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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 3 (of 12) - Classic Tales And Old-Fashioned Stories
Author: Various
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"I find that the Princess has somehow been infected by the magic of the Enchanted Horse," he said. "If thou wilt have the horse brought out into the great square, and place the Princess upon its back, I will prepare some magic perfumes which will dispel the enchantment. Let all the people be gathered together to see the sight, and let the Princess be arrayed in her richest dress and decked with all her jewels."

So next morning the Enchanted Horse was brought out into the crowded square, and the Princess was mounted upon its back. Then the disguised Prince placed four braziers of burning coals round the horse and threw into them a perfume of a most delicious scent. The smoke of the perfume rose in thick clouds, almost hiding the Princess, and at that moment the Prince leaped into the saddle behind her, turned the peg, and sailed away into the blue sky.

But as he swept past the Sultan, he cried aloud, "Sultan of Cashmere, next time thou dost wish to wed a Princess, ask her first if she be willing to wed thee."

So this was the manner in which the Prince of Persia carried off the Princess of Bengal for the second time. The Enchanted Horse never stopped until it had carried them safely back to Persia, and there they were married amid great rejoicings.

But what became of the Enchanted Horse? Ah! that is a question which no one can answer.



III

SINDBAD THE SAILOR

In the city of Bagdad, far away in Persia, there lived a poor man called Hindbad. He was a porter, and one hot afternoon, as he was carrying a very heavy load, he stopped to rest in a quiet street near a beautiful house which he had never seen before. The pavement outside was sprinkled with rose-water, which felt very cool and pleasant to his hot, weary feet, and from the open windows came the most delicious scents which perfumed all the air.

Hindbad wondered who lived in this beautiful house, and presently he went up to one of the splendidly dressed servants, who was standing at the door, and asked to whom it belonged. The servant stared in amazement.

"Dost thou indeed live in Bagdad and knowest not my master's name?" he said. "He is the great Sindbad the Sailor, the man who has sailed all round the world, and who has had the most wonderful adventures under the sun."

Now Hindbad had often heard of this wonderful man and of his great riches, and as he looked at the beautiful palace and saw the splendidly dressed servants it made him feel sad and envious. As he turned away sighing, to take up his load again, he looked up into the blue sky, and said aloud:

"What a difference there is between this man's lot and mine. He has all that he wants, and nothing to do but to spend money and enjoy a pleasant life, while I have to work hard to get dry bread enough to keep myself and my children alive. What has he done that he should be so lucky, and what have I done that I should be so miserable?"

Just then one of the servants touched him on the shoulder, and said to him: "My noble master wishes to see thee, and has bidden me fetch thee to him."

The poor porter was frightened at first, for he thought some one might have overheard what he had been saying, but the servant took his arm and led him into the great dining-hall. There were many guests seated round the table, on which was spread a most delicious feast, and at the head of the table sat a grave, stately old man with a long white beard. This was Sindbad the Sailor. He smiled kindly on poor frightened Hindbad, and made a sign that he should come and sit at his right hand. Then all the most delicious things on the table were offered by the servants to Hindbad, and his glass was filled with the choicest wine, so that he began to feel it must all be a dream.

But when the feast was over Sindbad turned to him and asked him what it was he had been saying outside the window just before he came in.

Then Hindbad was very much ashamed, and hung his head as he answered: "My lord, I was tired and ill-tempered, and I said foolish words, which I trust thou wilt now pardon."

"Oh," replied Sindbad, "I am not so unjust as to blame thee. I am indeed only sorry for thee. But thou wert wrong in thinking that I have always led an easy life, and that these riches came to me without trouble or suffering. I have won them by years of toil and danger."

Then turning to his other guests he said, "Yes, my friends, the tale of my adventures is enough to warn every one of you never to go in search of wealth. I have never told you the story of my voyages, but if you will listen I will begin this very night."

So the servants were ordered to carry home the porter's load, that he might stay in Sindbad's palace that evening and listen to the story.

"My father left me a great deal of money when I was a young man, but I spent it so quickly and foolishly that I began to see it would soon all be gone. This made me stop and think, for I did not like the idea of being poor. So I counted up all the money that remained, and made up my mind that I would trade with it. I joined a company of merchants, and we set sail in a good ship, meaning to go from place to place, and sell or exchange our goods at whatever towns we stopped. And so began my first voyage.

"For the first few days I could think of nothing but the heaving of the waves; but by and by I began to feel better, and never again was I at all unhappy upon the sea. One afternoon, when the wind had suddenly dropped and we were lying becalmed, we found ourselves near a little low green island, which looked like a meadow, and only just showed above the sea. The captain of the ship gave us permission to land, and presently we were all enjoying ourselves on the green meadow. We walked about for some time and then sat down to rest, and some of us set to work to light a fire, that we might make our evening meal.

"But scarcely had the fire begun to burn, when we heard loud shouts from the ship warning us to come back at once, for what we had taken to be an island was indeed the back of a sleeping whale. My companions all rushed to the boats, but before I could follow them the great monster dived down and disappeared, leaving me struggling in the water.

"I clung to a piece of wood which we had brought from the ship to make the fire, and I could only hope that I would soon be picked up by my companions. But alas! there was so much confusion on board that no one missed me, and as a wind sprang up the captain set sail, and I was left alone at the mercy of the waves.

"All night long I floated, and when morning came I was so tired and weak that I thought I must die. But just then a great wave lifted me up and threw me against the steep side of an island, and to my joy I managed to climb the cliff and rest on the green grass above.

"Soon I began to feel better, and as I was very hungry I went to look for something to eat. I found some plants which tasted good, and a spring of clear water, and having made a good meal, I walked about the island to see what I would find next.

"Before long I came to a great meadow where a horse was tied, and as I stood looking at it, I heard men's voices which sounded as if they came from under the earth. Then from an underground cave a man appeared, who asked me who I was and where I came from. He took me into the cave where his companions were, and they told me they were the grooms belonging to the King of the island, whose horses they brought to feed in the meadow. They gave me a good meal, and told me it was very lucky that I had come just then, for next day, they meant to return to their master, and would show me the way, which I could never have found for myself.

"So we set off together early next morning, and when we reached the city I was very kindly received by the King. He listened to the story of my adventures, and then bade his servants see that I wanted for nothing.

"As I was a merchant I took great interest in the shipping, and often went down to the quay to see the boats unload. One day when I was looking over a cargo which had just been landed, what was my astonishment to see a number of bales with my own name marked on them. I went at once to the captain and asked him who was the owner of these bales of goods.

"'Ah!' replied the captain, 'they belonged to a merchant of Bagdad called Sindbad. But he, alas! perished in a dreadful way soon after we sailed, for with a number of people belonging to my ship he landed on what looked like a green island, but which was really the back of a great sleeping whale. As soon as the monster felt the warmth of the fire which they had lighted on his back, he woke up and dived below the sea. Many of my men were drowned, and among them poor Sindbad. Now I mean to sell his goods that I may give the money to his relations when I find them.'

"'Captain,' said I, 'these bales are mine, for I am that Sindbad who thou sayest was drowned.'

"'What wickedness there is in the world,' cried the captain. 'How canst thou pretend to be Sindbad when I saw him drowned before my eyes?'

"But presently, when I had told him all that had happened to me, and when the other merchants from the ship knew me to be the true Sindbad, he was overjoyed, and ordered that the bales should be at once given to me.

"Now I was able to give the King a handsome present, and after I had traded with my goods for sandal-wood, nutmegs, ginger, pepper and cloves, I set sail once more with the kind old captain. On the way home I was able to sell all my spices at a good price, so that when I landed I found I had a hundred thousand sequins.

"My family were delighted to see me again, and I soon bought some land and built a splendid house, in which I meant to live happily and forget all the troubles through which I had passed."

Here Sindbad ended the story of his first voyage. He ordered the music to strike up and the feast to go on, and when it was over he gave the poor porter Hindbad a hundred gold pieces and told him to come back at the same time next evening if he wished to hear the tale of the second voyage.

Hindbad went joyfully home, and you can imagine how happy the poor family were that night.

Next evening he set out once more for Sindbad's house, dressed in his best clothes. There he enjoyed a splendid supper as before, and when it was over Sindbad said:

"I was very happy for some time at home, but before long I began to grow weary of leading an idle life. I longed to be upon the sea again, to feel the good ship bounding over the waves, and to hear the wind whistling through the rigging.

"So I set to work at once and bought all kinds of goods that I might sell again in foreign lands, and then, having found a suitable ship, I set sail with other merchants, and so began my second voyage.

"We stopped at many places, and sold our goods at a great profit, and all went well until one day when we landed on a new island. It was a most beautiful place, fair as the garden of Eden, where exquisite flowers made a perfect rainbow of color and delicious fruits hung in ripe clusters above.

"Here, under the shadow of the tree, I sat down to rest and to feast my eyes upon all the loveliness around. I ate the food I had brought with me, drank my wine, and then closed my eyes. The soft music of the stream which flowed close by was like a song in my ears, and, before I knew what I was doing, I fell asleep.

"I cannot tell how long I slept, but when at last I opened my eyes, I could not see my companions anywhere, and when I looked towards the sea, to my horror I found the ship was gone. It was sailing away, a white speck in the distance, and here was I, left alone upon this desert island. I cried aloud and wrung my hands with grief, and wished with all my heart that I had stayed safely at home. But what was the use of wishing that now?

