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´╗┐Title: Wonder Stories - The Best Myths for Boys and Girls
Author: Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin, 1875-1961
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wonder Stories - The Best Myths for Boys and Girls" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: Iris crossing the Rainbow Bridge. _Page 222_]




Author: "For the Children's Hour," "For the Story Teller,"
"Stories Children Need," "Tell Me Another Story,"
"Stories of Great Adventures," etc.





_All Rights Reserved_

Bradley Quality Books _for_ Children


How the Myths Began                                7

What Prometheus Did with a Bit of Clay            13

The Paradise of Children.--Nathaniel Hawthorne    22

What Became of the Giants                         33

How Vulcan Made the Best of Things                40

How Orion Found His Sight                         48

The Wonders Venus Wrought                         56

Where the Labyrinth Led                           65

How Perseus Conquered the Sea                     74

Pegasus, the Horse Who Could Fly                  84

How Mars Lost a Battle                            92

How Minerva Built a City                         102

Cadmus, the Alphabet King                        113

The Picture Minerva Wove                         120

The Hero with a Fairy Godmother                  126

The Pygmies.--Nathaniel Hawthorne                136

The Horn of Plenty                               148

The Wonder the Frogs Missed                      154

When Phaeton's Chariot Ran Away                  163

When Apollo was Herdsman                         174

How Jupiter Granted a Wish                       181

How Hyacinthus Became a Flower                   189

How King Midas Lost His Ears                     196

How Mercury Gave up his Tricks                   205

A Little Errand Girl's New Dress                 215

When Proserpine was Lost                         224

The Ploughman who Brought Famine                 234

The Bee Man of Arcadia                           242

When Pomona Shared Her Apples                    252

How Psyche Reached Mount Olympus                 261

How Melampos Fed the Serpent                     272

How a Huntress Became a Bear                     281

The Adventure of Glaucus                         287

The Winning of the Golden Fleece                 297

Medea's Cauldron                                 304

How a Golden Apple Caused a War                  311

How a Wooden Horse Won a War                     322

The Cyclops.--Alfred Church                      329


Long ago, when our earth was more than two thousand years younger, there
was a wonderful place called Mount Olympus at the top of the world that
the ancients could see quite clearly with the eyes of hope and faith. It
did not matter that the Greek and Roman people had never set foot on
this mountain in the clouds. They knew it in story and reverenced the
gods and goddesses who inhabited it.

In the days when the myths were told, Greece was a more beautiful
country than any that is the result of civilization to-day, because the
national ideal of the Greeks was beauty and they expressed it in
whatever they thought, or wrote, or made with their hands. No matter how
far away from home the Greeks journeyed they remembered with pride and
love their blue bays and seacoast, the fertile valleys and sheep
pastures of Arcadia, the sacred grove of Delphi, those great days when
their athletes met for games and races at Athens, and the wide plains of
Olympia covered and rich with the most perfect temples and statues that
the world has ever known. When the Greeks returned the most beloved
sight that met their eyes was the flag of their nation flying at
Corinth, or the towers of the old citadel that Cadmus had founded at

It was the youth time of men, and there were no geographies or histories
or books of science to explain to the ancients those things about life
that everyone wants to know sooner or later. There was this same longing
for truth among the Roman people as well as among the Greeks. The
Romans, also, loved their country, and built temples as the Greeks did,
every stone of which they carved and fitted as a stepping stone on the
way to the abode of the gods.

But who were these gods, and what did a belief in their existence mean
to the Greek and Roman people?

There have been certain changes in two thousand years on our earth. We
have automobiles instead of chariots, our ships are propelled by steam
instead of by a favorable wind, and we have books that attempt to tell
us why spring always follows winter and that courage is a better part
than cowardice. But we still have hard winters and times when it is most
difficult to be brave. We still experience war and famine and crime,
and peace and plenty and love in just about the same measure that they
were to be found in Greece and Rome. The only difference is that we are
a little closer to understanding life than the ancients were. They tried
to find a means of knowing life facts and of explaining the miracles of
outdoors and of ruling their conduct by their daily intercourse with
this higher race of beings, the gods, on Mount Olympus.

