, leaving some to guard the gate, they drew 
up in line, and charged the confused crowd of the Pal- 
Ian tids. Their spears flew thick among the enemy, and 
then they charged with the sword, while the crowd, in 
terror, ran this way and that way, being cut down at the 
gate, and dragged from the walls, when they tried to climb 
them. The daylight found the Pallantidæ and their men 
lying dead in the courtyard, all the sort of them. 
Then Theseus with the sons of Phytalus and their com- 
pany marched through the town, proclaiming that the 
rightful prince was come, and that the robbers and op- 
pressors were fallen, and all honest men rejoiced. They 
burned the dead, and buried their ashes and bones, and 
for the rest of that day they feasted in the hall of Ægeus. 
Next day Theseus led his friends back to Aphidnæ, and 
on the next day they attacked and stormed the castle of 



Procrustes, and sle\v the pirates, and Theseus divided al1 
the rich plunder among the sons of Phytalus and their 
company, but the evil bed they burned to ashes. 



The days and weeks went by, and Theseus reigned with 
his father in peace. The chief men came to Athens from 
the little towns in the country, and begged Theseus to be 
their lord, and they would be his men, and he would lead 
their people if any enemy came up against them. They 
would even pay tribute to be used for buying better arms, 
and making strong walls, and providing ships, for then the 
people of Athens had no navy. Theseus received them 
courteously, and promised all that they asked, for he did 
not knovv that soon he himself would be sent a\vay as part 
of the tribute which the Athenians paid every nine years 
to l{ing IVlinos of Crete. 
Though everything seemed to be peaceful and happy 
through the winter, yet Theseus felt that all was not well. 
When he went into the houses of the town's people, where 
all had been merry and proud of his visits, he saw melan- 
choly, silent mothers, and he missed the young people, 
lads and maidens. Many of them were said to have gone 
to visit friends in far-away parts of Greece. The elder 
folk, and the young people who were left, used to stand 
watching the sea all day, as if they expected something 
strange to come upon them from the sea, and Ægeus sat 
sorrowful over the fire, speaking little, and he seemed to 
be in fear. 


Theseus was disturbed in his mind, and he did not choose 
to put questions to Ægeus or to the townsfolk. He and 
l\ledea were great friends, and one day when they were 
alone in her chamber, where a fragrant fire of cedar wood 
burned, he told her what he had noticed. Medea sighed, 
and said: 'The curse of the sons of Pallas is coming upon 
the people of Athens-such a curse and so terrible that 
not even you, Prince Theseus, can deal with it. The 
enemy is not one man or one monster only, but the greatest 
and most powerful king in the world.' 
'Tell me all,' said Theseus, 'for though I am but one 
man, yet the ever-living gods protect and help me.' 
'The story of the curse is long,' said Medea. 'When 
your father Ægeus was young, after he returned to Athens 
from Troezene, he decreed that games should be held every 
five years, contests in running, boxing, wrestling, foot 
races, and chariot races. N at only the people of Athens, 
but strangers were allowed to take part in the games, and 
among the strangers came Androgeos, the eldest son of 
great Minos, King of Cnossos, in the isle of Crete of the 
Hundred Cities, far away in the southern sea. Minos is 
the wisest of men, and the most high god, even Zeus, is 
his counsellor, and speaks to him face to face. He is the 
richest of men, and his ships are without number, so that 
he rules all the islands, and makes war, when he will, even 
against the I{ing of Egypt. The son of Minos it was who 
came to the sports with three fair ships, and he was the 
strongest and swiftest of men. He won the foot race, 
and the prizes for boxing and wrestling, and for shooting 
with the bow, and throwing the spear, and hurling the 
heavy weight, and he easily overcanle the strongest of the 
sons of Pallas. 



'Then, being unjust men and dishonourable, they slew 
him at a feast in the hall of Ægeus, their own guest in the 
king's house they slew, a thing hateful to the gods above 
all other evil deeds. His ships fled in the night, bearing 
the news to I(ing lVlinos, and, a year after that day, the 
sea \vas black with his countless ships. His men landed, 
and they \vere so many, all glittering in armour of bronze, 
that none dared to meet them in battle. I(ing Ægeus and 
all the elder men of the city went humbly to meet Minos, 
clad in mourning, and bearing in their hands boughs of 
trees, wreathed with wool, to sho\v that they came praying 
for mercy. "Mercy ye shall have when ye have given up 
to me the men who slew my son," said Minos. But Ægeus 
could not give up the sons of Pallas, for long ago they had 
fled in disguise, and were lurking here and there, in all 
the uttermost parts of Greece, in the huts of peasants. 
Such mercy, then, the Athenians got as Minos was pleased 
to give. He did not burn the city, and slay the men, and 
carry the \vomen captives. But he made Ægeus and the 
chief men swear that every nine years they would choose 
by lot seven of the strongest youths, and seven of the 
fairest maidens, and give them to his men, to carry away 
to Crete. Every nine years he sends a ship with dark 
sails, to bear away the captives, and this is the ninth year, 
and the day of the coming of the ship is at hand. Can you 
resist I(ing Minos? ' 
, His ship we could burn, and his men we could slay,' 
said Theseus; andlhis hand closed on the hilt of his sword. 
, That may well be,' said Medea, 'but in a year Minos 
would COlne \vith his fleet and his army, and burn the city; 
and the other cities of Greece, fearing him and not loving 
us, would give us no aid.' 


'Then,' said Theseus, 'we must even pay the tribute 
for this last time; but in nine years, if I live, and the gods 
help .me, I shall have a fleet, and Minos must fight for his 
tribute. For in nine years Athens will be queen of all 
the cities round about, and strong in men and ships. Yet, 
tell me, how does Minos treat the captives from Athens, 
kindly or unkindly? ' 
, None has ever come back to tell the tale,' said Medea, 
'but the sailors of Minos say that he places the captives 
in a strange prison called the Labyrinth. It is full of dark 
winding ways, cut in the solid rock, and therein the cap- 
tives are lost and perish of hunger, or live till they meet a 
Thing called the Minotaur. This monster has the body of 
a strong man, and a man's legs and arms, but his head 
is the head of a bull, and his teeth are the teeth of a lion, 
and no man may deal with him. Those whom he meets 
he tosses, and gores, and devours. Whence this evil beast 
came I know, but the truth of it may not be spoken. It 
is not lavvful for King Minos to slay the Horror, which 
to him is great shame and grief; neither may he help 
any man to slay it. Therefore, in his anger against the 
Athenians he swore that, once in every nine years, he 
would give fourteen of the Athenian men and maidens to 
the Thing, and that none of them should bear sword or 
spear, dagger or axe, or any other weapon. Yet, if one 
of the men, or all of them together, could slay the monster, 
l\iinos made oath that Athens should be free of him and 
his tribute.' 
Theseus laughed and stood up. 'Soon,' he said, 'shall 
I{ing Minos be free from the Horror, and Athens shall be free 
from the tribute, if, indeed, the gods be with me. For me need 
no lot be cast; gladly I will go to Crete of my free will.' 



'I needed not to be a prophetess to kno\v that you 
would speak thus,' said Medea. 'But one thing even I 
can do. Take this phial, and bear it in your breast, and, 
when you face the Minotaur, do as I shall tell you.' Then 
she whispered some words to Theseus, and he marked 
them carefully. 
He went forth from Medea's bower; he walked to the 
crest of the hill upon which Athens is built, and there he 
sawall the people gathered, weeping, and looking towards 
the sea. Swiftly a ship with black sails was being rowed 
towards the shore, and her sides shone with the bronze 
shields of her crew, that were hung on the bulwarks. 
'My friends,' cried Theseus, 'I know that ship, and 
wherefore she comes, and with her I shall sail to Crete and 
slay the Minotaur. Did I not slay Sinis and Sciron, Cercyon 
and Procrustes, and Periphetes ? Let there be no dra\ving 
of lots. Where are seven men and seven maidens who 
will come with me, and meet these Cretans when they 
land, and sail back with them, and see this famous Crete, 
for the love of Theseus ? ' 
Then there stepped forth seven young men of the best 
of Athens, tall, and strong, and fair, the ancestors of them 
who smote, a thousand years afterwards, the Persians at 
l\1:arathon and in the strait of Salamis. 'We will live or 
die with you, Prince Theseus,' they said. 
N ext, one by one, came out of the throng, blushing 
but with heads erect and firm steps, the seven maidens 
\vhom the seven young men loved. They, too, were tall, 
and beautiful, and stately, like the stone maidens called 
Caryatides who bear up the roofs of temples. 
, We will live and die with you, Prince Theseus, and 
with our lovers,' they cried; and all the people gave such 


a cheer that King Ægeus heard it, and came from his 
palace, leaning on his staff, and Medea walked beside him. 
'Why do you raise a glad cry, my children?' said 
Ægeus. 'Is not that the Ship of Death, and must we not 
cast lots for the tribute to King Minos? ' 
'Sir,' said Theseus, 'we rejoice because we go as free 
folk, of our own will, these men and maidens and I, to take 
such fortune as the gods may give us, and to do as well 
as we may. Nay, delay us not, for from this hour shall 
Athens be free, without master or lord among Cretan men.' 
'But, my son, ,vho shall defend me, who shall guide 
me, when I have lost thee, the light of mine eyes, and the 
strength of my arm? ' whimpered Ægeus. 
'Is the king weeping alone, while the fathers and 
mothers of my companions have dry eyes?' said Theseus. 
'The gods will be your helpers, and the lady who is my 
friend, and who devised the slaying of the sons of Pallas. 
Hers was the mind, if the hand was my own, that wrought 
their ruin. Let her be your counsellor, for no other is so 
wise. But that ship is near the shore, and we must go.' 
Then Theseus embraced Ægeus, and Medea kissed him, 
and the young men and maidens kissed their fathers and 
mothers, and said farewell. With Theseus at their head 
they marched down the hill, two by two; but Medea sent 
after them chariots laden with changes of raiment, and 
food, and skins of wine, and all things of which they had 
need. They were to sail in their own hired ship, for such 
was the custom, and the ship was ready with her oarsmen. 
But Theseus and the Seven, by the law of Minos, might 
carry no s\vords or other weapons of war. The ship had 
a black sail, but Ægeus gave to the captain a sail dyed 
scarlet \"ith the juice of the scarlet oak, and bade him 



hoist it if he was bringing back Theseus safe, but, if not, 
to return under the black sail. 
The captain, and the outlook man, and the crew, and 
the ship came all from the isle of Salamis, for as yet the 
Athenians had no vessels fit for long voyages-only fishing- 
boats. As Theseus and his company marched along they 
met the herald of King lVIinos, bearing a sacred staff, for 
heralds were holy, and to slay a herald was a deadly sin. 
He stopped when he met Theseus, and wondered at his 
beauty and strength. 'l\1y lord,' said he, 'wherefore come 
you with the Fourteen? Know you to what end they are 
sailing ? ' 
, That I know not, nor you, nor any man, but they and 
I are going to one end, such as the gods may give us,' 
ans\vered Theseus. 'Speak with me no more, I pray you" 
and go no nearer Athens, for there men's hearts are high 
to-day, and they carry swords.' 
The voice and the eyes of Theseus daunted the herald, 
and he with his men turned and followed behind, humbly, as 
if they \vere captives and Theseus were conqueror. 




