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(1,403)Perseus finds his mother at the handmill.
THE HEROESAbridged from the Tales byCharles KingsleyTHOMAS NELSON AND SONSLondon, Edinburgh, Dublin, and New rork
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CONTENTS.Perseus. .TliArgonauts 56Theseus.. 27
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.PERSEUS FINDS HIS MOTHER AT THE HAND-MILLFrontispieceTHE DEATH OF ACRISIUS ... ... ... ... 54JASON MEETS MEDEIA ... ... ... ... 92JASON AND THE BRAZEN BULLS ... ... ... 100
THE HEROES.PERSEUS.I. How Perseus and his Mother came toSeriphos.ONCE upon a time there were two princeswho were twins. Their names wereAcrisius and Prcetus, and they lived in thepleasant vale of Argos, far away in Hellas.They had fruitful meadows and vineyards,sheep and oxen, great herds of horses, and allthat men could need to make them blest:and yet they were wretched, because theywere jealous of each other. From the mo-ment they were born they began to quarrel;and when they grew up each tried to takeaway the other's share of the kingdom, andkeep all for himself.
THE HEROES.So first Acrisius drove out Prcetus; andhe went across the seas, and brought homea foreign princess for his wife, and foreignwarriors to help him, and drove out Acrisiusin his turn; and then they fought a longwhile till the quarrel was settled, and Acrisiustook Argos and one half the land, andPrcetus took Tiryns and the other half.But there came a prophet to that hard-hearted Acrisius, and said, "Because you haverisen up against your own blood, your ownblood shall rise up against you. Your daughterDanae shall bear a son, and by that son's handsyou shall die."And at that Acrisius was very much afraid;but he did not mend his ways, for he shut uphis fair daughter Danae in a cavern under-ground, lined with brass, that no one mightcome near her.Now it came to pass that in time Danaebore a son; so beautiful a babe that any butKing Acrisius would have had pity on it.But he had no pity; for he took Danae andher babe down to the sea-shore, and put theminto a great chest and thrust them out to sea.
PERSEUS.7The north-west wind blew freshly out ofthe blue mountains, and down the vale, andaway and out to sea. And away and outto sea before it floated the mother and herbabe.They floated on and on, and the chestdanced up and down upon the billows, andthe baby slept upon its mother's breast: butthe poor mother could not sleep, but watchedand wept.And now they are past the last blue head-land, and in the open sea; and there is nothinground them but the waves, and the sky, andthe wind. But the waves are gentle, and thesky is clear, and the breeze is tender and low.So a night passed, and a day, and a longday it was for Dana ; and another night andday beside, till Danae was faint with hungerand weeping, and yet no land appeared. Andall the while the babe slept quietly; and atlast poor Danae drooped her head and fellasleep likewise, with her cheek against thebabe's.After a while she was awakened suddenly;for the chest was jarring and grinding, and
8THE HEROES.the air was full of sound. She looked up,and over her head were mighty cliffs, all redin the setting sun, and around her rocks andbreakers, and flying flakes of foam. Sheclasped her hands together and shrieked aloudfor help. And when she cried, help mether; for now there came over the rocksa tall and stately man, and lookeddown wondering upon poor Danaetossing about in the chest amongthe waves.He wore a rough cloak of frieze,J i and on his head a broad hat toshade his face. In his hand hecarried a trident for spearing fish,and over his shoulder was a casting-net; but Danae could see that hewas no common man by his stature, andhis walk, and his flowing golden hair andbeard. But she had hardly time to lookat him before he had laid aside his tridentand leapt down the rocks, and thrown hiscasting-net so surely over Danae and thechest that he drew it, and her, and thebaby safe upon a ledge of rock.
PERSEUS.9Then the fisherman took Danae by thehand, and lifted her out of the chest, andsaid,-"0 beautiful damsel, what strange chancehas brought you to this island in so frail aship? Who are you, and whence? Surelyyou are some king's daughter; and this boyhas somewhat more than mortal."But Danae only held down her head, andsobbed out,-"Tell me to what land I have come, andamong what men I have fallen."And he said, "This isle is called Seriphos.I am the brother of Polydectes the king; andmen call me Dictys the netter, because I catchthe fish of the shore."Then Danae fell down at his feet, and em-braced his knees, and cried,-"Oh, sir, have pity upon a stranger, and letme live in your house as a servant; but treat mehonourably, for I was once a king's daughter,-and this my boy (as you have truly said) is ofno common race. I will not be a charge toyou, for I am more skilful in weaving andembroidery than all the maidens of my land."
10THE HEROES.And she was going on; but Dictys stoppedher, and raised her up, and said,-" My daughter, I am old, and my hairs aregrowing gray, while I have no children tomake my home cheerful. Come with methen, and you shall be a daughter to me andto my wife, and this babe shall be our grand-child."So Danae was comforted, and went homewith Dictys, the good fisherman, and was adaughter to him and to his wife, till fifteenyears were past.II. How Perseus vowed a Rash Vow.FIFTEEN years were past and gone, and thebabe was now grown to be a tall lad anda sailor, and went many voyages after mer-chandise to the islands round. His mothercalled him Perseus ; but all the people calledhim the son of Zeus, the king of the Im-mortals.For though he was but fifteen, he was tallerby a head than any man in the island; and heb1
PERSEUS.IIwas the most skilful of all in running andwrestling and boxing, and in throwing thequoit and the javelin, and in rowing with theoar, and in playing on the harp, and in allwhich befits a man. And he was brave andtruthful, gentle and courteous, for good oldDictys had trained him well; and well it wasfor Perseus that he had done so.I said that Dictys' brother was Polydectes,king of the island. He was greedy, and cun-ning, and cruel. And when he saw fair Danaehe wanted to marry her. But she would not;for she cared for no one but her boy.At last Polydectes became furious, andwhile Perseus was away at sea he took poorDanae away from Dictys, saying, " If you willnot be my wife, you shall be my slave." SoDanae was made a slave, and had to fetchwater from the well, and grind in the mill,because she would not marry that cruel king.Now one day at Samos, while the ship waslading, Perseus wandered into a pleasant woodto get out of the sun, and sat down on the turfand fell asleep. And as he slept a strangedream came to him.L
12THE HEROES.There came a lady through the wood, tallerthan he or any mortal man, but beautifulexceedingly, with great gray eyes, clear andpiercing, but strangely soft and mild. Onher head was a helmet, and in her hand aspear. And over her shoulder, above her longblue robes, hung a goat-skin, which boreup a mighty shield of brass, polishedlike a mirror. She stood and lookedat him as if she could see all the secretsof his soul. And Perseus drooped hiseyes, trembling and blushing, as thewonderful lady spoke."Perseus, you must do an errandfor me."" Who are you, lady? And how doyou know my name ?""I am Pallas Athene; and I know thethoughts of all men's hearts, and discern theirmanhood or their baseness. And from thesouls of clay I turn away, and they are blest,but not by me. They fatten at ease, likesheep in the pasture, and eat what they didnot sow, like oxen in the stall."But to the souls of fire I give more fire,
PERSEUS.I3and to those who are manful I give a mightmore than man's. These are the heroes, thesons of the Immortals, who are blest, but notlike the souls of clay. For I drive them forthby strange paths, Perseus, that they may fightthe Titans and the monsters, the enemies ofgods and men. Tell me now, Perseus, whichof these two sorts of men seem to you moreblest."Then Perseus answered boldly: " Better todie in the flower of youth, on the chance ofwinning a noble name, than to live at easelike the sheep, and die unloved and un-renowned."Then that strange lady laughed, and heldup her brazen shield, and cried: "See here,Perseus; dare you face such a monster as this,and slay it, that I may place its head upon thisshield?"And in the mirror of the shield there ap-peared a face, and as Perseus looked on it hisblood ran cold. It was the face of a beautifulwoman; but her cheeks were pale as death,and her brows were knit with everlasting pain,and her lips were thin and bitter like a snake's;
14THE HEROES.and instead of hair, vipers wreathed about hertemples, and shot out their forked tongues,while round her head were folded wings likean eagle's, and upon her bosom claws of brass.And Perseus looked awhile, and then said:"If there is anything so fierce and foul onearth, it were a noble deed to kill it. Wherecan I find the monster ?"Then the strange lady smiled again, andsaid: "Not yet; you are too young, and toounskilled; for this is Medusa the Gorgon, themother of a monstrous brood. Return to yourhome, and do the work which waits there foryou. You must play the man in that beforeI can think you worthy to go in search of theGorgon."Then Perseus would have spoken, but thestrange lady vanished, and he awoke; and, be-hold, it was a dream. So he returned home;and when he came to Seriphos, the first thingwhich he heard was that his mother was aslave in the house of Polydectes.Grinding his teeth with rage, he went out,and away to the king's palace, and found hismother sitting on the floor, turning the stone