There was a gate of clouds on the top of Mount Olympus that the
goddesses, who were known as the Seasons, opened to allow the
inhabitants of the Mount to descend to the earth and return. Jupiter,
the ruler of the gods, sat on the Olympian throne holding thunderbolts
and darts of lightning in his mighty hands. The same arts and labors as
those of men were practised by these celestial beings. Minerva and her
handmaidens, the Graces, wove garments for the goddesses of more
exquisite colors and textures than any that could be made by human
hands. Vulcan built the houses of the gods of glittering brass. He
shaped golden shoes that made it possible for them to travel with great
speed, and he shod their steeds so that their chariots could ride upon
the water. Hebe fed the gods with nectar and ambrosia, prepared and
served by her own fair hands. Mars loosed the dogs of war, and the
music of Apollo's lute was the song of victory and peace when war was
ended. Ceres tended and blessed the fields of grain, and Venus, clad in
beautiful garments by the Seasons, expressed the desire of the nations,
of dumb beasts and of all nature for love.

There were many more than these, making the great immortal family of the
gods, like men, but different in their higher understanding of life and
its meaning. They lived apart on their Mount, but they descended often
to mingle with the people. They stood beside the forge and helped with
the harvest, their voices were heard in the rustling leaves in the
forest and above the tumult and crash of war. They guarded the flocks
and crowned the victors in games and carried brave warriors to Elysian
fields after their last battles. They loved adventure and outdoors; they
felt joy and knew pain. These gods were the daily companions of the
ancients who have given them to us in our priceless inheritance of the
classics and art.

When you read the poems of the blind Roman, Homer, and those of Ovid and
Virgil; when you see a picture of a columned Greek temple or the statue
of the Apollo Belvedere or the Guido Reni painting of Aurora lighting
the sky with the torches of day, you, too, are following the age-old
stepping stones that led to Mount Olympus. The myths were the
inspiration for the greatest writing and architecture and sculpture and
painting that the world has ever known. They were more than this.

Among the ruins of the ancient cities there was found one temple with a
strange inscription on the altar: "To the unknown God." The temple was
placed on Mars Hill as if, out of the horrors of war, this new hope had
come to the people.

The word mythology means an account of tales. The myths were just that,
tales, but most beautiful and worth while stories. So that people who
made them and retold them and lived as the gods would have had them live
came, finally, to feel that there was need for them to build this other,
last altar.


Every boy and girl has the same wonder at one time or another.

"How was the world made?" they ask.

So did the boys and girls of that long ago time when the myths were new,
and the Greek teachers told them that the earth and sky were all a huge
Chaos at first until the gods from their thrones, with the help of
Nature, straightened out all things and gave order to the world. They
separated the earth from the sea, first, and then the sky from both of
these. The universe was all a flaming mass in the beginning but the
fiery part was light and ascended, forming the skies. The air hung just
below the skies. The waters were very heavy and took the lowest place
where the earth held them safely in its hollows.

Just as one takes a ball of clay and moulds it into shape, some one of
the gods, it was said, moulded the Earth. He gave places to the rivers
and the bays, raised mountains, planted the forests and laid out fertile
fields. And, next, the fishes swam in the waters, birds flew through the
woods and built nests, and four-footed beasts began to be seen

But the earth was not finished then by any means. There were two giants
of the race of the Titans who inhabited the earth at that time, and both
of these brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, could do marvellous things
with their hands. Prometheus took a little of the new earth in his hands
and as he looked it over he saw, hidden in it, some heavenly seeds, very
tiny of course but they gave him an idea about something wonderful that
he might be able to do. So Prometheus mixed some water with this handful
of earth and seed; he kneaded it well, and then he skilfully moulded it
into a form as nearly like the gods as he could make it. This figure of
clay stood upright. Instead of turning its eyes down to the ground as
the four-footed creatures did, this form that Prometheus had made looked
up toward the sky where the sun and the stars shone now that the air had

Prometheus had made man.

While the giant was accomplishing this, his brother, Epimetheus, had
been busy with the task of equipping the other creatures of the earth so
that they could take care of themselves. To some he gave the gift of
courage, to others wisdom, great strength, or swiftness. Each creature
was given that which he most needed. It was then that the slow moving
tortoise found his shell and the eagle his talons. The deer was given
his slender limbs and the dove his wings. The sheep put on his woolly
covering that was to be renewed as often as man sheared it, and the
horse, the camel and the elephant were provided with such great strength
in their backs that they were able to draw and carry heavy loads.

Epimetheus was greatly interested in the man that his brother had made
and he felt that he might be in danger from the wild beasts that were
now so numerous and haunted the forests. So he suggested something to
the giant and Prometheus took a torch, cut in the first forest, up to
heaven and lighted it at the chariot of the sun. In this way he brought
down fire to the earth.

That was the most useful gift he could possibly have given man. This
first man had begun to dig caves and make leafy covers in the woods and
huts woven of twigs to be his shelters. Now that fire had come to the
earth he was able to light a forge and shape metals into weapons and
tools. He could defend himself from wild beasts with the spear he made,
and cut down trees with his axe for building a stronger home. He made a
ploughshare and harnessed Epimetheus' oxen to it as he planted his
fields with food grains.