After many days' sailing, now through the straits unde! 
the beautiful peaks of the mountains that crowned the 
islands, and now across the wide sea far from sight of 
land, they beheld the crest of l\10unt Ida of Crete, and ran 
into the harbour, where a hundred ships lay at anchor, 
and a great crowd was gathered. Theseus maryelled at 
the ships, so many and so strong, and at the harbour with 


its huge \valls, while he and his company landed. A hundred 
of the guardsmen of Minos, with large shields, and breast- 
plates made of ribs of bronze, and helmets of bronze with 
horns on them, were drawn up on the pier. They sur- 
rounded the little company of Athenians, and they all 
In arched to the town of Cnossos, and the palace of the 
If Theseus marvelled at the harbour he wondered yet 
more at the town. I t was so great that it seemed endless, 
and round it went a high wall, and at every forty yards 
was a square tower with small square windows high up. 
These towers were exactly like those which you may see 
alTIOng the hills and beside the burns in the Border co un try, 
the south of Scotland and the north of England; towers 
built when England and Scotland were at war. But 
when they had passed through the gateway in the chief 
tower, the town seemed more wonderful than the walls, 
for in all things it was quite unlike the cities of Greece. 
The street, paved with flat paving stones, wound between 
houses like our own, with a ground floor (in this there were 
no windows) and with two or three stories above, in which 
there were windows, with sashes, and with so many panes to 
each window, the panes were coloured red. Each window 
opened on a balcony, and the balconies were crowded 
with ladies in gay dresses like those which are now worn. 
Under their hats their hair fell in long plaits over their 
shoulders: they had very fine white blouses, short jackets, 
embroidered in bright coloured silk, and skirts with flounces. 
Laughing merrily they looked down at the little troop 
of prisoners, chatting, and some saying they were sorry 
for the Athenian girls. Others, seeing Theseus marching 
first, a head taller than the tallest guardsman, threw flowers 


24 1 

that fell at his feet, and cried, 'Go on, brave Prince! ' for 
they could not believe that he was one of the prisoners. 
The crowd in the street being great, the march was 
stopped under a house taller than the rest; in the balcony 
one lady alone was seated, the others stood round her 
as if they were her handmaidens. This lady was most 
richly dressed, young, and very beautiful and 
and was, indeed, the king's daughter, Ariadne. She 
looked grave and full of pity, and, as Theseus happened 
to glance upwards, their eyes met, and remained fixed on 
each other. Theseus, who had never thought much about 
girls before, grew pale, for he had never seen so beautiful 
a maiden: Ariadne also turned pale, and then blushed 
and looked away, but her eyes glanced down again at Theseus, 
and he saw it, and a strange feeling came into his he
The guards cleared the crowd, and they all marched 
on till they came to the palace walls and gate, which were 
more beautiful even than the walls of the town. But the 
greatest wonder of all was the palace, standing in a wide 
park, and itself far greater than such towns as Theseus had 
seen, Troezene, or Aphidnae, or Athens. There was a 
multitude of roofs of various heights, endless roofs, endless 
windows, terraces, and gardens: no king's palace of our 
times is nearly so great and strong. There were fountains 
and flowers and sweet-smelling trees in blossom, and, 
when the Athenians were led within the palace, they felt 
lost among the winding passages and halls. 
The walls of them were painted with pictures of flying 
fishes, above a clear white sea, in which fish of many kinds 
were swimming, with the spray and bubbles flying from 
their tails, as the sea flows apart from the rudder of a ship. 
There were pictures of bull fights, men and girls teasing the 


bull, and throwing somersaults over him, and one bull had 
just tossed a girl high in the air. Ladies were painted in 
balconies, looking on, just such ladies as had watched Theseus 
and his company; and young men bearing tall cool vases 
full of wine were painted on other walls; and others were 
decorated with figures of bulls and stags, in hard plaster, 
fashioned marvellously, and standing out from the walls 
, in relief,' as it is called. Other \valls, again, were painted 
with patterns of leaves and flowers. 
The rooms were full of the richest furniture, chairs 
inlaid with ivory, gold, and silver, chests inlaid with painted 
porcelain in little squares, each square containing a separate 
bright coloured picture. There were glorious carpets, 
and in some passages stood rows of vases, each of them 
large enough to hold a man, like the pots in the story of 
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in the Arabian Nights. 
There \vere tablets of stone brought from Egypt, with 
images carved of gods and kings, and strange Egyptian 
writing, and there were cups of gold and silver-indeed, I 
could not tell you half the beautiful and wonderful things 
in the palace of Minos. We know that this is true, for 
the things themse
ves, all of them, or pictures of them, 
have been brought to light, dug out from under ground; 
and, after years of digging, there is still plenty of this 
wonderful palace to be explored. 
The Athenians were dazzled, and felt lost and giddy 
with passing through so many rooms and passages, before 
they were led into the great hall named the Throne Room, 
where Minos was sitting in his gilded throne that is still 
standing. Around him stood his chiefs and princes, 
gloriously clothed in silken robes with je\vels of gold; they 
left a lane between their ranks, and do\vn this lane \vas led 



Theseus at the head of his little company. Minos, a dark- 
faced man, with touches of white in his hair and long beard, 
sat with his elbow on his knee, and his chin in his hand, 
and he fixed his eyes on the eyes of Theseus. Theseus 
bowed and then stood erect, with his eyes on the eyes of 
, You are fifteen in number,' said Minos at last, 'my 
law claims fourteen." 
'I came of my own will,' answered Theseus, 'and of 
their own will came my company. No lots were cast.' 
, \Vherefore ? ' asked Minos. 
'The people of Athens have a mind to be free, 0 king.' 
, There is a way,' said Minos. ' Slay the Minotaur and 
you are free from my tribute.' 
'I am minded to slay him,' said Theseus, and, as he 
spoke, there was a stir in the throng of chiefs, and priests, 
and princes, and Ariadne glided through them, and stood 
a little behind her father's throne, at one side. Theseus 
bowed low, and again stood erect, with his eyes on the face 
of Ariadne. 
, You speak like a king's son that has not known mis- 
fortune,' said Minos. 
'I have known misfortune, and my name is Theseus, 
iEgeus' son,' said Theseus. 
'This is a new thing. When I saw I(ing Ægeus he 
had no son, but he had many nephews.' 
, No son that he wotted of,' said Theseus, 'but now he 
has no nephews, and one son.' 
, Is it so ? ' asked Minos, 'then you have avenged me 
on the slayers of n1Y own son, fair sir, for it was your 
sword, \vas it not, that delivered Ægeus from the sons 
of Pallas ? ' 


244 TALES O:F 'rRO\

'My sword and the swords of my friends, of \vhom 
seven stand before you.' 
, I will learn if this be true,' said Minos. 
, True! ' cried Theseus, and his hand flew to the place 
where his sword-hilt should have been, but he had no 
King Minos smiled. ' You are young,' he said, 'I will 
learn more of these matters. Lead these men and maidens 
to their own chambers in the palace,' he cried to his guard. 
, Let each have a separate chamber, and all things that are 
fitting for princes. To-morrow I will take counsel.' 
Theseus was gazing at Ariadne. She stood behind her 
father, and she put up her right hand as if to straighten 
her veil, but, as she raised her hand, she swiftly made the 
motion of lifting a cup to the lips; and then she laid on her 
lips the fingers of her left hand, closing them fast. Theseus 
saw the token, and he bowed, as did all his company, to 
Minos and to the princess, and they \vere led upstairs and 
along galleries, each to a chamber more rich and beautiful 
than they had seen before in their dreams. Then each 
was taken to a bath, they were washed and clothed in 
new garments, and brought back to their chambers, where 
meat was put before them, and wine in cups of gold. At 
the door of each chamber were stationed two guards, but 
four guards were set at the door of Theseus. At nightfall 
more food was brought, and, for Theseus, much red wine, 
in a great vessel adorned with ropes and knobs of gold. 
Theseus ate well, but he drank none, and, when he had 
finished, he opened the door of his chamber, and carried out 
all the wine and the cup. 'I am one,' he said, , who drinks 
water, and loves not the smell of wine in his chamber.' 
The guards thanked him, and soon he heard them very 



merry over the king's best wine, next he did not hear them 
at all, next-he heard them snoring! 
Theseus opened the door gently and silently: the 
guards lay asleep across and beside the threshold. Some- 
thing bright caught his eye, he looked up, a lamp was 
moving along the dark corridor, a lamp in the hand of a 
woman clad in a black robe; the light fell on her white 
silent feet, and on the feet of another woman \vho followed 
Theseus softly slipped back into his chamber. The 
light, though shaded by the girl's hand, showed in the 
crevice between the door and the door-post. Softly entered 
Ariadne, followed by an old woman that had been her 
nurse. 'You guessed the token?' she whispered. 'In 
the \vine was a sleepy drug.' 
Theseus, who was kneeling to her, nodded. 
'I can show you the way to flee, and I bring you a 
'I thank you, lady, for the sword, and I pray you to 
show me the way-to the Minotaur.' 
Ariadne grew pale, and her hand flew to her heart. 
, I pray you make haste. Flee I will not, nor, if the king 
have mercy on us, will I leave Crete till I have met the 
l\1:inotaur : for he has shed the blood of my people.' 
Ariadne loved Theseus, and knew well in her heart that 
he loved her. But she was brave, and she made no more 
ado; she beckoned to him, and stepped across the sleeping 
guardsmen that lay beside the threshold. Theseus held 
up his hand, and she stopped, while he took two swords 
from the men of the guard. One was long, with a strong 
straight narrow blade tapering to a very sharp point; the 
other sword \vas short and straight, with keen cutting 