PERSEUS.IS5hand-mill, and weeping as she turned it. Andhe lifted her up, and kissed her, and bade herfollow him forth.But before they could pass out of the roomPolydeotes came in, raging. And whenPerseus saw him he flew upon him as themastiff flies on the boar. "Villain andtyrant !" he cried; "you shall die!" Andbecause he had no sword he caughtup the stone hand-mill, and liftedit to dash out Polydectes' brains.But his mother clung to him,shrieking, "Oh, my son, we arestrangers and helpless in the land;and if you kill the king we shallboth die."Good Dictys, too, who had come in, en-treated him. "Remember that he is mybrother, and spare him for my sake."Then Perseus lowered his hand; and Poly-dectes, who had been trembling all this while,let Perseus and his mother pass.Perseus took his mother to the temple ofAthean, and there the priestess made her oneof the temple-sweepers; for there they knew
THE HEROES.she would be safe, and not even Polydecteswould dare to drag her away from the altar.Now Polydectes was sure that he couldnever get back Danae as long as Perseus wasin the island; so he made a plot to rid him-self of him. And first he pretended to haveforgiven Perseus, and to have forgotten Danae;so that, for a while, all went as smoothly asever. Next he proclaimed a great feast, andinvited to it all the chiefs, and the young menof the island, and among them Perseus, thatthey might all do him homage as their king.On the appointed day they all came; andas the custom was then, each guest broughthis present with him to the king: one a horse,another a shawl, or a ring, or a sword; butPerseus brought nothing, for he had nothingto bring, being but a poor sailor-lad. So hestood at the door sorrowfully, watching therich men go in; and his face grew very redas they pointed at him and whispered, "Whathas that foundling to give?"Now this was what Polydectes wanted; andasr-soon as he heard that Perseus stood with-out he bade them bring him in, and asked: ,et X,.,\-X } X f X : Cru
________PERSEUS. 7him scornfully before them all, "Am I notyour king, Perseus, and have I not invitedyou to my feast? Where is your present,then?"Perseus blushed and stammered, while allthe proud men round laughed, and someof them began jeering him openly. "Thisfellow was thrown ashore here like a pieceof weed or drift-wood, and yet he is tooproud to bring a gift to the king."And so forth, till poor Perseus grew madwith shame, and cried out, "A present!Who are you who talk of presents? Seeif I do not bring a nobler one than all ofyours together!""Hear him! Hear the boaster! Whatis it to be?" cried they all, laughing louderthan ever.Then his dream at Samos came into hismind, and he cried aloud, "The head of theGorgon."GHe was half afraid after he had said thewords; for all laughed louder than ever, andPolydectes loudest of all." You have promised to bring me the| hoR) 2
THE HEROES.Gorgon's head? Then never appear againin this island without it. Go !"Perseus ground his teeth with rage, for hesaw that he had fallen into a trap; but hispromise lay upon him, and he went out with-out a word.Down to the cliffs he went, and lookedacross the broad blue sea; and he prayed inthe bitterness of his soul,-" Pallas Athen6, was my dream true ? andshall I slay the Gorgon? If thou didstreally show me her face, let me not cometo shame as a liar and boastful."But there was no answer nor sign. Andthree times Perseus called weeping, " Rashlyand angrily I promised, but cunningly andpatiently will I perform."Then he saw afar off above the sea asmall white cloud, as bright as silver. Andit came on, nearer and nearer, till its bright-ness dazzled his eyes.Perseus wondered at that strange cloud,and he trembled as it touched the cliffbelow. And as it touched it broke, andparted, and within it appeared Pallas Athene,
PERSEUS.I9and beside her a young man more light-limbed than the stag, whose eyes were likesparks of fire. By his side was a scimitar ofdiamond, and on his feet were golden sandals,from the heels of which grew living wings.They looked upon Perseus keenly, and yetthey never moved their eyes; and they cameup the cliffs towards him more swiftly thanthe seagull, and yet they never moved theirfeet. And Perseus fell down and worshipped,for he knew that they were more than man.But Athene stood before him and spokegently, and bid him have no fear. Then-" Perseus," she said, "you have bravedPolydectes, and done manfully. Dare youbrave Medusa the Gorgon ?"And Perseus said, " Show me, then, howI can do this! ""Perseus," said Athene, "this deed re-quires a seven years' journey, in which youcannot repent or turn back, nor escape; butif your heart fails you, you must die in theUnshapen Land, where no man will everfind your bones.""Better so than live here, useless and
20THE HEROES.despised," said Perseus. "Tell me how Ican do but this one thing, and then, if needbe, die!"Then Athene smiled, and said,-"Be patient and listen; for if you forgetmy words, you will indeed die. You mustgo to the sources of the cold north wind,till you find the three Gray Sisters, whohave but one eye and one tooth betweenthem. You must ask them the way to theNymphs, the daughters of the Evening Star,who dance about the golden tree, in theAtlantic island of the west. They will tellyou the way to the Gorgon."Once she was a maiden as beautiful asmorn, till in her pride she sinned a sin atwhich the sun hid his face: and from thatday her hair was turned to vipers, and herhands to eagle's claws; and her heart wasfilled with shame and rage, and her lips withbitter venom; and her eyes became so terriblethat whosoever looks on them is turned tostone. So she became the sister of theGorgons, the daughters of the Queen ofthe Sea, Touch them not, for they areS.,
PERSEUS. 21F immortal; but bring me only Medusa'shead."i "And I will bring it!" said Perseus;: "but how am I to escape her eyes? Willshe not freeze me too into stone?""You shall take this polished shield," saidAthene, "and when you come near her looknot at her herself, but at her image in the_brass, so you may strike her safely. Andwhen you have struck off her head, wrap it,with your face turned away, in the folds ofthe goat-skin on which the shield hangs.So you will bring it safely back to me."Then Perseus said, "I will go. But howshall I cross the seas without a ship ? And, who will show me my way? And when Ifind her, how shall I slay her, if her scalesbe of iron and brass ?"Then the young man spoke: "Thesesandals of mine will bear you across theseas, as they bear me all day long; for Iam Hermes, the messenger of the Immortalswho dwell on Olympus."i 'Then Perseus fell down and worshipped,i; while the young man spoke again:
22THE HEROES." The sandals themselves will guide you onthe road; and this sword itself will kill her,for it is divine, and needs no second stroke.Arise, and gird them on, and go forth."So Perseus arose, and girded on the sandalsand the sword.And Athene cried, "Now leap from thecliff and be gone."Then Perseus looked down the cliff andshuddered, but he was ashamed to show hisdread. Then he thought of Medusa and therenown before him, and he leapt into theempty air.And behold, instead of falling he floated,and stood, and ran along the sky. He lookedback, but Athene had vanished and Hermes;and the sandals led him on northward ever,like a crane who follows the spring towardthe fens.III. How Perseus slew the Gorgon.So Perseus started on his journey, going dry-shod over land and sea; and his heart was
PERSEUS.23aigh and joyful, for the winged sandals boreiim each day a seven days' journey.-And he went on, till the sunny hills ofGreece were behind him, and before himItre the wilds of the north. Then hepassed the mountains, and many a barbaroustribe, till he came to the Ister stream. Andhe walked across the Ister dry-shod, and awaythrough the moors and fens, day and nighttoward the bleak north-west, turning neitherto the right hand nor the left, till he cameto the Unshapen Land, and the place whichhas no name.And seven days he walked through it onA path which few can tell, till he came tothe edge of the everlasting night, where theair was full of feathers, and the soil was hardwith ice; and there at last he found thethree Gray Sisters, nodding upon a whitelog of drift-wood, beneath the cold, whitewinter moon; and they chaunted a low songtogether, "Why the old times were betterthan the new."There was no living thing around them,t a fly, not a moss upon the rocks. The
24THE HEROES.surge broke up in foam, but it fell againin flakes of snow; and it frosted the hairof the three Gray Sisters, and the bones inthe ice-cliff above their heads.They passed the eye from one to the other,but for all that they could not see; and theypassed the tooth from one to the other, butfor all that they could not eat; and they satin the full glare of the moon, but they werenone the warmer for her beams. And Per-seus pitied the three Gray Sisters, but theydid not pity themselves.So he said, "Oh, venerable mothers, tellme, if you.can, the path to the Gorgon."Then one cried, "Who is this?" Andanother, "This is the voice of one of thechildren of men."And he, " I am one of the sons of menand of the heroes. The rulers of Olympushave sent me to you to ask the way to theGorgon."Then one cried, "Give me the eye thatI may see him;" and another, "Give methe tooth that I may bite him." But Per-seus stepped close to them, and watched till
ifri ::: PERSEUS. 25ie passed the eye from hand to hand.ind as they groped about between them-,1ves, he held out his own hand gently, tillfie of them put the eye into it, fancyinghat it was the hand of her sister. Then he-rang back, and laughed, and cried,-i" Cruel and proud old women, I have yourye; and I will throw it into the sea unlessOu tell me the path to the Gorgon, andoear to me that you tell me right."Then they wept, and chattered, and scolded,tt in vain. They were forced to tell theruth, though when they told it Perseusould hardly make out the road.i" You must go," they said, "foolish boy,t the southward, till you come to Atlas theiant, who holds the heavens and the earthpart. And you must ask his daughters, theIsperides, who are young and foolish likeourself. And now give us back our eye,6I we have forgotten all the rest.";So Perseus gave them back their eye; butFstead of using it, they nodded and fell fastbeep, and were turned into blocks of ice, till: tide came up and washed them all away.