"So I climbed into a high tree, and looked around to see if I could by any means find a way of escape from the island. First I looked towards the sea, but there was no hope for me there, and then I turned and looked inland. The first thing that caught my eye was a huge white dome, that seemed to rise from the center of the island, unlike anything I had ever seen before.

"I climbed down the tree, and made my way towards the white dome as quickly as I could, but when I reached it, it puzzled me more than ever. It was like a great smooth ball, much too slippery to climb, and into it there was no door or entrance of any sort. I walked round and round it, wondering what it could be, when suddenly a dark shadow fell upon everything and it grew black as night.

"I gazed upwards in great fear, and knew that the shadow was cast by a great bird with outspread wings hovering over the place where I stood and shutting out heaven's light. As I looked, it suddenly came swooping down, and sat upon the white dome.

"Then it flashed into my mind that this must be the bird which I had heard sailors talk of, called a roc, and the smooth white ball must be its egg.

"Quick as thought, I unbound my turban, and twisted it into a rope. Then I wound it round and round my waist, and tied the two ends tightly round the roc's leg, which was close to where I stood.

"'It will fly away soon, and carry me away with it off this desert island,' I said to myself joyfully.

"And sure enough, before very long I felt myself lifted off the ground, and carried up and up until it seemed as if we had reached the clouds. Then the huge bird began to sink down again, and when it reached the ground I quickly untied my turban, and set myself free.

"I was so small, compared to the roc, that it had never even noticed me, but darted off towards a great black object lying near, which it seized with its beak and carried off. Imagine my horror when I looked again and saw other dark objects, and discovered that they were great black snakes.

"Here was I, in a deep valley, with mountains rising sheer up on every side, and nothing to be seen among the rocks but those terrible black snakes.

"'Oh!' I cried, 'why did I ever try to leave the desert island? I have indeed only come into worse misfortune.'

"As I looked around, I noticed that the ground was strewn with sparkling stones, which seemed to quiver with light, and when I looked nearer, I found they were diamonds of extraordinary size, although lying about like common pebbles. At first I was delighted, but they soon ceased to please me, for I feared each moment I might be seized by one of the terrible snakes.

"These snakes were so large that they could easily have swallowed an elephant, and although they lay quiet during the day, and hid themselves for fear of the roc, at night they came out in search of food. I managed to find a cave among the rocks before nightfall, and there I sat in fear and trembling until morning, when I once more went out into the valley.

"As I sat thinking what I should do next, I saw a great piece of raw meat come bounding down into the valley, from rock to rock. Then another piece followed, and another, until several large pieces lay at my feet.

"Then I remembered a tale which travelers had told me about the famous Diamond Valley. They said that every year, when the young eagles were hatched, merchants went to the heights above, and rolled down great pieces of raw meat into the valley. The diamonds on which the meat fell would often stick into the soft flesh, and then when the eagles came, and carried off the meat to feed their young ones, the merchants would beat them off their nests, and take the diamonds out of the meat.

"I had never believed this wonderful tale, but now indeed I knew it to be true, and felt sure that I was in the famous Diamond Valley.

"I had quite given up all hope of escape, for there was no possible way of climbing out of the valley, but as I watched the eagles carry off the lumps of raw meat, I thought of a plan, and hope revived.

"First of all I searched around, and filled all my pockets with the biggest diamonds I could find. Then I chose out the largest piece of meat and fastened myself securely to it, with the rope made out of my turban. I knew that the eagles would soon come for more food, so I lay flat on the ground, with the meat uppermost, and holding on tightly, I waited for what would happen next. I had not long to wait before a gigantic eagle came swooping down. It seized the meat and carried it and me swiftly up, until it reached its nest high among the mountain rocks. And no sooner had it dropped me into the nest, than a man climbed out from behind the rock, and with loud cries frightened the eagle away. Then this man, who was the merchant to whom the nest belonged, came eagerly to look for his piece of meat. When he saw me, he started back in surprise and anger.

"'What doest thou here?' he asked roughly. 'How dost thou dare to try and steal my diamonds?'

"'Have patience,' I answered calmly, 'I am no thief, and when thou hast heard my story thou wilt pity and not blame me. As for diamonds, I have some here which will more than make up to thee for thy disappointment.'

"Then I told him and the other merchants all my adventures, and they cast up their eyes to heaven in surprise at my courage, and the wonderful manner in which I had managed to escape so many dangers. Pulling out a handful of diamonds, I then passed the precious stones round among them, and they all declared them to be the finest they had ever seen.

"'Thou shalt choose one, to make up for thy disappointment,' I said to the merchant who had found me.

"'I will choose this small one,' he replied, picking out one of the least of the glistening heap.

"I urged him to take a larger one, but he only shook his head.

"'This one will bring me all the wealth I can desire,' he said, 'and I need no longer risk my life seeking for more.'

"Then we all set off for the nearest port, where we found a ship ready to carry us home. We had many adventures on the way, but at last we reached our journey's end, and when I had sold my diamonds, I had so much money that I gave a great deal to the poor, and lived in even greater splendor than before."

Here Sindbad paused, and ordered that another hundred gold pieces should be given to Hindbad, and that he should depart. But next evening when the guests had all assembled and Hindbad had also returned, Sindbad began once more to tell them a story of his adventures.

"This time," began Sindbad, "I stayed at home for the space of a whole year, and then I prepared to set out on another voyage. My friends and relations did all in their power to prevent my going, but I could not be persuaded, and before long I set sail in a ship which was about to make a very long voyage.

"Nothing went well with us from the beginning. We were driven out of our course by storms and tempests, and the captain and pilot knew not where we were. When at last they found out in which direction we had drifted, things seemed in a worse state than ever. We were alarmed to see the captain suddenly pull off his turban, tear the hair from his beard, and beat his head as if he were mad.

"'What is the matter?' we asked, gathering round him.

"'Alas!' he cried, 'we are lost. The ship is now caught in a dangerous current from which nothing can save her and us. In a very few moments we shall all be dashed to pieces.'

"No sooner had he spoken than the ship was carried along at a tremendous speed straight on to a rocky shore which lay at the foot of a steep mountain.

"But although the ship was dashed to pieces, we all managed to escape, and were thrown with our goods and some provisions high on to the rocky strip of shore. Here we found the scattered remains of many wrecks, and quantities of bones bleached white in the sun.

"'We may prepare ourselves for death,' said the captain mournfully. 'No man has ever escaped from this shore, for it is impossible to climb the mountain behind us, and no ship dare approach to save us.'

"But nevertheless he divided the provisions among us, that we might live as long as possible.

"One thing that surprised me greatly was a river of fresh water which flowed out of the mountain, and, instead of running into the sea, disappeared into a rocky cavern on the other side of the shore. As I gazed into the mouth of this cavern I saw that it was lined with sparkling gems, and that the bed of the river was studded with rubies and diamonds and all manner of precious stones. Great quantities of these were also scattered around, and treasures from the wrecked ships lay in every corner of the shore.

"One by one my companions died as they came to the end of their food, and one by one I buried them, until at last I was left quite alone. I was able to live on very little, and so my food had lasted longer.

"'Woe is me!' I cried, 'who shall bury me when I die? Why, oh! why was I not content to remain safe and happy at home?'

"As I bemoaned my evil fate I wandered to the banks of the river, and as I watched it disappear into the rocky cave a happy thought came to me. Surely if this stream entered the mountain it must have an opening somewhere, and if I could only follow its course I might yet escape.

"Eagerly I began to make a strong raft of the wood and planks which were scattered all over the shore. Then I collected as many diamonds and rubies and as much wrecked treasure as my raft would hold, and took my last little store of food. I launched the raft with great care, and soon found myself floating swiftly along until I disappeared into the dark passage of the cavern.

"On and on I went through the thick darkness, the passage seeming to grow smaller and narrower until I was obliged to lie flat on the raft for fear of striking my head. My food was now all gone, and I gave myself up for lost, and then mercifully I fell into a deep sleep which must have lasted many hours. I was awakened by the sound of strange voices, and jumping up, what was my joy to find I was once more in heaven's sunshine.

"The river was flowing gently through a green, pleasant land, and the sounds I had heard were the voices of a company of negroes who were gently guiding my raft to the bank.

"I could not understand the language these negroes spoke, until at last one of their number began to speak to me in Arabic.

"Peace be to thee!' he said. 'Who art thou, and whence hast thou come? We are the people of this country, and were working in our fields when we found thee asleep upon the raft. Tell us, then, how thou hast come to this place.'

"I pray thee, by Allah." I cried, 'give me food, and then I will tell thee all.'

"Then the men gave me food, and I ate until my strength returned and my soul was refreshed, and I could tell them of all my adventures.

"'We must take him to the King,' they cried with one voice.

"Then they told me that the King of Serendib was the richest and greatest king on earth, and I went with them willingly, taking with me my bales and treasures.

"Never had I seen such splendor and richness as at the court of the King of Serendib, and great was his kindness towards me. He listened to the tale of my adventures with interest, and when I begged to be allowed to return home, he ordered that a ship should be made ready at once. Then he wrote a letter with his own hand to the Caliph, our sovereign lord, and loaded me with costly gifts.

"Thus, when I arrived at Bagdad, I went at once to the court of the Caliph, and presented the letter and the gift which the King had sent.

"This gift was a cup made out of a single ruby lined inside with precious stones, also a skin of the serpent that swallows elephants, which had spots upon its back like pieces of gold, and which could cure all illnesses.