24 6 'rALES OF 

double edges. Theseus slung them round his neck by 
their belts, and Ariadne walked down the corridor, Theseus 
following her, and the old nurse following him. He had 
taken the swords from the sleeping men lest, if Ariadne 
gave him one, it might be found out that she had helped 
him, and she knew this in her heart, for neither of them 
spoke a word. 
Swiftly and silently they went, through galleries and 
corridors that turned and wound about, till Ariadne came 
to the door of her own chamber. Here she held up her 
hand, and Theseus stopped, till she came forth again, 
thrusting something into the bosom of her gown. Again 
she led the way, down a broad staircase between great 
pillars, into a hall, whence she turned, and passed down 
a narrower stair, and then through many passages, till 
she came into the open air, and they crossed rough ground 
to a cave in a hill. In the back of the cave was a door 
plated with bronze which she opened with a key. Here she 
stopped and took out of the bosom of her gown a coil of 
fine strong thread. 
, Take this,' she said, 'and enter by that door, and first 
of all make fast the end of the coil to a stone, and so walk 
through the labyrinth, and, \vhen you would come back, 
the coil shall be your guide. Take this key also, to open 
the door, and lock it from within. If you return place the 
key in a cleft in the wall within the outer door of the 
She stopped and looked at Theseus with melancholy 
eyes, and he threw his arms about her, and they kissed 
and embraced as lovers do who are parting and know not if 
they may ever meet again. 
At last she sighed and said, 'The dawn is near-fare- 



well; the gods be with you. I give you the watchword of 
the night, that you Inay pass the sentinels if you come forth 
alive,' and she told him the word. Then she opened the 
door and gave him the key, and the old nurse gave him 
the lamp which she carried, and some food to take with 



heseus first fastened one end of his coil of string to a 
pointed rock, and then began to look about him. The 
labyrinth was dark, and he slowly walked, holding the 
string, down the broadest path, from which others turned 
off to right or left. He counted his steps, and he had taken 
near three thousand steps when he saw the pale sky showing 
in a small circle cut in the rocky roof, above his head, and 
he saw the fading stars. Sheer walls of rock went up 
on either hand of him, a roof of rock was above him, but 
in the roof was this one open place, across which were heavy 
bars. Soon the daylight would come. 
Theseus set the lamp down on a rock behind a corner, 
and he waited, thinking, at a place where a narrow dark 
path turned at right angles to the left. Looking carefully 
round he saw a heap of bones, not human bones, but skulls 
of oxen and sheep, hoofs of oxen, and shank bones. 'This,' 
he thought, 'must be the place \vhere the food of the 
Minotaur is let down to him from above. They have 
not Athenian youths and maidens to give him every day! 
Beside his feeding place I will \vait.' Saying this to himself, 
he rose and went round the corner of the dark narrow path 
cu t in the rock to the left. He made his o\vn breakfast, 



from the food that Ariadne had given him, and it occurred 
to his mind that probably the Minotaur n1ight also be 
thinking of breakfast time. 
He sat still, and from afar away within he heard a 
fain t sound, like the end of the echo of a roar, and he stood 
up, drew his long sword, and listened keenly. The sound 
came nearer and louder, a strange sound, not deep like the 
roar of a bull, but more shrill and thin. Theseus laughed 
silently. A monster with the head and tongue of a bull, 
but with the chest of a man, could roar no better than that! 
The sounds came nearer and louder, but still with the thin 
sharp tone in them. Theseus now took from his bosom 
the phial of gold that Medea had given him in Athens when 
she told him about the Minotaur. He removed the stopper, 
and held his thumb over the mouth of the phial, and grasped 
his long sword with his left hand, after fastening the clue 
of thread to his belt. 
The roars of the hungry Minotaur came nearer and 
nearer; now his feet could be heard padding along the 
echoing floor of the labyrinth. Theseus moved to the 
shadowy corner of the narrow path, where it opened into 
the broad light passage, and he crouched there ; his heart was 
beating quickly. On came the Minotaur, up leaped 
Theseus, and dashed the contents of the open phial'in the 
eyes of the monster; a white dust flew out, and Theseus 
leaped back into his hiding place. The Minotaur uttered 
strange shrieks of pain; he rubbed his eyes with his monstrous 
hands; he raised his head up towards the sky, bellowing 
and confused; he stood tossing his head up and down; 
he turned round and round about, feeling with his hands 
for the wall. He was quite blind. Theseus drew his 
short sword, crept up, on naked feet, behind the n1onster, 




and cut through the back sinews of his legs at the knees. 
Down fell the Minotaur, with a crash and a roar, biting at 
the rocky floor with his lion's teeth, and waving his hands, 
and clutching at the empty air. Theseus waited for his 
chance, when the clutching hands rested, and then, thrice 
he drove the long sharp blade of bronze through the heart 
of the Minotaur. The body leaped, and lay still. 
Theseus kneeled down, and thanked all the gods, and 
promised rich sacrifices, and a new temple to Pallas Athênê, 
the Guardian of A thens. When he had finished his 
prayer, he drew the short sword, and hacked off the head 
of the Minotaur. He sheathed both his swords, took the 
head in his hand, and followed the string back out of the 
daylit place, to the rock where he had left his lamp. With 
the lamp and the guidance of the string he easily found his 
way to the door, which he unlocked. He noticed that 
the thick bronze plates of the door were dinted and scarred 
by the points of the horns of the Minotaur, trying to force 
his way out. 
He went out into the fresh early morning; all the birds 
were singing merrily, and merry was the heart of Theseus. 
I-Ie locked the door, and crossed to the palace, which he 
entered, putting the key in the place which Ariadne had 
shown him. She was there, with fear and joy in her eyes. 
'Touch me not,' said Theseus, ' for I am foul with the blood 
of the Minotaur.' She brought him to the baths on the 
ground floor, and swiftly fled up a secret stair. In the 
bathroom Theseus made himself clean, and clad himself in 
fresh raiment which was lying ready for him. "",Yhen he 
was clean and clad he tied a rope of byblus round the 
horns of the head of the l\1inotaur, and went round the 
back of the palace, trailing the head behind him, till he 


came to a sentinel. 'I would see I{ing Minos,' he said, 'I 
have the password, Androgeos ! ' 
The sentinel, pale and wondering, let him pass, and so he 
went through the guards, and reached the great door of the 
palace, and there the servants wrapped the bleeding head 
in cloth, that it might not stain the floors. Theseus bade 
them lead him to I{ing l\linos, who was seated on his throne, 
judging the four guardsmen, that had been found asleep. 
When Theseus entered, followed by the serving men 
with their burden, the king never stirred on his throne, 
but turned his grey eyes on Theseus. 'My lord,' said 
Theseus, , that \vhich was to be done is done.' The servants 
laid their burden at the feet of I{ing l\Iinos, and removed 
the top fold of the covering. 
The king turned to the captain of his guard. 'A week 
in the cells for each of these four men,' said he, and the four 
guards, who had expected to die by a cruel death, were led 
away. ' Let that head and the body also be burned to ashes 
and thrown into the sea, far from the shore,' said l\1inos, and 
his servants silently covered the líead of the l\Iinotaur, and 
bore it from the throne room. 
Then, at last, lVlinos rose froIn his throne, and took the 
hand of Theseus, and said, 'Sir, I thank you, and I give you 
back your company safe and free; and I am no more in 
hatred with your people. Let there be peace between me 
and them. But will you not abide with us awhile, and be 
our guests? ' 
Theseus was glad enough, and he and his company tarried 
in the palace, and were kindly treated. Minos showed 
Theseus all the splendour and greatness of his kingdom 
and his ships, and great armouries, full of all manner of 
weapons: the names and numbers of then1 are yet known, 


25 1 

for they are written on tablets of clay, that were found 
in the storehouse of the king. Later, in the twilight, Theseus 
and Ariadne would walk together in the fragrant gardens 
where the nightingales sang, and Minos knew it, and ,vas 
glad. He thought that nowhere in the world còuld he find 
such a husband for his daughter, and he deemed it wise to 
have the alliance of so great a king as Theseus promised to 
be. But, loving his daughter, he kept Theseus with him 
long, till the prince was ashamed of his delay, knowing that 
his father, I{ing Ægeus, and all the people of his country, 
were looking for him anxiously. 
Therefore he told \vhat was in his heart to Minos, who 
sighed, and said, 'I knew \yhat is in your heart, and I 
cannot say you nay. I give to you my daughter as gladly 
as a father may.' Then they spoke of things of state, and 
made firm alliance between Cnossos and Athens ,vhile 
they both lived; and the wedding was done with great 
splendour, and, at last, Theseus and Ariadne and all their 
company went aboard, and sailed from Crete. One mis- 
fortune they had: the captain of their ship died of a sickness 
while they were in Crete, but Minos gave them the best of 
his captains. Yet by reason of storms and ternpçsts they 
had a long and terrible voyage, driven out of their course 
into strange seas. vVhen at length they found their bearings, 
a. grieyous sickrtess fell on beautiful Ariadne. Day by 
day she was weaker, till Theseus, with a breaking heart, 
stayed the ship at an isle but two days' sail from Athens. 
There Ariadne ,vas carried ashore, and laid in a bed in the 
house of the king of that island, and the physicians and the 
,vise wornen did for her ,vhat they could. But she died 
,vith her hands in the hands of Theseus, and his lips on her 
lips. In that isle she was buried, and Theseus \vent on 


board his ship, and drew his cloak over his head, and so 
lay for two days, never moving nor speaking, and tasting 
neither meat nor drink. No man dared to speak to him, 
but when the vessel stopped in the harbour of Athens, he 
arose, and stared about him. 
The shore was dark with people all dressed in mourning 
rain1ent, and the herald of the city came with the news 
that Ægeus the I{ing was dead. For the Cretan captain 
did not know that he was to hoist the scarlet sail if Theseus 
came home in triumph, and Ægeus, as he watched the 
waters, had descried the dark sail from afar off, and, in 
his grief, had thrown himself down from the cliff, and was 
drowned. This was the end of the voyaging of Theseus. 

Theseus wished to die, and be with Ariadne, in the land 
of Queen Persephone. But he was a strong man, and he 
lived to be the greatest of the I{ings of Athens, for all the 
other towns came in, and were his subjects, and he ruled 
them well. His first care was to build a great fleet in secret 
harbours far from towns and the ways of men, for, though 
he and Minos were friends while they both lived, when l'vIinos 
died the new Cretan king might oppress Athens. 
Minos died, at last, and his son picked a quarrel with 
Theseus, who refused to give up a man that had fled to 
Athens because the new king desired to slay him, and ne"Ts 
came to Theseus that a great navy was being made ready in 
Crete to attack him. Then he sent heralds to the king of a 
fierce people, called the Dorians, who were moving through 
the countries to the north-west of 'Greece, seizing lands, 
settling on them, and marching forward again in a few 
years. They were wild, strong, and brave, and they are 
said to have had swords of iron, which were better than the 



bronze \veapons of the Greeks. The heralds of Theseus 
said to them, , Come to our king, and he \vill take you across 
the sea, and show you plunder enough. But you shall 
swear not to harm his kingdom.' 
This pleased the Dorians well, and the ships of Theseus 
brought them round to Athens, where Theseus joined them 
with many of his own men, and they did the oath. They 
sailed swiftly to Crete, where, as they arrived in the dark, the 
Cretan captains thought that they were part of their own 
navy, coming in to join them in the attack on Athens; for 
that Theseus had a navy the Cretans knew not; he had built 
it so secretly. In the night he marched his men to Cnossos, 
and took the garrison by surprise, and burned the palace, 
and plundered it. Even now we can see that the palace 
has been partly burned, and hurriedly robbed by some 
sudden enemy. 
The Dorians stayed in Crete, and were there in the time 
of Ulysses, holding part of the island, while the true Cretans 
held the greater part of it. But Theseus returned to 
Athens, and married Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons. 
The story of their wedding festival is told in Shakespeare's 
play, 'A Midsumm
r Night's Dream.' And Theseus had 
many new adventures, and many troubles, but he left 
Athens rich and strong, and in no more danger from the 
kings of Crete. Though the Dorians, after the time of 
Ulysses, swept all over the rest of Greece, and seized 
Mycenæ and Laceùæmon, the towns of Agamemnon and 
Menelaus, they were true to their oath to Theseus, and left 
A thens to the Athenians. 






