The Baldwin Litbrary1
THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
HERA AND THE CHARIOT OF THE SUN.
A STORY OF HOME IN OLD TIME
REV. ALFRED J. CHURCH, M.A.
Professor of Latin in University College, London
With Illustrations after Flaxman
and the Antique.
SEELEY & CO., ESSEX STREET, STRAND
I. THE HOME IN ATHENS ... ...... I
II. THE HOME AT MARATHON ... ... II
III. AT THE TOILET ... ... ... ... 19
IV. OLD HYLAX ... ... ... ... 28
,V. READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC ... 37
VI. A FRIEND. ... ... ... .. 45
VII. THE END OF SCITON ... ... .. 55
VIII, A VOYAGE ... ... .. ... 64
IX. SALAMIS ... ... ... ... .. 79
X. THE PEIRAEUS ... ... .. ... 92
XI. A FAMILY SACRIFICE ... ... ... 102
XII. AT SPARTA ... ... ... ... 114
XIII. THE STORY OF ARISTOMENES ... ... 130
XIV. A MARRIAGE ... ... .. ... 142
XV. GOOD-BYE TO SPARTA ... ... ... 156
XVI. AT CORINTH ... ... ... ... 167
XVII THE GAMES ... .. ... ... ... 178
XVIII. AT HOME AGAIN ... ... ... 188
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
HERA AND THE CHARIOT OF THE SUN ... Frontispiece
THE TOILET ... ... ... ... .. ... 24
ULYSSES AND HIS DOG ... ... .. ... 34
THE FUNERAL OF SCITON ... ... ... .. 62
ATOSSA'S DREAM ... ... ... ... 90
THE SACRIFICE ... ... ... ... ... 104
LEON AND ELPINICE ... ...... 112
THE OMEN ... ... .... ... ... 154
A CHILD PRESENTED IN THE TEMPLE ... 162
GOING TO THE WARS ... ..... 168
PLAYING AT BALL .. ... ... 74
AT THE VINTAGE ... ... ... ... ... 190
THREE GREEK CHILDREN
THE HOME IN ATHENS.
I AM going to tell you about some Greek
children, who lived more than two thousand
years ago in a city called Athens. The city
stands still, and the ruins of many of its old
buildings are to be seen. Most of these
buildings were temples, in which these people
used to worship their many gods. There was
Phoebus, the sun-god; and Hera, the goddess
of power; and Athen6, the goddess of wisdom;
and Demeter, or mother-earth. For they did
not know, as did the Jews-who had, you will
remember, but one temple-that there is but
one God from whom all good things come
down to men. Athens was one of the richest
2 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
and most beautiful cities of the world, and
very powerful, too; only at the particular
time of which I am writing the people were
in great distress. Their enemies sent an
army every year into their country, and shut
them up in their walls during all the spring
and summer time. Thousands and thousands
more than the city could properly hold were
crowded into it; numbers of people had no
houses to live in, and had to do as best they
could under carts tilted up, and even in great
barrels-anything that could give them shelter.
Even the rich felt this trouble very much,
and especially the children, who had no out-
door games; for the streets were, of course,
not fit for them to play in, and they got sadly
tired, in the hot days, of being always shut up
in their nurseries.
It is a very hot day in July, and the three
children I am going to tell you about are
feeling very tired, and, I am afraid, a little
cross. There are two girls, Gorgo and Rhodium
(Rhodium means Little Rose), and a boy
Hipponax (which is in English, Horse King).
Gorgo and Rhodium are playing with dolls, not
THE HOME IN A THEN. 3
made of wax or wood, like our English dolls,
but of clay, and painted to make them look
like soldiers, sailors, and merchants, or ladies
finely dressed, or working women. Gorgo, who
is the elder of the two girls, likes soldier dolls,
and has divided hers into two little armies.
One army she calls Spartans (the Spartans
were the enemies who were shutting up the
people in the walls), and the other Athenians.
She sits on the floor and rolls a ball, first into
one army and then into the other. I don't
think that she rolls it quite fairly, for more of
the Spartans are upset than of the Athenians.
Gorgo is just ten years old. Her sister, who
is four years younger, does not care about
soldier dolls, but is never tired of playing at
mother, nurse, and child, with three dolls which
her own nurse has dressed up for her. Hip-
ponax, who is four, is amusing himself with a
cockchafer, which one of the servants has
caught for him. It has got a thread tied round
it, and he holds the other end of the thread in
his hand and lets it fly about the room. This
is rather a cruel game, and his sisters seem to
think so, for when the little boy runs out of the
4 THREE GREEK CHILDREN,
room to get a drink of water, Gorgo says to
Rhodium, I do wish that tiresome child would
find something else to play with besides
these wretched cockchafers. They do make
such a nasty buzzing, and, besides, they fly up
against one's face, and I don't like the feel of
them at all. And I am sure they must be very
unhappy. I shall cut the thread while he is
away, and let the poor thing go."
Oh I but he will be so angry," says Rhodium,
who is a timid, peaceable child, and rather afraid
of her sturdy little brother, who has already
begun to think that he is very much better than
He may be as angry as he likes," says
Gorgo, and cuts the thread which the little boy
had tied to the leg of a chair.
Hipponax came back just in time to see
the beetle fly off through the open window,
and very angry he was. He knew that Gorgo
had let it go, and, small as he was, he was
ready to fly at her, when Rhodium, the peace-
maker, had a happy thought.
Brother dear," she said, "will you have my
chariot to play with ?"
THE HOME IN A THEN. 5
It was a beautiful little toy of ivory, with
four horses made of wood, and so beautifully
carved and painted that, but for their size, they
might have seemed alive. The girl's uncle had
given it her the year before, when he won the
chariot race at the great games of Olympia.
Little Hipponax thought it ought to belong to
him. What have girls to do with horses and
chariots ? he would say; "but I am the Horse
King." It was a special treat for him to be
allowed to play with it, and poor Rhodium used
to look on in great fear while he dragged it
about the room, pretending that he was winning
a race. This is what he began to do now, and
his two sisters played at being the people that
looked on, and clapped their hands and shouted,
while he ran about with it.
Happily, before any mischief was done, the
nurse came back, and the children left their
play to ask her for a story.
Nurse was a Spartan woman. Rich people
always got Spartan nurses for their children if
they could, for they had a way of keeping them
in order without being unkind. She had come
into the family just after Gorgo's birth, and
6 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
could not bear to leave the dear little baby when
the war broke out between her country and
Athens. And there she had stopped ever
since, and the children loved her almost as
much as they loved their mother.
"A story, Nurse! a story !." they all cried.
Have you been good children ?" she said.
Hipponax hung his head, but as he had not
actually beaten his sister she was able to give
him a good character.
So nurse made the two girls sit by her, and,
took Hipponax on her knee, and told them the
STORY OF THE BOY WHOM DEMETER LOVED.
Once upon a time the goddess Demeter
went wandering about the world looking for
her daughter, whom she had lost, and in her
wanderings she came to this country in which
we are now living. There was a poor man
that had a small farm about ten miles from the
city. He had two children, one a girl of about
ten years old, and the other a baby-boy. The
girl took care of two goats, which she used to
lead out to pasture and to milk. One day as
she was coming home she saw Demeter, who
THE HOME IN A THENS. 7
was dressed as a poor woman, sitting on a stone
near the house. Mother,' she said, 'is there
anything that you want ?' And when Demeter
said nothing, but only shook her head and
began to cry (for it was a sad thing to be
called 'mother' now that she had lost her
daughter), the little girl ran to her father and
told him about the poor woman. The kind
man came out and begged her to come in,
though it was but a poor place, he said. Now
it so happened that the baby-boy was very ill.
Indeed, his mother had no hope that he would
ever be well; but when Demeter went up to him
and kissed him as he lay in his cradle, at once
he began to get better, and before half an hour
was over he was kicking and crowing as if he had
never been ill in his life. Then they sat down
to supper-some curds and whey made out
of goats' milk, and honey in the comb, and
But hadn't they any bread ?" broke in little
No, my child," said nurse; "no one knew
then how to make bread.
When they all went to bed Demeter said
8 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
that she would sit up by the fire, for she felt
she could not sleep. About midnight, when all
were sound asleep, she took the baby out of
his cradle, and laid him in the middle of the
fire. Ah you look frightened; but she knew
what she was about. She had done something
to the child that the fire should not hurt him,
but only burn out of him what was weak and
mortal, so that he should not die like other
people. But when this was half done the
mother, who was still a little anxious about the
baby, happened to wake and put her hand
very gently on the cradle. And, lo! it was
empty That woke her up, you may be sure,
thoroughly, and she sprang out of bed, and
going into the other room saw the child lying in
the middle of the fire. She had it out in a
moment, making sure that it must be dreadfully
burnt, if it was not dead. How astonished she
was when she found it was not hurt at all!
Then Demeter said, not angrily but sadly,
'Foolish mother, why did you not trust me, and
leave him there ? Now your child will die some
day like other men and women. Still, I will
make him a wise man, for he shall learn to
THE HOME IN A TENS. 9
plough, and sow, and reap.' And this is how
people first got to grow wheat, and to make
Nurse had just finished her story when some-
thing happened that was very rare indeed-the
children's father came into the nursery, for
generally they went down to see him. But
now he had such good news to tell them that
he could not wait.
There is peace, dear children," he said;
"peace has been made to-day."
"And we shall be able to go to our dear
country home ?" said Gorgo.
Yes," said he, though I am afraid that you
will find it in a very sad state."