"The Caliph was delighted with the letter and the gift.

"'Tell me, O Sindbad,' he said, 'is this King as great and rich as it is reported of him?'

"'O my Lord,' I said, 'no words can give you an idea of his riches. His throne is set upon a huge elephant and a thousand horsemen ride around him, clad in cloth of gold. His mace is of gold studded with emeralds, and indeed his splendor is as great as that of King Solomon.'

"The Caliph listened attentively to my words, and then, giving me a present, he allowed me to depart. I returned home swiftly to my family and friends, and when I had sold my treasures and given much to the poor, I lived in such peace and happiness that my evil adventures soon seemed like a far-off dream."

So Sindbad finished the story, and bade his guests return the next evening as usual. And next day, when all the guests were once more seated at the table and had finished their feasting, Sindbad began the story of his last voyage.

"I had now made up my mind that nothing would tempt me to leave my home again, and that I would seek for no more adventures.

"One day, however, as I was feasting with my friends, one of my servants came to tell me that a messenger from the Caliph awaited my pleasure.

"'What is thy errand?' I asked when the messenger was presented to me.

"'The Caliph desires thy presence at once,' answered the messenger.

"Thus was I obliged to set out immediately for the palace.

"'Sindbad,' said the Caliph, when I had bowed myself to the ground before him, 'I have need of thy services. I desire to send a letter and a gift to the King of Serendib, and thou shalt be the bearer of them.'

"Then indeed did my face fall, and I became pale as death.

"'Commander of the Faithful,' I cried, 'do with me as thou wilt, but I have made a vow never to leave my home again.'

"Then I told him all my adventures, which caused him much astonishment. Nevertheless, he urged me to do as he wished, and seeing that there was no escape, I consented.

"I set sail at the Caliph's command, and after a good voyage I at last reached the island of Serendib, where I received a hearty welcome. I told the officers of the court what my errand was, and they led me to the palace, where I bowed myself to the ground before the great King.

"'Sindbad,' he said kindly, 'thou art welcome. I have often thought of thee, and wished to see thy face again.'

"So I presented the Caliph's letter, and the rich present he had sent, which pleased the King well. When a few days had passed, I begged to be allowed to depart, and after receiving many gifts I once more set sail for home.

"But alas! the return journey began badly. We had not sailed many days, when we were pursued by pirates, who captured the ship, and took prisoners all those who were not killed. I, among others, was carried ashore and sold by a pirate to a rich merchant.

"'What is thy trade?' asked the merchant when he had bought me.

"'I am a merchant,' I answered, 'and know no trade.'

"'Canst thou shoot with a bow and arrow?' asked my master.

"This I said I could do, and putting one in my hand he led me out to a great forest and bade me climb into a high tree.

"'Watch there,' he said, 'until thou shalt see a herd of elephants pass by. Then try to shoot one, and if thou art fortunate, come at once and tell me.'

"All night I watched, and saw nothing, but in the morning a great number of elephants came thundering by, and I shot several arrows among them. One big elephant fell to the ground, and lay there while the rest passed on; so, as soon as it was safe, I climbed down and carried the news to my master. Together we buried the huge animal and marked the place, so that we might return to fetch the tusks.

"I continued this work for some time, and killed many elephants, until one night I saw to my horror that the elephants, instead of passing on, had surrounded the tree in which I sat, and were stamping and trumpeting, until the very earth shook. Then one of them seized the tree with his trunk, and tore it up by the roots, laying it flat on the ground.

"I was almost senseless with terror, but the next moment I felt myself gently lifted up by an elephant's trunk, and placed on his back. I clung on with all my might, as the elephant carried me through the forest, until at last we came to the slope of a hill, which was covered with bleached bones and tusks.

"Here the elephant gently laid me down, and left me alone. I gazed around on this great treasure of ivory, and I could not help wondering at the wisdom of these animals. They had evidently brought me here to show me that I could get ivory without killing any more of their number. For this, I felt sure, was the elephants' burying-place.

"I did not stay long on the hill, but gathering a few tusks together I sped back to the town, that I might tell my tale to the merchant. 'My poor Sindbad,' he cried, when he saw me, I thought thou wert dead, for I found the uprooted tree, and never expected to look upon thy face again.'

"Great was his delight when I told him of the Hill of Ivory, and when we had gone there together, and he saw for himself the wonders I had described, he was filled with astonishment.

"'Sindbad,' he cried, 'thou too shalt have a share of this great wealth. And first of all I shall give thee thy, freedom. Until now, year by year have all my slaves been killed by the elephants, but now we need no longer run any risks, for here is ivory enough to enrich the whole island.'

"So I was set free, and loaded with honors, and when the trade winds brought the ships that traded in ivory, I bade good-by to the island, and set sail for home, carrying with me a great cargo of ivory and other treasures.

"As soon as I landed I went to the Caliph, who was overjoyed to see me.

"'Great has been my anxiety, O Sindbad,' he said, 'for I feared some evil had befallen thee.'

"When, therefore, I had told him of my adventures, he was the more astonished, and ordered that all my story should be written in letters of gold, and placed among his treasures.

"Then I returned to my own house, and ever since have remained at home in peace and safety."

Thus Sindbad finished the story of his voyages, and turning to Hindbad, he said: "And now, friend Hindbad, what dost thou think of the way I have earned my riches? Is it not just that I should live in enjoyment and ease?"

"O my lord," cried Hindbad, bowing before Sindbad, and kissing his hand, "great have been thy labors and perils, and truly dost thou deserve thy riches. My troubles are as nothing compared to thine. Long mayest thou live and prosper!"

Sindbad was well pleased with this answer, and he ordered that Hindbad should dine every day at his table, and receive his golden pieces, so that all his life he might have reason to remember the adventures of Sindbad the Sailor.



THE ILIAD OF HOMER

ADAPTED BY JEANIE LANG



I

THE STORY OF WHAT LED TO THE SIEGE OF TROY

In the deep forest that clothes Mount Ida, not far from the strong city of Troy, Paris, son of King Priam, watched his father's flocks by night.

Suddenly through the dim woods he saw a light, as if the golden sun and silver moon shone both together.

And, lo! in the radiance of this light there stood before him the three fairest of the godesses—queenly Hera, wise Athene, and lovely Aphrodite.

Like music stealing through the trees came the soft voice of Hera:

"Of all mortal men thou art the most beautiful, Paris, and to thee do we come for judgment. Tell us which of us is the fairest of all, and to that one whom thou so deemest, give this golden apple."

So spake Hera, and placed in the hand of Paris an apple of purest gold.

Again she spake: "If to me, Hera, queen of goddesses, and wife of mighty Zeus, king of all the gods, thou dost grant the prize of loveliness, Power immeasurable shall be thine. King shalt thou be of the lands where the gray dawn rises, and king even to where the red sun goes down. A hundred peoples shall call thee lord."

She was silent, and the voice of Athene, fair and pure as a silver moonbeam, broke the stillness of the starless night.

"To me award the prize," she said, "and wise as the gods shalt thou be. With me as thy friend and guide, all things will be possible to thee."

Last of all, standing in a rosy light, as of the dawning sunlight in the spring, spoke Aphrodite.

"What are Power and Wisdom, fair Paris?" she pled. "Wisdom and Power bring no joy at last. I will give thee Love, and for thy wife thou shalt have the fairest woman in all the world."

And Paris, the melody of her voice still in his ears, as he gazed spellbound on her face of wondrous beauty, handed to Aphrodite the golden prize.

So was it that the wrath of the gods came upon Paris, son of Priam. For Hera and Athene, filled with rage, vowed to be revenged upon Paris and all his race, and made all the gods pledge themselves to aid them in their vengeance.

Across far seas sailed Paris, with Aphrodite as his guide, to Sparta, where Menelaus was king.

A brave king was Menelaus, and happily he lived in his kingdom with Helen, his queen, fairest of all women. One child they had, a little maid, Hermione.

When to Sparta there came Paris, with eyes blue as the sea, and hair that gleamed like gold on his purple robe, gallant and brave, and more beautiful than any mortal man, glad was the welcome that he had from Menelaus.

And when Paris gazed on Helen's face, he knew that in all the world there was no woman half so fair as the wife of Menelaus.

Then did Aphrodite cast her magic upon Helen.

No longer did she love her husband, nor did she remember little Hermione, her own dear child.

When Paris spoke to her words of love, and begged her to flee with him, and to be his wife, she knew only that she loved Paris more than all else. Gladly she went with him, and in his red-prowed ship together they sailed across the green waves to Troyland, where Mount Ida showed her snowy crown high above the forests.

An angry man was Menelaus when he found that Paris had stolen from him the fair wife who was to him as his own heart.

To his elder brother Agamemnon, overlord of all the Greeks, he went and told his grievous tale.

And from far and wide did the Greek hosts gather, until a hundred thousand men and eleven hundred fourscore and six ships were ready to cross the seas to Troyland.

Many were the heroes who sailed away from Greece to punish Paris and his kin, and to bring back fair Helen to her own land.

Few there were who came home, for ten long years of woe and of spilling of blood came to the men of Greece and of Troy from the fatal beauty of Helen the queen.



II

THE COUNCIL

That night both gods and men slept long; only Zeus, king of the gods, lay wakeful, pondering in his heart how best he might do honor to Achilles. "I shall send a Dream to beguile Agamemnon," at length he resolved.

Then did he call to a Dream, for by Dreams the gods sent their messages to mortal men.