MANY years before the Siege of Troy there lived in Greece 
two princes who \vere brothers and deadly enemies. Each 
of them wished to be king both of Argas (where Diomede 
ruled in the time of the Trojan war), and of Tiryns. After 
long wars one of the brothers, Proetus, took Tiryns, and 
built the great walls of huge stones, and the palace; while 
the other brother, Acrisius, took Argas, and he married 
Eurydice, a princess of the Royal House of Lacedæmon, 
where Menelaus and Helen were l{ing and Queen in latel. 
Acrisius had one daughter, Danae, who became the most 
beautiful woman in Greece, but he had no son. This made 
him very unhappy, for he thought that, when he grew old, 
the sons of his brother Proetus would attack him, and take 
his lands and city, if he had no son to lead his army. His 
best plan would have been to find some brave young prince, 
like Theseus, and give Danae to him for his wife, and their 
sons would be leaders of the men of Argas. But Acrisius 
preferred to go to the prophetic maiden of the temple of 
Apollo at Delphi (or Pytho, as it was then called), and ask 
what chance he had of being the father of a son. 



The maiden seldom had good news to give any man; 
but at least this time it was easy to understand what she 
said. She went down into the deep cavern below the 
temple floor, where it was said that a strange mist or steam 
flowed up out of the earth, and made her fall into a strange 
sleep, in which she could walk and speak, but knew not 
what she was singing, for she sang her prophecies. At last 
she came back, very pale, with her laurel wreath twisted 
awry, and her eyes open, but seeing nothing. She sang 
that Acrisius would never have a son; but that his daughter 
would bear a son, who would kill him. 
Acrisius mounted his chariot, sad and sorry, and was 
driven homewards. On the way he never spoke a word, 
but was thinking how he might escape from the prophecy, 
ar:d baffle the will of Zeus, the chief of the gods. He did 
not know that Zeus himself had looked down upon Danae 
and fallen in love with her, nor did Danae know. 
The only sure way to avoid the prophecy was to kill 
Danae, and Acrisius thought of doing this; but he loved her 
too much; and he was afraid that his people would rise 
against hjm, if he slew his daughter, the pride of their 
till another fear was upon Acrisius, which will 
be explained later in the story. He could think of nothing 
better than to build a house all of bronze, in the court of 
his palace, a house sunk deep in the earth, but with part of 
the roof open to the sky, as was the way in all houses then; 
the light came in from above, and the smoke of the fire 
went out in the same way. This chamber Acrisius built, 
and in it he shut up poor Danae with the woman that had 
been her nurse. They saw nothing, hills or plains or sea, 
men or trees, they only saw the sun at midday, and the 
sky, and the free birds flitting across it. There Danae lay, 


and was weary and sad, and she could not guess ,vhy her 
father thus imprisoned her. He used to visit her often 
and seemed kind and sorry for her, but he would never 
listen when she implored him to sell her for a slave into a 
far country, so that, at least, she might see the world in 
which she lived. 
Now on a day a mysterious thing happened; the old 
poet Pindar, who lived long after, in the time of the war 
between the Greeks and the I{ing of Persia, says that a 
living stream of gold flowed down from the sky and filled 
the chamber of Danae. Some time after this Danae bore 
a baby, a son, the strongest and most beautiful of children. 
She and her nurse kept it secret, and the child was brought 
up in an inner chamber of the house of bronze. I twas 
difficult to prevent so lively a child from making a no
in his play, and one day, when Acrisius was with Danae, 
the boy, now three or four years old, escaped from his 
nurse, and ran from her room, laughing and shouting. 
Acrisius rushed out, and saw the nurse catch the child, and 
throw her mantle over him. Acrisius seized the boy, \vho 
stood firm on his little legs, with his head high, frowning at 
his grandfather, and gazing in anger out of his large blue 
eyes. Acrisius saw that this child would be dangerous 
when he became a man, and in great anger he bade his 
guards take the nurse out, and strangle her with a rope, 
while Danae knelt weeping at his feet. 
When they were alone he said to Danae: 'Who is the 
father of this child? ' but she, with her boyan her arm, 
slipped past Acrisius, and out of the open door, and up the 
staircase, into the open air. She ran to the altar of Zeus, 
which was built in the court, and threw her arms round it, 
thinking that there no man dared to touch her. 'I cry to 



Zeus that is throned in the highest, the Lord of Thunder,' 
she said: ' for he and no other is the father of my boy, even 
Perseus.' The sky was bright and blue without a cloud, 
and Danae cried in vain. There came no flash of lightning 
nor roll of thunder. 
, Is it even so ? ' said Acrisius, 'then let Zeus guard his 
own.' He bade his men drag Danae from the altar; and 
lock her again in the house of bronze; while he had a great 
strong chest made. In that chest he had the cruelty to 
place Danae and her boy, and he sent them out to sea in a 
ship, the sailors having orders to let the chest down into the 
waters when they were far from shore. They dared not 
disobey, but they put food and a skin of wine, and two 
skins of water in the chest, and lowered it into the sea, 
which was perfectly calm and still. I t was their hope that 
some ship would come sailing by, perhaps a ship of Phæ- 
nician merchant-men, who would certainly save Danae and 
the child, if only that they might sell them for slaves. 
King Acrisius himself was not ignorant that this might 
happen, and that his grandson might live to be the cause of 
his death. But the Greeks believed that if any man killed 
one of his own kinsfolk, he would be pursued and driven 
mad by the Furies called the Erinyes, terrible \vinged 
women with cruel claws. These winged women drove 
Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, fleeing like a madman 
through the world, because he slew his own mother, Clytaem- 
nestra, to avenge his father, whom she and Ægisthus had 
slain. Nothing was so much dreaded as these Furies, and 
therefore Acrisius did not dare to slay his daughter and his 
grandson, Perseus, but only put them in the way of being 
drowned. He heard no more of them, and hoped that 
both of their bodies were rolling in the waves, or that their 


bones lay bleaching on some unknown shore. But he could 
not be certain-indeed, he soon knew better-and as long as 
he lived, he lived in fear that Perseus had escaped, and would 
come and slay him, as the prophetess had said in her song. 
The chest floated on the still waters, and the sea birds 
swooped down to look at it, and passed by, with one waft 
of their wings. The sun set, and Danae watched the stars, 
the Bear and Orion with his belt, and wrapped her boy up 
warm, and he slept sound, for he never knew fear, in his 
mother's arms. The Dawn came in her golden throne, and 
Danae saw around her the blue sharp crests of the mountains 
of the islands that lay scattered like water lilies on the seas 
of Greece. If only the current would drift her to an island, 
she thought, and prayed in her heart to the Gods of Good 
Help, Pallas Athênê, and Hermes of the Golden Wand. 
Soon she began to hope that the chest was drawing near an 
island. She turned her head in the opposite direction for 
a long while, and then looked forward again. She was 
much nearer the island, and could see the smoke going up 
from cottages among the trees. But she drifted on and 
drifted past the end of the isle, and on with the current, 
and so all day. 
A weary day she had, for the boy was full of play, and 
was like to capsize the chest. She gave him some wine and 
water, and presently he fell asleep, and Danae watched 
the sea and the distant isles till night came again. It was 
dark, with no moon, and the darker because the chest 
floated into the shadow of a mountain, and the current 
drew it near the shore. But Danae dared not hope again; 
men would not be abroad, she thought, in the night. As 
she lay thus helpless, she saw a light moving on the sea, 
and she cried as loud as she could cry. Then the light 



stopped, and a man's shout came to her over the water, 
and the light moved swiftly towards her. It came from a 
brazier set on a pole in a boat, and now Danae could see 
the bright sparks that shone in the drops from the oars, 
for the boat was being rowed towards her, as fast as two 
strong men could pull. 
Being weak from the heat of the sun that had beaten on 
her for two days, and tired out with hopes and fears, Danae 
fainted, and knew nothing till she felt cold water on her 
face. Then she opened her eyes, and saw kind eyes looking 
at her own, and the brown face of a bearded man, in the 
light of the blaze that fishermen carry in their boats at night, 
for the fish come to wonder at it, and the fishermen spear 
them. There were many dead fish in the boat, into which 
Danae and the child had been lifted, and a man with a 
fish spear in his hand was stooping over her. 
Then Danae knew that she and her boy were saved, and 
she lay, unable to speak, till the oarsmen had pulled their 
boat to a little pier of stone. There the man with the 
fish spear lifted her up lightly and softly set her on her feet 
on land, and a boatman handed to him the boy, who was 
awake, and was crying for food. 
e You are safe, lady!' said the man with the spear, 
'and I have taken fairer fish than ever s\vam the sea. I am 
called Dictys ; my brother, Polydectes, is king of this island, 
and my wife is waiting for me at home, where she will make 
you welcome, and the boy thrice welcome, for the gods have 
taken our only son.' 
He asked no questions of Danae; it was reckoned ill 
manners to put questions to strangers and guests, but he 
lighted two torches at the fire in the boat, and bade his two 
men walk in front, to show the way, while he supported 


Danae, and carried the child on his shoulder. They had 
not far to go, for Dictys, who loved fishing of all things, 
had his house near the shore. Soon they saw the light 
shining up from the opening in the roof of the hall; and 
the wife of Dictys came running out, crying: ' Good sport? ' 
when she heard their voices and footsteps. 
'Rare sport,' shouted Dictys cheerily, and he led in 
Danae, and gave the child into the arms of his wife. Then 
they were taken to the warm baths, and dressed in fresh 
raiment. Food was set before them, and presently Danae 
and Perseus slept on soft beds, with coverlets of scarlet 
Dictys and his wife never asked Danae any questions 
about how and why she came floating on the sea through 
the night. News was carried quickly enough from the 
mainland to the islands by fishers in their boats and merchant 
men, and pedlars. Dictys heard how the king of Argas 
had launched his daughter and her son on the sea, hoping 
that both \vould be drowned. All the people knew in the 
island, which was called Seriphos, and they hated the 
cruelty of Acrisius, and many believed that Perseus was the 
son of Zeus. 
If the news from Argas reached Seriphos, we may guess 
that the news from Seriphos reached Argas, and that 
Acrisius heard how a woman as beautiful as a goddess, 
with a boy of the race of the gods, had drifted to the shore of 
the little isle. Acrisius knew, and fear grew about hIS 
heart, fear that was sharper as the years went on, while 
Perseus was coming to his manhood. Acrisius often 
thought of ways by which he might have his grandson 
slain; but none of them seemed safe. By the time when 
Perseus was fifteen, Acrisius dared not go out of doors, 



except among the spears of his armed guards, and he was 
so eaten up by fear that it would have been happier for him 
if he had never been born. 



It was fortunate for Perseus that Dictys treated him and 
taught him like his own son, and checked him if he was 
fierce and quarrelsome, as so strong a boy was apt to be. He 
was trained in all the exercises of young men, the use of 
spear and sword, shield and bow; and in running, leaping, 
hunting, rowing, and the art of sailing a boat. There were 
no books in Seriphos, nobody could read or write; but 
Perseus was told the stories of old times, and of old warriors 
who slew monsters by sea and land. Most of the monsters 
had been killed, as Perseus was sorry to hear, for he desired 
to try his own luck with them when he came to be a man. 
But the most terrible of all, the Gorgons, who were hated 
by men and gods, lived still, in an island near the Land of 
the Dead; but the way to that island was unknown. These 
Gorgons were two sisters, and a third woman; the two 
were hideous to look on, with hair and wings and claws of 
bronze, and with teeth like the white tusks of swine. S\vinish 
they were, ugly and loathsome, feeding fearfully on the 
bodies of unburied men. But the third Gorgon was beautiful 
save for the living serpents that coiled in her hair. She 
alone of the three Gorgons was mortal, and could be slain. 
but who could slay her? So terrible were her eyes that 
men who had gone up against her were changed into pillars 
of stone. 