26THE HEROES.But Perseus leapt away to the southward,leaving the snow and the ice behind, whilethe sun rose higher day by day upon a brightblue summer sea. And the terns and theseagulls swept laughing round his head, andcalled to him to stop and play. And allnight long the sea-nymphs sangsweetly, and the Tritons blew upontheir conchs, as they played roundGalataa their queen, in her car ofpearled shells.Day by day the sun rose higher,and leapt more swiftly into the seaat night, and more swiftly out ofthe sea at dawn; while Perseus skimmedover the billows, and his limbs were neverweary, till he saw far away a mighty moun-tain, all rose-red in the setting sun. Itsfeet were wrapped in forests, and its headin wreaths of cloud; and Perseus knew thatit was Atlas, who holds the heavens and theearth apart.He came to the mountain, and leapt onshore, and wandered upward among pleasantvalleys and waterfalls, and tall trees and
PERSEUS.27Sitrange ferns and flowers; but there was noign of man.At last he heard sweet voices singing, andIhe guessed that he was come to the gardenof the Nymphs, the daughters of the Even-ing Star.So he stepped forward and saw them danc-ing, hand in hand around the charmed tree,?which bent under its goldenfruit; and round the tree-footwas coiled the dragon, who liesthere for ever, blinking andwatching with dry bright eyes.Then Perseus stopped, be--cause he was bashful beforethose fair maids; but whenthey saw him, they too stopped,and called to him with trembling voices,-"Who are you? Are you Heracles themighty, who, will come to rob our garden,and carry off our golden fruit?" And he4nswered,-|- "I am not Heracles the mighty, and Ipant none of your golden fruit. Tell me,uf Nymphs, the way which leads to the
28THE HEROES.Gorgon, that I may go on my way andslay her.""Not yet, not yet, fair boy. Come hitherand play with us awhile; we have dancedalone here for a thousand years, and ourhearts are weary with longing for a play-fellow. So come, come, come !""I cannot dance with you, fair maidens,for I must do the errand of the Immortals.So tell me the way to the Gorgon, lest Iwander and perish in the waves."Then they sighed and wept, and an-swered,-"The Gorgon! she will freeze you intostone.""It is better to die like a hero than tolive like an ox in a stall. The Immortalshave lent me weapons, and they will giveme wit to use them."Then they sighed again, and answered,"Fair boy, if you are bent on your ownruin, be it so. We know not the way tothe Gorgon; but we will ask the giantAtlas, above upon the mountain peak, thebrother of our father, the silver Evening
PERSEUS.29Star. He sits aloft and sees across the ocean,and far away into the Unshapen Land."So they went up the mountain to Atlas,i:and Perseus went up with them. And they[. found the giant kneeling, as he held theheavens and the earth apart.They asked him, and he answered mildly,pointing to the sea-board with his mightyhand, "I can see the Gorgons lying onan island far away; but this youth can nevercome near them unless he has the hat ofdarkness, which whosoever wears cannot beseen."Then cried Perseus, "Where is that hat,that I may find it?"But the giant smiled. "No living mortalcan find that hat, for it lies in the depths ofHades, in the regions of the dead. But mynieces are immortal, and they shall fetch it.for you if you will promise me one thing: and keep your faith."A; Then Perseus promised; and the giants said, "When you come back with the head|5of Medusa, you shall show me the beautifull/shorror, that I may become a stone for ever;
3THE HEROES.for it is weary labour for me to hold theheavens and the earth apart."Then Perseus promised; and the eldest ofthe Nymphs went down, and into a darkcavern among the cliffs, out of which camesmoke and thunder.And Perseus and the Nymphs sat downseven days, and waited trembling, till theNymph came up again; and her face waspale, and her eyes dazzled with the light,for she had been long in the dreary darkness;but in her hand was the magic hat.Then all the Nymphs kissed Perseus, andwept over him a long while; but he wasonly impatient to be gone. And at last theyput the hat upon his head, and he vanishedout of their sight.But Perseus went on boldly, beyond thestreams of Ocean, to the isles where noship cruises, till he heard the rustle of theGorgons' wings and saw the glitter of theirbrazen talons; and then he knew that it wastime to halt.He thought awhile within himself, andremembered Athene's words. Then he rose
PERSEUS.31aloft into the air, and held the mirror of theshield above his head, and looked up intoit that he might see all that was below him.And he saw the three Gorgons sleeping,as huge as elephants. He knew that theycould not see him, because the hat of dark-ness hid him; and yet he trembled as hesank down near them, so terrible were thosebrazen claws.Two of the Gorgons lay sleeping heavily,as swine sleep, with their mighty wingsoutspread; but Medusa tossed to and frorestlessly, and as she tossed Perseus pitiedher, she looked so fair and sad. And herneck gleamed so white in the mirror thatPerseus had not the heart to strike, and said,"Ah, that it had been either of her sisters !"But as he looked, from among her tressesthe vipers' heads awoke andshowed their fangs, and hissed;and Medusa, as she tossed, threwback her wings and showed herbrazen claws; and Perseus sawthat, for all her beauty, she wasas foul and venomous as the rest.
32THE HEROES.Then he came down and stepped to herboldly, and looked steadfastly on his mirror,and struck with the sword stoutly once; andhe did not need to strike again.Next he wrapped the head in the goat-skin, turning away his eyes, and sprang intothe air aloft, faster than he ever sprungbefore.For Medusa's wings and talons rattled asshe sank dead upon the rocks; and her twofoul sisters woke, and saw her lying dead.Into the air they sprang yelling, and lookedfor him who had done the deed. Thricethey swung round and round, like hawkswho beat for a partridge; and thrice theysnuffed round and round, like hounds whodraw upon a deer. At last they struck uponthe scent of the blood, and they checkedfor a moment to make sure; and then onthey rushed with a fearful howl, while thewind rattled hoarse in their wings.On they rushed, sweeping and flappinglike eagles after a hare; and Perseus' bloodran cold, for all his courage, as he saw themcome howling on his track; and he cried,:d|0: ; .f:..... V J
PERSEUS.33"Bear me well now, brave sandals, for thehounds of Death are at my heels !"And well the brave sandals bore him, aloftthrough cloud and sunshine, across the shore-less sea; and fast followed the hounds ofDeath, as the roar of their wings came downthe wind. But the roar came down fainterand fainter, and the howl of their voices diedaway; for the sandals were too swift, evenfor Gorgons, and by nightfall they were farbehind, two black specks in the southernsky, till the sun sank and he saw them nomore.Then he came again to Atlas, and thegarden of the Nymphs; and when the giantheard him coming, he groaned, and said,"Fulfil thy promise to me." Then Perseusheld up to him the Gorgon's head, and hehad rest from all his toil; for he became acrag of stone, which sleeps for ever far abovethe clouds.Then he thanked the Nymphs, and askedthem, "By what road shall I go homewardagain, for I wandered far round in cominghither ?"(1,423) 3
34THE HEROES.And they wept and cried, "Go home nomore, but stay and play with us."But he refused, and they told him hisroad, and said, " Take with you this magicfruit, which if you eat once, you will nothunger for seven days. For you must goeastward and eastward ever, over the dolefulLibyan shore which lies waste and desert,with shingle and rock and sand."Then they kissed Perseus and wept overhim, and he leapt down the mountain andwent on, lessening and lessening like a seagull,away and out to sea.IV. How Perseus came to the Mthiops.So Perseus flitted onward to the north-east,over many a league of sea, till he came to therolling sandhills and the dreary Libyan shore.And he flitted on across the desert; andas he went the blood-drops fell to the earthfrom the Gorgon's head, and became poison-ous asps and adders, which breed in the desertto this day.
PERSEUS.35Over the sands he went, feeding on thefruit which the Nymphs had given him, tillhe saw the hills of the Psylli, and the Dwarfswho fought with cranes. Theirspears were of reeds and rushes, fand their houses of the egg-shellsof the cranes; and Perseus laughed,and went his way to the north-east, hoping all day long to seethe blue Mediterranean sparkling,that he might fly across it to his home.But now came down a mighty wind, andswept him back southward toward the desert.All day long he strove against it; but eventhe winged sandals could not prevail. So hewas forced to float down the wind all night.And when the morning dawned there wasnothing to be seen save the same old hatefulwaste of sand.And out of the north the sandstorms rushedupon him, blood-red pillars and wreaths,blotting out the noonday sun; and Perseusfled before them, lest he should be chokedby the burning dust. Seven days he stroveagainst the stormsj and seven days he was
36THE HEROES.driven back, till he was spent with thirst andhunger, and his tongue clove to the roof ofhis mouth. Here and there he fancied thathe saws a fair lake, and the sunbeams shiningon the water; but when he came to it itvanished at his feet, and there was noughtbut burning sand.Then he cried to Athene, and said,-"Oh, fair and pure, if thou hearest me,wilt thou leave me here to die of drought?Shall I never see my mother more, and theblue ripple round Seriphos, and the sunnyhills of Hellas?"So he prayed; and after he had prayedthere was a great silence.The heaven was still above his head, andthe sand was still beneath his feet; andPerseus looked up, but there was nothingbut the blinding sun in the blinding blue;and round him, but there was nothing butthe blinding sand.And Perseus stood still a while and waited.Then suddenly his ears were opened, and heheard the sound of running water.And at that his heart was lifted up, though
PERSEUS.37he scarcely dared believe his ears; and wearyas he was, he hurried forward, though hecould scarcely stand upright; and within abowshot of him was a glen in the sand,and marble rocks, and date-trees, and alawn of gay green grass. And through thelawn a streamlet sparkled and wanderedout beyond the trees, and vanished in thesand.Perseus laughed for joy and leapt down,the cliff, and drank of the cool water, andate of the dates, and slept upon the turf, andleapt up and went forward again: but nottoward the north this time; for he said,"Surely Athene hath sent me hither, andwill not have me go homeward yet. Whatif there be another noble deed to be donebefore I see the sunny hills of Hellas ?"So he went east, till he saw before hima mighty mountain-wall, all rose-red in thesetting sun.Then he towered in the air like an eagle,for his limbs were strong again; and he flewall night across the mountain till the daybegan to dawn. And then, behold, beneath
38THE HEROES.him was the long green garden of Egyptand the shining stream of Nile.And he saw cities walled up to heaven,and temples, and obelisks, and pyramids, andgiant gods of stone. And he came downamid fields of barley, and flax, and millet;and saw the people among the watercourses,parting the streams among the plants cun-ningly with their feet, according to thewisdom of the Egyptians. But when theysaw him they all stopped their work, andgathered round him, and cried,-"Who art thou, fair youth? and whatbearest thou beneath thy goat-skin there?Surely thou art one of the Immortals; forthy skin is white like ivory, and ours is redlike clay. Thy hair is like threads of gold,and ours is black and curled." And theywould have worshipped him then and there,but Perseus said,-"I am not one of the Immortals; butI am a hero of the Hellens. And I haveslain the Gorgon in the wilderness, and bearher head with me. Give me food, therefore,that I may go forward and finish my work."