"Go now, thou evil Dream," said Zeus, "go to where Agamemnon sleeps in his tent near to his fleet ships, and tell him every word as I shall tell it thee. Bid him call to arms with speed his warriors, for now he shall take the strong city of Troy."

To the tent of Agamemnon sped the Dream. Taking the form of the old warrior who had striven to make peace between Agamemnon and Achilles, the Dream stooped over the sleeping warrior, and thus to him it spoke:

"Sleepest thou, Agamemnon? Ill fits it for the overlord of so mighty a host to sleep all through the night. From Zeus I come, and to thee he sends this message: 'Call to arms with speed thy warriors, Agamemnon, for now shalt thou take the strong city of Troy.'"

Off then sped the Dream, winging its way like a strip of gray mist aloft to Mount Olympus.

Then Agamemnon awoke from sleep, and the voice of the Dream still rang in his ears.

Speedily he arose from his bed, donned his fair tunic, cast around him his great cloak, and bound his sandals on his feet. Then over his shoulder he cast his silver-studded sword, and with the scepter of his house, token of his overlordship, in his hand, he went down to where the Greek ships lay, and called a council together.

To his lords he told what had befallen him as they slept.

"Call to arms!" had been the message from Zeus. "Call to arms! for victory shall be thine."

Then said the old warrior in whose likeness the Dream had come:

"My friends, had any other told us this dream we might deem it false; but to our overlord the Dream hath come. Let us then call our men to arms."

So did all the lords follow his counsel, and quickly did the Greeks obey their summons. Like bees that pour from out their nests in some hollow rock, and fly to where the spring flowers grow most sweet, even so did the warriors pour forth from their ships and their huts by the sea. Loudly they shouted as they came, till all the earth echoed. Nine heralds sought to quiet them, but it was long before they would cease their noise, and sit silent to listen to the voice of Agamemnon their lord.

Then did Agamemnon prove his people. "Ill hath Zeus dealt with us, my friends," he said. "To us he promised ere we sailed hither that victory should be ours. But nine years have passed away, and our ships' timbers have rotted, and the rigging is worn. In our halls our wives and children still sit awaiting us, yet are we no nearer victory than we were on the day that we came hither. Come then, let us flee with our ships to our dear native land, for never shall Troy be ours."

So spake Agamemnon, and stirred the hearts of all that had not heard his secret council.

As the high sea-waves are swayed by the winds that rush upon them from the east and from the south, even so the Greek host was swayed. And even as the west wind sweeps over a cornfield and all the ears bow down before the blast, so were the warriors stirred.

Shouting, they hastened down to their ships. And the dust rose up in clouds from under their hurrying feet.

Quickly did they prepare their ships, and gladly did they make them ready to sail homeward across the bright salt sea.

Then would the Greeks have returned, even though fate willed it not. But Hera spoke to Athene.

"Shall we indeed allow the Greeks thus to flee homeward?" she cried. "Shame it will be to us if Helen is left, in Troy, and Paris goes unpunished. Haste, then, and with thy gentle words hold back the men from setting forth in their ships for their own homeland."

Down from the peaks of Olympus darted the bright-eyed Athene, clown to where the dark ships were being dragged to the launching ways.

By his ship stood Odysseus of the many devices, and heavy of heart was he.

As one who speaks aloud the thoughts of another, so then to Odysseus spake the fair goddess who was ever his guide.

"Will ye indeed fling yourselves upon your ships and flee homeward to your own land?" she said. "Will brave Odysseus leave Helen, for whose sake so many Greeks have died, to be the boast of the men of Troy? Hasten, then, and suffer not the Greeks to drag their ships down to the sea."

At the sound of the voice of Athene, Odysseus cast away his mantle and ran to meet Agamemnon. From him he received the scepter of overlordship, and bearing it he went among the ships.

Whenever he saw a chief, he would say to him with gentle words:

"Good sir, it fits thee ill to be a coward. Stay, now, for thou knowest not what is the will of Agamemnon. He is only making trial of thee. Hold back then thy people, and anger him not."

But when Odysseus met a common man hasting to the ships, with his scepter he smote him, saying:

"Sit still, sir, and listen to the words of thy betters. No warrior art thou, but a weakling. One king only hath Zeus given to us. Hearken then to the will of Agamemnon!"

Thus did Odysseus rule the people, driving them back from the ships to where sat Agamemnon.

And the noise they made in returning was as the noise of mighty waves of the sea, when they crash upon the beach and drive their roaring echoes far abroad.

Silence came upon them as they sat themselves down before Agamemnon and their lords. Upon all but one did silence fall. Thersites, bandy-legged, round-shouldered, lame of one foot, with ugly head covered with scanty stubble, most ill-favored of all men in the host, would not hold his peace.

Shrilly he poured his upbraidings upon Agamemnon.

"What lackest thou now?" he cried. "Surely thy huts are full of the spoils we have brought to thee each time we have taken a town. What more dost thou want? Soft fools, women, not men, are ye Greeks, else would ye return home now with the ships, and leave this fellow here in Troyland gorging himself on the spoils for which he himself hath never fought. To brave Achilles hath he done dishonor, a far better man than he!"

Straight to the side of Thersites came the goodly Odysseus.

"Hold thy peace," he sternly said. "Plainly I tell thee that if ever again I find thee raving as thou hast raved now, I myself will strip off thy mantle and tunic, with shameful blows beat thee out of the assembly, and send thee back weeping to the ships."

So spake Odysseus, and with his scepter smote Thersites on his back and shoulders. And Thersites bowed down, and big tears fell from his eyes, and a bloody weal from the golden scepter stood up from his back. Amazed he sat down, and in pain and amazement he wiped away a tear. The others, though they were sorry, laughed at his bewilderment.

"Many are the good deeds of Odysseus," said they, "but never did he do a better deed than when he stopped the tongue of this prating railer."

Then spake Odysseus, scepter in hand.

"Surely it is the wish of the Greeks to make thee the most despised of all kings, great Agamemnon," he said, "for like young children or mourning women do they wail that they must go home. Nine years have we stayed in this land, and small wonder is it that we long for our homes again. Yet shameful would it be to wait so long and to return with empty hands. Be of good heart, my friends, and wait a little, for surely Troy shall be ours. Do ye forget, on the day that we set sail for Troyland, the mighty portent that we saw? As we offered sacrifices to the gods beneath a fair plane-tree whence flowed clear water, a snake, blood-red on the back and dreadful to look upon, glided from beneath the altar and darted to the tree. On the tree's topmost bough was a sparrow's nest, and in it eight tender nestlings, over which the mother bird spread her wings. Pitifully did the little ones cheep as the snake swallowed them all, and pitifully cried the mother as she fluttered over her nestlings. But of her, too, did the snake lay hold, coiling himself round her and crushing her life out. Then did the god who sent this sign show us that a sign from the gods in truth it was, for he turned the snake into stone. And Chalcas, our soothsayer, told us then the meaning of the sign. 'Nine years,' said he—for nine birds did the snake slay—'shall ye fight in Troyland, but in the tenth year the city shall fall before you.' So then, let us abide here, until we have taken the great city!"

When Odysseus had ceased to speak, the Greeks shouted aloud, until the ships echoed the praises of the goodly Odysseus.

Then said Agamemnon:

"Go now, all of you, and eat, that ye may be ready for battle. Let each man sharpen well his spear and see to his shield, and see to it that the horses are well fed and the chariots prepared. And whomsoever I see minded to stay far away from the fight, beside the ships here by the sea, for him shall there be no hope hereafter, but he shall be food for dogs and for birds of prey."

And when Agamemnon had spoken, the shouts of the Greeks were as the thunder of mighty breakers on a reef when the winds blow high.

Quickly then they scattered, and kindled fires, and made their evening meal, and offered sacrifices to the gods, praying for escape from death in the coming battle.

To Zeus did Agamemnon offer his sacrifice and to the mighty god he prayed:

"Great Zeus, god of the storm-cloud, let not the sun set nor the darkness fall until I have laid low the palaces of Troy and burned down its walls with fire."

So he prayed, but as yet Zeus heeded not his prayer. Then did the Greeks gather themselves together to battle, and among them went the bright-eyed Athene, urging on each one, and rousing in each man's heart the joy of strength and of battle.

As the red and golden blaze of a fire that devours a mighty forest is seen from afar, so was seen from afar the dazzling gleam of their bronze armor as they marched.

Like wild geese and cranes and swans that in long-drawn strings fly tirelessly onward, so poured they forth, while the earth echoed terribly under the tread of men and horses.

As flies that swarm in the spring when the herdsmen's milk-pails are full, so did the Greeks throng to battle, unnumbered as the leaves and the flowers upon which they trod in the flowery plain by the banks of the river Scamander.



III

THE FIGHT BETWEEN PARIS AND MENELAUS

To meet the great Greek host came the men of Troy. With loud shouting and clamor they came, noisy as the flocks of cranes that fly to far-off seas before the coming of winter and sudden rain.

But in silence marched the Greeks, shoulder to shoulder, their hearts full of courage.

Like the mist that rolls from the crest of the mountains until no man can see in front of him further than the cast of a stone, so did the dust rise in clouds under the tread of the warriors' feet as they marched across the plain.

Front to front did the two armies stand at last, and from the Trojan ranks strode forth Paris the godlike, he who robbed Menelaus of her who was to him most dear.

From the shoulders of Paris swung a panther's skin. He bore a curved bow and sword, and, brandishing two bronze-headed spears, he challenged all the chieftains of the Greek host to fight him, man to man, in mortal fight.