All the rest of the day the children were
almost out of their minds with joy. When the
two younger ones had gone to bed, nurse said
to Gorgo, Now I am going to tell you a story
about another Gorgo, who lived many years ago
in my own dear country. I would not tell you
before, because I was sure that you did not like
my people, and would not care to know any-
thing about them. But now that we are friends
again you shall hear it.
o1 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
"This Gorgo was daughter to one of our
kings, and was about a year younger than you
are. One day she was playing with her dolls
in her father's room, when a stranger was talking
to him on some very serious business. The
stranger wished him to take an army of
Spartans on a very dangerous expedition, and
when he said no, offered him money: first ten,
then twenty, then fifty talents. When the king
heard of the fifty talents he began to be shaken,
for all the Spartans, even the kings, are very
poor, and this was a great sum of money.
Then Gorgo looked up from her dolls, and said,
' Father, go away, or else this stranger will do
you harm.' When she grew up to be a
woman she became the wife of that Spartan
king who fought with his three hundred men
against all the army of the Persians, and I
think she helped him to be the brave man he
The next day when Gorgo played with her
dolls, she made them into one army, and made
believe that they were going to march against
THE HOME AT MARATHON.
IN about a week's time the three children were
able to leave Athens for their dear country
home. Dear it was, though I do not think
that even Gorgo, the eldest, remembered much
about it, and little Hipponax had never even
seen it. But they had heard their father and
mother talk about it till they seemed to know it
as well as if they had lived there all their lives.
It was about ten miles from the city, and just
outside a little village called Marathon. How
pleased they were when they found that after all
not much harm had been done to the house, and
garden, and farm! The reason of this was that
one of the Spartan generals had been living
there, and that by great good luck this general
was nurse's own foster-brother. He had taken
12 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
care of the place for his own sake, and also be-
cause he knew that its owners were very kind to
his foster-sister. So the house was bright, and
clean, and ready, with a very little preparation,
for them to live in; and the garden was full of
flowers, and, joy of joys there was an orchard,
with beautiful red pomegranates and apples and
pears in it. Behind the house, too, on the slope
of the hill, there was an olive-yard, and, what
the children thought much prettier, a vineyard,
in which the grapes were beginning to grow
yellow and purple. Little Hipponax, who had
scarcely been outside the city since he was born,
was quite wild with delight. The first morning
after they got there he slipped away from nurse
as soon as he was dressed-and you may be sure
he did not give her much peace after it had once
begun to be light-and went to explore the
beautiful new place for himself. When he found
the apples and pears hanging on the trees he
was quite astonished. He ran into the house,
and made his way to his mother's room, where
she was still fast asleep; for mothers used to be
very tired in those days, just as they are in these,
with a family move."
THE HOME AT MARATHON. 13
O mother he cried, do get up and come
and look at this beautiful fruit. Why it is really
hanging on the trees "
Why not ? his. mother said, for she was still
very sleepy, and did not remember at the moment
that her little boy had never seen a fruit-tree
Oh, but, mother," he went on, "in Athens it
never used to hang on trees, but used to lie on
boards, or be piled up in baskets in the shops.
And I used to think that the men in the shops
made it, for it cost a lot of money, you used to
say, just like the other things which people
make. But now, I suppose, we may have as
much of it as we like ?"
"Yes, darling," said his mother ; "or perhaps
we had better say, as much as nurse thinks good
After breakfast, while the little girls were
helping their mother to get things into order,
Hipponax went for a walk with his father round
the farm. It would not be easy to say what
pleased him most, but I think it was the kind
looks that all the people that were at work on
the farm gave him. In fact, if he had not been
14 THREE GREER CHILDREN.
a very nice, simple little fellow he might easily
have been spoilt. At Athens, his father, whose
name, I should have told you, was Leon, was
not a very great man, but here he was quite the
chief person of the place, and the "little master,"
whom the old servants had never seen before,
was made much of. He felt quite hot and
ashamed when the old people kissed his hand,
and won their hearts by offering his cheek in-
stead. When they came to the vineyard they
found a very old man busy tying up some of the
clusters that were touching the ground. He did
this wonderfully well though he had but one
hand. He was dressed like the other labourers,
and Hipponax was surprised to see his father
kiss him on both cheeks, while he said, Here is
the little one, father. Is he like the old stock ? "
The gods make it flourish !" said the old
man, and he stooped down and kissed the little
Then Leon and the old man had some talk
together about the vines and other matters of
the farm. As they were going home Hipponax
said, Father, why did you kiss the old man
and call him 'father?'"
THE HOME AT MARATHON. 15
Leon answered, "Wait till to-morrow, my
little son, and you shall hear a story that you
must never forget as long as you live."
The next day all the family went on an expe-
dition. There was a cushioned carriage drawn
by two mules; in this the children rode with
their mother and nurse. The old man, too,
whom Hipponax had seen in the vineyard, went
with them. Leon rode on horseback by the
side of the carriage. The road ran along by the
side of a little stream, which was then almost
dry. On either side were cornfields, now quite
bare, and sometimes a little cottage, with its
little clump of old, grey olive-trees. Some of,
the cottages were in ruins, but the olive-trees
seemed not to have been hurt at all. After they
had gone four or five miles they came to two
mounds, one of which had a number of little
pillars on it. Here the carriage stopped, and
the children got down. Then Leon said to the
old man, whose name was Sciton, Sciton, no
one but you must take them to see it." So
Sciton took the little boy by the hand, and
beckoned to the girls that they were to follow.
When they came near, they saw that all the
16 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
pillars had names written on them, some more
and some less. Sciton took them to one on
which there were about thirty names, and told
Gorgo, who, you will remember, was the elder
of the two girls, to read them. It was not very
easy to spell them out, for the letters were a
little old-fashioned. But after- she had looked
at them about a minute she almost screamed,
" Oh, mother, here is father's name, and
brother's, too !" And sure enough there they
were : Leon, son of H-iponax. Old Sciton
looked proud and sad, too, when he heard it.
Then Leon said to him, "Tell them the story,
Sciton." So Sciton told them the story of the
great battle of Marathon, in which he had him-
self fought almost seventy years before.
Once upon a time some people called Per-
sians came to conquer this country. They came
in ships from over the sea, and there were so
many of them that they quite covered all this
plain that you now see. Still the Athenians
went out to fight with them, and drew up their
little army-it was very little to be compared
with the Persians-just under the hills there.
Your great-grandfather was among them, and I
THE HOME Al MARA THON. 17
was allowed to go with him, though I was only
a slave then. Well, we waited several days,
and began to get very sad and dull; and there
were some who even talked about making peace.
At last one of the generals, who was my master's
uncle, persuaded the others to fight. How glad
we all were to hear it, and that very night a
thousand men from a little town called Platea
marched in to help us. The next day, when we
had been drawn up in line and had said our
prayers, we set off running towards the enemy.
One of their prisoners afterwards told us that
they thought we were mad. Well, your great-
grandfather and I were in the middle of the
line, and we happened to have the very strongest
of the Persians to fight with, and we came up to
them all out of breath and out of order. There
were so many of them that they pushed us back,
and we had not strength to stand, though we
did not wish to move. Your great-grandfather
was a very strong man, and could run almost
any distance without getting out of breath. He
would not give way, and he was left quite alone,
and of course I could not leave him. I do not
know how many Persians he struck down, but
iS THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
at last one came behind him and aimed a great
blow at his head. I put my arm up to save
him, and the sword lopped my hand sheer off
and wounded him. Then another Persian struck
him, and we fell both together. I do not re-
member anything more; but I heard that the
middle of our line was broken-the two ends
won the battle. My dear master was dead when
they came to look for us, but I was just alive,
and when I got better they made me free.
That is his name your sister read on the pillar
Well," said Leon to little Hipponax, that
is the story that you must never forget. Never
forget, too, that you have seen one of the 'men
who fought at Marathon.' "
AT THE TOILET.
IT was one of the little girls' great delights to
see their mother dress, or, perhaps I should
say, be dressed, for her maid or maids (she
generally had two or three waiting on her)
used to do very nearly everything for her;
What she used to wear is more than I can tell
you. But you can get some notion of what she
looked like when the dressing was finished from
the picture that you will find with this chapter.
One day Gorgo-little Rhodium happened
that day to be not quite well-found a new
maid waiting upon her mother. The old one,
who had been with her ever since her marriage,
was just married. This sort of thing often
happens in England. A girl goes into service
when she is sixteen or seventeen years, old, and
20 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
then, perhaps in ten years' time, when she has
saved up some money, she marries a young
man whom she knew at home, or whose
acquaintance she has made since, perhaps the
baker's young man, or the young fellow that
calls for orders from the grocer. But this was
not at all what had happened to Lapaxo, for
this was the name of the young woman who
had just married. In the summer of the year
in which Leon was married he had gone on an
expedition against some towns in Thrace, which
is the country that they now call Albania. The
expedition did not do very much, for the
Thracians were very brave and fierce, and were
always ready to meet the Athenians when they
tried to land. But they did manage to take
one of the towns, coming on it by surprise
early one morning, when the country people
were going in to market, and the gates hap-
pened to be blocked up by a number of carts.
When it was taken, all the people in it were
sold as slaves. This was a shocking thing to
do, but it was one of the ways in which money
was got to pay the soldiers' and sailors' wages.
This time the general got nearly 30,00ooo for
AT THE TOILET. 21
the slaves he sold. Leon did not think it was
wrong; but he had a tender heart, and when
he saw poor Lapaxo hiding her face with her
hands and crying as if her heart would break,
he could not help being very sorry for her.
She was the daughter of one of the chief men
of the place, and was a very pretty, refined-
looking girl. So Leon determined to buy her,
and give her to his wife that was to be. He
had to give as much as ,200o for her, for the
slave-dealers who followed the army bid very
high. Happily Leon was a rich man, and when
he said out loud, "By Hera, I will give two
talents sooner than let her go," the dealers
gave up.. This was how Lapaxo came to be
And now you shall hear about her marriage.