This was one of the stories that Perseus heard when he 
was a boy; and there was a proverb that this or that hard 
task was' as difficult to do as to slay the Gorgon.' Perseus, 
then, ever since he was a little boy, was wondering how he 
could slay the Gorgon and become as famous as the strong 
man Heracles, or the good knight Bellerophon, who slew 
the Chimaera. Perseus was always thinking of such famous 
men as these, and especially loved the story of Bellerophon, 
which is this: 
In the city of Ephyre, now called Corinth, ,vas a king 
named Glaucus, who had a son, Bellerophon. He was brought 
up far from home, in Argas, by I{ing Proetùs (the great-uncle 
of Perseus), who was his foster-father, and loved him well. 
Proetus was an old lnan, but his wife, Anteia, was young 
and beautiful, and Bellerophon also was beautiful and young, 
and, by little and little, Anteia fell in love with him, and 
could not be happy without him, but no such love was in 
Bellerophon's heart for her, who was his foster-mother. 
At last Anteia, forgetting all shame, told Bellerophon that 
she loved him, and hated her husband; and she asked him 
to fly with her to the seashore, ,vhere she had a ship lying 
ready, and they two would sail to some island far away, and 
be happy together. 
Bellerophon knew not what to say; he could not wrong 
King Proetus, his foster-father. He stood speechless, his 
face was red with shame, but the face of Anteia grew white 
wi th rage. 
, Dastard! ' she said, 'thou shalt not live long in Argos 
to boast of my love and your own virtue!' She ran from 
him, straight to King Proetus, and flung herself at his feet. 
, What shall be done, oh king,' she cried, 'to the man who 
speaks words of love dishonourable to the Queen of Argos ? ' 


26 3 

, By the splendour of Zeus,' cried Proetus, , if he were my 
own foster-son he shall die ! ' 
'Thou hast named him! ' said Anteia, and she ran to 
her own upper chamber, and locked the door, and flung 
herself on the bed, weeping for rage as if her heart would 
break. Proetus followed her, but she would not unlock her 
door, only he heard her bitter weeping, and he went apart, 
alone, and took thought how he should be revenged on 
Bellerophon. He had no desire to slay him openly, for then 
the l{ing of Ephyre would make war against him. He could 
not bring him to trial before the judges, for there was no 
wi tness against him except An teia; and he did not desire 
to make his subjects talk about the queen, for it was the 
glory of a woman, in those days, not to be spoken of in the 
conversation of men. 
Therefore Proetus, for a day or two, seemed to favour 
Bellerophon more kindly than ever. Next he called him 
into his chamber, alone, and said that it was well for young 
men to see the world, to cross the sea and visit foreign cities, 
and win renown. The eyes of Bellerophon brightened at 
these words, not only because he desired to travel, but 
because he was miserable in Argos, where he saw every day 
the angry eyes of Anteia. Then Proetus said that the King 
of Lycia, in Asia far across the sea, was his father-in-law, 
and his great friend. To him he would send Bellerophon, 
and Proetus gave hitn a folded tablet, in which he had 
written many deadly signs. Bellerophon took the folded 
tablet, not looking, of course, at what was written in it, 
and away he sailed to Lycia. The king of that country 
received him well, and on the tenth day after his arrival 
asked him if he brought any token from King Proetus. 
Bellerophon gave him the tablet, which he opened and 


read. The writing said that Bellerophon must die. Now 
at that time Lycia was haunted by a monster of no human 
birth; her front was the front of a lion, in the middle of 
her body she was a goat, she tapered away to a strong swift 
serpent, and she breathed flame from her nostrils. The 
I{ing of Lycia, wishing to get rid of Bellerophon, had but 
to name this curse to his guest, \vbo vowed that he would 
meet her if he might find her. So he was led to the cavern 
where she dwelt, and there he watched for her all night 
till the day dawned. 
He was cunning as well as brave, and men asked him 
why he took with him no weapon but his sword, and two 
spears with heavy heads, not of bronze, but of soft lead. 
Bellerophon told his companions that he had his own way 
of fighting, and bade them go home, and leave him alone, 
while his charioteer stood by the horses and chariot in a 
hollow way, out of sight. Bellerophon himself watched, 
lying on his face, hidden behind a rock in the mouth of the 
cavern. The moment that the rising sun touched with a 
red ray the dark mouth of the cave, forth came the Chimaera, 
and, setting her fore paws on the rock, looked over the 
valley. The moment that she opened her mouth, breathing 
flame, Bellerophon plunged his leaden spears deep down her 
throat, and sprang aside. On came the Chimaera, her 
serpent tail lashing the stones, but Bellerophon ever kept 
on the further side of a grea t tall rock. The Chimaera 
ceased to pursue him, she rolled on the earth, uttering 
screams of pain, for the lead was melting in the fire that 
was within her, and at last the molten lead burned through 
her, and she died. Bellerophon hacked off her head, and 
several feet of her tail, stowed them in his chariot, and drove 


26 5 

back to the palace of the King of Lycia, while the people 
followed him with songs of praise. 
The king set him three other terrible tasks, but he 
achieved each of the adventures gloriously, and the king 
gave him his daughter to be his bride, and half of all the 
honours of his kingdom. This is the story of Bellen?phon 
(there were other ways of telling it), and Perseus was 
determined to do as great deeds as he. But Perseus was 
still a boy, and he did not know, and no man could tell 
him, the way to the island of the Gorgons. 
When Perseus was about sixteen years old, the King of 
Seriphos, Polydectes, saw Danae, fell in love with her, and 
wanted to take her into his palace, but he did not want 
Perseus. He was a bad and cruel man, but Perseus was so 
much beloved by the people that he dared not kill him 
openly. He therefore made friends with the lad, and 
watched him carefully to see how he could take advantage 
of him. The king saw that he was of a rash, daring and 
haughty spirit, though Dictys had taught him to keep 
himself well in hand, and that he was eager to win glory. 
The king fell on this plan: he gave a great feast on his 
birthday, and invited all the chief men and the richest on 
the island; Perseus, too, he asked to the banquet. As the 
custom was, all the guests brought gifts, the best that they 
had, cattle, women-slaves, golden cups, wedges of gold, 
great vessels of bronze, and other splendid things, and the 
king met the guests at the door of his hall, and thanked 
them graciously. 
Last came Perseus : he had no gift to give, for he had 
nothing of his own. The others began to sneer at him, 
saying, , Here is a birthday guest without a birthday gift! ' 
, How should No Man's son a present fit for a king.' 

266 'ï_ALES O.F 'rllOY AND GIlEECE 

, This lad is lazy, tied to his mother; he should long ago 
have taken service with the captain of a merchant ship.' 
, He might at least watch the town's cows on the town's 
fields,' said another. Thus they insulted Perseus, and the 
king, watching him with a cruel smile, saw his face grow 
red, and his blue eyes blaze, as he turned from one to another 
of the mockers, who pointed their fingers at him and 
At last Perseus spoke: ' Ye farmers and fishers, ye ship- 
captains and slave dealers of a little isle, I shall bring to 
your master such a present as none of you dare to seek. 
Farewell. Ye shall see me once again and no more. I go 
to slay the Gorgon, and bring such a gift as no king possesses 
-the Head of the Gorgon.' 
They laughed and hooted, but Perseus turned away, his 
hand on his sword hilt, and left them to their festival, while 
the king rejoiced in his heart. Perseus dared not see his 
mother again, but he spoke to Dictys, saying that he knew 
himself now to be of an age when he must seek his fortune 
in other lands ; and he bade Dictys guard his mother from 
wrong, as well as he might. Dictys promised that he 
would find a way of protecting Danae, and he gave Perseus 
three weighed wedges of gold (which were called' talents,' 
and served as money), and lent him a ship, to take him 
to the mainland of Greece, there to seek his fortune. 
In the dawn Perseus secretly sailed away, landed at 
Malea, and thence walked and wandered everywhere, 
seeking to learn the way to the island of the Gorgons. He 
was poorly clad, and he slept at night by the fires of smithies, 
where beggars and wanderers lay: listening to the stories 
they told, and asking old people, when he met them, if they 
knew anyone who knew the way to the island of the Gorgons. 


26 7 

They all shook their heads. 'Yet I should be near knowing,' 
said one old man, 'if that isle be close to the Land of the 
Dead, for I am on its borders. Yet I know nothing. 
Perchance the dead may know; or the maid that prophesies 
at Pytho, or the Selloi, the priests with unwashen feet, 
who sleep on the ground below the sacred oaks of Zeus in 
the grove of Dodona far away.' 
Perseus could learn no more than this, and he wandered 
on and on. He went to the cave that leads down to the 
Land of the Dead, where the ghosts answer questions in 
their thin voices, like the twittering of bats. But the 
ghosts could not tell him what he desired to know. He went 
to Pytho, where the maid, in her song, bade him seek the 
land of men who eat acorns instead of the yellow grain of 
Demeter, the goddess of harvest. Thence he wandered 
to Epirus, and to the Selloi who dwell in the oak forest 
of Zeus, and live on the flour ground from acorns. One of 
them lay on the ground in the wood, with his head covered 
up in his mantle, and listened to what the wind says, when it 
whispers to the forest leaves. The leaves said, , We bid 
the young man be of good hope, for the gods are with 
This answer did not tell Perseus where the isle of the 
Gorgons lay, but the words put hope in his heart, weary and 
footsore as he was. He ate of the bread made of the acorns, 
and of the flesh of the swine that the Selloi gave him, and he 
went alone, and, far in the forest, he laid his head down 
on the broad mossy root of an old oak tree. He did not 
sleep, but watched the stars through the boughs, and he 
heard the cries of the night-wandering beasts in the wood- 
, If the gods be with me, I shall yet do well,' he said, 




and, as he spoke, he saw a white clear light moving through 
the darkness. That clear white light shone from a golden 
lamp in the hand of a tall and beautiful woman, clad in 
armour, and wearing, hung by a belt from her neck, a great 
shield of polished bronze. With her there came a young 
man, with winged shoon of gold on his feet, and belted with 
a strange short curved sword: in his hand was a golden 
wand, with wings on it, and with golden serpents twisted 
round it. 
Perseus knew that these beautiful folk were the Goddess 
Athênê, and Hermes, who brings all fortunate things. He 
fell upon his face before them, but Athênê spoke in a sweet 
grave voice, saying, 'Arise, Perseus, and speak to us face 
to face, for we are of your kindred, we also are children of 
Zeus, the Father of gods and men.' 
Then Perseus arose and looked straight into their eyes. 
, We have watched you long, Perseus, to learn whether 
you have the heart of a hero, that can achieve great adven- 
tures ; or whether you are an idle dreaming boy. We have 
seen that your heart is steadfast, and that you have sought 
through hunger, and long travel to know the way wherein 
you must find death or win glory. That way is not to be 
found without the help of the gods. First you must seek 
the Three Grey Women, who dwell beyond the land that 
lies at the back of the North Wind. They will tell you 
the road to the three Nymphs of the West, who live in an 
island of the sea that never knew a sail; for it is beyond the 
pillars that Heracles set up when he wearied in his journey 
to the Well of the World's End, and turned again. You 
must go to these nymphs, where never foot of man has trod, 
and they will show you the measure of the way to the Isle of 
the Gorgons. If you see the faces of the Gorgons, you will 