As a hungry lion rejoices to see a great-horned stag coming to be his prey, even so did Menelaus rejoice when he saw Paris, the golden-haired and blue-eyed, stride proudly forth.

Straightway, in his armor, did Menelaus leap from his chariot to the ground.

But when Paris saw him to whom he had done so sore a wrong, his heart was smitten.

As a man who, in a mountain glen, suddenly sees a deadly snake and shrinks away from it with shaking limbs, even so did Paris shrink back among his comrades.

Scornfully did Hector his brother behold him.

"Fair in face thou art!" said Hector, "but shamed I am by thee! I ween these long-haired Greeks make sport of us because we have for champion one whose face and form are beautiful, but in whose heart is neither strength nor courage. Art thou a coward? and yet thou daredst to sail across the sea and steal from her husband the fair woman who hath brought us so much harm. Thou shalt see what sort of warrior is he whose lovely wife thou hast taken. Thy harp and thy golden locks and fair face, and all the graces given to thee by Aphrodite, shall count for little when thou liest in the dust! Cowards must we Trojans be, else thou hadst been stoned to death ere this, for all the evil thou hast wrought."

Then answered Paris:

"No word hast thou said that I do not deserve, brave Hector. Yet scorn not the gifts of golden Aphrodite, for by his own desire can no man win the love and beauty that the goddess gives. But let me now do battle with Menelaus. Make the Trojans and the men of Greece sit down, while Menelaus and I fight for Helen. Let him who is conqueror have her and all that is hers for his own, and let the others take an oath of friendship so that the Greeks may depart in peace to their own land, and in peace the Trojans dwell in Troy."

Greatly did Hector rejoice at his brother's word. His spear grasped by the middle, he went through the Trojan ranks and bid the warriors hold back.

But as he went, the Greeks shot arrows at brave Hector and cast stones.

"Hold! hold! ye Greeks," called Agamemnon. "Hector of the glancing helm hath somewhat to say to us."

In silence, then, the two armies stood, while Hector told them the words of Paris his brother.

When they had heard him, Menelaus spoke:

"Many ills have ye endured," he said, "for my sake and because of the sins of Paris. Yet now, I think, the end of this long war hath come. Let us fight, then, and death and fate shall decide which of us shall die. Let us offer sacrifice now to Zeus, and call hither Priam, King of Troy. I fear for the faith of his sons, Paris and Hector, but Priam is an old man and will not break faith."

Then were the Greeks and the Trojans glad. They came down from their chariots, and took off their arms, and laid them on the ground, while heralds went to tell Priam and to fetch lambs and a ram for the sacrifice.

While they went, Hera sent to Troy Iris, her messenger, in the guise of the fairest daughter of Priam.

To the hall where Helen sat came lovely Iris. And there she found Helen, fairest of women, her white arms swiftly moving back and forward as she wove a great purple web of double wool, and wrought thereon pictures of many battles of the Greeks and the men of Troy.

"Come hither, dear lady," said Iris, "and see a wondrous thing. For they that so fiercely fought with each other, now sit in silence. The battle is stayed; they lean upon their shields, and their tall spears are thrust in the earth by their sides. But for thee are Menelaus and Paris now going to fight, and thou shalt be the wife of the conqueror."

So spake lovely Iris, and into the sleeping heart of Helen there came remembrance, and a hungry longing for her old home, and for Menelaus, and her father and mother, and for little Hermione, her child.

The tears rolled down her cheeks, but quickly she hid her face with a veil of fair linen, and hastened out, with her two handmaidens, to the place where the two armies lay.

At the Scaean gates sat Priam and other old warriors.

As Helen, in her fair white robes, drew near, the old men marveled at her loveliness.

"Small wonder is it," said they, "that Trojans and Greeks should suffer hardships and lay down their lives for one so beautiful. Yet well would it be for her to sail away upon the Greek ships rather than stay here to bring trouble upon us now, and upon our children hereafter."

Then Priam called to Helen:

"Come hither, dear child, and sit beside me, that thou may'st see the man who once was thy husband, and thy kinsmen, and thy friends. No blame do I give to thee for all our woes, but only to the gods who have chosen thee to be the cause of all this bloodshed."

Then did Priam ask her the names of the mighty heroes who stood by their spears in the Grecian ranks, and Helen, making answer to him, said:

"Dear father of Paris, my lord, would that I had died ere I left my own land and my little child, and all those that I loved, and followed thy son hither. Agamemnon, a goodly king and a mighty spearsman, is the Greek warrior whose name thou dost ask. Brother of him who was my husband is he. Ah! shameless me, who did leave mine own."

Of Odysseus also, and of many another warrior of great stature and brave looks, did Priam make inquiry. And Helen told him all she knew, while tears of longing stood in her eyes.

"My two brethren, Castor, tamer of horses, and Polydeuces, the skilful boxer, I do not see," she said; "mayhap they have not crossed the sea." For she knew not that her two brothers lay dead in her own beautiful land.

Then was the sacrifice to Zeus offered, and the vows made between Agamemnon and Priam, King of Troy.

When the sacrifice and vows were accomplished, Priam in haste mounted his chariot and drove away.

"Verily will I return to windy Ilios," said the old man, "for I cannot bear to watch the fight between Menelaus and my own dear son. But only Zeus and the gods know which one of them is to fall."

Then Hector and Odysseus marked out a space for the fight, and into a bronze helmet Hector placed two pebbles and shook them in the helmet, looking behind him. And the pebble of Paris leapt out the first, so that to him fell the lot to cast first his spear of bronze.

Then did Paris arm himself. Greaves of beauteous fashioning he placed upon his legs, and fastened them with silver ankle-clasps. Over his shoulders he put his silver-studded sword of bronze and his great shield. On his head he placed a helmet with nodding crest of horsehair, and in his hand he grasped his strong spear. In like manner did Menelaus arm himself.

One moment did they stand face to face, wrath and hatred in their hearts, their spears gripped firm in their hands.

Then did Paris hurl his spear and smite the shield of Menelaus. But the shield was strong and the spear could not pierce it.

His hand lifted up for the cast, Menelaus looked upwards and called to Zeus.

"Grant me revenge, great Zeus!" he cried. "On him that hath done me grievous wrong, grant me vengeance, so that all men hereafter may shudder to wrong one who hath treated him as his honored guest."

Then hurled he his mighty spear. Through the bright shield it went, and through the shining breastplate, tearing the tunic of Paris on his thigh. But Paris swerved aside, and so escaped death.

Then Menelaus drew his silver-studded sword and drove it crashing down upon the helmet of Paris. But in four pieces was the sword shattered, and fell from the hand of Menelaus.

"Surely art thou the most cruel of all the gods, Zeus!" angrily he cried. "My spear is cast in vain, and my sword shattered, and my vengeance is still to come!"

So saying, he leapt upon Paris. By the crest on his helmet he seized him, and, swinging him round, he dragged him towards the Greek host. The embroidered strap beneath the helmet of Paris strangled him, and so he would have shamefully died, had not Aphrodite marked his plight. Swiftly did she burst the leather strap, and the helmet was left empty in the grasp of Menelaus.

Casting the empty helmet, with a swing, to his comrades, Menelaus sprang back, ready, with another spear, to slay his enemy.

But Aphrodite snatched Paris up, and in thick mist she hid him, and bore him away to his own home. Like a wild beast Menelaus strode through the host, searching for him. But no Trojan would have hidden him, for with a bitter hatred did the men of Troy hate Paris, most beautiful of mortal men.

Then said Agamemnon:

"Hearken to me, ye Trojans. Now hath Menelaus gained the victory. Give us back Helen, and all that is hers, and pay me the recompense that ye owe me for all the evil days that are gone."

So spake he, and glad were the shouts of the Greeks as they heard the words of their king.



IV

HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE

From where the battle still raged went Hector, son of Priam. At the oak-tree by the gates of Troy there came running to meet him wives and daughters of those who fought. For eagerly did they long for tidings of many a warrior who now lay dead on the field.

When he reached the beautiful, many-pillared palace of his father, his mother came to meet him.

His hand she took in hers, and gently spoke she to him.

"Art thou wearied that thou hast left the battle, Hector, my son?" she said. "Let me bring thee wine that thou may'st be refreshed and yet gain strength."

"Bring me no wine, dear mother," said Hector, "lest it take from me the strength and courage that I have. Rather go thou to the temple of Athene and offer her sacrifices, beseeching that she will have mercy on Troy and on the wives of the Trojans and their little children. So may she hold back Diomedes the destroyer. I go to Paris—would that he were dead!"

And the mother of Hector straightway, with other old women, the mothers of heroes, offered sacrifices and prayers to Athene. But Athene paid no heed.

To the palace of Paris, his mighty bronze spear in his hand, then strode Hector.

Paris, the golden-haired, sat in a room with Helen, idly handling his shining shield and breastplate and curved bow.

In bitter scorn spoke Hector to his brother.

"Our people die in battle for thy sake!" he cried, "while here thou sittest idle. Up then, ere the enemies that thou hast made for us burn our city to the ground!"

And Paris answered:

"Justly dost thou chide me, Hector. Even now hath Helen urged me to play the man and go back to battle. Only let me put on my armor, and soon will I overtake thee."

Never a word did Hector answer him.