For eight years she lived with her mistress,
and seemed to have no thought of a change.
She would not so much as look at any of the
slaves, and when a rich tradesman, who had
happened to see her when he was putting up
some beautiful purple curtains from Thyatira,
wanted to make her his wife, she said "No,"
quite angrily. (You must understand that this
22 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
man was a foreigner, for,' of course, no Athe-
nian would have thought of marrying a slave.)
Well one day she went with her mistress to
a great service in one of the temples, and
there were some archers from Thrace keeping
the road that the crowd might not push against
the ladies. When she saw the captain of the
archers, she turned quite pale. He was her
old lover. You see the Thracians did not
much care for whom they fought, and this
young man, who had been away from the
town when it was taken, had taken service
with the Athenian army, and being a brave
and clever fellow, had done very well. He
recognized Lapaxo quite as quickly as she had
recognized him, and it was not long before he
found out where she lived. By great good luck
he had served under Leon, and had once helped
him when he was wounded. So when he went
with a bag of gold, which he had saved out of
his pay, and told his story, and wanted to buy
Lapaxo's freedom, Leon said, "No, my good
friend, I have long wanted to do something for
you so I will set her free for nothing, and you
shall use the money to begin housekeeping with."
AT THE TOILET. 23
This is quite a long story about Elpinice's
maid; but I wanted you to know how people
got their servants in those days.' And how, do
you think, did the lady get her new one ? Why,
she was left to her by her aunt's will. The old
lady thought very highly of her, and left her to
Elpinice because she was her favourite niece.
" I bequeath," she wrote in her will, "my chief
dresser, Glykerion by name, to my brother's
daughter, Elpinic6, wife of Leon, son of Hip-
ponax. Let her be reckoned as of the value
of twenty minas (about 83), for indeed she
is the most skilful adorner in Athens. But let
not her mistress spare the slipper, for indeed
she is as lazy as she is skilful." You must
know that ladies used to beat their maids with
their slippers if they did not please them.
So Glykerion came to wait on Leon's wife,
and this was the day on which she began her
duties. She got on well enough, though indeed
she seemed to think it all beneath her, till she
had done dressing her mistress's hair. Then
she began to look about as if for something
that she could not find. At last she whispered
Elpinic6 means Victory of Hope."
24 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
to one of the slave girls, "Where is the rouge
box ?" Her mistress heard her, and said, I
never, use rouge." Glykerion almost dropped
the brush with which she was giving one or
two last touches to the hair. Then she re-
covered herself. Truly your ladyship has
colour enough of your own. But a little white-
lead- No, nor white-lead either," said
Elpinic ; I am quite content to be as Nature
made me." Nature !" said the maid, under her
breath. What barbarism Castor preserve
me What would my old mistress have said ? "
Elpinice thought it a good time, when the
maid was gone, to have a little talk with Gorgo
about these things. The little girl was begin-
ning, as little girls sometimes will, to think too
much about herself. She would look in the
glass (I should rather say the "brass," for
people in those days used polished brass or
silver instead of glass, to see their faces in), and
put on a smile or a languishing look, or strike
an attitude. Once her mother found her trying
on a mantle, with a couple of bracelets on her
arm that she had taken out of the jewellery box.
So now she said-
AT THE TOILET. 25
"I am going to tell my little girl some-
thing that happened before she was born. I
am afraid she will think that her mother was a
very foolish woman. Well, when I was married
I was not content to be as nature made me, but
used to paint myself red and white with the
very things that you heard the maid ask for.
I must say this for myself, that I had been
taught to do it; it was the custom in our
family, as it is in many families still. And this
is how I was cured of it. One day, about a
month after we had been married, your dear
father said, 'I have a present for you, my love,'
and he showed me a very handsome-looking
casket. When I opened it, there was a mantle
of a rich purple, just the very colour that he knew
I liked best, and under the mantle a fine gold
bracelet wrapped in wool, and at the bottom a
number of silver pieces. I was delighted, and
threw my arms round his neck and kissed
him. 'You dear, good husband,' I said, 'what
a beautiful present!' There was just a little
twinkle in his eye. I did notice that, but I was
too much pleased to think anything about it.
So I began to count over the money, for I had
26 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
never even seen so much together before. And
as I was counting it, one of the pieces slipped
out of my hand and fell on the table. It made
such a dull sound, not in the least like the ring
of good money, that I cried out, 'Oh it must
be bad!' It does not sound well,' your
father said; 'try another one.' So I tried
another one, and that was just as bad, and then
a third and a fourth, till I was quite tired, and
there was not a single good one among them.
Then your father said, 'Just try the bracelet
with your nail; perhaps that is not all right,'
and sure enough, when I tried it with my nail,
a piece of gold leaf came off, and showed me
the wood underneath. Dear me,' said my
husband, 'this is a bad business.' As for me,
I burst out crying, and one of the tears fell on
the mantle, and I saw the beautiful purple
colour begin to run. 'Well,' said my husband,
'there is only the casket left; let us try that.'
And he wetted his finger, and, lo and behold!
instead of being ebony, as I had thought, it
was only common pine wood painted black!
And so all my beautiful present was a mere
sham. I threw myself on the couch, and cried
AT THE TOILET. 27
as if my heart would break. Then your father
came and sat down by me, and said, 'So my
darling likes real.things, not sham. And quite
right, too; and so does her husband. He
likes his wife's real face, and not a face painted
to look redder than it is and whiter than it is;
and he likes his wife's real figure, which he
thinks just of the right height, and not one that
is made about three inches taller than it is with
high-heeled boots. And now, my darling, for-
give your husband for his little trick, and give
him a kiss.' So I looked up, and he had art-
fully put a looking-glass so that I could not
help seeing myself. Oh! what a fright I was,
for the tears had run down through the red and
white, and made the most terrible mess of my
face. Well, that finished the lesson, if it wanted
finishing. I never used paint again. And the
next day your father gave me just such another
present, only this time everything was real,
casket, mantle, bracelet, money, and all."
28 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
ONE of the new friends whom the children
made at the Marathon house was old Hylax.
This name means "Barker," and so you will
not be surprised when I tell you that old Hylax
was a dog. Very old he was, and so weak that
he could no longer go out hunting, but used to
spend the day lying in the sun, which never
seemed too hot for him. You would have
thought him dead as he lay stretched out at full
length, except that now and then he would make
a lazy little snap at the flies. But he used to
wake up a little when the hunting party came
home; they used always to go and show him
what they had caught, and for a minute or two
he would look quite young again. They let
him hold the hare or the rabbit in his mouth, and
OLD HYLAX. 29
the old sparkle came into his eye, and the
bristly hair round his neck grew rough, and he
gave a very deep.growl. Poor old fellow! I
wonder whether he thought of the happy time
long ago when he was swift and strong? In
shape and size he was something like a deer-
hound, which, I may tell you, is a large, rough
I said that the children made friends with
him, but I must tell you that he made a curious
difference in his way of behaving to them. He
did not take much notice of the little girls.
When they patted him he would just open his
eyes, and wag his tail.ever so little. But any
one could see that he thought much more of
Hipponax. He would lift his head and try
to lick the little boy's hand, and wag his tail
quite briskly. And when Leon, the children's
father, came to see him, as he did every morn-
ing and evening, the poor old dog used to stag-
ger up on to his feet and lift one of his paws
for his master to shake, and look at him as if he
loved him, which I am sure he did with all the
heart he had. Once Leon came home wetted
to the skin with a sudden storm, and went into
30 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
the house to change his clothes, and did not
think of coming out again to say good-night to
Hylax. That night the poor old dog seemed
not to be able to rest. A groom, who was
sitting up with a sick horse, said next morning
that he heard him again and again give a little
moan as if something was troubling him.
Is Hylax very old ? said Gorgo to her
father the next day when they went to pay him
their morning visit.
Yes," said Leon; nearly twice as old as
you are. Indeed, he is the oldest dog I ever
heard of except one. Shall I tell you how I
came to get him ? "
Yes, father! cried all the children together,
and Leon began.
"When I was a boy, about two years older
than Gorgo, I went with my father to pay a
visit to an old friend of his in Arcadia. There
are great woods in that country, and wild beasts,
such as bears and wolves, which we never see
here. Well, my father and his friend were very
fond of hunting, and sometimes they used to
take me with them. Very proud and pleased I
was, and though I could not help my heart
OLD HYLAX. 31
beating a little quickly when a bear, for instance,
stood at bay, I behaved pretty well. Indeed,
our host, Pauson was his name, was so pleased
with me that he gave me a little hunting spear
of my own.
Well, one day, Pauson and my father went
after a great wild boar that was quite famous in
those parts. As it was a long journey, and
would be a difficult bit of hunting, they left me
at home. Then I did a very silly thing. The
truth was that Pauson's present had made me
quite conceited. I felt as if I were grown up,
and what should come into my head but that I
would do a little bit of hunting on my own
The day after Pauson and my father started
-they were to be away three or four days-I
got up very early in the morning, managed to
get out of the house without waking any of the
servants, and was off, with my spear in my
hand, into the wood. I had not gone half a
mile when I heard a rustling in a thicket, and
there, right in front of me, was a bear! "
"0 father!" cried little Hipponax, "were
you very much frightened ?'
32 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
Well, to tell the truth, I think that I was.