26 9 

be turned to stone. Yet you have vowed to bring the head 
of the youngest of the three, she who was not born a Gorgon 
but became one of them by reason of her own wickedness. 
If you slay her, you must not see even her dead head, but 
wrap it round in this goat-skin which hangs beside my 
shield; see not the head yourself, and let none see it but 
your enemies.' 
'This is a great adventure,' said Perseus, 'to slay a 
woman whom I may not look upon, lest I be changed into 
stone. ' 
, I give you my polished shield,' said Athênê. ' Let it 
never grow dim, if you would live and see the sunlight.' 
She took off her shield from her neck, with the goat-skin 
cover of the shield, and hung them round the neck of 
Perseus. He knelt and thanked her for her grace, and, 
looking up through a clear space between the forest boughs, 
he said, ' I see the Bear, the stars of the North that are the 
guide of sailors. I shall walk towards them even now, by 
your will, for my heart burns to find the Three Grey Women, 
and learn the way.' 
Hermes smiled, and said, ' An old man and white-bearded 
would you be, ere you measured out that way on foot! Here, 
take my winged sandals, and bind them about your feet. 
They know all the paths of the air, and they will bring you 
to the Three Grey Women. Belt yourself, too, with my 
sword, for this sword needs no second stroke, but will cleave 
through that you set it to smite.' 
So Perseus bound on the Shoes of Swiftness, and the 
Sword of Sharpness, the name of it was Herpê ; and when he 
rose from binding on the shoon, he was alone. The gods 
had departed. He drew the sword, and cut at an oak tree 
trunk, and the blade went clean through it, while the tree 


fell with a crash like thunder. Then Perseus rose through 
the clear space in the wood, and flew under the stars, 
towards the constellation of the Bear. North of Greece 
he flew" above the Thracian mountains, and the Danube 
(which was then called the Ister) lay beneath him like a long 
thread of silver. The air grew cold as he crossed lands then 
unknown to the Greeks, lands where wild men dwelt, clad 
in the skins of beasts, and using axe-heads and spear-heads 
made of sharpened stones. He passed to the land at the 
back of the North Wind, a sunny warm land, where the 
people sacrifice wild asses to the God Apollo. Beyond 
this he came to a burning desert of sand, but far away he 
saw trees that love the water, poplars and willows, and 
thither he flew. 
He came to a lake among the trees, and round and 
round the lake were flying three huge grey swans, with the 
heads of women, and their long grey hair flowed down 
below their bodies, and floated on the wind. They sang 
to each other as they flew, in a voice like the cry of the swan. 
They had but one eye among them, and but one tooth, 
which they passed to each other in turn, for they had 
arms and hands under their wings. Perseus dropped down 
in his flight, and watched them. When one was passing 
the eye to the other, none of them could see him, so he 
waited for his chance and took it, and seized the eye. 
'Where is our eye? Have you got it?' said the Grey 
Woman from whose hand Perseus took it. 'I have it 
not. ' 
, I have it not! ' cried each of the others, and they all 
wailed like swans. 
, I have it,' said Perseus, and hearing his voice they all 
flew to the sound of it but he easily kept out of their way. 


27 1 

, The eye will I keep,' said Perseus, 'till you tell me what 
none knows but you, the way to the Isle of the Gorgons.' 
, We know it not,' cried the poor Grey Women. 'None 
knows it but the Nymphs of the Isle of the 'Vest: give us 
our eye ! ' 
'Then tell me the way to the Nymphs of the Isle of the 
West,' said Perseus. 
, Turn your back, and hold your course past the isle of 
Albion, with the white cliffs, and so keep with the land on 
your left hand, and the unsailed sea on your right hand, 
till you mark the pillars of Heracles on your left, then take 
your course west by south, and a curse on you! Give us 
our eye ! ' 
Perseus gave them their eye, and she who took it flew 
at him, but he laughed, and rose high above them and 
flew as he was told. Over many and many a league of sea 
and land he went, till he turned to his right from the Pillars 
of Heracles (at Gibraltar), and sailed along, west by south, 
through warm air, over the lonely endless Atlantic waters. 
At last he saw a great blue mountain, with snow feathering 
its crests, in a far-off island, and on that island he alighted. 
I t was a country of beautiful flowers, and pine forests high 
on the hill, but below the pines all was like a garden, and 
in that garden was a tree bearing apples of gold, and round 
the tree were dancing three fair maidens, clothed in green, 
and ,vhite, and red. 
'These must be the Nymphs of the Isle of the West,' 
said Perseus, and he floated down into the garden, and 
drew near them. 
As soon as they saw him they left off dancing, and 
catching each other by the hands they ran to Perseus laugh- 
ing, and crying, , Hermes, our playfellow Hermes has come! ' 


The arms of all of them went round Perseus at once with 
much laughing and kissing. 'Why have you brought a 
great shield, Hermes?' they cried, 'here there is no un- 
friendly god or man to fight against you.' 
Perseus saw that they had mistaken him for the god 
whose sword and winged shoon he wore, but he did not 
dislike the mistake of the merry maidens. 
'I am not Hermes,' he said, 'but a mortal man, to 
whom the god has graciously lent his sword and shoon, 
and the shield was lent to me by Pallas Athênê. My name 
is Perseus.' 
The girls leaped back from him, blushing and looking 
shy. The eldest girl ans\vered, ' We are the daughters of 
Hesperus, the God of the Evening Star. I am Æglê, this 
is my sister Erytheia, and this is Hesperia. We are the 
keepers of this island, which is the garden of the gods, 
and they often visit us ; our cousins, Dionysus, the young 
god of wine and mirth, and Hermes of the Golden Wand 
come often; and bright Apollo, and his sister Artemis the 
huntress. But a mortal man we have never seen, and 
wherefore have the gods sent you hither? ' 
'The two gods sent me, maidens, to ask you the way 
to the Isle of the Gorgons, that I may slay Medusa of the 
snaky hair, whom gods and men detest.' 
, Alas!' answered the nymphs, 'how shall you slay 
her, even if we knew the way to that island, which we know 
not ? ' 
Perseus sighed: he had gone so far, and endured so 
much, and had come to the Nymphs of the Isle of the West, 
and even they could not tell how to reach the Gorgons' 
C Do not fear,' said the girl, 'for if we kno\v not the 

l&t l 
f t\

 S ' ;.: 

' -, . 

.; '11 

., h': J JP. A 


l ' 

j, '
 .! ( 
I I,
 . \'. '\ ';
'" :, 
. . J 
 I , u' 

 7i ' 

J , 
7 . 
, ]1,\ ':\
A 'l ' 
( '

.)f' ' \ 1
 . ,I' 
\1 ,/ 
\ /! \' 
 . .' 
I - 
 Ml r

"\ fI v 
\ >. rYj , ; I ) I -t 
i /J,;}f)
"; ;0 ' 
Ii _ .,
\ '..: " 


\ I 


.... v ,,1 

. 7ç.

'> 1:-:>::' 

 ,(.... 'f yo 


 . ' ' 

 'J' \. ,.
 '"' 'Jt

.JSÆ 1&-. 

 I J ,.1 :!L....A"" V 1{1 ;"í'- .l-


 - \ \, J llf', 


 ':" I j J 
,1 , 
 lr.L .... " 1 
, "1 fJ (It 'ò!' ì
ù - .Æ/:Ø 

ï ,. 


 , .
_ =-" ié. 


\ " __ 

 - "-. 
, ,
. L.



M ,

 \ " 

. (f.1,' \ 
. : 
 .; , If 


. 'ft' '.ìt'\\).. ' 


tl';.;:. ,... f! 
. ';
 - I .J.1
. ' Þt; . /...,;; 
' i 2}J"" 
Jr. S>>, 
',' .< '--, 
, ß
, .,
, , V-a ti
. J wi 



 -- ...\1 V. -.:-. .'. 
 .. . .À..L. YI-J. 'IC 

.., éY-- 


. J 

<":'-:.o;. .- ,'f'-:2IIO ,I;".
 . ' I11 I1'.i!III"":'.\.
æi l _.w'- 
'- , j 1
rq, f ','1.;, 
 " -;.:








way we know one that knows it : Atlas is his name-the 
Giant of the Mountain. He dwells on the highest peak of 
the snow-crested hill, and it is he who holds up the heavens, 
and keeps heaven and earth asunder. He looks over all 
the world, and over the wide western sea: him we must ask 
to answer your question. Take off your shield, which is so 
heavy, and sit down with us among the flowers, and let us 
think how you may slay the Gorgon.' 
Perseus gladly unslung his heavy shield, and sat down 
among the white and purple wind flowers. Æglê, too, sat 
down; but young Erytheia held the shield upright, while 
beautiful Hesperia admired herself, laughing, in the polished 
Perseus smiled as he watched them, and a plan came 
into his mind. In all his wanderings he had been trying 
hard to think how, if he found the Gorgon, he might cut 
off her head, without seeing the face which turned men into 
stone. Now his puzzle was ended. He could hold up the 
shield above the Gorgon, and see the reflection of her face, 
as in a mirror, just as now he saw the fair reflected face of 
Hesperia. He turned to Æglê, who sat silently beside him: 
'Maiden,' he said, 'I have found out the secret that has 
perplexed me long, how I may strike at the Gorgon without 
seeing her face that turns men to stone. I will hang above 
her in the air, and see her face reflected in the mirror of the 
shield, and so know where to strike.' The two other girls 
had left the shield on the grass, and they clapped their 
hands when Perseus said this, but Æglê still looked grave. 
'It is much that you should have found this cunning 
plan; but the Gorgons will see you, and two of them are 
deathless and cannot be slain, even with the sword Herpê. 
These Gorgons have wings almost as swift as the winged 


shoon of Hermes, and they have cla,vs of bronze that cannot 
be broken.' 
Hesperia clapped her hands. ' Yet I kno,v a ,yay,' 
she said, 'so that this friend of ours may approach the 
Gorgons, yet not be seen by them. You must be told,' 
she said, turning to Perseus, 'that we three sisters were 
of the company of the Fairy Queen, Persephone, daughter of 
Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest. \lVe were gathering 
flowers with her, in the plain of Enna, in a spring morning, 
when there sprang up a new flower, fragrant and beautiful, 
the white narcissus. No sooner had Persephone plucked 
that flower than the earth opened beside her, and up came 
the chariot and horses of Hades, the l{ing of the Dead, who 
caught Persephone into his chariot, and bore her down 
with him to the House of Hades. We wept and were in 
great fear, but Zeus granted to Persephone to return to 
earth with the first snowdrop, and remain with her mother, 
Demeter, till the last rose had faded. N ow I was the 
favourite of Persephone, and she carried me with her to 
see her husband, who is kind to me for her sake, and can 
refuse me nothing, and he has what will serve your turn. To 
him I will go, for often I go to see my playmate, when it is 
winter in your world: it is always summer in our isle. To 
him I will go, and return again, when I will so work that you 
may be seen of none, neither by god, or man, or monster. 
Meanwhile my sisters will take care of you, and to-morrow 
they \villlead you to the mountain top, to speak with the 
, It is well spoken,' said tall, grave Æglê, and she led 
Perseus to their house, and gave him food and wine, and at 
night he slept full of hope, in a chamber in the courtyard. 
Next morning, early, Perseus and Æglê and Erytheia 