PERSEUS.39Then they gave him food, and fruit, andwine; but they would not let him go. Andwhen the news came into the city that theGorgon was slain, the priests came out tomeet him, and the maidens, with songs anddances, and timbrels and harps; and theywould have brought him to their temple andto their king, but Perseus put on the hatof darkness, and vanished away out of theirsight.Therefore the Egyptians looked long forhis return, but in vain, and worshipped himas a hero, and made a statue of him whichstood for many a hundred years; and theysaid that he appeared to them at times withsandals a cubit long, and that whenever heappeared the season was fruitful, and theNile rose high that year.Then Perseus went to the eastward, alongthe Red Sea shore; and then, because hewas afraid to go into the Arabian deserts, heturned northward once more, and this timeno storm hindered him.He flew on past pleasant hills and valleys.But the lowlands were all drowned by floods,
40THE HEROES.and the highlands blasted by fire, and thehills heaved like a bubbling cauldron.And Perseus feared to go inland, but flewalong the shore above the sea; and he wenton all the day, and the sky was black withsmoke; and he went on all the night, andthe sky was red with flame.And at the dawn of day he lookedtoward the cliffs; and at the water'sedge, under a black rock, he saw awhite image stand."This," thought he, "must surelybe the statue of some sea-god; I will/ go near and see."So he came near; but when hecame, it was no statue, but a maidenof flesh and blood, for he could seeher tresses streaming in the breeze; and as hecame closer still, he could see how she shrankand shivered when the waves sprinkled herwith cold salt spray.Her arms were spread above her head, andfastened to the rock with chains of brass;and her head drooped on her bosom, eitherwith sleep, or weariness, or grief. But now
PERSEUS.41and then she looked up and wailed, and calledher mother; yet she did not see Perseus, forthe cap of darkness was on his head.Full of pity and indignation, Perseus drewnear and looked upon the maid. And hethought, "I have never seen so beautifula maiden; no, not in all our isles. Surelyshe is a king's daughter. Do barbarians treattheir kings' daughters thus ? She is too fair,at least, to have done any wrong. I willspeak to her."And, lifting the hat from his head, heflashed into her sight. She shrieked withterror, and tried to hide her face with herhair, for she could not with her hands; butPerseus cried,-" Do not fear me, fair one; I am a Hellen,and no barbarian. What cruel men havebound you? But first I will set you free."And he tore at the fetters, but they weretoo strong for him; while the maidencried,-"Touch me not; I am accursed, devotedas a victim to the sea-gods. They will slayyou if you dare to set me free."
42THE HEROES." Let them try," said Perseus, and, draw-ing the sword from his thigh, he cut throughthe brass as if it had been flax."Now," he said, "you belong to me, andnot to these sea-gods, whosoever they maybe !" But she only called the more on hermother."Why call on your mother? She can beno mother to have left you here. I knownow why Pallas Athene sent me hither.She sent me to gain a prize worth all mytoil and more."And he clasped her in his arms, and cried,"Where are these sea-gods, cruel and un-just, who doom fair maids to death ? I carrythe weapons of Immortals. Let them measuretheir strength against mine! But tell me,maiden, who you are, and what dark fatebrought you here."And she answered, weeping,-"I am the daughter of King Cepheus,and my mother is Cassiopceia of the beauti-ful tresses, and they called me Andromeda,as long as life was mine. And I stand boundhere, hapless that I am, for the sea-monster's
PERSEUS.43food, to atone for my mother's sin. For sheboasted of me once that I was fairer than theQueen of the Fishes; so she in her wrathsent the sea-floods, and her brotherthe Fire King sent the earthquakes,and wasted all the land, and after thefloods a monster bred of the slime, jwho devours all living things. Andnow he must devour me, guiltlessthough I am; for the priests saythat nothing but my blood can atonefor a sin which I never committed."But Perseus laughed, and said, "A sea-monster I have fought with worse thanhim. I would have faced Immortals for yoursake; how much more a beast of the sea ? "Then Andromeda looked up at him, andnew hope was kindled in her breast, so proudand fair did he stand, with one hand roundher, and in the other the glittering sword.But she only sighed, and wept the more, andcried,-"Why will you die, young as you are?Is there not death and sorrow enough in theworld already? It is noble for me to die,
44THE HEROES.that I may save the lives of a whole people;but you, better than them all, why should Islay you too? Go you your way; I must gomine."But Perseus cried, " Not so; for the lordsof Olympus, whom I serve, are the friends ofthe heroes, and help them on to noble deeds.Led by them, I slew the Gorgon, the beauti-ful horror; and not without them do I comehither, to slay this monster with that sameGorgon's head. Yet hide your eyes when Ileave you, lest the sight of it freeze you tostone."But the maiden answered nothing, for shecould not believe his words. And then,suddenly looking up, she pointed to the sea,and shrieked,-" There he comes with the sunrise, as theypromised. Oh, go Is it not dreadful enoughto be torn piecemeal, without having you tolook on ? " And she tried to thrust him away.But he said, "I go; yet promise me onething ere I go: that if I slay this beast youwill be my wife. Promise me, and seal itwith a kiss."
PERSEUS.45Then she lifted up her face, and kissedhim; and Perseus laughed for joy, and flewupward, while Andromeda crouched trem-bling on the rock.On came the great sea-monster, lazilybreasting the ripple, and stopping at times bycreek or headland to watch for the laughterof girls at their bleaching, or cattle pawingon the sand-hills, or boys bathing on thebeach.At last he saw Andromeda, and shot for-ward to take his prey. Then down fromthe height of the air fell Perseus like ashooting-star, down to the crests of thewaves, while Andromeda hid her face as heshouted; and then there was silence for awhile.At last she looked up trembling, and sawPerseus springing toward her; and instead ofthe monster a long black rock, with the searippling quietly round it.Who then so proud as Perseus, as heleapt back to the rock, and lifted his fairAndromeda in his arms, and flew with her tothe cliff-top, as a falcon carries a dove?
46THE HEROES.Who so proud as Perseus, and who so joy-ful as all the IEthiop people? For they hadstood watching the monster from the cliffs,wailing for the maiden's fate. And alreadya messenger had gone to Cepheus and Cassio-poeia, where they sat in the innermost palacechambers, awaiting their daughter's end.And they came, and all the city withthem, to see the wonder, and receivedtheir daughter back again, as one alivefrom the dead.Then Cepheus said, "Hero of theHellens, stay here with me and be myson-in-law, and I will give you the halfof my kingdom.""I will be your son-in-law," saidPerseus, "but of your kingdom I willhave none, for I long after the pleasantland of Greece, and my mother, who waitsfor me at home."Then Cepheus said, "You must not takemy daughter away at once, for she is to uslike one alive from the dead. Stay with ushere a year, and after that you shall returnwith honour." So they went up to the
PERSEUS.47palace; and when they came in, there stoodin the hall Phineus, the brother of Cepheus,chafing like a bear robbed of her whelps, andwith him his sons, and his servants, andmany an armed man; and he cried toCepheus,-"You shall not marry your daughter tothis stranger, of whom no one knows eventhe name. Was not Andromeda betrothedto my son? And now she is safe again, hashe not a right to claim her ?"But Perseus laughed and answered, "Ifyour son is in want of a bride, let him savea maiden for himself. He left this one todie, and dead she is to him. I saved heralive, and alive she is to me, but to no oneelse. Ungrateful man! have I not savedyour land, and the lives of your sons anddaughters, and will you requite me thus?Go, or it will be worse for you! " But allthe men-at-arms drew their swords and rushedon him like wild beasts.Then he unveiled the Gorgon's head, andsaid, "This has delivered my bride from onewild beast: it shall deliver her from many."