But to Hector did Helen then speak:

"Brother Hector," she said, "unworthy am I to be sister of thine. Would that I had died on the day I was born, or would that the gods who have brought me this evil had given me for a husband one who was shamed by reproach and who feared dishonor. Rest thee here, my brother, who hast suffered so much for the sake of wretched me and for the sin of Paris. Well I know that for us cometh punishment of which men will sing in the far-off years that are yet to come."

"Of thy love, ask me not to stay, Helen," answered Hector. "For to help the men of Troy is my whole heart set, and they are now in want of me. But rouse this fellow, and make him hasten after me. I go now to see my dear wife and my babe, for I know not whether I shall return to them again."

In his own house Hector found not his fair wife Andromache, nor their little babe.

"Whither went thy mistress?" he asked in eagerness of the serving-women.

"Truly, my lord," answered one, "tidings came to us that the Trojans were sorely pressed and that with the Greeks was the victory. So then did Andromache, like one frenzied, hasten with her child and his nurse to the walls that she might see somewhat of what befell. There, on the tower, she stands now, weeping and wailing."

Back through the streets by which he had come then hastened Hector. And as he drew near the gates, Andromache, who had spied him from afar, ran to meet him.

As, hand clasped in hand, Andromache and Hector stood, Hector looked silently at the beautiful babe in his nurse's arms, and smiled.

Astyanax, "The City King," those of Troy called the child, because it was Hector his father who saved the city.

Then said Andromache:

"Dear lord, thy courage will bring thee death. Hast thou no pity for this babe nor for thy wife, who so soon shall be thy widow? Better would it be for me to die if to thee death should come. For if I lose thee, then sorrow must for evermore be mine. No father nor mother have I, and on one day were my seven brothers slain. Father and mother and brother art thou to me, Hector, and my dear loved husband as well. Have pity now, and stay with thy wife and thy little child."

"All these things know I well, my wife," answered Hector, "but black shame would be mine were I to shrink like a coward from battle. Ever it hath been mine to be where the fight was fiercest, and to win glory for my father's name, and for my own. But soon will that glory be gone, for my heart doth tell me that Troy must fall. Yet for the sorrows of the Trojans, and of my own father and mother and brethren, and of the many heroes that must perish, grieve I less bitterly than for the anguish that must come upon thee on that day when thou no longer hast a husband to fight for thee and a Greek leads thee away a prisoner. May the earth be heaped up high above me ere I hear thy crying, Andromache!"

So spake Hector, and stretched out his arms to take his boy.

But from his father's bronze helmet with its fiercely nodding plume of horsehair the babe shrank back in terror and hid his face in his nurse's breast. Then did the little City King's father and his sweet mother laugh aloud, and on the ground Hector laid his helmet, and taking his little son in his arms he kissed him and gently dandled him. And as he did so, thus Hector prayed to Zeus and all the gods:

"O Zeus and all ye gods, grant that my son may be a brave warrior and a great king in Troyland. Let men say of him when he returns from battle, 'Far greater is he than his father,' and may he gladden his mother's heart."

Then did Hector lay his babe in Andromache's arms, and she held him to her bosom, smiling through her tears.

Full of love and pity and tenderness was the heart of Hector, and gently he caressed her and said:

"Dear one, I pray thee be not of over-sorrowful heart. No man shall slay me ere the time appointed for my death hath come. Go home and busy thyself with loom and distaff and see to the work of thy maidens. But war is for us men, and of all those who dwell in Troyland, most of all for me."

So spake Hector, and on his head again he placed his crested helmet. And his wife went home, many times looking back to watch him she loved going forth to battle, with her eyes half blinded by her tears.

Not far behind Hector followed Paris, his armor glittering like the sun, and with a laugh on the face that was more full of beauty than that of any other man on earth. Like a noble charger that has broken its bonds and gallops exultingly across the plain, so did Paris stride onward.

"I fear I have delayed thee," he said to his brother when he overtook him.

"No man can speak lightly of thy courage," answered Hector, "only thou hast brought shame on thyself by holding back from battle. But now let us go forward, and may the gods give the Greeks into our hands."

So went Hector and Paris together into battle, and many a Greek fell before them on that day.



V

HOW PATROCLUS FOUGHT AND DIED

While round the dark ships of Greece the fierce fight raged, Achilles, from afar, listened unmoved to the din of battle, and watched with stony eyes the men of Greece as they fell and died on the reddened ground.

To him came Patroclus.

"Why dost thou weep, Patroclus?" asked Achilles. "Like a fond little maid art thou that runs by her mother's side, plucking at her gown, hindering her as she walks, and with tearful eyes looking up at her until the mother lifts her in her arms. Like her, Patroclus, dost thou softly weep."

Then Patroclus, heavily groaning, made answer:

"Among the ships lie the bravest and best of the men of Greece, sore wounded or dead. Pitiless art thou, Achilles, pitiless and unforgiving. Yet if thou dost still hold back from the battle, give me, I pray thee, thine armor, and send me forth in thy stead. Perchance the Trojans may take me for the mighty Achilles, and even now the victory be ours."

Then said Achilles, and heavy was his heart within him:

"These Greeks took from me my well-won prize, Patroclus. Yet let the past be past; no man may keep his anger for ever. I have said that until the men of Troy come to burn my own ships I will hold me back from the battle. But take you my armor; lead my men in the fight, and drive from the ships the men of Troy. But to others leave it to chase them across the plain."

Even as Achilles spoke, the strength of mighty Ajax had come to an end, and with furious rush did the Trojans board the ships. In their hands they bore blazing torches, and up to the sky rushed the fiercely roaring flames.

Then cried Achilles, smiting his thighs:

"Haste thee, Patroclus! They burn the ships! Arm thyself speedily, and I will call my men!"

Corslet and shield and helmet did Patroclus swiftly don, and girded on the silver-studded sword and took two strong lances in his hand.

In the chariot of Achilles he mounted, and Automedon, best and bravest of charioteers, took the reins.

Swift as the wild west wind were Bayard and Piebald, the two horses of Achilles, and in the side harness was Pedasus, a horse only less swift than they.

Gladly did the men of Achilles meet his call to arms, for fierce as wolves were they.

"Many times hast thou blamed me," cried Achilles, "because in my wrath I kept ye back from battle. Here for ye now is a mighty fight, such as ye love."

To battle they went, and while Patroclus led them forth, Achilles in his tent offered up an offering to Zeus.

Like wasps that pour forth from their nests by the wayside to sting the boys who have stoned them, so now did the Greeks swarm from their ships.

Before the sword of Patroclus fell a mighty warrior, and when the men of Troy saw the shining armor of Achilles in his own chariot their hearts sank within them.

Out of the ships were they driven, the fire was quenched, and back to the trench rolled the tide of battle. In the trench writhed many a horse and many a man in dying agonies. But clear across it leaped the horses of Achilles, and close to the walls of Troy did Patroclus drive brave Hector before him.

His chariot then he turned, and headed off the fleeing Trojans, driving them down to the ships. Before the furious rush of his swift steeds, other horses were borne off their feet, other chariots cast in ruins on the ground, and men crushed to death under his wheels. Chief after chief did Patroclus slay. A mighty destroyer was he that day.

One only of the chiefs of Troy kept his courage before the destroyer who wore the shining arms of Achilles.

"Shame on ye!" cried Sarpedon to his men, "whither do ye flee? I myself will fight this man who deals death and destruction to the Trojan host."

From their chariots leaped Sarpedon and Patroclus.

With the first cast of his spear Patroelus missed Sarpedon, but slew his charioteer. Then did Sarpedon cast, and his spear whizzed past Patroclus, and smote the good horse Pedasus. With a dreadful scream Pedasus fell, kicking and struggling, in the dust. This way and that did the other two horses plunge and rear, until the yoke creaked and the reins became entangled. But the charioteer leaped down, with his sword slashed clear the traces from Pedasus, and the horses righted themselves.

Once again did Sarpedon cast his spear, and the point flew over the left shoulder of Patroclus. But Patroclus missed not. Through the heart of Sarpedon sped the fiercely hurled spear, and like a slim tree before the axe of the wood-cutter he fell, his dying hands clutching at the bloody dust.

Furious was the combat then over the body of Sarpedon. One brave warrior after another did Patroclus lay dead.

And more terrible still was the fight because in the ranks of the men of Troy there fought now, in all-devouring wrath, the god Apollo.

Nine men, good warriors all, did Patroclus slay; then, waxing bolder, he tried to climb the very walls of Troy.

Three times did Apollo thrust him back, and when, a fourth time, he attacked, the god cried aloud to him in anger, warning him not to dare so much.

Against Patroclus did Hector then drive his war-horses, but Patroclus, leaping from his chariot, hurled at Hector a jagged stone. In the eyes it smote the charioteer of Hector, and the slain man dropped to the ground.

"How nimble a man is this!" jeered Patroclus. "How lightly he diveth! Were this the sea, how good an oyster-seeker would this fellow be!"

Then from his chariot leaped Hector and met Patroclus, and the noise of the battle was as the noise of a mighty gale in the forest when great trees fall crashing to the ground.

When the sun went down, victory was with the Greeks. Three mighty charges did Patroclus make, and each time he slew nine men. But when, a fourth time, he charged, Apollo met him. In thick mist he met him, and Patroclus knew not that he fought with a god. With a fierce down-stroke from behind, Apollo smote his broad shoulders, and from off his head the helmet of Achilles fell with a clang, rattling under the hoofs of the horses. Before the smiting of the god, Patroclus stood stricken, stupid and amazed. Shattered in his hands was the spear of Achilles, and his mighty shield clanged on the ground.