floated up to the crest of the mountain, for Hesperia had 
departed in the night, to visit Queen Persephone. Perseus 
took a hand of each of the Nymphs, and they had no weary 
climbing; they all soared up together, so great was the 
power of the winged shoon of Hermes. They found the 
good giant Atlas, kneeling on a black rock above the snow, 
holding up the vault of heaven with either hand. When 
iEglê had spoken to him, he bade his girls go apart, and 
said to Perseus, 'Yonder, far away to the west, you see 
an island with a mountain that rises to a flat top, like a 
table. There dwell the Gorgons.' 
Perseus thanked him eagerly, but Atlas sighed and said, 
, J\Iine is a weary life. Here have I knelt and done my 
task, since the Giants fought against the gods, and were 
defeated. Then, for my punishment, I was set here by 
Zeus to keep sky an d earth asunder. Eu t he told me that 
after hundreds of years I should have rest, and be changed 
to a stone. Now I see that the day of rest appointed is 
come, for you shall show me the head of the Gorgon when 
you have slain her, and my body shall be stone, but my 
spirit shall be with the ever living gods.' 
Perseus pitied Atlas; he bowed to the vvill of Zeus, and to 
the prayer of the giant, and gave his promise. Then he 
floated to Æglê and Erytheia, and they all three floated 
down again to the garden of the golden apples. Here as 
they walked on the soft grass, and watched the wind toss 
the white and red and purple bells of the wind flowers, they 
heard a low laughter close to them, the laughter of Hesperia, 
but her they sa,v not. 'Where are you, Hesperia, where 
are you hiding? ' cried Æglê, wondering, for the wide lawn 
was open, without bush or tree where the girl might be 


276 1.'ALES O:F 'fIlOY AND GRF

'Find me if you can,' cried the voice of Hesperia, close 
beside them, and handfuls of flowers were lightly tossed to 
them, yet they saw none who threw them. 'This place is 
surely enchanted,' thought Perseus, and the voice of 
Hesperia answered : 
'Come follow, follow me. I will run before you to the 
house, and show you my secret.' 
Then they all saw the flowers bending, and the grass 
waving, as if a light-footed girl were running through it, and 
they followed to the house the path in the trodden grass. 
At the door, Hesperia met them: ' You could not see me,' 
she said, 'nor will the Gorgons see Perseus. Look, on that 
table lies the Helmet of Hades, which mortal men call 
the Cap of Darkness. While I wore it you could not see me, 
nay, a deathless god cannot see the wearer of that helmet.' 
She took up a dark cap of hard leather, that lay on a table 
in the hall, and raised it to her head, and when she had 
put it on, she was invisible. She took it off, and placed it 
on the brows of Perseus. 'We cannot see you, Perseus,' 
cried all the girls. 'Look at yourself in your shining shield: 
can you see yourself ? ' 
Perseus turned to the shield, which he had hung on a 
golden nail in the wall. He saw only the polished bronze, 
and the faces of the girls who were looking over his shoulder. 
He took off the Helmet of Hades and gave a great sigh. 
, Kind are the gods,' he said. 'Methinks that I shall indeed 
keep my vow, and bring to Polydectes the Gorgon's head.' 
They were merry that night, and Perseus told them his 
story, how he was the son of Zeus, and the girls called him 
'cousin Perseus.' 'We love you very much, and we could 
make you immortal, without old age and death,' said 
Hesperia. 'Y ou might live with us here for ever-it is 



lonely, sometimes, for three maidens in the garden of the 
gods. But you must keep your vow, and punish your 
enemies, and cherish your mother, and do not forget your 
cousins three, when you have married the lady of your 
heart's desire, and are King of Argos.' 
The tears stood in the eyes of Perseus. ' Cousins dear,' 
he said, 'never shall I forget you, not even in the House of 
Hades. You will come thither now and again, Hesperia ? 
But I love no woman.' 
, I think you will not long be without a lady and a love, 
Perseus,' said Erytheia; 'but the night is late, and to- 
morrow you have much to do.' 
So they parted, and next morning they bade Perseus 
be of good hope. He burnished and polished the shield, 
and covered it with the goat's skin, he put on the Shoes of 
Swiftness, and belted himself with the Sword of Sharpness, 
and placed on his head the Cap of Darkness. Then he 
soared high in the air, till he saw the Gorgons' Isle, and the 
table-shaped mountain, a speck in the western sea. 
The way was long, but the shoes were swift, and, far 
aloft, in the heat of the noon-day, Perseus looked dovvn 
on the top of the table-mountain. There he could dimly 
see three bulks of strange shapeless shape, with monstrous 
limbs that never stirred, and he knew that the Gorgons 
were sleeping their midday sleep. Then he held the shield 
so that the shapes were reflected in its polished face, and very 
slowly he floated down, and down, till he was within striking 
distance. There they lay, two of them uglier than sin, 
breathing loud in their sleep like drunken men. But the 
face of her who lay between the others was as quiet as the 
face of a sleeping child; and as beautiful as the face of the 
goddess of Love, with long dark eyelashes veiling the eyes, 


and red lips half open. Nothing stirred but the serpents 
in the hair of beautiful Medusa; they were never still, but 
coiled and twisted, and Perseus loathed them as he watched 
them in the mirror. They coiled and uncoiled, and left 
bare her ivory neck, and then Perseus drew the sword 
Herpê, and struck once. 
In the mirror he saw the fallen head, and he seized it by 
the hair, and wrapped it in the goat-skin, and put the goat- 
skin in his wallet. Then he to\vered high in the air, and, 
looking down, he saw the two sister Gorgons turning in 
their sleep; they woke, and saw their sister dead. They 
seemed to speak to each other; they looked this way and 
that, into the bright empty air, for Perseus in the Cap of 
Darkness they could not see. They rose on their mighty 
wings, hunting low, and high, and with casts behind their 
island and in front of it, but Perseus was flying faster than 
ever he flew before, stooping and rising to hide his scent. 
He dived into the deep sea, and flew under water as long 
as he could hold his breath, and then rose and fled swiftly 
forward. The Gorgons were puzzled by each double he had 
made, and, at the place where he dived they lost the scent, 
and from far away Perseus heard their loud yelps, but soon 
these faded in the distance. He often looked over his 
shoulder as he flew straight towards the far-off blue hill of 
the giant Atlas, but the sky was empty behind him, and 
the Gorgons he never saw again. The mountain turned 
from blue to clear grey and red and gold, with pencilled 
rifts and glens, and soon Perseus stood beside the giant 
Atlas. ' You are welcome and blessed,' said the giant. 
, Show me the head that I may be at rest.' 
Then Perseus took the bundle from the wallet, and 
carefully unbound the goat-skin, and held up the head, 



looking away from it, and the Giant was a great grey stone. 
Do\vn sailed Perseus, and stood in the garden of the gods, 
and laid the Cap of Darkness on the grass. The three 
Nymphs who were sitting there, weaving garlands of flowers, 
leaped up, and came round him, and kissed him, and crowned 
him with the flowery chaplets. That night he rested with 
them, and in the morning they kissed and said farewell. 
, Do not forget us,' said Æglê, 'nor be too sorry for our 
loneliness. To-day Hermes has been with us, and to- 
morrow he comes again with Dionysus, the god of the vine, 
and all his merry company. Hermes left a message for you, 
that you are to fly eastward, and south, to the place 
where your \vings shall guide you, and there, he said, you 
shall find your happiness. When that is won, you shall 
turn north and west, to your own country. We say, all 
three of us, that our love is with you always, and we shall 
hear of your gladness, for Hermes will ten us ; then \ve too 
shall be glad. Farewell!' 
So the three maidens embraced him \vith kind faces and 
smiling eyes, and Perseus, too, smiled as well as he might, 
but in his eastward way he often looked back, and was sad 
when he could no longer see the kindly hin above the garden 
of the gods. 



Perseus flew where the wings bore him, over great moun- 
tains, and over a wilderness of sand. Below his feet the 
\vind woke the sand storms, and beneath him he sa\v nothing 
but a soft floor of yel1o\v grey, and \vhen that cleared he 
saw islands of green trees round some \vell in the \vaste, 


and long trains of camels, and brown men riding swift 
horses, at which he \vondered; for the Greeks in his time 
drove in chariots, and did not ride. The red sun behind him 
feU, and all the land was purple, but, in a Inoment, as it 
seemed, the stars rushed out, and he sped along in the 
starlight till the sky was grey again, and rosy, and full of 
fiery colours, green and gold and ruby and amethyst. Then 
the sun rose, and Perseus looked down on a green land, 
through which was flowing north a great river, and he 
guessed that it was the river Ægyptus, which we now call 
the Nile. Beneath hÍ1n was a town, with many white 
houses in groves of palm trees, and with great temples 
of the gods, built of red stone. The shoes of swiftness 
stopped above the wide market-place, and there Perseus 
hung poised, till he saw a multitude of men pour out of the 
door of a temple. 
A t their head walked the king, who was like a Greek, 
and he led a maiden as white as snow wreathed with flowers 
and circlets of wool, like the oxen in Greece, \vhen men 
sacrifice them to the gods. Behind the king and the maid 
came a throng of brown lnen, first priests and magicians 
and players on harps, and women shaking metal rattles 
that made a wild mournful noise, while the multitude 
Slowly, while Perseus watched, they passed down to 
the shore of the great river, so wide a river as Perseus had 
never seen. They went to a steep red rock, like a wall, 
above the river; at its foot was a flat shelf of rock-the 
water 1ust washed over it. Here they stopped, and the king 
kissed and embraced the \vhite maiden. They bound her 
by chains of bronze to rings of bronze in the rock; they 
sang a strange hymn; and then marched back to the town, 




throwing their mantles oyer their heads. There the maiden 
stood, or rather hung forward supported by the chains. 
Perseus floated do\vn, and, the nearer he came, the more 
beautiful seemed the white maid, with her soft dark hair 
falling to her white feet. Softly he floated down, till his 
feet were on the ledge of rock. She did not hear him coming, 
and when he gently touched her she gave a cry, and turned 
on him her large dark eyes, wild and dry, without a tear. 
, Is ita god ? ' she said, clasping her hands. 
'No god, but a mortal man am I, Perseus the slayer of 
the Gorgon. What do you here? What cruel men have 
bound you ? ' 
'I am Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus, king of a 
strange people. The lot feU on me, of all the maidens in the 
city, to be offered to the monster fish that walks on feet, 
\vho is their god. Once a year they give to him a maiden.' 
Perseus thereon drew the sword Herpê, and cut the 
chains of bronze that bound the girl as if they had been 
ropes of flax, and she fell at his feet, covering her eyes with 
her hands. Then Perseus saw the long reeds on the further 
shore of the river waving and stirring and crashing, and 
from them came a monstrous fish walking on feet, and slid 
into the water. His long sharp black head showed above 
the stream as he swam, and the water behind him showed 
like the water in the wake of a ship. 
, Be still and hide your eyes ! ' whispered Perseus to the 
He took the goat-skin from his wallet, and held up the 
Gorgon's head, with the back of it turned towards him, and 
he waited till the long black head was lifted from the river's 
edge, and the forefeet of that fish were on the wet ledge of 
rock. Then he held the head before the eyes of the monster, 