It seemed as if the earth was going to be a very good place indeed for
man and his children, but after awhile all kinds of unexpected things
began to happen. The strange part about it was that man, Prometheus'
mixture of clay and heavenly seed, seemed to be at the bottom of most of
the trouble. Men used the axe to rob the forests of timber for building
war ships and fortifications around the towns, and they forged swords
and helmets and shields. Seamen spread their sails to the wind to vex
the face of the ocean. Men were not satisfied with what the surface of
the earth could give them, but dug deep down underneath it and brought
up gold and precious stones about which they fought among themselves,
each wanting to possess more than his neighbor. The land was divided
into shares and this was another cause of war, for each landowner wanted
to take away his brother's grant and add it to his own.

Even the gods began to augment the troubles of the earth.

In the beginning, before the forge fires were lighted, there had been a
Golden Age. Then the fields had given all the food that man needed.
Flowers came up without the planting of seeds, the rivers flowed with
milk, and thick, yellow honey was distilled by the honey bees. But the
gods sent the Silver Age, not so pleasant as the one of gold. Jupiter,
the king of the gods, shortened the spring and divided the year into
seasons. Man learned then what it was to be too cold in the winter and
too warm in the summer. Then came the Bronze and the Iron ages. That was
when war and greed broke out.

Jupiter decided that the people of the earth should be further punished.
He imprisoned the north wind which scatters the clouds and sent out the
south wind to cover the face of the sky with pitchy darkness. The clouds
were driven together with a crash and torrents of rain fell. The crops
were laid low so that all the year's labor of the husbandman was
destroyed. Jupiter even called upon his brother, Neptune, who was the
god of the sea, to let loose the rivers and pour them over the land. He
tore the land with an earthquake so that even the sea overflowed its
shores. Such a flood as followed; the earth was nearly all sea without
shore! The hills were the only land, and people were obliged to ride
from one to another of them in boats while the fish swam among the tree
tops. If an anchor was dropped, it found a place in a garden. Awkward
sea-calves gamboled about where there had once been lambs playing in
green pastures; wolves struggled in the water among sheep, and yellow
lions and tigers were submerged by the rush of the sea.

It really seemed as if the earth was about to be lost in a second chaos,
but at last a green mountain peak appeared above the waste that the
waters had made and on it a man and woman of the race the giant
Prometheus had made took refuge. Remembering the heavenly seed that was
part of their birthright, they looked up toward the sky and asked
Jupiter to take pity on them. Jupiter ordered the north wind to drive
away the clouds, and Neptune sounded his horn to order the waters to
retreat. The waters obeyed, and the sea returned to its basins.

It was a very bare and desolate earth upon which the people looked down
from the Mount of Parnassus. They had not forgotten how to build and
mine and plant and harvest and keep a home. They would have to begin
things all over again, they knew, and there were two ways of going about

One way would be to leave the earth the desert place which it now was
and try to wreak vengeance on the gods for the destruction they had
brought upon the earth. Prometheus, the Titan, still lived and he was
possessed of a secret by means of which he could take Jupiter's throne
away from him. He would probably never have used this secret, but the
fact that he had it came to the ears of the mighty Jupiter and caused
much consternation among the gods. Jupiter ordered Vulcan, the smith of
the gods, to forge some great links for a heavy chain. With these he
chained Prometheus to a rock and sent a vulture to eat his flesh which
grew again continually so that Prometheus suffered most terrible pain as
the vulture returned each day.

His torture would come to an end the moment he told his secret, Jupiter
assured Prometheus, but the giant would not speak because of the harm
his words might cause the men and women of earth. He suffered there
without any rest, and the earth began to take on its former guise of
fertility and prosperity as man tried to bring again the Golden Age
through his own efforts. And whenever a man felt like giving up the
task, which was indeed a mighty one, he would think of Prometheus
chained to the rock. His flesh that came from the earth was the prey of
the vulture, but the seed of the gods which was hidden in every mortal,
gave him strength to resist what he believed to be wrong and bear

A strange old story, is it not? But it is also a story of to-day. Ours
is the same earth with its fertile fields and wide forests, its rich
mines and its wealth of flocks and herds. They are all given to us, just
as the gods gave them to the first men, for the development of peace and
plenty. And man, himself, is still a mixture of earth stuff and
something else, too, that Prometheus called heavenly seed and we call
soul. When selfishness and greed guide our uses of land and food and the
metals there is apt to be pretty nearly as bad a time on the earth as
when Jupiter and Neptune flooded it. But there is always a chance to be
a Prometheus who can forget about everything except the right, and so
help in bringing again the Golden Age of the gods to the world.