Generally bears leave people alone if they are
left alone themselves. But this happened to
have a cub with it. It turned, looked at me,
growled, and then trotted towards me. I was
not too frightened to remember what I ought
to do. So I knelt on one knee, and planted my
spear, which, after all, was not much more than
a toy, as firmly as I could upon the ground, and
waited. When the bear was close to me she
lifted herself upon her hind legs and tried to
hug me. If I could have held the spear firm,
of course she could not have done it, but I was
not strong enough. The point just pricked the
beast's skin, and then the creature got its fore
paws round me. Just at that moment it was
knocked over by something that jumped on it
from behind. This was a big dog that had
been left behind by the hunters, because she
had a litter of puppies to attend to. She had
seen me go out, and followed me, either because
she wanted some amusement, or because she
knew that I was a foolish young creature, and
must be taken care of. Anyhow, she came just
in time. What a fight she and the bear had,
OLD HYLAX. 33
rolling over and over on the ground! but, of
course the bear was much the stronger, and
when two woodcutters came by a few minutes
afterwards the poor dog was nearly dead. As
for me, I had got no harm, except a terrible
fright that made me dream of bears for many a
month to come. One of the little puppies was
given to me, and I took a great deal of trouble
in rearing it, for at first it was too young to lap,
and I had to put the milk down its throat
That puppy is old Hylax there."
But, father," said Rhodium, who was always
on the look out for stories, you spoke of
another dog that was as old as Hylax. Tell
us about him."
Another time, my child. One story a-
day, or I shall have no more to tell."
But the time came that very evening. They
were coming home from a walk when Sciton
met them with the news that Hylax was dying.
Indeed, when they came to his kennel he
seemed dead. But when his master spoke to
him he opened his eyes and wagged his tail
just a little way, and drooped his ears just once,
and then he died. When the children looked
34 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
at their father they were almost frightened to
see the big tears rolling down his cheeks. Be-
fore they went to bed he told them this story.
THE STORY OF ARGUS.
Once upon a time, all the kings and chiefs
of Greece went to fight against a great city
called Troy. Ten years they fought against it,
and when at last they took it, many of them had
great trouble in getting home again. And of
all none had greater trouble than a certain
Ulysses, who was king of an island in the
Western Sea. He wandered about for ten
years, and all his ships were wrecked, and all
his companions perished, so that when he did
get back at last he was quite alone.
"And, I am sorry to say, he found great
trouble at home. Most people thought that
he must be dead, for, you see, he had been
away from home twenty years, and for the last
ten nothing had been heard of him. So a
number of princes came and wanted his wife
to choose one of them for a husband, and while
she went on putting them off, for she would not
Believe that he was dead,.they stayed in his
ULYSSES AND HIS DOG.
OLD HYLAX. 35
house, and killed his oxen and sheep and swine
and drank his wine. When at last he came back
no one knew him ; indeed, he did not want to
be known, for he had to see whether he had
any friends left, and to think how he was to get
back his own again. So he disguised himself
as a beggar, and went to one of his old ser-
vants. This man was very kind to him, though
he did not in the least know who he was, and
took him the next day to -the palace. There
Ulysses saw a poor old dog lying on a dunghill.
And he said to the old servant, 'Why do they
let this dog lie in this way ? I can see that he
is of a good breed, though he does look so
"'Ah!' said the man, 'his master went
away twenty years ago, and is long since dead,
and the careless women do' not look after the
poor creature. Things go very wrong when
there is no master in a house.'
But the old dog-his name was Argus-
heard his master's voice, and lifted up his head,
and when he saw him he knew him at once.
He wagged his tail, and drooped his ears, just
as you saw old Hylax do this afternoon, and
36 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
then he died. He had waited for his master
twenty years, and he saw him at the last."
Thank you, father," said the children.
And then Rhodium asked, Did not Ulysses
have some adventures while he was trying to
get home ?"
"Yes," said Leon; "and if you are good
children you shall hear some of them some
READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC.
LESSONS were not quite forgotten at the
Marathon house, though they did not take up
much of the day. Hipponax, who, you will
remember, was only four, was just learning his
letters, and girls, in those days, were never
taught much. The children's mother, indeed,
had not been able even to read and write when
she was married. You must not suppose from
this that she was not a lady. On the contrary,
she was a very well-born lady indeed, but then
she belonged to an old-fashioned family, in
which it was thought quite enough if a girl
knew how to spin and sew. But Leon, her
husband, was not of this way of thinking, and
so, as Elpinice was very willing to learn, he
began to teach her himself. She became quite
38 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
a well-educated lady, and her old aunts used
to shake their heads, and hope that no harm
would come of such new-fangled ways. How-
ever, no harm did come of it, and now she-
was teaching her own little girls. Perhaps you
will ask, "What did she teach them ? Well,
it is not very easy to say. You very likely are
learning now, and certainly will learn some day,
some other language-French, Latin, or Ger-
man, perhaps all three. Nothing of the kind
was thought of for our three children. No
Greek ever dreamt of learning the language
of any other nation. He thought far too much
of his own people to do so. Of course when
Greeks went to other countries as doctors or
merchants, they had to use the language spoken
there, but no Greek boy or girl ever learnt
another language as a lesson. For the same
reason they had no geography lessons. As for
history, they knew a little about their own
nation, but knew and cared nothing about that
of any other. Then there were very few books ;
no story books, no children's books, only one or
two histories, and a very few poems. The
children's mother used to read to Gorgo some
READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC. 39
verses written by a wise man whose name was
Solon, and Gorgo wrote them down on a piece
of wood like a folding slate, and covered with
wax. She did not use a pen and ink, but
something like a skewer, with one end sharp
and the other flat. Here is a picture of one.
She made the letters 'in the wax with the
sharp end, and, when she wanted to rub any-
thing out, she took the flat end, made the wax
all smooth, and wrote the word again. All the
words were written in capital letters, and there
were no stops. Here are two of the lines that
she wrote, translated into English, but printed
in the way she wrote them. See whether you
can make them out,
When Gorgo had written the verses down,
her mother would' correct them, and then the
girl learnt them by heart. Rhodium had an
easier lesson of the same kind. Then they
learnt arithmetic. This they did by means of a
40 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
kind of counting board. Here is a picture
With this they used little pieces of wood or
ivory, like the men on a draught-board or a
backgammon-board. Any piece that was put
into the division marked "I counted for
100,000, in "2 it counted for 10,ooo, and so
on till in "6" it counted for one only. When
they wanted to add or subtract, they did not
"do it in their heads," but really put other
pieces in, or took them out. They could
multiply and divide in the same way, but it
would take too long to explain how. You must
ask your teacher to do it, or, perhaps, you might
see a counting-board, for they are still sometimes
made, only with differently coloured balls strung
Now, perhaps, you have had enough about
lessons, and will be glad to hear a story by way
READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC. 41
of a change. This is what Leon told the
children when they came to him one day with a
good report from their mother.
THE STORY OF ULYSSES AND CIRCLE.
"One day Ulysses and his companions in
their travels came to an island, which none of
them knew. Ulysses went up to the top of a
hill, and saw some smoke rising up out of a
wood, and felt sure that it came from some
house. Then he went back to his companions,
and they cast lots who should go and see what
kind of people lived in the house. The lot fell'
to a chief whom I shall call Broadbelt, and he
went with about twenty men, and came to a
house of marble in the middle of a wood.
There was a garden round it, and a number of
lions, and wolves, and other wild beasts walking
about it. When Broadbelt and his company
saw them they were frightened, but the beasts
did not try to hurt them, but wagged their tails
and rubbed up against them, like so many dogs
and cats. While they were looking about them,
they heard the voice of some one singing inside
the house. 'Hark!' said one of them, 'that
42 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
must be a woman, or, perhaps, a goddess; let
us call to her.' So they called to her, and she
came to the door and said, 'Come in, my
friends.' So they all went in, all but Broadbelt,
who was afraid that she might do them some
mischief, and stopped outside. Then the
woman, or rather the goddess, whose name
was Circe, led the men in and made them sit
down on chairs, and gave each of them a mess of
barleymeal, mixed with cheese, and honey, and
wine. Very sweet it was, and nice, and they all
ate quite greedily of it. And when they had
finished it, she struck them one after another
with a little switch she had in her hand, and
each one that she struck became a pig, for she
had mixed a dreadful poison in the mess which,
made them forget all about their country and
their friends. So when they were turned into
pigs she shut them up in styes, and gave them
acorns and beech-mast to eat.
Broadbelt did not know- what had been
done to his companions, but as they did not
come out of the house again, he felt sure that
some mischief had happened to them. So he
ran back and told all he knew to Ulysses.
READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC. 43
Then Ulysses said, 'I must go to see after my
friends,' and he went, though all the others
begged him to stay.
When he came to the house a very beautiful
young man met him, and said, 'This is Circe's
house. She has turned your companions into
swine. Do you think that you will set them
free ? No; for she will make you like one of
them. But stop; I will give you something
that will help you, a certain flower that I know.
Go into the house, keeping this flower in your
hand. She will give you a mess; take it, for it
will not hurt you. And when she shall strike
you with her switch, draw your sword and run
at her, and do not let her go till she has sworn
to do you no harm.'
"Then the young man, who was Hermes,
the god, picked a plant that grew close by. It
had a black root, and a flower that was white as
milk. Ulysses took it and went into the house,
and everything happened just as Hermes had
said. Circ6 gave him the mess of meal, and
honey, and cheese, and wine. And when he had
swallowed it, she struck him with the switch,
and said, Go to thy stye.' But he drew his
44 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
sword, and made as if he would have killed her.
Then she caught him by the knees, and begged
for her life. And he made her swear that she
would not harm him. Then she told her ser-
vants to make ready a great feast. But before
he would eat he said, 'You must turn my
friends into men again.' So she went to the
styes and opened the doors, and drove them
out. Then she rubbed each one of them with
a magic ointment that she had, and the bristles
dropped off from them, and they became men
again, only younger, and handsomer, and taller
than they were before. And after that for a
whole year Circe kept Ulysses and all his
company in her house."
Rhodium said, O father, does this wonderful
plant grow anywhere about here ? "
Yes," said Leon, I am sure that it does,
though it is not so common as I could wish."