48THE HEROES.And as he spoke Phineus and all his men-at-arms stopped short, and stiffened each manas he stood; and before Perseus had drawvnthe goat-skin over the face again, they wereall turned into stone.Then Perseus bade the people bring leversand roll them out; and what was done withthem after that I cannot tell.So they made a great wedding-feast, whichlasted seven whole days, and who so happyas Perseus and Andromeda?But on the eighth night Perseus dreameda dream; and he saw standing beside himPallas Athene, as he had seen her in Seriphos,seven long years before; and she said,-"Perseus, you have played the man, andsee, you have your reward. Know now thatthe gods are just, and help him who helpshimself. Now give me here the sword, andthe sandals, and the hat of darkness, that Imay give them back to their owners; butthe Gorgon's head you shall keep a while,for you will need it in your land of Greece.Then you shall lay it up in my temple atSeriphos, that I may wear it on my shield
PERSEUS.49for ever. And as for this land, I haveappeased the sea and the fire, and there shallbe no more floods nor earthquakes."And Perseus rose to give her the sword,and the cap, and the sandals; but he woke,and his dream vanished away. And yet itwas not altogether a dream; for the goat-skin with the head was in its place, but thesword, and the cap, and the sandals weregone, and Perseus never saw them more.V. How Perseus came Home again.AND when a year was ended Perseus hiredmen and cut down cedars, and built himselfa noble galley; and painted its cheeks withvermilion, and pitched its sides with pitch;and in it he put Andromeda, and all herdowry of jewels, and rich shawls, and spicesfrom the East; and great was the weepingwhen they rowed away.So Perseus and the Phoenicians rowed tothe westward till they came to Seriphos, hisancient home. Then he left his galley on(,428)4
50THE HEROES.the beach, and went up as of old; and heembraced his mother, and Dictys, his goodfoster-father, and they wept over each othera long while, for it was seven years and moresince they had met.Then Perseus went out, and up to thehall of Polydectes; and underneath the goat-skin he bore the Gorgon's head. Theharpers harped, and the revellers shouted,and the wine-cups rang merrily as they passedfrom hand to hand.Then Perseus stood upon the threshold,and called to the king by name. But noneof the guests knew Perseus, for he waschanged by his long journey. He had goneout a boy, and he was come home a hero;his eye shone like an eagle's, and his beardwas like a lion's beard, and he stood up likea wild bull in his pride.But Polydectes the wicked knew him, andhardened his heart still more; and scornfullyhe called,-"Ah, foundling! have you found it moreeasy to promise than to fulfil ?""Those whom the gods help fulfil their
PERSEUS.51promises; and those who despise them reapas they have sown. Behold the Gorgon'shead "Then Perseus drew back the goat-skin,and held aloft the Gorgon's head.Pale grew Polydectes and his guests asthey looked upon that dreadful face. Theytried to rise up from their seats; but fromtheir seats they never rose, but stiffened,each man where he sat, into a ring of coldgray stones.Then Perseus turned and left them, andwent down to his galley in the bay; and hegave the kingdom to good Dictys, and sailedaway with his mother and his bride.But Perseus rowed westward toward Argos,and landed, and went up to the town. Andwhen he came he found that Acrisius, hisgrandfather, had fled. For Prcetus, his wickedbrother, had made war against him afresh.Then Perseus called the Argives together,and told them who he was, and all the nobledeeds which he had done. And all thenobles and the yeomen made him king, forthey saw that he had a royal heart; and they
52THE HEROES.fought with him against Argos, and took it,and killed Prcetus; and there were greatrejoicings, because they had got a king fromFather Zeus.But Perseus' heart yearned after his grand-father, and he said, "Surely he is my fleshand blood, and he will love me now that Iam come home with honour. I will go andfind him, and bring him home, and we willreign together in peace."So Perseus sailed away till he came to thetown of Larissa, where the wild Pelasgidwelt. And when he came there, all thepeople were in the fields, and there wasfeasting, and all kinds of games; for Teuta-menes, their king, wished to honour Acrisius,because he was the king of a mighty land.So Perseus did not tell his name, but wentup to the games unknown; for he said, "If Icarry away the prize in the games, my grand-father's heart will be softened toward me."So he threw off his helmet and his cuirass,and all his clothes, and stood among theyouths of Larissa, while all wondered at him,and said, " Who is this young stranger, who
(1,403)The death of Acrisius.
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PERSEUS.53stands like a wild bull in his pride? Surelyhe is one of the sons of the Immortals."And when the games began they wonderedyet more; for Perseus was the best man ofall at running, and leaping, and wrestling,and throwing the javelin; and he won fourcrowns, and took them, and then he said tohimself, "There is a fifth crown yet to bewon: I will win that, and laythem all upon the knees of mygrandfather."And as he spoke he sawwhere Acrisius sat, by the sideof Teutamenes the king, withhis white beard flowing downupon his knees, and his royalstaff in his hand; and Perseus wept when helooked at him, for his heart yearned after hiskin, and he said, "Surely he is a kingly oldman, yet he need not be ashamed of hisgrandson."Then he took the quoits, and hurled them,five fathoms beyond all the rest; and the peopleshouted, " Further yet, brave stranger Therehas never been such a hurler in this land."
54THE HEROES.Then Perseus put out all his strength, andhurled. But a gust of wind came from thesea, and carried the quoit aside, and farbeyond all the rest; and it fell on the footof Acrisius, and he swooned away with thepain.Perseus shrieked, and ran up to him; butwhen they lifted the old man up he was dead,for his life was slow and feeble.Then Perseus cast dust upon his head, andwept a long while for his grandfather. Atlast he rose, and called to all the people aloud,and said,-"The gods are true, and what they haveordained must be. I am Perseus, the grand-son of this dead man, the far-famed slayer ofthe Gorgon."Then he told them how the prophecy haddeclared that he should kill his grandfather,and all the story of his life.So they made a great mourning for Acrisius,and burnt him on a right rich pile; and Per-seus went to the temple, and was purifiedfrom the guilt of the death, because he haddone it unknowingly.
PERSEUS.55Then he went home to Argos, and reignedthere well with fair Andromeda; and theyhad four sons and three daughters, and diedin a good old age.And when they died, the ancients say,Athene took them up into the sky withCepheus and Cassiopceia. And there onstar-light nights you may see them shiningstill; Cepheus with his kingly crown, andCassiopceia in her ivory chair, plaiting herstar-spangled tresses, and Perseus with theGorgon's head, and fair Andromeda besidehim, spreading her long white arms acrossthe heaven, as she stood when chained tothe stone for the monster. All night longthey shine for a beacon to wandering sailors;but all day they feast with the gods, on thestill blue peaks of Olympus.
THE ARGONAUTS.I. How the Centaur trained theHeroes on Pelion.I HAVE told you of a hero who. ~fought with wild beasts and withwild men; but now I have a tale ofheroes who sailed away into a distantland, to win themselves renown for ever, inthe adventure of the Golden Fleece.And what was that golden fleece? I donot know, nor care. The old Hellens saidthat it hung in Colchis, nailed to a beech-tree in the War-god's wood, and that it wasthe fleece of the wondrous ram who borePhrixus and Helle across the Euxine Sea.For Phrixus and Helle were the children ofAthamas, the Minuan king. And when afamine came upon the land, their cruel step-
THE ARGONAUTS.57mother, Ino, wished to kill them, that herown children might reign, and said that theymust be sacrificed on an altar to turn awaythe anger of the gods.So the poor children were brought to thealtar, and the priest stood ready with hisknife, when out of the clouds camethe Golden Ram, and took them onhis back and vanished.The ram carried the two children 4far away over land and sea, till hecame to a strait where Helle fell intothe sea. So those narrow straits arecalled "Hellespont" after her; andthey bear that name until this day.Then the ram flew on with Phrixusto the north-east, across the sea which we callthe Black Sea now. And at last he stoppedat Colchis, and there Phrixus married thedaughter of Aietes the king, and offered theram in sacrifice; and Aietes nailed the ram'sfleece to a beech, in the grove of theWar-god.And after a while Phrixus died, and wasburied; but his spirit had no rest, for he was
58THE HEROES.buried far from his native land. So he camein dreams to the heroes of the Minuai, andcalled sadly by their beds, "Come and setmy spirit free, that I may go home to mykinsfolk."And they asked, "How shall we set yourspirit free? ""You must sail over the sea to Colchis, andbring home the golden fleece; and then myspirit will come back with it, and I shallsleep with my fathers and have rest."He came thus, and called to them often;but when they woke they looked at eachother, and said, "Who dare sail to Colchis,or bring home the golden fleece ?" And inall the country none was brave enough to tryit; for the man and the time were not come.Phrixus had a cousin called _Eson, whowas king in Iolcos by the sea. And ]Esonhad a step-brother named Pelias, who wasfierce and lawless, and did many a fearfuldeed; and at last this step-brother drove out]Eson, and took his kingdom to himself.And ]Eson, when he was driven out, wentsadly away out of the town, leading his little
THE ARGONAUTS.59son by the hand; and he said to himself,"I must hide the child in the mountains,or Pelias will surely kill him, because he isthe heir."So he went up from the sea across thevalley, and across the torrent of Anauros,towards Pelion the ancient mountain, whosebrows are white with snow.He went up and up into the mountain,over marsh and crag and down, till the boywas tired and footsore, and ]Eson had to bearhim in his arms, until he came to the mouthof a lonely cave, at the foot of a mighty cliff.Around the cave's mouth grew all fairflowers and herbs, as if in a garden, rangedin order, each sort by itself; while from thecave came the sound of music, and a man'svoice singing to the harp.Then IEson put down the lad, and whis-pered,-"Fear not, but go in, and whomsoever youshall find, lay your hands upon his knees andsay, 'In the name of Zeus, the father of: gods and men, I am your guest from thisday forth."'^^ ^.L
6oTHE HEROES.Then the lad went in without trembling,for he too was a hero's son; but when hewas within, he stopped in wonder to listento that magic song.And there he saw the singer lying uponbear-skins and fragrant boughs: Cheiron, theancient centaur, the wisest of all thingsbeneath the sky. Down to the waisthe was a man, but below he was anoble horse; his white hair rolled downf over his broad shoulders, and his whitebeard over his broad brown chest; andhis eyes were wise and mild, and hisfg/ forehead like a mountain-wall.And in his hands he held a harp ofgold, and struck it with a golden key; andas he struck he sang till his eyes glittered, andfilled all the cave with light.As he sang the boy listened wide-eyed, andforgot his errand in the song. And at thelast old Cheiron was silent, and called the ladwith a soft voice. And the lad ran tremblingto him, and would have laid his hands uponhis knees; but Cheiron smiled, and said," Call hither your father dEson, for I know
THE ARGONAUTS.you, and all that has befallen, and saw youboth afar in the valley, even before you leftthe town."Then ]Eson came in sadly, and Cheironasked him, "Why came you not yourselfto me?"And Eson said,-"I thought, Cheiron will pity the lad ifhe sees him come alone; and I wished totry whether he was fearless, and dare venturelike a hero's son. But now I entreat youlet the boy be your guest till better times,and train him among the sons of the heroes,that he may avenge his father's house."Then Cheiron smiled, and drew the ladto him, and laid his hand upon his goldenlocks, and said, " Are you afraid of my horse'shoofs, fair boy, or will you be my pupil fromthis day ?""I would gladly have horse's hoofs likeyou, if I could sing such songs as yours."And Cheiron laughed, and said, "Sit here)g by me till sundown, when your playfellowswill come home, and you shall learn like themto be a king, worthy to rule over gallant men."