Long, long ago, when this old world was in its tender infancy, there was
a child named Epimetheus who never had either father or mother; and that
he might not be lonely, another child, fatherless and motherless like
himself, was sent by the gods to be his playfellow and helpmate. Her
name was Pandora.

The first thing that Pandora saw when she entered the cottage where
Epimetheus lived was a great box. And almost the first question that she
put to him was this,

"Epimetheus, what have you in that box?"

"My dear little Pandora," answered Epimetheus, "that is a secret, and
you must be kind enough not to ask any questions about it. The box was
left here to be kept safely, and I do not myself know what it contains."

It is thousands of years since the myths tell us that Epimetheus and
Pandora lived; and the world now-a-days is a very different sort of
place from what it was then. There were no fathers or mothers to take
care of the children, because there was no danger or trouble of any
kind, and no clothes to be mended, and there was plenty to eat and
drink. Whenever a child wanted his dinner, he found it growing on a
tree. It was a very pleasant life indeed. No labor had to be done, no
tasks studied, all was sport and dancing and the sweet voices of
children talking, or caroling like birds, or laughing merrily all day

But Pandora was not altogether happy on account of Epimetheus'
explanation about the box.

"Where can it have come from?" she continually asked herself, "and what
on earth can be inside it?" At last she spoke to Epimetheus.

"You might open the box," Pandora said, "and then we could see its
contents for ourselves."

"Pandora, what are you thinking of?" Epimetheus exclaimed. And his face
expressed so much horror at the idea of looking into a box, which had
been given him on condition that he never open it, that Pandora thought
it best not to suggest it any more. Still she could not help thinking
and talking about it.

"At least," she said, "you can tell me how it came here."

"It was left at the door," Epimetheus replied, "just before you came and
by a person who looked very smiling and intelligent, and who could
hardly keep from smiling as he set it down. He was dressed in an odd
kind of a cloak, and had on a cap that seemed to be made partly of
feathers so that it looked as if it had wings."

"What sort of a staff had he?" asked Pandora.

"Oh, the most curious staff that you ever saw!" cried Epimetheus. "It
was like two serpents twisting around a stick, and was carved so
naturally that I, at first, thought the serpents were alive."

"I know him," said Pandora thoughtfully. "Nobody else has such a staff.
It was Mercury, and he brought me here as well as the box. No doubt he
intended it for me, and most probably it contains pretty dresses for me
to wear, or toys for us both, or something nice for us to eat."

"Perhaps so," answered Epimetheus, turning away, "but until Mercury
comes back and gives his permission, we have neither of us any right to
lift the lid."

One day not long after that Epimetheus went to gather figs and grapes by
himself without asking Pandora. Ever since she had come he had heard
about that box, nothing but the box, and he was tired of it. And as soon
as he was gone, Pandora kneeled down on the floor and looked intently at

It was made of a beautiful kind of wood, and was so highly polished that
Pandora could see her face in it. The edges and corners were carved with
most wonderful skill. Around the edge there were figures of graceful men
and women and the prettiest children ever seen, reclining or playing in
gardens and forests. The most beautiful face of all was done in high
relief in the centre of the box. There was nothing else save the dark,
rich smoothness of the wood and this one face with a garland of flowers
about its brow. The features had a kind of mischievous expression with
all their loveliness and if the mouth had spoken it would probably have

"Do not be afraid Pandora! What harm can there be in opening a box.
Never mind that poor, simple Epimetheus. You are wiser than he and have
ten times as much courage. Open the box and see if you do not find
something very pretty."

And on this particular day, when Pandora was alone, her curiosity grew
so great that at last she touched the box. She was more than half
determined to open it if she could.

First, however, she tried to lift it. It was heavy, much too heavy for
the slender strength of a child like Pandora. She raised one end of the
box a few inches from the floor, and then let it fall with a pretty loud
thump. A moment afterward she almost thought that she heard something
stir inside the box. She was not quite sure whether she heard it or not,
but her curiosity grew stronger than ever. Suddenly her eyes fell on a
curious knot of gold that tied it. She took it in her fingers and,
almost without intending it, she was soon busily engaged in trying to
undo it.

It was a very intricate knot indeed, but at last, by the merest
accident, Pandora gave the cord a kind of twist and it unwound itself,
as if by magic. The box was without a fastening.

[Illustration: Pandora saw a crowd of ugly little shapes.]

"This is the strangest thing I ever knew," Pandora said. "What will
Epimetheus say? And how can I possibly tie it again?"