Then Rhodium cried, "Tell us its name."
Its name is Temperance," said Leon.
LEON commonly had one or two guests in
his house. They would come to have a day
or two's hunting or fishing. Fishing could be
got in a little stream that ran through the
marsh on the Marathon plain; there you could
find sea fish in the part near the sea, and fresh-
water fish higher up. As for hunting, there
were hares on the hills above the house, and
there were partridges in the corn-fields, and
snipes in the marsh. But all big game, such
as boars and wolves, had long ago been killed.
So far the country was just like England now.
Most of Leon's friends were from Athens,
but now and then there would be one from
some other part of Greece, and Gorgo, who
was very observant, and had sharp ears,
46 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
noticed that they did not talk quite like her
father, pronouncing many of their words in a
different way, and sometimes using words
which she did not know at all.
One day there was a pouring rain which
made it quite impossible for any one to go out.
The night before a guest had come for a day's
hunting; but as it was so wet he had to be
amused in some other way. The children
heard him and their father laughing very loud
in Leon's own sitting-room, and Hipponax,
who was just a little spoilt, peeped in to see
what they were doing. The stranger called
out in a curious broad way of talking which,
was more like Scotch than anything else that I
can think of, Coom in, youngster." And the
little boy went in readily enough. Only he
was too shy to go in alone, and so he dragged
Rhodium in along with him, and where
Rhodium went, of course Gorgo was bound
to follow. So all the three children stood
inside the room.
Their father and the stranger had just been
playing at draughts, and the children could
understand from what he was saying that the
A FRIEND. 47
stranger had been beaten, and, half in pet and
half in play, had upset the table, for there it
was lying on the floor, while the men had
rolled to all parts of the room.
"Come, come," said the stranger, "let us
have a game at kottabos. (He spoke in the
same broad accent, but I shall not try to
imitate it any more.)
"Very good," said Leon, and clapped his
hands for a slave, and when the boy came,
told him to bring the things that were wanted.
Now I must tell you what sort of game this
koffabos was. On one side of the room was
put a round, shallow pan, full of water. It
was about three feet across. In fact it was
very like a sponging bath. On this a dozen
little saucers were set to float. The players
stood on the other side of the room, with little
cups in their hands filled with wine, and threw
the wine so as to fill the saucers and sink them.
You will think it silly, perhaps, that they should
have used wine instead of water. And, indeed,
it was a wasteful thing to do. But then you
must remember that the wine that they used
was rather thick, not so thick as to stick to
48 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
the cup, but enough to keep more together
than water would, when it had to be thrown
some way through the air. At least this is
the only reason that I can think of, but,
perhaps, it was only a foolish fashion, as
fashions often are foolish, to use wine.
The two friends had a wager about the
number of saucers they could sink. Perhaps
this was rather foolish too, but I can only tell
what they did, not what they ought to have
done. Some of the young men were so silly
as to wager large sums, far more than they
could afford to lose in this way. But Leon
and his friend only staked a silver coin on each
saucer, each coin being worth not quite ten-
pence, almost exactly the same as a French
franc. (It was called a drachma, a word that
properly meant a "handful," and came down
from very old times when there was no money
at all, and if a man wanted to sell a fish or a
bird he would sell it for so many "handfuls"
of corn.) The stranger was very clever at this
game, and sunk nine out of the twelve saucers,
and so got his revenge, as he called it, for
being beaten at draughts. In this way he
A FRIEND. 49
won six drachmas, but he gave them all to
the boy who had brought in the things for the
game; so you see that anyhow he did not
make wagers, as I am afraid some people do,
because he was greedy for money.
When the game was finished, the weather
began to clear up, and the stranger went out
with his bow, to see whether he could shoot
something; but Leon, who had a cold, stopped
at home. Gorgo was quite scornful about the
stranger. How foolish he was," she said, "to
be vexed because you beat him at draughts !
and then how silly he was to jump about so
when he managed to sink one of the saucers!
And then how broadly he talked, just as if he
were a Bceotian!" And she mimicked him,
just as a foolish little girl that did not know
any better might say, "Just like a Scotchman,"
for the Bceotians used to talk in this broad
Like a Bceotian, my child," said Leon,
" why, that is just what he is; that is to say,
he is a Plataan."
"What!" cried Gorgo,' one of that brave
people who came to help us at Marathon?"
50 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
for she remembered, as I hope you remember,
the story that old Sciton had told her. But,
father dear," she went on, "you told me that
there was no Plat2ea now, for that those wicked
Spartans-I hope Nurse does not hear me-
had destroyed it and killed all the people."
It is too true," said Leon, "but they did
not kill all, for some got away before the town
was taken, and Platon, for that is my friend's
name, was one of them. Indeed he was one
of the leaders, and but for him the thing would
never have been done. Perhaps you might
like to hear his story; only that you think him
Gorgo felt very much ashamed of herself,
and hung her head, making good resolutions
that she would never judge hastily again. She
was very polite to the Plataean, whenever she
saw him, nor did she find it very hard to coax
him into telling his story. And this is what
THE ESCAPE FROM PLAT1EA.
"We had been shut up for more than a year
and a half, and our food began to run short.
A FRIEND. 5i
A loaf about as big as my two fists, poor musty
stuff too, a bit of salt fish or salt meat as much
as would cover the palm of my hand, and half
a pint of sour wine-that was a man's allow-
ance; and we felt that something must be done.
One night, when I was thinking the matter
over, the prophet, who happened to be a great
friend of mine, came to tell me what he had
seen that afternoon. A number of doves used
to build in the eaves of the temple of Hera.
The prophet saw a pair of these fly round and
round the town, every time going a little
further from the walls. About the fourth
time a hawk pounced down on them, and one
of them flew back to the temple, and the other
flew off in the direction of Athens.
"'.That is a sign,' said he; 'the hawk is the
besieger's army, and we are the doves; and
the sooner we are off by the way she went the
better for us.'
"Now I should tell you that the Spartans had
built a double wall all round our town, and
that the space between these two walls, which
was sixteen feet, was roofed over; also that
little towers were built on this roof, about a
52 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
hundred feet apart; also that there was a ditch
on each side of the double wall. Well, there
were just four hundred and forty of us in all,
and at first all agreed to go; but afterwards
half drew back, choosing rather to take their
chance in the town. It was a good thing for
us that they did, but not for them, poor fellows!
Well, we made all our plans, and got ladders
ready by which to get up the wall. We
guessed the length that they had to be by
counting the layers of bricks. One very dark
night, when there was a storm of wind blowing
with sometimes rain and sometimes snow, we
started. All of us had the right foot bare to
keep us from slipping. We crossed the first
ditch, and then twelve of us climbed the wall.
between two of the towers. As soon as these
Were on the top, six of them ran to one tower
and six to the other, and killed the sentinels in
them before they could cry out. You must
understand that the towers went quite from
one side of the wall to the other. No one
could go outside them, but had to go through
them, if he wanted to make his way along the
wall. It was just this way through that the
A FRIEND. 53
six men who ran to each tower secured. For
the time all the hundred feet of wall between
the two was ours, and our men went on climb-
ing upon it without ever being noticed. You
see the wind made a terrible din, and then the
Spartans were very bad hands at keeping
watch. At last one of us knocked down a tile,
and it fell with such a clatter that. the guard in
the next tower was woke, for I do believe that
they were all asleep. Then the soldiers began
to rouse up. But just at this time our friends
who had stayed behind pretended to be going
to break out on the other side of the town, so
that, what with the noise and the confusion,
the Spartans did not know what to do, and, in
fact, simply did nothing. All this time our men
were letting themselves down from the wall on
the other side, and crossing the ditch-not an
easy matter, seeing that it was just covered
with thin ice that was not strong enough to
bear. But when they did get across they drew
up in line on the other bank, and threw their
darts at any one who tried to come along the
wall. You see they .were in the dark, while
the soldiers on the walls mostly carried torches,
54 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
and so could be seen. I should tell you that
though the greater part of the besieging army
stood still and did nothing, there was a body
of three hundred men who were always ready
for anything that might happen, and it was
these with whom we had to deal. I have
often wondered that we got off so easily; the
enemy must have been quite dazed."
"Did you'll escape?" asked Gorgo.
"All but one poor fellow who was taken
prisoner, and six who were afraid and turned
"And when you were all across the outer
ditch, of course you set off running towards
Athens as fast as you could ?"
Not so, dear young lady; that was just
what the enemy thought we should do. We
went just the opposite way for about a mile,
then turned off to the right, got into the moun-
tains, and so got to Athens by a roundabout
way. All the time they were blundering along
the high road, and wondering what in the
world had become of us. Ah it is an easy
thing to outwit a Spartan."
THE END OF SCITON.
ABOUT ten days after the death 'of Hylax,
Sciton was taken ill. He had been at work
as usual with the vines, which were his
especial charge, from an hour after sunrise till
noon. Then -he went home to his mid-day
meal. He seemed to enjoy it as usual; and
when it was finished took a short sleep, as his
custom was. This mid-day sleep was almost
the only way in which he seemed to allow
that he was not quite so young as he had
been. When he woke, instead of rising to
go back as usual to the vineyard, he sat still.
The daughter who lived with him, a middle-
aged widow who had lost her husband many
years before at Coronea,' was quite surprised.
A battle between the Athenians and Thebans in
441 B.c. (about twenty years before the date of this story.
5'6 THREE GREEK CHILDREN
She had never known him do such a thing
before,-for indeed the old man had never had
a day's illness. My work is done," he said,
in answer to her look; "I will sleep a little
more." "Take a little wine first," she said;
and she poured out a little from a jar which
Elpinice had given her for the old man's use.