62THE HEROES.Then he turned to dEson, and said, "Goback in peace, and bend before the stormlike a prudent man. This boy shall notcross the Anauros again till he has becomea glory to you and to your house."Then Cheiron put the lyre into the boy'shands, and taught him how to play it,till the sun sank low behind the cliff,and a shout was heard outside. Andthen in came the sons of the heroes-iEneas, and Heracles, and many anothermighty name.And great Cheiron leapt up joyfully,and his hoofs made the cave resound,as they shouted, "Come out, FatherCheiron, come out and see our game."And one cried, "I (have killed twodeer;" and another, "I took a wild catamong the crags;" and Heracles dragged awild goat after him by its horns, for he wasas huge as a mountain crag.And Cheiron praised them all, each accord-ing to his deserts.Then the lads brought in wood, and splitit, and lighted a blazing fire; and others
THE ARGONAUTS.63skinned the deer and quartered them, and setthem to roast before the fire; and while thevenison was cooking they bathed in the snow-torrent, and washed away the dust and sweat.And then all ate till they could eat nomore (for they had tasted nothing since thedawn), and drank of the clear spring water,for wine is not fit for growing lads. Andwhen the remnants were put away, they alllay down upon the skins and leaves aboutthe fire, and each took the lyre in turn, andsang and played with all his heart.Then Cheiron took his lyre, and all the ladsjoined hands, and as he played they danced tohis measure, in and out, and round and round.There they danced hand in hand, till the nightfell over land and sea, while the black glenshone with their broad white limbs and thegleam of their golden hair.And the lad dancedwith them, delighted,and then slept a whole-some sleep, and rose atthe dawn, and bathed "in the torrent, and
64THE HEROES.became a schoolfellow to the heroes' sons,and forgot Iolcos, and his father, and all hisformer life.But he grew strong, and brave, and cun-ning upon the pleasant downs of Pelion, inthe keen, hungry mountain air. And helearnt to wrestle, and to box, and to hunt,and to play upon the harp; and next, helearnt to ride, for old Cheiron used to mounthim on his back; and he learnt the virtuesof all herbs, and how to cure all wounds; andCheiron called him Jason the healer,and that is his name until this day.II. How Jason lost his Sandal^S'SlE. min Anauros.AND ten years came and went, andJason was grown to be a mighty man.Some of his fellows were gone, and \some were growing up by his side.And Heracles was gone to Thebes' -Sto fulfil those famous labours which--have become a proverb among men.
THE ARGONAUTS.65And JEneas was gone home to Troy, andmany a noble tale you will read of him, andof all the other gallant heroes, the scholarsof Cheiron. And it happened on a day thatJason stood on the mountain, and lookednorth and south and east and west; andCheiron stood by him and watched him,for he knew that the time was come.And Jason looked south, and saw a pleasantland, with white-walled towns and farms,nestling along the shore of a land-lockedbay, while the smoke rose blue among thetrees; and he knew it for Iolcos by the sea.Then he sighed, and asked, "Is it truewhat the heroes tell me-that I am heirof that fair land ?""And what good would it be to you,Jason, if you were heir of that fair land ?""I would take it and keep it.""A strong man has taken it and keptit long. Are you stronger than Pelias theterrible ?""I can try my strength with his," saidJason; but Cheiron sighed, and said,-"You have many a danger to go through- (142) 5
66THE HEROES.before you rule in Iolcos by the sea-many adanger and many a woe, and strange troublesin strange lands, such as man never sawbefore."" The happier I," said Jason, " to see whatman never saw before."And Cheiron sighed again, and said,"Will you go to Iolcos by the sea ? Thenpromise me two things before you go."Jason promised, and Cheiron answered,"Speak harshly to no soul whom you maymeet, and stand by the word which youshall speak."Jason wondered why Cheiron asked thisof him; but he knew that the Centaur wasa prophet, and saw things long before theycame. So he promised, and leapt down themountain, to take his fortune like a man.He went down through the arbutusthickets, and across the downs of thyme,till he came to the olives in the glen;and among the olives roared Anauros, allfoaming with a summer flood.And on the bank of Anauros sat a woman,all wrinkled, gray, and old; her head shook
THE ARGONAUTS.67palsied on her breast, and her hands shookpalsied on her knees; and when she sawJason, she spoke whining, "Who will carryme across the flood ?"Jason was bold and hasty, and was justgoing to leap into the flood; and yet hethought twice before he leapt, so loud roaredthe torrent down, all brown from themountain rains, while underneath hecould hear the boulders rumbling asthey ground along the narrow channel,and shook the rocks on which he stoodBut the old woman whined all themore. " I am weak and old, fair youth.For Hera's sake, carry me over thetorrent."And Jason was going to answer her ,scornfully, when Cheiron's words cameto his mind.So he said, "For Hera's sake, the Queen-of the Immortals, I will carry you over thetorrent, unless we both are drowned midway."Then the old dame leapt upon his back asnimbly as a goat, and Jason staggered in, won-dering, and the first step was up to his knees.
68THE HEROES.The second step was up to his waist,and his feet slipped about the stones; sohe went on staggering and panting, whilethe old woman cried from off his back,-"Fool, you have wet my mantle! Doyou make game of poor old souls like me ? "Jason had half a mind to drop her, and lether get through the torrent by herself; buthe said only, "Patience, mother; the besthorse may stumble some day."At last he staggered to the shore, and sether down upon the bank. He lay pantingawhile, and then leapt up to go upon hisjourney; but he cast one look at the oldwoman, for he thought, "She should thankme once at least."And as he looked, she grew fairer thanall women, and taller than all men on earth;and her garments shone like the summer sea,and- her jewels like the stars of heaven; andover her forehead was a veil, woven of thegolden clouds of sunset; and through theveil she looked down on him with greatsoft heifer's eyes, which filled all the glenwith light.
THE ARGONAUTS.69And Jason fell upon his knees, and hid hisface between his hands.And she spoke, "I am Hera. As thouhast done to me, so will I do to you. Callon me in the hour of need, and try if theImmortals can forget."And when Jason looked up, she rose fromoff the earth, like a pillar of tall white cloud,and floated away across the mountain peaks,toward Olympus, the holy hill.Then a great fear fell on Jason, but aftera while he grew light of heart; and he wentdown toward Iolcos, and as he walked hefound that he had lost one of his sandals inthe flood.And as he went through the streets, thepeople came out to look at him, so tall andfair was he; but one old man called to him,"Fair lad, who are you, and what is yourerrand in the town ?"" My name, good father, is Jason, and myerrand is to Pelias, your king; tell me, then,where his palace is."But the old man started and grew pale,- ,5and said, " Do you not know the oracle, my
70THE HEROES.son, that you go so boldly through the townwith but one sandal on ?""I am a stranger here, and know of nooracle. But what of my one sandal ?1, ~I lost the other in Anauros, while Iwas struggling with the flood."Then the old man said, " I will tellyou, lest you rush upon your ruinunawares. The oracle in Delphi hassaid that a man wearing one sandalshould take the kingdom from Pelias.Therefore beware how you go up tohis palace, for he is the fiercest andmost cunning of all kings."Then Jason laughed like a war-horse in his pride. " Good news, goodfather, both for you and me. For thatvery end I came into the town."Then he strode on towards thepalace of Pelias. And he stood inthe doorway and cried, "Come out,come out, Pelias, and fight for your kingdomlike a man."Pelias came out wondering, and "Who areyou, bold youth ?" he cried.
THE ARGONAUTS.7I"I am Jason, the son of IEson, the heir ofall this land."Then Pelias blessed the heavens whichhad brought his nephew to him, never toleave him more. "For," said he, "I havebut three daughters, and no son to be myheir. You shall rule the kingdom after me,and marry whichsoever of my daughters youshall choose. But come in, come in, andfeast."So he drew Jason in, and spoke to him solovingly and feasted him so well that Jason'sanger passed; and after supper his threecousins came into the hall, and Jason thoughtthat he should like well enough to have oneof.them for his wife.But at last he said to Pelias, "Why doyou look so sad, my uncle ? "Then Pelias sighed heavily, like a manwho had to tell some dreadful story, andwas afraid to begin; but at last he said,-"For seven long years and more have Inever known a quiet night; and no morewill he who comes after me, till the goldenfleece be brought home."