Ere he could know who was the smiter, a Trojan ally drove a spear between his shoulders, and Patroclus, sore wounded, fell back.

Marking his dismay, Hector pressed forward, and clean through his body drove his bronze spear. With a crash Patroclus fell.

"Thou that didst boast that thou wouldst sack my town, here shall vultures devour thee!" cried Hector.

And in a faint voice Patroclus made answer:

"Not to thee do I owe my doom, great Hector. Twenty such as thou would I have fought and conquered, but the gods have slain me. Yet verily I tell thee that thou thyself hast not long to live. Even now doth Death stand beside thee!"

As he spoke, the shadow of Death fell upon Patroclus. No more in his ears roared the din of battle; still and silent for ever he lay.



VI

THE ROUSING OF ACHILLES

Fierce had been the fight before Patroclus died. More fiercely yet it raged when he lay dead.

From his body did Hector take the arms of Achilles, and the dead Patroclus would the Trojans fain have dragged to their city, there to bring shame to him and to all the Greek host.

But for him fought the Greeks, until the earth was wet with blood and the very skies echoed the clang of battle.

To Achilles came Antilochos, a messenger fleet of foot.

"Fallen is Patroclus!" he cried, "and around his naked body do they fight, for his armor is held by Hector."

Then did Achilles moan aloud. On the ground he lay, and in his hair he poured black ashes. And the sound of his terrible lament was heard by his mother, Thetis, the goddess, as she sat in her palace down under the depths of the green sea.

Up from under the waves swiftly came she to Achilles, and tenderly did she listen while he poured forth to her the tale of the death of his dear comrade.

Then said Thetis:

"Not long, methinks, shall Hector glory in the armor that was thine, for Death presseth hard upon him. Go not forth to battle, my son, until I return, bearing with me new and fair armor for thee."

But when Thetis had departed, to Achilles in his sorrow came Iris, fair messenger of the gods.

"Unto windy Ilios will the Trojans drag the body of Patroclus unless thou comest now. Thou needst not fight, Achilles, only show thyself to the men of Troy, for sore is the need of Patroclus thy friend."

Then, all unarmed, did Achilles go forth, and stood beside the trench. With a mighty voice he shouted, and at the sound of his voice terror fell upon the Trojans. Backward in flight they went, and from among the dead did the Greeks draw the body of Patroclus, and hot were the tears that Achilles shed for the friend whom he had sent forth to battle.

All that night, in the house of the Immortals, resounded the clang of hammer on anvil as Hephaistus, the lame god, fashioned new arms for Achilles.

Bronze and silver and gold he threw in his fire, and golden handmaidens helped their master to wield the great bellows, and to send on the crucibles blasts that made the ruddy flames dance.

No fairer shield was ever borne by man than that which Hephaistus made for Achilles. For him also he wrought a corslet brighter than a flame of fire, and a helmet with a golden crest.

And in the morning light did Thetis dart down from snowy Olympus, bearing in her arms the splendid gift of a god.

Glad was Achilles as he put on the armor, and terrible was his war-cry as he roused the Greek warriors. No man, however sore his wounds, held back when the voice of Achilles called him to the fight once again. Wounded was Agamemnon, overlord of the Greeks, but forth also came he. And there, while the sun rose on many a warrior who would fight no more, did Achilles and Agamemnon speak as friends once again, their long strife ended.

Hungry for war, with Achilles as their leader, did the Greeks then meet the Trojans on the plain. And as a fierce fire rages through the forest, its flames driven by the wind, so did Achilles in his wrath drive through the host of Troy.

Down to the Scamander he drove the fleeing Trojans, and the water reddened with blood, as he smote and spared not.

Merciless was Achilles; pitilessly did he exult as one brave man after another was sent by him to dye red the swift flood of the Scamander.

At length, at his lack of mercy, did even the river grow wrathful.

"Choked is my stream with dead men!" it cried, "and still thou slayest!"

But when Achilles heeded not, in fierce flood the river up-rose against him, sweeping the slain before it, and in furious spate seeking to destroy Achilles. But as its waves smote against his shield, Achilles grasped a tall elm, and uprooting it, cast it into the river to dam the torrent. For the moment only was the angry river stayed. In fear did Achilles flee across the plain, but with a mighty roar it pursued him, and caught him.

To the gods then cried Achilles, and to his aid came Athene, and close to the walls of Troy again did Achilles chase the Trojan men.

From the city walls old Priam saw the dreadful things Achilles wrought.

And when, his armor blazing like the brightest stars of the sky, he drew near, and Hector would have gone to meet him, in grief did Priam cry to his dearly loved son:

"Hector, beloved son, I pray thee go not alone to meet this man; mightier far than thou is he."

But all eager for the fight was Hector. Of all the men of Troy he alone still stood unafraid. Then did the mother of Hector beseech him to hold back from what must surely mean death. Yet Hector held not back, but on his shining shield leaned against a tower, awaiting the coming of the great destroyer.

And at last they met, face to face, spear to spear. As a shooting-star in the darkness so flashed the spear of Achilles as he hurled it home to pierce the neck of Hector. Gods and men had deserted Hector, and alone before the walls of Troy he fell and died.

Thus ended the fight.

For twelve days did the Greek host rejoice, and all through the days Hector's body lay unburied. For at the heels of swift horses had the Greeks dragged him to the ships, while from the battlements his mother and his wife Andromache watched, wailing in agony, with hearts that broke.

Then at length went old Priam to the camp of the Greeks. And before Achilles he fell, beseeching him to have mercy and to give him back the body of his son.

So was the heart of Achilles moved, and the body of Hector ransomed; and with wailing of women did the people of Troy welcome home their hero.

Over him lamented his old mother, for of all her sons was he to her most dear, and over him wept, with burning tears, his wife Andromache.

And to his bier came Helen, and with breaking heart did she sob forth her sorrow:

"Dearest of my brothers," she said, "from thee have I heard neither reproach nor evil word. With kind words and gentle heart hast thou ever stood by me. Lost, lost is my one true friend. No more in Troyland is any left to pity me."

On lofty funeral pyre then laid they the dead Hector, and when the flames had consumed his body his comrades placed his white bones in a golden urn, and over it with great stones did they raise a mighty mound that all might see where he rested.

Yet still was the warfare between Greeks and Trojans not ended.

To Achilles death came in a shaft from the bow of Paris. By a poisoned arrow driven at venture and at dark midnight from the bow of an outcast leper was fair Paris slain. While winter snow lay white on Ida, in Helen's arms did his life ebb away.

Then came there a day when the Greeks burned their camp and sailed homeward across the gray water.

Behind them they left a mighty horse of wood, and the men of Troy came and drew it into the city as trophy and sign of victory over those who had made it. But inside the horse were hidden many of the bravest warriors of Greece, and at night, when the Trojans feasted, the Greeks came out of their hiding-place and threw open the gates.

And up from the sea came the Greek host, and in fire and in blood fell the city of Troy.

Yet did not Helen perish. Back to his own kingdom by the sea Menelaus took her, to reign, in peace, a queen, she who had brought grief and death to so many, and to the city of Troy unutterable woe.



THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER

ADAPTED BY JEANIE LANG



I

WHAT HAPPENED IN ITHACA WHILE ODYSSEUS WAS AWAY

While Odysseus was fighting far away in Troyland, his baby son grew to be a big boy. And when years passed and Odysseus did not return, the boy, Telemachus, grew to be a man.

Telemachus loved his beautiful mother, Penelope, but his heart always longed for the hero father whom he could only dimly remember. As time went on, he longed more and more, for evil things came to pass in the kingdom of Odysseus.

The chiefs and lords of Ithaca admired Penelope for her beauty. They also coveted her money and her lands, and when Odysseus did not return, each one of these greedy and wicked men wished to marry her and make his own all that had belonged to brave Odysseus.

"Odysseus is surely dead," they said, "and Telemachus is only a lad and cannot harm us."

So they came to the palace where Penelope and Telemachus lived, and there they stayed, year in, year out, feasting and drinking and wasting the goods of Odysseus. Their roughness and greed troubled Penelope, but still more did they each one daily torment her by rudely asking: "Wilt thou marry me?"

At last she fell on a plan to stop them from talking to her of marriage.

In the palace hall she set up a great web, beautiful and fine of woof.

Then she said, "When I have finished weaving this robe I shall give you my answer."

Each day she worked at it, but each night, when the wooers slept, she undid all that she had done during the day. So it seemed to the wooers as if the robe would never be finished.

Penelope's heart was heavy, and heavy, too, was the heart of Telemachus. For three weary years, while Odysseus was imprisoned on the island of Calypso, the mother and son pined together.

One day Telemachus sat at the door of the palace sadly watching the wooers as they drank and reveled. He was thinking of the brave father that he feared was dead, when there walked up to the door of the courtyard a stranger dressed like a warrior from another land.

The stranger was the goddess Athene. At the same time that she gained leave from the gods to set Odysseus free, they had agreed that she should go to Ithaca and help Telemachus. But she came dressed as a warrior, and not as a beautiful, gray-eyed, golden-haired goddess with golden sandals on her feet.

Telemachus rose up and shook her kindly by the hand, and led her into the hall. He took from her the heavy bronze spear that she carried, and made her sit down on one of the finest of the chairs, in a place where the noise of the rough wooers should not disturb her.