She put a little hot water to it and a spoonful
of honey. Her father took a mouthful, and
then settled himself to sleep. Pheido-that
was the daughter's name-watched him for
a few minutes till she saw that he was
asleep, and then hurried to the great house
to tell the master and mistress. There was
something in her father's look and voice that
made her feel quite sure that there was a
It so happened that the family doctor from
Athens had come over the day before to pay
his usual monthly visit. There was little hope
of doing anything for an old man of ninety;
but still, every one was anxious to make things
as easy as they could for him. When the
news came, the doctor, who happily had found
nothing for him to do in Leon's family and
THE END OF SCITON. 57
household, had just come in from a walk. But
it would not have been proper for him to visit
the sick man in his walking dress. He went
at once to his room, and put on a perfectly
clean white robe. He had not been wearing
any rings, but now he took two very hand-
some ones out of the case in which he carried
his instruments and medicines; and he did not
forget to put some scented oil on his hair,
and brush it very carefully. You must not
think that he took all this trouble because
he was a fop, and wanted to look fine. Not
so; it was a rule with him to please his
patients. "They must not see anything that
is not pleasant, as far as it can be helped,"
he would say; and he took just as much'
trouble in this way for the poorest man or
woman as he did for rich people.
When the doctor was ready, Leon and
Elpinice went with him to Sciton's cottage.
The old man was now in bed, and did not
seem to notice their coming in. The doctor
sat down on a stool by his side, and felt his
pulse. When he found how weak it was, he
looked grave, and took a little bottle out of
58 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
his case. He poured something out of this
into a silver cup. This had a long spout, so
that it could be easily put between a patient's
lips. Drink, father," he said into the old
man's ear; and at the same time, with the
help of the daughter, who was standing on
the other side of the bed, he raised him up
a little. Sciton swallowed the draught. A
minute or two afterwards a little colour came
into his cheek, and he opened his eyes.
He looked round the room, and his eye
lighted up a little when he saw Leon. Still
he seemed to miss something. Elpinice guessed
what he wanted, and whispered a few words to
the maid whom she had brought with her.
"He shall come, father," she said to the old
man, for she knew that he wanted the little
boy. It was easy to see, from the restful
look that came into his eyes, that she had
"I would make my will," he said. The
doctor had his tablets and stylus out. directly,
for he was used to do this office for his
patients. It was very short. "Let Leon,
son of Hipponax, see that all I have be
THE END OF SCITON. 59
divided between my daughters. Only let
Pheido, seeing that she is the elder, have
the choice of such one thing as she may best
like. The gods have not given me a son,
therefore I give my shield to Leon; let him
hang it, if he will, in his hall. My sword
I give to Hipponax, son of Leon."
Just as he said these last words, the maid
came back, leading the little boy by the hand.
The old man beckoned to her to bring him
to the bed side. Then he said to his daughter,
"Fetch me my sword." She went and took
it down from where it hung over the fire-place.
" My son," said the old man to the little boy,
" take this, and the gods give you strength to
strike many a good blow for your country."
Then he laid the weapon across the child's
outstretched arms, put his right hand on the
little fellow's head, and kept it there for about
a minute. His lips were moving, but no one
could hear what he said. When he removed
his hand, Elpinice signed to the maid to lead
the child away. He marched out, looking
solemn, but very proud, with the big sword still
'upon his arms. He could only just carry it.
60 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
For a little time Sciton lay with his eyes
closed. Then he began to talk quickly. He
was fighting his first battle over again. These
were some of the words they caught: "Not
quite so fast, master; I cannot keep pace with
you . See, that rascal is bending his bow.
. He has it . It is nothing, a mere
scratch. Lean on me, master, till you
can fetch your breath. Dead! no, it is
impossible; he was stronger than I." He
opened his eyes, and his look fell on Leon.
His face brightened in a way that none that
stood there had ever seen before. "They
told me you were dead, dear master, and here
you are, sound and well. It is well; we will
have another bout with these Persian dogs,
if Ares please." He thought he was speaking
to the young master by whose side he had
fought some seventy years before on the
Marathon plain. Perhaps he did see him,
but not there. The next moment he had
fallen back. There was the same happy look
upon his face. The old Marathon hero was
The next day Leon and his wife went to
THE END OF SCITON. 61
take a last look at the old man. He lay in a
coffin of rough pottery work; a copper coin
was between his lips, and between his hands,
which were folded on his breast, was a cake
made of flour,, honey, and poppy-seed. Per-
haps you will ask what the coin and the cake
were for. Well, it was the custom to put them
there, and the reason of the custom was this.
People believed that when a man was dead,
his soul had to be ferried across a river that
was called the Styx, and they put the coin
in his lips that he might be able to pay the
ferryman his fare for taking him. And they
believed also that when he got across the river
he would come to a narrow place in the way,
where there was a very fierce dog with three
heads, which would tear him in pieces unless
it could be kept quiet. So they put the honey
cake in his hands that he might throw it to
the creature. You see the poppy seeds in it
would make the dog fall asleep. I do not.
suppose that Leon, or indeed that many
people, believed these silly stories. But old
customs often last long after there has ceased
to be any reason for keeping them up.
62 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
Flowers and herbs of various kinds, of which
parsley was the chief, were strewed on the
body. The two daughters sat by the bed
of death, for, besides Pheido, he had another
daughter, who was married to a coppersmith
in Athens. Now and then one or other of
them would raise a shrill cry. Their hair hung:
down loose over their shoulders.
Early in the morning of the next .day
Sciton was carried to his grave. A Marathon
hero was not to be buried without some
honours. Six noble youths had come from
Athens to bear his coffin; and two of the
chief magistrates, with six of the principal
inhabitants of Marathon, walked behind. Leon
was there; leading little Hipponax by the hand.
And behind the men walked the two daughters
and Elpinice. Last of all came four flute
players. Of course the poor were not com-
monly buried with so much state; but then
Sciton was a Marathon hero. The grave of
the old man was in a place where he had
often liked to sit in his lifetime. It was under
an old olive-tree on the brow of a hill, from
which you could see the Marathon plain and.
THE FUNERAL OF SCITON.
THE END OF SCITON. 63
the battle-field. The coffin was put into a
little vault made of bricks, and with it were
a few little things such as cups and jars.
Before the vault was closed up, Leon called
out three times in a loud voice:
Sciton, Sciton, Sciton."
Then all the party went back to Leon's
house, where there was a feast given to the
visitors from Athens and from the village.
The dead man was supposed to be the host.
Before they began to eat and drink, Leon
poured out some wine from a cup upon the
ground, saying: "Sciton offers this to Zeus
the Protector, and to Athene, keeper of this
city, and toc all the gods and goddesses." Then
he filled the cup again, and drank to the com-
pany, saying: Sciton bids you welcome, and
wishes you health and prosperity."
64 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
ABOUT ten days after Sciton's funeral, Leon
said to his wife, "We must take the children to
see Salamis before the summer is quite over.
I had hoped that the old man would go with us
and fight another of his battles over again.
Well, that was not to be; the Fates spun his
thread out to the very end,' and we must not
complain. Anyhow, we will go. And it will
be more pleasant, I think, to make a little sea
trip of it. I met my friend Glaucus yesterday,
The Greeks had a notion that there were three sisters,
whom they called the Fates, that settled the lives of men.
One held the distaff, another spun the thread from it, and
the third stood by with the scissors, ready to cut it when the
time was come. So Milton writes:
Stands the blind fury with the abhorred shears
And slits this thin spun life.
A VOYAGE. 65
and he will lend me his yacht. We will start
early the day after to-morrow, if you can get
ready by then, stop for the night at Peiraeus,r
take a couple -of days at Salamis, and then
home again in the same way."
Elpinice promised to have everything ready
at the appointed time, and the children, as you
may suppose, made no objection. The sun was
just rising on the appointed day when the party
started. Nurse, of course, was one of them,
and Elpinic6 had her own maid, not the fine
lady about whom I told you a little time ago,
but a young girl who she thought would be
a more pleasant companion, and would not
grumble if they had to rough it, as they very
likely might. Then Leon had his own servant,
a middle-aged man, who used to dress him, cut
his hair and nails (no Greek gentleman ever
thought of cutting his own nails), and generally
look after his comfort. Lastly, there was an
elderly man whom we may call the butler. He
had the charge of the provisions, for the expe-
dition was to be something of a picnic; he
SThis was the chief harbour of Athens, and was
between three and four miles from the city.
-66 THREE GREEK CHILDREN
carried the purse, and paid all the expenses, for
which he afterwards would account to his
master, and generally managed the whole affair.
The father, mother, and children, together with
nurse, went in the mule carriage, and the ser-
vants followed in a waggon.
It was a bright morning, near the latter end
of August, and the children cried out with
delight when they saw the yacht, all ready to
start, fastened to a little stone pier in the bay
of Marathon. She was about forty feet long,
and what we should call half-decked-that is,
about six feet at the head, and fourteen or
fifteen at the stern were covered over, while
the-middle part was open. There was a little
cabin under the after-deck, in which the pas-
sengers might take shelter, if the weather
should happen to be bad, and which also
contained cupboards and lockers for provisions,
wraps, and anything else that might be wanted
on the voyage. The deck itself had some
very comfortable cushioned seats upon it.
The yacht was a sailing vessel, and carried
upon its mast one great sail that reached nearly
two-thirds of its length, besides two small ones
A VOYAGE. 67
that were fastened to the bowsprit. There
were also sweeps, that is, very large oars, which
could be used when the weather was quite calm,
or when the yacht had to be taken in or out of
harbour. She was called the Xan/to, and had
for her figure-head a very prettily-painted half
statue (that is, a figure cut off at -the waist) of
a sea nymph, with bright golden hair and a light
blue mantle just wrapped round her shoulders.
On the middle of the after-deck, under a little
roof, were two small figures of wood, gilded.