72THE HEROES.Then he told Jason the story of the goldenfleece. And his daughters came and told thesame tale, and wept, and said, "Oh, who willbring home the golden fleece, that the spiritof Phrixus may rest, and that we may have restalso, whom he never lets sleep in peace ?"Jason sat awhile, sad and silent; for hehad often heard of that golden fleece, buthe looked on it as a thing hopeless, andimpossible for any mortal man to win it.But when Pelias saw him silent, he beganto talk of other things, and courted Jasonmore and more, speaking to him as if hewas certain to be his heir, and asking hisadvice about the kingdom; till Jason, whowas young and simple, could not help sayingto himself, " Surely he is not the dark manwhom people call him. Yet why did hedrive my father out ?" And he asked Peliasboldly, "Men say that you are terrible, anda man of blood, but I find you a kind andhospitable man; and as you are to me, sowill I be to you. Yet why did you drivemy father out ?"Pelias smiled, and sighed, "Men have
THE ARGONAUTS.73slandered me in that, as in all things.. Yourfather was growing old and weary, and hegave the kingdom up to me of his own will.You shall see him to-morrow and ask him,and he will tell you the same."Jason's heart leapt in him when he heardthat he was to see his father; and he believedall that Pelias said, forgetting that his fathermight not dare to tell the truth."One thing more there is," said Pelias,"on which I need your advice. There isone neighbour of mine whom I dread morethan all men on earth. Can you give me( a plan, Jason, by which I can rid myselfof that man?"After a while Jason answered, half laugh-ing, "Were I you, I would send him to fetchthat same golden fleece."-~. .And at that a bitter smile came acrossPelias' lips, and a flash of wicked joy intohis eyes; and Jason saw it, and started, andhe knew that he was taken in a trap.But Pelias only answered gently, "MyK. son, he shall be sent forthwith.""You mean me? " cried Jason, starting up.
74THE HEROES.And he lifted his fist angrily, while Peliasstood up to him like a wolf at bay.But after a moment Pelias spoke gently,"Why then so rash, my son? Had you bidme love the man of whom I spoke, and makehim my son-in-law and heir, I would haveobeyed you; and what if I obey you now,and send the man to win himself immortalfame ?"Jason saw that he was entrapped; but hissecond promise to Cheiron came into hismind, and he thought, "What if the centaurwere a prophet in that also, and meant thatI should win the fleece !" Then he criedaloud,-"You have well spoken, cunning uncleof mine I love glory, and I dare keep tomy word. I will go and fetch this goldenfleece. Promise me but this in return, andkeep your word as I keep mine. Treat myfather lovingly while I am gone, and giveme up the kingdom for my own on theday that I bring back the golden fleece."Then Pelias looked at him and almostloved him, in the midst of all his hate, and
THE ARGONAUTS.75said, " I promise, and I will perform. It willbe no shame to give up my kingdom to theman who wins that fleece."Then they swore a great oath betweenthem, and afterwards both went in and laydown to sleep.And on the morrow Jason went to Pelias,and said, "Give me a victim, that I maysacrifice to Hera." So he went up, andoffered his sacrifice; and as he stood by thealtar, Hera sent a thought into his mind;and he went back to Pelias, and said,-"If you are indeed in earnest, give metwo heralds, that they may go round to allthe princes of the Minuai, who were pupilsof the centaur with me, that we mayfit out a ship together, and take what yshall befall."At that Pelias praised his wisdom,and hastened to send the heralds out,for he said in his heart, "Let all theprinces go with him, and, like him,never return; for so I shall be lord ofall the Minuai, and the greatest kingin Hellas."
76THE HEROES.III. How they built the Ship "Argo."So the heralds went out, and cried to all theheroes of the Minuai, "Who dare come tothe adventure of the golden fleece ?"And Hera stirred the hearts of all theprinces, and they came from all their valleysto the yellow sands of Pagasai. And firstcame Heracles the mighty, with his lion'sskin and club, and behind him Hylas, hisyoung squire, who bore his arrows and hisbow; and Tiphys, the skilful steersman;and Butes, the fairest of all men; and,Castor and Polydeuces, the twins, the sonsof the magic swan; and Peleus, the fatherof Achilles, whose bride was silver-footedThetis, the goddess of the sea; and Mopsus,the wise soothsayer, who knew the speechof birds; and Ancaios, who could read thestars, and knew all the circles of the heavens;and Argus, the famed shipbuilder, and manya hero more, in helmets of brass and goldwith tall dyed horse-hair crests, and em-broidered shirts of linen beneath their coats
THE ARGONAUTS.77of mail, and greaves of polished tin to guardtheir knees in fight; with each man his shieldupon his shoulder, of many a fold of toughbull's hide, and his sword of tempered bronzein his silver-studded belt; and in his righthand a pair of lances, of the heavy whiteash-staves.So they came down to Iolcos, and all thecity came out to meet them. And some said,"Never was such a gathering of the heroessince the Hellens conquered the land." Butthe women sighed over them, and whispered,"Alas they are all going to their death !"Then they felled the pines on Pelion, andArgus taught them to build a galley, thefirst long ship which ever sailed the seas.They pierced her for fifty oars-an oar foreach hero of the crew-and pitched herwith coal-black pitch, and painted her bowswith vermilion; and they named her Argoafter Argus, and worked at her all day long.And at night Pelias feasted them like a king,and they slept in his palace-porch.But Jason went away to the northward tillhe found Orpheus, the prince of minstrels.
78THE HEROES.And he asked him, "Will you leave yourmountains, Orpheus, my fellow-scholar inold times, and sail with the heroes of theMinuai, and bring home the golden fleece,and charm for us all men and all monsterswith your magic harp and song ?"Then Orpheus sighed, " Have I not hadenough of toil and of weary wandering farand wide ? In vain is the skill and the voicewhich my goddess mother gave me; in vainI went down to the dead, and charmed all thekings of Hades, to win back Eurydice, mybride. For I won her, my beloved, and losther again the same day, and wanderedfar away in my madness, while I charmedin vain the hearts of men, and the savageforest beasts, and the trees and the lifelessstones, with my magic harp and song,giving rest, but finding none."But at last Calliope, my mother,delivered me, and brought me home ina P1peace; and I dwell here in the cavealone, among the savage tribes, softeningtheir wild hearts with music and thegentle laws of Zeus. And now I must
THE ARGONAUTS.79go out again, to the ends of all the earth, faraway into the misty darkness, to the last waveof the Eastern Sea."Then Orpheus rose up sighing, and tookhis harp, and went over Strymon. And heled Jason to the south-west to Dodona, thetown of Zeus, where it stood in the dark-ness of the ancient oak wood, beneath themountain of the hundred springs. And heled him to the holy oak, bade him cut downa bough, and sacrifice to Hera and to Zeus;and they took the bough and came to Iolcos,and nailed it to the beak-head of the ship.And at last the ship was finished, and theytried to launch her down the beach; but shewas too heavy for them to move her, and herkeel sank deep into the sand. Then all theheroes looked at each other blushing; butJason spoke, and said, "Let us ask the magicbough; perhaps it can help us in our need."Then a voice came from the bough, andJason heard the words it said, and badeOrpheus play upon the harp, while theheroes waited round, holding the pine-trunkrollers to help her toward the sea.
80THE HEROES.Then Orpheus took his harp, and beganhis magic song-" How sweet it is to rideupon the surges, and to leap from wave towave, while the wind sings cheerful in thecordage, and the oars flash fast among thefoam How sweet it is to roam across theocean, and see new towns and wondrouslands, and to come home laden with treasure,and to win undying fame !"And the good ship Argo heard him, andlonged to be away and out at sea; till shestirred in every timber, and leapt up fromthe sand upon the rollers, and plunged on-ward like a gallant horse; and the heroesfed her path with pine-trunks, till she rushedinto the whispering sea.Then they stored her well with food andwater, and pulled the ladder up on board,and settled themselves each man to his oar,and kept time to Orpheus' harp; and awayacross the bay they rowed southward, whilethe people lined the cliffs; and the womenwept, while the men shouted, at the startingof that gallant crew.