And then the thought came into her naughty little heart that, since she
would be suspected of looking into the box, she might as well do so at

As Pandora raised the lid of the box the cottage was suddenly darkened,
for a black cloud had swept quite over the sun and seemed to have buried
it alive. There had, for a little while past, been a low growling and
grumbling which all at once broke into a heavy peal of thunder. But
Pandora heeded nothing of all this. She lifted the lid nearly upright
and looked inside. It seemed as if a sudden swarm of winged creatures
brushed past her, taking flight out of the box while, at the same time,
she heard the voice of Epimetheus in the doorway exclaiming as if he was
in pain,

"Oh, I am stung! I am stung! Naughty Pandora, why have you opened this
wicked box?"

Pandora let fall the lid and looked up to see what had befallen
Epimetheus. The thundercloud had so darkened the room that she could
not clearly see what was in it. But she heard a disagreeable buzzing,
as if a great many huge flies or giant bees were darting about. And as
her eyes grew accustomed to the dimness she saw a crowd of ugly little
shapes, looking very spiteful, and having bats' wings and terribly long
stings in their tails. It was one of these that had strung Epimetheus.
Nor was it a great while after before Pandora herself began to cry. An
odious little monster had settled on her forehead, and would have stung
her very deeply if Epimetheus had not run and brushed it away.

Now, if you wish to know what these ugly things were that made their
escape out of the box, I must tell you that they were the whole family
of earthly Troubles. There were evil Passions. There were a great many
species of Cares. There were more than a hundred and fifty Sorrows.
There were Diseases in a vast number of strange and painful shapes.
There were more kinds of Naughtiness than it would be of any kind of use
to talk about. In short, everything that has since afflicted the souls
and bodies of mankind had been shut up in the mysterious box given to
Epimetheus and Pandora to be kept safely in order that the happy
children of the world might never be molested by them. Had they been
faithful to their trust all would have gone well with them. No grown
person would ever have been sad, nor any child have had cause to shed a
single tear, from that hour until this moment.

But it was impossible that the two children should keep the ugly swarm
in their own little cottage. Pandora flung open the windows and doors to
try and get rid of them and, sure enough, away flew the winged Troubles
and so pestered and tormented the people everywhere about that none of
them so much as smiled for many days afterward. And the children of the
earth, who before had seemed ageless, now grew older, day by day, and
came soon to be youths and maidens, and men and women, and then old
folks, before they dreamed of such a thing.

Meanwhile, the naughty Pandora and Epimetheus remained in their cottage.
Both of them had been painfully stung. Epimetheus sat down sullenly in a
corner with his back to Pandora. As for poor little Pandora, she flung
herself upon the floor and rested her head on the fatal box. She was
crying as if her heart would break. Suddenly there was a gentle little
tap on the inside of the lid.

"What can that be?" cried Pandora, lifting her head.

But Epimetheus was too much out of humor to answer her.

Again the tap! It sounded like the tiny knuckles of a fairy's hand.

"Who are you?" asked Pandora, "who are you inside of this dreadful box?"

A sweet little voice came from within saying,

"Only lift the lid and you shall see."

"No, no," answered Pandora, "I have had enough of lifting the lid. You
need never think that I shall be so foolish as to let you out."

"Ah," said the sweet little voice again, "you had much better let me
out. I am not like those naughty creatures that have stings in their
tails. They have no relation to me as you would soon find out if you
would only lift the lid."

Indeed, there was a kind of cheerful witchery in the tone that made it
almost impossible to refuse anything which this little voice asked.
Pandora's heart had grown lighter at every word that came from the box.
Epimetheus, too, had left his corner and seemed to be in better spirits.

"Epimetheus!" exclaimed Pandora, "come what may, I am resolved to lift
the lid."

"And as the lid seems very heavy," said Epimetheus, running across the
room, "I will help you."

So, with one consent, the two children lifted the lid. Out flew a sunny
and smiling little personage and hovered about the room, throwing light
wherever she went. Have you ever made the sunshine dance into dark
corners by reflecting it from a bit of looking glass? Well, so appeared
the winged cheerfulness of this fairylike stranger amid the gloom of the
cottage. She flew to Epimetheus and laid the least touch of her finger
on the inflamed spot where the Trouble had stung him and immediately the
pain of it was gone. Then she kissed Pandora on the forehead and her
hurt was cured likewise.

"Who are you, beautiful creature?" asked Pandora.

"I am to be called Hope," explained the sunshiny figure, "and because I
am such a cheerful person, I was packed by the gods into the box to make
amends for the swarm of ugly Troubles. Never fear! We shall do pretty
well in spite of them."