These were images of the twin brothers,
Castor and Pollux, who were thought to be the
great protectors of ships and sailors. The crew
consisted of a captain, who commonly steered;
a mate, who had special charge of the sail; and
The weather was delightful, and the wind
exactly what was to be wished. It blew steadily
from the west, and so, coming as it did from the
shore (for the Marathon coast looks to the east),
carried them along quickly without raising big
waves. Even nurse, who did not like the sea
at all, and had been sure before she started that
she should be very ill, felt quite comfortable.
68 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
The captain, who had no trouble to keep the
vessel straight in its course, was as cheerful as
possible, and the sailors, who had next to nothing
to do, sang songs. The children were in a
state of the greatest delight, though the two
girls rather envied their little brother, who ran
and clambered about just as he pleased, while
they, of course, had to sit quietly and properly
by their mother on the deck. The sailors
petted the brave little fellow, and helped him to
climb the rigging, rather to the terror of his
mother. But he held on to the ropes like a
little squirrel, and as he had not a thought of
fear, and was not in the least giddy, there really
was no danger. Every now and then he would
run back to the stern deck, and tell his mother
that he had quite made up his mind to be a
All went well as long as they were running
down the coast from Marathon southward.
But, if you will look at the map of Greece, you
will see that there is a point, now called Cape
Colonna, where the coast ends, and that when a
ship has got round this point, if it wants to go
to Athens, it would have to sail nearly north-
A VOYAGE. 69
wards. The west wind would not serve them
badly, for of course with a side breeze you can
sail either way you please; but the sea would
be rather more rough. But that day it seemed
as if they were to be wonderfully lucky, for just
as the Xantio rounded the point the wind
shifted to the south.
Here's a stroke of good luck," said Leon
to the captain, the wind now is blowing due
aft, and will carry us to Peiraeus in no time."
Very good, sir," said the captain, "if we
don't have too much of it; but I don't much
like the south wind, and I don't like at all these
sudden changes. There is something coming,
sir, that we shall not like."
The captain was quite right. Something
was coming. Nothing changes so quickly as
the sea. In less than half an hour everything
looked as different as possible from what it had
looked in the morning. The sky was covered
with low, scudding clouds, and the colour of the
sea was changed from a bright, beautiful sap-
phire blue, to a dull purple. The great sail was
hauled down, or, as the sailors say, it would
have lifted the yacht clean out of the water;
70 THREE GREEK CHILDREN
only the sprit sails were kept up. If that had
not been done the yacht could hardly have been
steered. Even these were reefed as much as
they could be. Every minute the sea rose
higher and higher, and the big waves looked
like wild beasts that were pursuing the ship as
if they wanted to devour it. Luckily they
came right behind, and did no more harm than
give every one on board now and then a good
wetting. But then it was necessary to keep
the yacht right before the wind. If she should
" broach-to," as the sailors say, that is, get
sideways to the sea, the waves would break
over her, and probably sink her in a very short
time. The steersman wanted a strong hand
and a cool head to do this, for every now and
then the wind would shift a point to the west-
ward, and catch the Xant/zo a little on the side.
Then, unless the steersman was quite prepared,
she would get a little out of the straight course,
and this little might easily become more. The
captain had a sailor to help him hold the tiller,
which was too heavy for one man in rough
weather, and if he had not lost his head, all
would have been well. But this is just what he
A VOYAGE. 71
did. When they had run about twelve miles
past the Cape, the wind shifted to the south-
west, and struck' the yacht so suddenly that the
tiller was wrenched out of the hands of the
men who were holding it. The sailor lost his
footing, and rolled against the bulwark, and
the captain, instead of getting hold again and
doing his best till some one came to help him-
and this would not have taken more than a few
seconds-fell on his knees before the images of
the Twin Brethren, and began to pray at the
top of his voice that they would help him.
Happily there were people on board who did
not lose their courage and presence of mind.
Leon was just at that moment coming out of
the cabin, where he had been keeping up his
wife's spirits. He sprang to the tiller without
losing a moment, and so did the mate, and very
soon they had her head straight again. But
in that moment the yacht had shipped a heavy
sea. After that she was lower in the water and
did not rise on the waves as lightly as she had
And what were the children doing all this
time? The girls were sitting quite good and
72 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
quiet in the cabin, each holding one of their
mother's hands. She could not help being
frightened, but she was a brave woman (for it
is being brave to be frightened, and yet be-
have as if you were not), and she would not
let her children see it. And they kept up
because she did. As for little Hipponax, he
was not in the least afraid, but laughed and
clapped his hands as the big waves came
rolling by. The bigger they were the more
pleased he seemed to be. I believe it did the
sailors a world of good to see him. They were
ashamed to cry and wring their hands, as, I
dare say, some of them would have done, when
they saw the fearless little fellow. So they
kept steadily at work baling out the water,
and doing their best to save the ship. For
some time it seemed as if it would be labour
lost. The Xantko took in more water than
they were able to throw out, and got lower and
lower in the sea, till Leon began to look about
desperately for something in the way of barrels
or spars that he could lash his wife and
children to, so as to give them a chance of
floating and being picked up. Some time be-
A VOYAGE. 73
fore they had run up a flag of distress to the
Then there came another change. They found
that the sea was not running so high, and the
mate said to Leon: We must be under the lee
of JEgina (which you will see in the map to
be an island opposite the harbour of Athens).
And so it was; the driving rain, which had
hindered them from seeing much more than a
cable's length, stopped for a time, and they
saw the cliff of the island. And at that very
moment a great ship of war, with her three
rows of oars, on either side of her, rising and
falling as regularly as if by clockwork, came
out of the darkness. She did not seem to
mind the weather in the least, but drove on
through the waves straight for the harbour.
She was so close that they were almost afraid
of being run down; but it was very well that
she was close, for she stopped when her captain
saw the signal of distress, and one of-her sailors
threw a rope on board the yacht. It all
happened just at the right moment and at the
right place. Unless it had been fairly calm
water just there even the big and strong ship of
74 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
war could hardly have helped the little Xantho.
As it was, a strong towing cable was made fast
to the yacht, and she was dragged. into the
harbour, only just in time, for the water in
the stern cabin was up to the children's knees
when they got past the light-house at the
The captain of the war ship, who happened
to be a cousin of Leon's, wanted him and his
family to go with him to Athens; but Elpinice,
the girls, and the women servants were so worn
out with what they had gone through, that
when the old harbour-master asked him to
come to his house close by, he preferred to
go there. You shall hear about this house in
the next chapter. Meanwhile, I will repeat
the story of a shipwreck which Leon told his.
little boy before he went to sleep that night.
Hipponax, you see, had thought it all good fun,
even when the water came into the cabin, and
instead of dropping off to sleep in a moment,
as his sisters did, he could hear the story which
he used to beg his father for every night.
"You remember about Ulysses?" said Leon.
"Yes, father," said the little boy, "he was
A VOYAGE. 75
the man who had the wonderful flower given
him that saved him from being turned into a pig."
Then -Leon told him-
THE STORY OF THE SHIPWRECK OF ULYSSES.
"For seven years Ulysses was kept in a
certain island where a goddess called Calypso
lived. She would not let him go, because she
hoped that in time he would forget his country
and the wife and child that he had left at home.
But she had to let him go at last, for the king
of the gods sent to her, and said, 'Why do
you keep this brave man when he wants to go
home? Let him depart, if he wishes so to do.'
So she asked him whether he did really wish
to go, and when he said yes, she gave him an
axe and other tools, and showed him where
some pine trees and poplars grew, out of which
he could make a raft. So he set to work, and
cut down the trees, and made a raft, with a
mast, and a sail, and a rudder, and bundles of
osiers all round to keep the waves from wash-
ing over it.
"When he was ready to start, Calypso gave
him some handsome clothes and a skin of wine,
76 THREE GREEK CHILDRENi
and another great skin of water, and several
baskets full of food. And she made a warm
and gentle wind blow; this she was able to do
because she was a goddess. She showed him
those stars in the sky that are called the Great
Bear, and said : 'You must always keep them
on your left.'
"So he set his sail, and went on for seventeen
days and seventeen nights, never shutting his
eyes, but always watching to see that the Bear
was on his left.
Now one of the gods hated him. This was
the Lord of the Sea, and when he saw Ulysses
almost at his journey's end he grew very angry,
and said: 'What is this ? How has this fellow
managed to get so near home ?'
And he raised a terrible storm. One big
wave struck Ulysses so hard, that he lost his
hold on the rudder, and fell into the sea; and
at the same moment the wind broke the mast
of the raft. The poor man was very nearly
drowned, for the fine clothes which the goddess
had given him weighed him down. But at last
he got on to the raft again, and sat there, not
knowing what would happen to him next.
A VOYAGE. 77
"But one of the nymphs of the sea saw him,
and was very sorry for him. She rose out of
the sea, and sat upon the raft like a seagull, and
said: 'Cast off your clothes, and jump into the
sea, and swim to land. As for the raft, let it
go, for it will not help you any more. And
see, take this veil, and wind it round you; it
will keep you from sinking. And mind that
when you get safe to land, you throw it into the
sea, and don't look behind you when you do it.'
When the nymph had said this she dived
under the sea and vanished. But Ulysses was
afraid to leave the raft, and try to swim to the
shore, for he knew that it was a long way off.
Then another great wave came, and broke the
raft to pieces, and he was left sitting astride on
a single beam. Then he felt that he could not
help himself; so he stripped off his clothes, and
put the veil under his chest, and jumped into
"Two days and two nights he floated along,
till he was nearly dead. On the morning of the
third day he saw the land from the top of a big
wave (the storm had ceased, but the waves were
still very high). But when he got near he saw
78 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
no place where he could land, the shore was so
steep and rocky. And while he was thinking
what he should do, a great wave drove him
against one of the rocks. That time he was
almost killed ; but he put forth all his strength,
and swam out to sea till he got outside the
breakers. Then he swam along looking for a
.quiet place, and at last he came to a river.