"Welcome, stranger," he said. "When thou hast had food, then shalt thou tell us in what way we can help thee."

He then made servants bring a silver basin and golden ewer that she might wash her hands, and he fetched her food and wine of the best.

Soon the wooers entered, and noisily ate they and drank, and roughly jested.

Telemachus watched them and listened with an angry heart. Then, in a low voice, he said to Athene:

"These men greedily eat and drink, and waste my father's goods. They think the bones of Odysseus bleach out in the rain in a far land, or are tossed about by the sea. But did my father still live, and were he to come home, the cowards would flee before him. Tell me, stranger, hast thou come from a far-off country? Hast thou ever seen my father?"

Athene answered: "Odysseus still lives. He is a prisoner on a sea-girt island, but it will not be long ere he escapes and comes home. Thou art like Odysseus, my son. Thou hast a head like his, and the same beautiful eyes."

When Athene spoke to him so kindly and so hopefully, Telemachus told her all that was in his heart. And when the wickedness and greed of the wooers was made known to her, Athene grew very angry.

"Thou art in sore need of Odysseus," she said. "If Odysseus were to come to the door now with lance in hand, soon would he scatter those shameless ones before him."

Then she told Telemachus what he must do.

"To-morrow," said she, "call thy lords to a council meeting, and tell the wooers to return to their homes."

For himself, she told him to fit out a ship with twenty oars-men, that he might sail to a land where he should get tidings of his father.

"Thou art tall and handsome, my friend," she said. "Be brave, that even in days to come men may praise thy name."

"Thou speakest as a father to a son. I will never forget what thou hast said," said Telemachus.

He begged Athene to stay longer, and wished to give her a costly gift. But she would not stay, nor accept any present. To Telemachus she had given a gift, though he did not know it. For into his heart she had put strength and courage, so that when she flew away like a beautiful bird across the sea she left behind her, not a frightened, unhappy boy, but a strong, brave man.

The wooers took no notice of the comings and goings of the strange warrior, so busy were they with their noisy feast. As they feasted a minstrel played to them on his lyre, and sang a song of the return of the warriors from Troyland when the fighting was over.

From her room above, Penelope heard the song, and came down. For a little, standing by the door, she listened. Then she could bear it no longer, and, weeping, she said to the minstrel:

"Sing some other song, and do not sing a song of return from Troyland to me, whose husband never returned."

Then Telemachus, in a new and manly way that made her wonder, spoke to his mother:

"Blame not the minstrel, dear mother," he said. "It is not his fault that he sings sad songs, but the fault of the gods who allow sad things to be. Thou art not the only one who hast lost a loved one in Troyland. Go back to thy room, and let me order what shall be, for I am now the head of the house."

In the same fearless, manly way he spoke to the wooers:

"Ye may feast to-night," he said; "only let there be no brawling. To-morrow meet with me. For once and for all it must be decided if ye are to go on wasting my goods, or if I am to be master of my own house and king in mine own land."

The wooers bit their lips with rage, and some of them answered him rudely; but Telemachus paid no heed, and when at last they returned to their houses, he went upstairs to his own room. The old woman who had nursed him when he was a child carried torches before him to show him the way. When he sat down on his bed and took off his doublet, she folded and smoothed it and hung it up. Then she shut the door with its silver handle, and left Telemachus, wrapped in a soft fleece of wool, thinking far into the night of all that Athene had said to him.

When day dawned he dressed and buckled on his sword, and told heralds to call the lords to a council meeting. When all were assembled he went into the hall. In his hand he carried a bronze spear, and two of his hounds followed him, and when he went up to his father's seat and sat down there, the oldest men gave place to him. For Athene had shed on him such a wondrous grace that he looked like a young god.

"Never since brave Odysseus sailed away to Troyland have we had a council meeting," said one old lord. "I think the man who hath called this meeting is a true man—good luck go with him! May the gods give him his heart's desire."

So good a beginning did this seem that Telemachus was glad, and, burning to say all that had been in his heart for so long, he rose to his feet and spoke.

Of the loss of his father he spoke sadly, and then, with burning words, of the cowardly wooers, of their feastings and revelings and wasting of his goods, and of their insolence to Penelope and himself.

When he had thus spoken in rage and grief, he burst into tears.

For a little there was silence, then one of the wooers said angrily:

"Penelope is to blame, and no other. For three years she has deceived us. 'I will give you my answer when I have finished weaving this robe,' she said, and so we waited and waited. But now that three years have gone and a fourth has begun, it is told us by one of her maids that each night she has undone all she has woven during the day. She can deceive us no longer. She must now finish the robe, and tell us whom she will marry. For we will not leave this place until she has chosen a husband."

Then, once again, with pleading words, Telemachus tried to move the hearts of the wooers.

"If ye will not go," at last he said, "I will ask the gods to reward you for your wickedness."

As he spoke, two eagles flew, fleet as the wind, from the mountain crest. Side by side they flew until they were above the place of the council meeting. Then they wheeled about, darted with fury at each other, and tore with their savage talons at each other's heads and necks. Flapping their great wings, they then went swiftly away and were lost in the far distance.

Said a wise old man: "It is an omen. Odysseus will return, and woe will come upon the wooers. Let us make an end of these evil doings and keep harm away from us."

"Go home, old man," angrily mocked the wooers. "Prophesy to thine own children. Odysseus is dead. Would that thou hadst died with him. Then thou couldst not have babbled nonsense, and tried to hound on Telemachus in the hope that he may give thee a gift."

To Telemachus they said again:

"We will go on wasting thy goods until Penelope weds one of us."

Only one other beside the old man was brave enough to speak for Telemachus. Fearlessly and nobly did his friend Mentor blame the wooers for their shamelessness. But they jeered at him, and laughed aloud when Telemachus told them he was going to take a ship and go to look for his father.

"He will never come back," said one, "and even were Odysseus himself to return, we should slay him when he came."

Then the council meeting broke up, and the wooers went again to revel in the palace of Odysseus.

Down to the seashore went Telemachus and knelt where the gray water broke in little white wavelets on the sand.

"Hear me," he cried, "thou who didst speak with me yesterday. I know now that thou art a god. Tell me, I pray thee? how shall I find a ship to sail across the misty sea and find my father? For there is none to help me."

Swiftly, in answer to his cry, came Athene.

"Be brave. Be thy father's son," she said. "Go back to thy house and get ready corn and wine for the voyage. I will choose the best of all the ships in Ithaca for thee, and have her launched, and manned by a crew, all of them willing men."

Then Telemachus returned to the palace. In the courtyard the wooers were slaying goats and singeing swine and making ready a great feast.

"Here comes Telemachus, who is planning to destroy us," they mocked. "Telemachus, who speaks so proudly—- angry Telemachus."

Said one youth:

"Who knows but what if he goes on a voyage he will be like Odysseus, and never return. Then will we have all his riches to divide among ourselves, and his house will belong to the man who weds Penelope."

Telemachus shook off the jeering crowd, and went down to the vaulted chamber where his father's treasures were kept. Gold and bronze lay there in piles, and there were great boxes of splendid clothes, and casks of wine. The heavy folding doors of the treasure chamber were shut day and night, and the old nurse was the keeper of the treasures.

Telemachus bade her get ready corn and wine for the voyage.

"When my mother has gone to rest I will take them away," he said, "for this night I go to seek my father across the sea."

At this the old nurse began to cry.

"Do not go, dear child," she wailed. "Thou art our only one, and we love thee so well. Odysseus is dead, and what canst thou do, sailing far away across the deep sea? As soon as thou art gone, those wicked men will begin to plot evil against thee. Do not go. Do not go. There is no need for thee to risk thy life on the sea and go wandering far from home."

"Take heart, nurse," said Telemachus. "The goddess Athene has told me to go, so all will be well. But promise me not to tell my dear mother that I am gone until she misses me. For I do not wish to mar her fair face with tears."

The nurse promised, and began to make ready all that Telemachus wished.

Meantime Athene, in the likeness of Telemachus, found a swift-sailing ship, and men to sail it. When darkness fell, she sent sleep on the wooers and led Telemachus down to the shore where his men sat by their oars.

To the palace, where every one slept and all was still and quiet, Telemachus brought his men. None but the old nurse knew he was going away, but they found the food and wine that she had got ready and carried it down to the ship. Then Athene went on board, and Telemachus sat beside her. A fresh west wind filled the sails and went singing over the waves. The dark water surged up at the bow as the ship cut through it. And all night long and till the dawn, the ship sailed happily on her way.

At sunrise they came to land, and Athene and Telemachus went on shore. The rulers of the country welcomed them and treated them well, but could tell nothing of Odysseus after the siege of Troy was over. Athene gave Telemachus into their care, then, turning herself into a sea-eagle, she flew swiftly away, leaving them amazed because they knew she must be one of the gods.

While Telemachus sought for news of his father in this kingdom, and the kingdoms near it, the wooers began to miss him at their feasts. They fancied he was away hunting, until, one day, as they played games in front of the palace, the man whose ship Athene had borrowed came to them.

"When will Telemachus return with my ship?" he asked.

"I need it that I may cross over to where I keep my horses. I wish to catch one and break him in."

When the wooers heard from him that Telemachus had sailed away with twenty brave youths, in the swiftest ship in Ithaca, they were filled with rage.

At once they got a ship and sailed to where they might meet Telemachus in a strait between Ithaca and another rocky island.

"We will slay him there," said they. "We will give him a woful end to his voyage in search of his father."

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