"Your wings are colored like the rainbow," exclaimed Pandora, "How

"And will you stay with us," asked Epimetheus, "forever and ever?"

"As long as you need me," said Hope, "and that will be as long as you
live in the world. I promise never to desert you."

So Pandora and Epimetheus found Hope, and so has everybody else who has
trusted her since that day. The Troubles are still flying around the
world, but we have that lovely and lightsome fairy, Hope, to cure their
stings and make the world new for us.


[1] By permission of and special arrangement with the Houghton
Mifflin Co.


The giants had decided to invade Mount Olympus. They thought they could
easily do this, for there were none of the gods who could hurt them; the
giants were proof against all their weapons. They believed that this
wonderful place among the clouds was theirs by right just because they
were larger and stronger than the heroes. If the gods refused to give up
their abode with its palaces, the gilded car of day, its stores of food
such as had never been tasted by mortals and its weapons, the thunder
and lightning, the giants were going to destroy the Mount. That would
have been a pity, for with Mount Olympus would go some of the most
beautiful foundations the world has ever known.

There was one of the gods, Apollo, who held the light of the whole
universe in his right hand. It was not only that of the sun, but the
light that shone in the hearts of the Greeks and made life brighter when
they had wisdom, and knew truth, and could appreciate beauty. There was
no question at all about this light being Apollo's and coming as a gift
to men from Mount Olympus, because of his great deeds.

There was a deep cavern on the green hillside of Parnassus in Greece
where a goat herd, passing by its mouth in ancient times, had inhaled a
strange fragrance that had made him able to speak with the knowledge of
a seer. Apollo decided to preserve this cave. The city of Delphi grew
around it and Apollo sent a priestess crowned with laurel to be its
oracle and welcome those mortals who wanted to breathe its magic air.
But a monster of darkness, the Python, placed itself in front of the
oracle and allowed no man to approach Delphi.

Apollo, with his shaft of light, drove away the Python and made it
possible for any one who wanted better eyesight or keener hearing or
more truthful speech to come to the oracle.

That was not all, either, that Apollo had accomplished for the good of
men. He protected the Muses, who were the daughters of Jupiter and
Memory and could do all sorts of things to make happiness. They could
sing, and draw music from the strings of the lire, write stories and
poems, and paint pictures. It was said, also, that the laurel tree
belonged to Apollo for making wreaths with which to crown those who had
done great deeds or made dark paths bright.

But the giants could see little value in Apollo's light. They thought
mainly of how to wrest riches and nectar and ambrosia from the gods, and
they decided to try and kill Apollo and the Muses first of all.

Thessaly had the wildest forests and the most rocky coasts of any part
of Greece. It was a fitting place for the giants to meet, and it must
have been a terrible sight when they landed and formed their ranks for
battle. They say that Tityus, one of their leaders, covered nine acres
when he lay down for a nap on a plain. Certain others had a hundred
arms, limbs made of huge serpents and could breathe fire. The worst part
about this race of giants was the fact that their hearts were different
from those of the celestials and the mortals. They had hearts made of
solid stone which could never beat and feel warm. That was why the
giants made preparations to climb up the steep sides of Mount Olympus.

No one in all Greece dared to try and stop this war of the giants. They
pulled up the mountain Ossa and balanced it on top of Pelion to bridge
the way from the earth to the sky. They armed themselves by tearing up
great oak and cypress trees for clubs and carrying rocks as large as
small hills with them. Then the giants climbed up and attacked the
habitation of the gods.

It seemed as if the giants were going to win, for even the gods were
frightened and made haste to change their forms. The mighty Jupiter took
upon himself the figure of a ram. Apollo became a crow, Diana a cat,
Juno a cow, Venus a fish and Mercury a bird. But Mars, the god of war,
got out his chariot and went to meet the giants, and the others returned
at last, for there was really no courage like theirs.

The battle was still with the giants, though, for no weapons could kill
them. Mars threw his spears and they rebounded from the stone hearts of
the giants. No one knew what would happen, for certain of the giants
went down to the earth again and brought up hills with which to crush
the habitations of the gods, but just then a great idea came to Apollo.
He believed that there were unseen forces which were quite as powerful
as the giants' trees and rocks and hills in deciding this battle. So
Apollo sent Mercury, the messenger with winged shoes, post haste with a
secret message to Helios who lived in the palace of the sun commanding
him to close and lock the doors. There was no light for the giants to
fight by and they were well known to be hulking, awkward creatures, very
clumsy about using their hands and feet. They needed the light. They had
even made attempts to steal the summer from mortals that they might have
more sunshine themselves and they had succeeded in a way, for winter
came upon the earth every year with its cold and shorter days. But the
giants had neglected to bring any sunshine with them and it was suddenly
as dark as night on Mount Olympus.