THE ARGONAUTS.IV. How the Argonauts sailed to Colchis.ERE long the heroes came to Ephetai,across the bay, and waited for thesouth-west wind, and chose themselvesa captain from their crew: and allcalled for Heracles, because he was thestrongest and most huge; but Heraclesrefused, and called for Jason, because hewas the wisest of them all.So Jason was chosen captain; andthey all vowed before the sun, and thenight, and the blue-haired sea whoshakes the land, to stand by Jason faithfullyin the adventure of the golden fleece.Then they went to their ship and sailedeastward, like men who have a work to do.And they sailed to the northward towardPelion, up the long Magnesian shore. Andtheir hearts yearned for the dear old mountain,as they thought of pleasant days gone by, andof the sports of their boyhood, and theirhunting, and their schooling in the cavebeneath the cliff. And at last Peleus spoke,(1,423) 6
82THE HEROES."Let us land here, friends, and climb thedear old hill once more. We are going ona fearful journey; who knows if we shallsee Pelion again ? Let us go up to Cheiron,our master, and ask his blessing ere we start.And I have a boy, too, with him, whom hetrains as he trained me once."So the helmsman steered them to the shoreunder the crags of Pelion; and they wentup through the dark pine-forests towards thecentaur's cave.Then Cheiron leapt up and welcomed them,and kissed them every one, and set a feastbefore them; and young Achilles served them,and carried the golden goblet round. Andafter supper all the heroes clapped their hands,and called on Orpheus to sing; but he refused,and said, "How can I, who am the younger,sing before our ancient host ?" So they calledon Cheiron to sing, and Achilles brought himhis harp; and he began a wondrous song.Then Orpheus took the lyre, and sangof the making of the wondrous World,and how all things sprang from Love, whocould not live alone in the Abyss. And as
THE ARGONAUTS.83he sang, his voice rose from the cave, abovethe crags, and through the tree-tops, and theglens of oak and pine. And the trees bowedtheir heads when they heard it, and the grayrocks cracked and rang, and the forest beastscrept near to listen, and the birds forsook theirnests and hovered round. And old Cheironclapt his hands together, and beat his hoofsupon the ground, for wonder at that magicsong.Then Peleus kissed his boy, and wept overhim, and they went down to the ship; andCheiron came down with them, weeping, andkissed them one by one, and blest them,and promised to them great renown. Andthe heroes wept when they left him, till theirgreat hearts could weep no more; for hewas kind and just and pious, and wiser thanall beasts and men.So they rowed on over the long swell ofthe sea till they met with Cyzicus, ruling inAsia over the Dolions, who welcomed theheroes, feasted them, and stored their shipwith corn and wine, and cloaks and rugs, andshirts, of which no doubt they stood in need.
84THE HEROES.But at night, while they lay asleep, camedown on them terrible men, who livedwith the bears in the mountains,like giants in shape, who foughtwith young firs and pines. ButHeracles killed them all with hisdeadly poisoned arrows; but amongthem, in the darkness, he slew Cyzi-cus, the kindly prince.Then they got to their ship andto their oars, and Tiphys bade themcast off the hawsers and go to sea.But as he spoke a whirlwind came,and spun the Argo round, and twistedthe hawsers together, so that no mancould loose them. Then Jason wentforward, and asked counsel of the magicbough.Then the magic bough spoke, and answered,"This is because you have slain Cyzicus, yourfriend. You must appease his soul, or youwill never leave this shore."Jason went back sadly, and told the heroeswhat he had heard. And they leapt on shoreand searched till they found the body among
THE ARGONAUTS.the corpses of those monstrous beasts. Andthey wept over their kind host, and laid himon a fair bed, and heaped a huge mound overhim, and Orpheus sang a magic song to him,that his spirit might have rest; and so thesoul of good Cyzicus was appeased, and theheroes went on their way in peace.Then they rowed away along the shoretill they found a pleasant bay. And therethey ran the ship upon the yellow sand, andwent ashore to sport and rest.And there Heracles went away into thewoods, bow in hand, to hunt wilddeer; and Hylas, the fair boy, sliptaway after him, and followed himby stealth, until he lost himselfamong the glens, and sat downweary to rest himself by the side ofa lake; and there the water nymphscame up to look at him, and lovedhim, and carried him down underthe lake to be their playfellow, forever happy and young. ,And Heracles sought for him invain, shouting his name till all the """su
86THE HEROES.mountains rang; but Hylas never heard him,far down under the sparkling lake. So whileHeracles wandered searching for him, a fairbreeze sprang up, and Heracles was nowhereto be found; and the Argo sailed away, andHeracles was left behind.And the Minuai went on up the Bosphorus,till they came to the city of Phineus, thefierce king.And they went up from the shore towardthe city, through forests white with snow;and Phineus came out to meet them with alean and woeful face, and said, "Welcome,gallant heroes, to the land of cold and misery;yet I will feast you as best I can."And he led them in, and set meat beforethem; but before they could put their handsto their mouths, down came two fearfulmonsters, the like of whom men never saw;for they had the faces and the hair of fairmaidens, but the wings and claws of hawks;and they snatched the meat from off thetable, and flew shrieking out above the roofs.-Then Phineus beat his breast and cried,"These are the Harpies, whose names are the
THE ARGONAUTS.87Whirlwind and the Swift, and they rob usnight and day, sweep away our food fromoff our tables, so that we starve in spite ofall our wealth."Then up rose Zetes and Calais, the wingedsons of the North-wind, and said, "Do younot know us, Phineus, and these wings whichgrow upon our backs?" And Phineus hidhis face in terror; but he answered not aword."Because you have been a traitor, Phineus,the Harpies haunt you night and day. Whereis Cleopatra our sister, your wife, whom youkeep in prison ? and where are her two chil-dren, whom you blinded in your rage, andcast out upon the rocks? Swear to us thatyou will right our sister, and then we willdrive the whirlwind maidens to the south;but if not, we will put out your eyes, as youput out the eyes of your own sons."Then Phineus swore an oath to do as theywished; and Jason took those two poor chil-dren, and cured their eyes with magic herbs.But Zetes and Calais rose up sadly and said,"Farewell now, heroes all. Our day-is come
88THE HEROES.at last, in which we must hunt the whirlwindsover land and sea for ever; and if we catchthem they die, and if not, we die ourselves."At that all the heroes wept; but the twoyoung men sprang up, and aloft into theair after the Harpies, and the battle of thewinds began.The heroes trembled in silence as theyheard the shrieking of the blasts; while thepalace rocked and all the city, and the Bos-phorus boiled white with foam, and the cloudswere dashed against the cliffs.But at last the battle ended, and theHarpies fled screaming toward the south, andthe sons of the North-wind rushed after them,and brought clear sunshine where they passed.For many a league they followed them awayto the south-west across Hellas. But whatbecame of Zetes and Calais I know not, forthe heroes never saw them again.But the Argonauts went eastward, and outinto the open sea, which we now call theBlack Sea, but it was called the Euxine then.All feared that dreadful sea, and its rocks, andshoals, and fogs, and bitter, freezing storms.
THE ARGONAUTS.89And first Orpheus spoke, and warned them,"We shall come now to the wandering bluerocks; my mother warned me of them."And soon they saw the blue rocks shininglike spires and castles of glass, while an ice-cold wind blew from them. And as theyneared they could see them heaving, crash-ing, and grinding together, till the roar wentup to heaven.The heroes' hearts sank within them, andthey lay upon their oars in fear; but Or-pheus called to the helmsman, " Between themwe must pass; so look ahead for an opening,and be brave, for Hera is with us." ButTiphys, the cunning helmsman, stood silent,clenching his teeth, till he saw a heron comeflying mast-high towards the rocks, and hoverawhile before them, as if looking for a passagethrough. Then he cried, "Hera has sent usa pilot; let us follow the cunning bird."Then the heron flapped to and fro fora moment, till he saw a hidden gap, and intoit he rushed like an arrow, while the heroeswatched what would befall.: And the blue rocks clashed together as the
90THE HEROES.bird fled swiftly through; but they struckonly a feather from his tail, and then re-bounded apart at the shock.Then Tiphys cheered the heroes, andthey shouted; and the oars bent beneaththeir strokes as they rushed between thosetoppling ice-crags and the cold blue lipsof death, and ere the rocks could meet againthey had passed them, and were safe out inthe open sea.And they went on past manya mighty river's mouth, and pasta' " many a barbarous tribe, and the;a3 cities of the Amazons, the warlikewomen. And at day-dawn theyR,, looked eastward, and midway be-<\ tween the sea and the sky they sawI white snow-peaks bright above theclouds. And they knew that theywere come to Caucasus, at the endof all the earth.- And they rowed three days to theeastward while Caucasus rose higherhour by hour, till they saw the darkstream of Phasis rushing headlong to
THE ARGONAUTS.91the sea, and, shining above the tree-tops, thegolden roofs of King Aietes, the child ofthe Sun.Then out spoke the helmsman, "We arecome to our goal at last, for there are theroofs of Aietes, and the woods where allpoisons grow; but who can tell us whereamong them is hid the golden fleece ? Manya toil must we bear ere we find it, and bringit home to Greece."But Jason cheered the heroes, for his heartwas high and bold; and he said, "I will goalone up to Aietes, though he be the child ofthe Sun, and win him with soft words." Butthe Minuai would not stay behind, so theyrowed boldly up the stream.And a dream came to Aietes, and filled hisheart with fear. He thought he saw a shin-ing star, which fell into his daughter's lap;and that Medeia, his daughter, took it gladly,and carried it to the river-side, and cast itin, and there the whirling river bore it down,and out into the Euxine Sea.Then he leapt up in fear, and bade hisservants bring his chariot, that he might go
92 THE HEROES.down to the river-side and appease thenymphs, and the heroes whose spirits hauntthe bank. So he went down in his goldenchariot, and his daughters by his side, Medeia,the fair witch-maiden, and Chalciope, whohad been Phrixus' wife, and behind him acrowd of servants and soldiers, for he wasa rich and mighty prince.And as he drove down by the reedy riverhe saw Argo sliding up beneath the bank, andmany a hero in her, like Immortals for beautyand for strength. But Jason was the noblestof all.And when they came near together andlooked into each other's eyes the heroes wereawed before Aietes as he shone in his chariot,for his robes were of rich gold tissue, and therays of his diadem flashed fire; and in his handhe bore a jewelled sceptre, which glittered likethe stars; and sternly he looked at them underhis brows, and sternly he spoke and loud,-"Who are you, and what want you here?Do you take no account of my rule, or ofmy people, who know well how to face aninvader?"