and from the head down\vard it slowly stiffened. The head 
and forefeet and shoulders were of stone before the tail had 
ceased to lash the water. Then the tail stiffened into a long 
jagged sharp stone, and Perseus, wrapping up the head in 
the goat-skin, placed it in his wallet. He turned his back 
to Andromeda, while he did this lest by mischance her eyes 
should open and see the head of the Gorgon. But her eyes 
\vere closed, and Perseus found that she had fainted, from 
fear of the monster, and from the great heat of the sun. 
Perseus put the palms of his hands together like a cup, and 
stooping to the stream he brought water, and thre\v it over 
the face and neck of Andromeda, \vondering at her beauty. 
Her eyes opened at last, and she tried to rise to her feet, 
but she dropped on her knees, and clung \vith her fingers to 
the rock. Seeing her so faint and weak Perseus raised her 
in his arms, with her beautiful head pillo\ved on his shoulder, 
where she fell asleep like a tired child. Then he rose in the 
air and floated over the sheer wall of red stone above the 
river, and flew slowly to\vards the town. 
There were no sentinels at the gate; the long street was 
empty, for all the people were in their houses, praying and 
weeping. But a little girl stole out of a house near the gate. 
She was too young to understand why her father and mother 
and elder brothers were so sad, and would not take any 
notice of her. She thought she would go out and play in 
the street, and when she looked up from her play, she saw 
Perseus bearing the king's daughter in his arms. The child 
stared, and then ran into her house, crying aloud, for she 
could hardly speak, and pulled so hard at her mother's 
gown that her mother rose and followed her to the house 
door. The mother gave a joyful cry, her husband and her 
children ran forth, and they, too, shouted aloud for pleasure. 


28 3 

Their cries reached the ears of people in other houses, and 
presently all the folk, as glad as they had been sorrowful, 
were following Perseus to the palace of the king. Perseus 
walked through the empty court, and stood at the door of 
the hall, where the servants came to him, both men and 
women, and with tears of joy the women bore Andromeda 
to the chamber of her lnother, Queen Cassiopeia. 
Who can tell how happy were the king and queen, and 
how gladly they welcomed Perseus! They made a feast 
for him, and they sent oxen and sheep to all the people, 
and \vine, that all might rejoice and make merry. An- 
dromeda, too, came, pale but smiling, into the hall, and sat 
down beside her mother's high seat, listening while Perseus 
told the whole story of his adventures. N ow Perseus could 
scarcely keep his eyes from Andromeda's face while he 
spoke, and she stole glances at him. When their eyes met, 
the colour came into her face again, which glowed like 
ivory that a Carian \voman has lightly tinged with rose 
colour, making an ornament for some rich king. Perseus 
remembered the message of Hermes, which Æglê had given 
him, that if he flew to the east and south he would find his 
happiness. He knew that he had found it, if this maiden 
would be his wife, and he ended his tale by repeating the 
lnessage of Hermes. 
'The gods speak only truth,' he said, 'and to have 
made you all happy is the greatest happiness to Perseus of 
Argas.' Yet he hoped in his heart to see a yet happier day, 
when the rites of marriage should be done between An- 
dromeda and him, and the young men and maidens should 
sing the wedding song before their door. 
Andromeda was of one mind with him, and, as Perseus 
must needs go home, her parents believed that she could 


not live without him who had saved her from such a cruel 
death. So with heavy hearts they made the marriage 
feast, and with many tears Andromeda and her father and 
mother said farewell. Perseus and his bride sailed down 
the great river Ægyptus in the king's own boat; and at 
every town they were received with feasts, and songs, and 
dances. They sawall the wonderful things of Egypt, 
palaces and pyramids and temples and tombs of kings, and 
at last they found a ship of the Cretans in the mouth of 
the Nile. This they hired, for they carried with them great 
riches, gold, and myrrh, and ivory, gifts of the princes of 



With a steady south wind behind them they sailed to 
Seriphos, and landed, and brought their wealth ashore, 
and went to the house of Dictys. They found him lonely 
and sorrowful, for his wife had died, and his brother, King 
Polydectes, had taken Danae, and set her to grind corn in 
his house, among his slave women. When Perseus heard 
that word, he asked, 'Where is I(ing Polydectes ? ' 
'It is his birthday, and he holds his feast among the 
princes,' said Dictys. 
, Then bring me,' said Perseus, 'the worst of old clothes 
that any servant of your house can borrow from a beggar 
man, if there be a beggar man in the town.' Such a man 
there was-he came limping through the door of the court- 
yard, and up to the threshold of the house, where he sat 
whining, and asking for alms. They gave him food and 
wine, and Perseus cried, , New clothes for old, father, I \vill 


28 5 

give you, and new shoes for old.' The beggar could not 
believe his ears, but he was taken to the baths, and washed, 
and new clothes were given to him, while Perseus clad 
himself in the beggar's rags, and Dictys took charge of the 
winged shoon of Hermes and the sword Herpê, and the 
burnished shield of Athênê. Then Perseus cast dust and 
wood ashes on his hair, till it looked foul and grey, and 
placed the goat-skin covering and the Gorgon's head in his 
wallet, and with the beggar's staff in his hand he limped 
to the palace of Polydectes. On the threshold he sat down, 
like a beggar, and Polydectes saw him and cried to his 
servants, , Bring in that man; is it not the day of my feast? 
Surely all are welcome.' Perseus was led in, looking humbly 
at the ground, and was brought before the king. 
, What news, thou beggar Inan ? ' said the king. 
'Such news as was to be looked for,' whined Perseus. 
'Behold, I am he who brought no present to the king's 
feast, seven long years agone, and now I come back, tired 
and hungry, to ask his grace.' 
'By the splendour of Zeus,' cried Polydectes, 'it is 
none but the beggar brat who bragged that he would fetch 
me such a treasure as lies in no king's chamber! The 
beggar brat is a beggar man; how titne and travel have 
tamed him! Ho, one of you, run and fetch his mother 
who is grinding at the mill, that she may welcome her son.' 
A servant ran from the hall, and the chiefs of Seriphos 
mocked at Perseus. 'This is he who called us farmers 
and dealers in slaves. Verily he would not fetch the price 
of an old cow in the slave market.' Then they threw at 
him crusts of bread, and bones of swine, but he stood silent. 
Then Danae was led in, clad in vile raiment, but looking 
like a queen, and the king cried, 'Go forward, woman: 


look at that beggar man; dost thou know thy son?' She 
walked on, her head high, and Perseus whispered, , l\iother, 
stand thou beside me, and speak no word ! ' 
, My mother knows me not, or despises me,' said Perseus, 
, yet, poor as I am, I do not come empty-handed. In my 
wallet is a gift, brought from very far away, for my lord 
the king.' 
He swung his wallet round in front of him; he took off 
the covering of goat-skin, and he held the Gorgon's head 
on high, by the hair, facing the king and the chiefs. In 
one mOl11ent they were all grey stones, all along the hall, 
and the chairs whereon they sat crashed under the weight 
of them, and they rolled on the hard cIa y floor. Perseus 
wrapped the head in the goat-skin, and shut it in the wallet 
carefully, and cried, 'l\1other, look round, and see thy son 
and thine own revenge.' 
Then Danae knew her son, by the sound of his voice, 
if not by her eyesight, and she wept for joy. So they two 
went to the house of Dictys, and Perseus was cleansed, 
and clad in rich raiment, and Danae, too, was apparelled 
like a free woman, and embraced Androllleda with great 
Perseus made the good Dictys king of Seriphos; and he 
placed the winged shoes in the temple of Hermes, with the 
sword Herpê, and the Gorgon's head, in its goat-skin 
cover; but the polished shield he laid on the altar in the 
temple of Athênê. Then he bade all who served in the 
temples come forth, both young and old, and he locked the 
doors, and he and Dictys watched all night, with the armed 
Cretans, the crew of his ship, that none might enter. Next 
day Perseus alone went into the temple of Athênê. I twas 
as it had been, but the Gorgon's head and the polished 


28 7 

shield were gone, and the winged shoon and the sword Herpê 
had vanished from the temple of Hermes. 
With Danae and Andromeda Perseus sailed to Greece, 
where he learned that the sons of King Proetus had driven 
King Acrisius out of Argas, and that he had fled to Phthia 
in the north, ,vhere the ancestor of the great Achilles was 
king. Thither Perseus went, to see his grandfather, and he 
found the young men holding games and sports in front of 
the palace. Perseus thought that his grandfather might 
love him better if he showed his strength in the games, 
which were open to strangers, so he entered and ,van the 
race, and the prize for leaping, and then came the throwing 
of the disc of bronze. Perseus threw a great cast, far be- 
yond the rest, but the disc swerved, and fell among the 
crowd. Then Perseus was afraid, and ran like the wind 
to the place where the disc fell. There lay an old man, 
smitten sorely by the disc, and men said that he had killed 
I{ing Acrisi us. 
Thus the ,vord of the prophetess and the will of Fate 
were fulfilled. Perseus went weeping to the King of Phthia, 
and told him all the truth, and the king, who knew, as all 
Greece knew, how Acrisius had tried to drown his daughter 
and her child, believed the tale, and said that Perseus was 
gui1tless. He and Danae and Andromeda dwelt for a year 
in Phthia, with the king, and then Perseus with an army of 
Pelasgians and IVI yrmidons, marched south to Argas, and 
took the city, and drove out his cousins, the sons of Proetus. 
There in Argas Perseus, with his mother and beautiful 
Andromeda, dwelt long and happily, and he left the king- 
dom to his son when he died. 

The story oj Ulysses is taken lJtaÙuy frol11. the Iliad, the Odyssey, 
and the Post H0111erica of Quintus Sm,yrnæus. As 'ive have 11.0 
detailed aCCOUJlt of the stealing of the Palladiulll by Ulysses, use has 
been, 1lI,ade of Helell's tale about his entry into Troy in the disguise of a 
beaten beggar. 
The chief source of ' The Fleece of Gold' is tradition, 'with the 
Argonautica of Aþollollius Rhodius
' the fight betweell, PolydeuCes and 
the Giant is best reþorted by Theocritus. 
No epic or tragedy cOllcerning the early fortunes of Theseus and the 
history of Perseus has reached us: Sltl1111Zaries Í1z Plutarch a1ld Apollo- 
dorus provide the outlines of the legends. 
The descriptions of costulJZe, arms, and 1JlOde of life are derived fro111 
Homer and fron/. the 'Mycenæan' relics discovered in the last thirty 
veal'S by Dr. Schliemann, Mr. A. J. Evans, and 1nany other exPlorers. 
, The Fleece oj Gold,' first publiShed Î1z all Alllerican 11lagazÙze, has 
also aÞPeared in America in a little volul1ze (Hellry Altemus &"" Co.). 
It is here reþrinted by þerl1lÍssion of Messrs. Altemus, zvith sOllte 
cltanges aJzd corrections.