The giants fumbled about and stumbled and fell upon their own weapons.
Taking advantage of this temporary rout, Jupiter sent a sky full of
thunderbolts into their midst and they tumbled back to earth again. It
was odd, but Apollo, whom the giants had thought so unessential because
he protected knowledge and the oracle of Delphi and the tender Muses,
had conquered with his own special weapon, light.

The giants were not particularly hurt by their fall; they were only
driven out of the habitation of the gods and they began taking counsel
together at once as to how they might begin their war all over again.
But they suddenly discovered that they had nothing to eat. In their
absence, Ceres had cut down and uprooted from the earth the herbs that
they needed to keep them alive and preserve their strength. Then, to
make sure that their destruction would be complete, Jupiter covered each
giant with a volcano. Each was imprisoned fast underneath a mountain,
and all he could do was to breathe through the top once in a while in a
fiery way.

That was the end of the giants. For a while they did some damage,
particularly the giant Enceladus whom it took the whole of the volcano
Aetna to cover and keep down. But gradually even the volcanoes became
quiet and there was more peace upon the earth.

Mortals, for all time, though, have followed the example of the giants
and have tried to use their strength in battle for pillage. They have
destroyed beautiful buildings and put out home fires and interfered with
teaching and music and painting and writing, because they could not see
the light shining in these. But what usually happens to them in the end
is just what happened to the giants who started out to destroy Mount
Olympus. They find that they have pulled a volcano down over their


No one wanted Vulcan at Olympus because he was a cripple. His mother,
Juno, was ashamed of him, and his father, the great Jupiter, had the
same kind of feeling, that it was a disgrace to have a son who was
misshapen and must always limp as he took his way among the other
straight limbed gods.

But Vulcan had a desire to be of service to his fellows. There was once
an assemblage of the gods at which they were to discuss important
matters of heaven and earth, and Vulcan offered his help as cup bearer
for the company. He made a droll figure hobbling from seat to seat with
the great golden cup, and some of the gods laughed at him.

At last they threw Vulcan out of the skies and he fell for an entire
day, so far was it from Olympus to the earth. Near sunset he found
himself lying on the ground beside a smoking mountain, bruised and more
handicapped than he had ever been before. He had fallen to the island of
Lemnos in the Aegean Sea.

It was a bare, unbeautiful place, for the coast was set thick with
volcanoes that poured forth burning metal at intervals from one year's
end to another. The Sintians, who were the only inhabitants of the
island of Lemnos, had scant means of subsistence because the land was
unfertile and few ships dared anchor at their shores under the rain of
fire from the volcano that might destroy them. These people of Lemnos
were a kind, simple folk, though, and they had a great pity for Vulcan.
They gathered about him and bound up his wounds with healing herbs. They
shared their scanty store of fruit with him, and they hastened to
prepare him a tent. But when the Sintians returned to the foot of the
mountain Mosychlos where they had left Vulcan he was gone.

"We dreamed of this visitor from the gods," they decided. "It was only a
falling star that we watched, dropped from the zenith."

Seasons passed and at last it was noticed that the fiery Mosychlos was
only smoking. It no longer threatened the lives of the inhabitants of
Lemnos with its red hot torrents. The same fact was to be noted about
the other volcanoes; they seemed more like the smoking, sooty chimneys
of our factories of to-day than the towers of death they had been
before. And above the sound of the surf and the wailing of the wind
there could be heard a new sound, the steady beating of a hammer on
metal as a smith strikes his ringing blows from morning until night.

The bolder of the people of Lemnos went to the foot of the mountain and
discovered, to their amazement, that the rock opened like a door. They
went inside, following the sound of the hammer. In the very depths of
the mountain they saw a sight that had never been seen on earth before.
There was a dark smithy in the heart of the burning mountain with a
forge fire in which the power of the volcano burned, a great forge upon
which Vulcan was shaping metal into things of dazzling beauty, and all
about the smithy were the materials for making more; white steel,
glowing copper, shining silver, and burnished brass and gold.

A strange company of apprentices, the Cyclopes, served Vulcan here.
They had once been shepherds, but their peaceful occupation had been
taken away from them because they had neglected to pay tribute to
Apollo. Each had but a single eye, placed in the middle of the forehead,
but they were using their great strength in the smithy of Vulcan to
forge thunderbolts for Jupiter, to make a trident for Neptune and a
quiver of arrows for Apollo. Beside Vulcan stood two wonderful
hand-maidens of gold, who, like living creatures, moved about and helped
the lame smith as he worked.