Then he landed, but he was so tired, that as soon
as he got on to the dry land he fainted away.
No long time after he came to himself again.
And the very first thing that he did was to throw
the veil backwards into the sea, and he was
very careful not to look behind him when he
"What would have happened to him if he
had," asked the little boy.
"He never knew," said Leon, "and he did
not care to know; for he was one of the wise
people who did what they were told without
LEON'S party took a day's rest after their jour-
ney. Most of them needed it very much ; the
weather, too, was still too rough to make another
excursion by sea quite pleasant. But when they
woke on the second morning, the children found
that the wind had gone down, and that the sun
was shining brightly ; and soon they heard with
great delight from their father that they were
to go to Salamis that day. Nurse was per-
suaded to stay at home, and though she was
very unwilling to be separated from the dear
children, and could hardly believe that they
would be safe without her to look after them,
she was not sorry to stop on dry land.
The Xantlo was a heavier vessel than was
wanted for the excursion, so Leon hired a large
8o THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
rowing-boat, and four more men to help his own
crew. These made up ten rowers; the mate
steered; as for the captain, he was so ashamed
of himself that he had slipped away as soon as
the Xanito was made fast in the harbour, and
never showed himself again. Leon and his
party sat behind with a gay coloured awning
over their heads to keep off the sun.
While they were on their way, Leon said to
the mate, "Is old Ladon alive? Some one
told me in the winter that he was not expected
Yes, he is alive," said the mate, or was
ten days ago, for I saw him fishing for sardines.
Yes, and there he is this very moment," he
went on, pointing to a little rock jutting out,
where there was an old man sitting, with a long
rod in his hand.
Let us go and see whether he will come
with us," said Leon. It would be a thousand
pities to see Salamis without old Ladon."
The mate then pointed the boat's head to the
shore, taking care not to disturb the water where
the old man was fishing. To have done that
would have been to put him out of temper for
the rest of the day. So they landed about a
hundred yards away from the rock, and then
made their way to it along the shore. The
old man was so intent on his fishing that he did
not notice their coming. A basket half full of
the bright silvery little sardines was by' his
side, and every now and then he caught another,
which a little boy-his great grandson, as the
mate whispered to Leon-took off the hook.
Hail! Ladon," said Leon.
Who wants me," said the old man, without
turning his eyes from the float which he was
Leon, son of Hipponax."
The old man stood up and made a salute.
" The good son of a good father he said, the
gods preserve you, my son! How can Ladon
serve you ? "
Come and show us Salamis," said Leon
"and tell us the story of the battle."
Nothing could have pleased the old man
better. He seemed, to grow young again at
the thought. No one would have thought him
of the age he really was, close upon eighty.
"Come with me," he said, and led the way up
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the steep side of the hill so quickly that some
of the party could scarcely keep up with him.
In a short time they came to a flat place about
as large as a tennis lawn. It was about five
hundred feet above the sea. On their right
hand the hill rose many hundred feet higher,
on their left and behind them there was the city
of Athens with all its beautiful temples, and its
harbours full of ships. But it was the view in
front of them that they came to see.
If you will look at this little map, it will help
you to understand what the old man told his
friends. (You will have guessed that he had
himself fought in the battle.) I need only tell
you that the line of Greek ships is to the left
and the Persian to the right.
So you want to hear about the battle.
Well, there is the. place where it was fought,
and this place where we are now is where the
King, of the Persians had his throne set, that he
might see how his people fought. Well, you
know what had happened before, so I need only
tell you what I saw myself.
You must know that I was in the admiral's
own ship, and always used to attend upon him
when he went to see the other admirals. Well,
the night before the battle was fought, he was
at the Spartan admiral's ship, where all the
principal captains were assembled. I had rowed
him over in a little skiff, and was waiting for
him. They had been talking for more than a
couple of hours, and talking sometimes very
loud too. I could hear their voices. Some-
times two or three would speak at once, and
though I could not exactly make out what they
said, I felt sure that there was some great dis-
pute. Indeed, most of us knew what it was
about. The Greeks from the south wanted to
get away, and our admiral was very urgent that
they should stop, and fight the Persians where
84 THREE GREEK CHILDREN.
they were. Well, my admiral came out from
the cabin where the council was being held,
and got into the boat. Back to the ship as
quick as you can,' he said. There was just
enough light for me to see that he looked
like a man that was going to do something
desperate. Wait,' he said, when we got to the
ship, 'I have somewhere else to send you.' In
about half an hour he came out of his cabin with
a young man who was tutor to his children, and
said to me, 'Can I trust you ?' To the death,
my lord,' I answered. Then row over with my
friend here to the Persian admiral's ship. He
has something to say to him from me.' You
may guess how astonished I was. To the
Persian admiral's, indeed! Why, this seemed
as if it were worse than death-it looked like
treachery. However, it was not for me to
object. If he trusted me, I must trust him, and
I knew that there was not a man who had done
more for Athens, and loved her better than
he. So the tutor stepped into the boat, and I
rowed him as quickly, as I could towards the
Persian ships. I don't mind saying that I was
terribly frightened. I did not much like going
among the Persians. You see we had not
behaved quite well to some of their messengers,
and there was no knowing what they might do
to us. But that was not the worst of it. It
was my own countrymen that I was afraid of.
You see, they would be sure to take us for
deserters. And if I had known what was in
the letter that the tutor was taking with him, I
really do not think that I could have made up
my mind to go. We had one very narrow
escape. As I was rowing by the outside ship
of our fleet, I heard the look-out man say,' Halt
there, runaway,' and a moment afterwards felt a
great javelin whizz by within a span of my
head. However, by good luck, it missed me,
and we got safe to the Persian admiral's. Our
business there was soon done. It was only to
deliver the letter. Very glad I was when this
piece of work was finished, and we were among
our own people again. My admiral went back
to the Spartan admiral's ship, and there the same
kind of angry talk went on for hours and hours.
As for me, I was quite tired out with waiting,
and fell fast asleep. I was woke by some one
touching me on the shoulder. It was one of
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our greatest men at Athens, no friend of my
admiral's, but a good man for all that. They
used to call him the Just. 'Tell the admiral
that I would speak to him.' So I went to the
cabin door and gave the message.
You know what the 'Just' had come to say.
There was no question any longer of running
away. The Persians had blocked up the pas-
sage, that which you see right before you, and
we had to stop and fight whether we liked it or
no. We did not know then that the letter which
we had carried to the Persian admiral was to
tell him that the Greeks were going to escape,
and that if he wanted to catch them, he must
block up the passage. And this was what he
Well, I think that everybody was relieved
when the word was passed through the fleet
that we should fight next morning. I know
that we Athenians were delighted. By sunrise
we were all ready, our anchors drawn up, and
our stern-cables unfastened.,
SA Greek ship used to have its stern fastened to the
shore by cables, and its prow or fore-part kept in its place
by one or more anchors.
"There were the Persian ships drawn up
against us in a long line, larger and closer than
ours, for there were twice as many of them.
And we could see the Persian king quite plainly,
sitting on this place where we are standing now,
with a little crowd of his courtiers round him.
The gold and purple which they wore were quite
plain, with the sun shining upon them. I was
standing, I should tell you, by the admiral's
"Well, we began to row out to meet the
Persian ships. But there were some faint-
hearted ones, who did not like the look of that
great black line which seemed so much stronger
than ours, and some rowed very slowly, and
some stopped still, and some even began to
back water. And then there happened a very
wonderful thing. I cannot say that I saw it
myself, or that I ever talked with any one who
did see it with his own eyes; but still there is
no doubt that it happened. A goddess came
down from the sky, and said with a loud voice,
' My good men, how much farther are you
going to back water ?' But it is certain, for
this I did see, that in a moment every one took
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courage, and the whole line of our ships dashed
forward as fast as the men could make
As for telling you all that happened after
that, I could no more do it than I could count
the waves of the sea there.I But there was
one thing that any one could see, that we
fought with one mind, and tried to help each
other, and that they did not. You see they did
not know each other, or care for each other;
and then, they were not fighting for their own
homes. But there were brave men among
them too. We had a desperate fight with the
Persian admiral's ship-I knew it, you see,
because it was the very one that I had been to
the night before. Our admiral attacked him
on one side, and another Athenian ship on
the other. And when we were close together,
he tried to board us. He led the boarding
party himself. What a splendid man he was!
I The old man would not have told his hearers what they
knew; but I may say that the Greek way of fighting with a
ship, was first to try and sink the enemy by "ramming "
them with the sharp-pointed beak of their own vessel, next to
break the enemy's oars, and thirdly, when a chance was
given, to board and overpower the enemy's crew.
Four cubits and a half high,I with a purple
turban, with a feather in it, on his head, and a
silver coat of mail, and a large curved sword.
How he swept about with that sword I saw
him cut one man's head clean off. And his
coat of mail turned a great many blows. At
last our admiral ran him through the neck with
his spear. When he was dead his people
stopped fighting. They always did that. You
see they are not equal and free as we are.
One is master with them, and all the rest are
slaves. And when the master is dead, the
slaves are good for nothing.
But the most wonderful thing that I saw that
day was done by a woman. She was the queen
of a city over there, I was told, and she had
come to help the Persian king. We saw her
standing in the stern of her ship, with her long
hair, just the colour of gold, over her shoulders,
and a helmet on her head, and a spear in her
hand. There was a Greek ship pursuing her
vessel, and when she saw that she could not
escape, she told her steersman to ram another
ship that was close in front of her. And so he
I This would be nearly seven feet.