Vulcan, the despised of the gods, had chained fire and conquered the
metals of the earth that he might make gifts for the gods and for the

Wonderful objects appeared at the doorway of Vulcan's shop and were
carried to Mount Olympus. He shaped golden shoes, wearing which, the
celestials were able to walk upon land or sea, and travel faster than
thought flies. He made gold chairs and tables which could move without
hands in and out of the halls of the gods. The celestial steeds were
brought to Vulcan at Lemnos and he shod them so cleverly with brass that
they were able to whirl the chariots of the gods through the air or on
the waters with all the speed of the wind. He was even shaping brass
columns for the houses of the gods. Vulcan had become the architect,
smith, armorer, chariot-builder and the artist of all the work in Mount

He was accomplishing more than this. Because he had captured fire and
made the metals of the earth serve the ends of peace, the island of
Lemnos became a safe, fertile land. Vineyards were planted and yielded
rich harvests, flocks fed in green meadows, and Vulcan forged tools with
which agriculture could be carried on. Ships from the other islands of
Greece sailed to Lemnos and commerce, the strength of a nation, began.

In those days there was a great war being waged between the Trojans and
the Greeks, and many hearts beat with hope at the prowess of a young
Greek hero, Achilles. Hector, at the head of the Trojans, had stormed
the Greek camp and set fire to many of their ships. A captain of the
Greeks begged Achilles to lend him his armor that he might lead the
soldiers against the forces of Troy.

"They may think me, in your mail, the brave Achilles," he said, "and
pause from fighting, and the warlike sons of Greece, tired as they are,
may breathe once more and gain a respite from the conflict."

So Achilles loaned this captain, Patroclus, his radiant armor and his
chariot, and marshalled his men to follow into the field. At first the
assault was successful, but there came a change of fortune. Patroclus'
chariot driver was killed; then he met Hector in single combat, at the
same time receiving a spear thrust at the back. So Patroclus fell,
mortally wounded, and it was a great sorrow as well as a tragedy for
Greece, for Patroclus had been Achilles' beloved friend, and Hector
stole the armor of Achilles from his body. News of the defeat went even
to Mount Olympus and Jupiter covered all the heavens with a black cloud.

But Thetis, the mother of Achilles, hastened to the smithy of Vulcan and
told him that her son was in sore straits, having no suit of mail. She
found the lame artisan of the gods at his forge, sweating and toiling,
and with busy hands plying the bellows. But Vulcan laid by his work at
once to weld a splendid suit of armor for Achilles. There was, first of
all, a shield decorated with the insignia of war; then a helmet crested
with gold and a corselet and greaves of metal so tempered that no dart
could penetrate them. The task was done in a night and Thetis carried
the armor to her son and laid it at his feet at dawn of the next day. No
man before had ever worn such sumptuous armor.

Arrayed in Vulcan's mail Achilles went forth to battle, and the bravest
of the Trojan warriors fled before him or fell under his spear.
Achilles, his armor flashing lightning, and he, himself, as terrible as
Mars, pursued the entire army as far as the gates of Troy. His triumph
would have been complete, but he had an enemy among the company of the
gods on Mount Olympus. No arrow shot by the hand of man could have hurt
Achilles, but Apollo's shaft wounded him mortally. Apollo and Mars were
then, and will be for all time, enemies; light and music and song have
no sympathy with war.

And Achilles, having been taken from the battle-fields of earth by a
dart which Apollo directed, was carried to Olympus along a bright
pathway through the skies. On his way he stopped at the palace of the
sun. It was reared on stately columns that glittered with gold and
precious stones. The ceilings were of ivory, polished and carved, and
all the doors were of silver. There were pictures on the walls that
surpassed in their lines and colors the work of artists upon the earth.
The whole world, the sea and the skies with their inhabitants were
pictured. Nymphs played in the sea, rode on the backs of fishes or sat
on the rocks and dried their long hair. The earth was lovely with its
forests and rivers and valleys. There was a picture of Spring crowned
with flowers. Summer wore a garland made of the heads of ripe, golden
grain. Autumn carried his arms full of grapes, and Winter wore a mantle
of bright ice and snow. Seeing this beauty, the hero forgot his wound.

Achilles had been obliged to leave his armor on the earth, an
inheritance for other brave heroes who were to take his place in the
siege of Troy, but Apollo had shown him the greatest work of Vulcan. It
was the crippled one of the gods who had built this palace of the sun.


Neptune, the burly old god of the sea, had a son named Orion who was
almost as fond of the woods as he was of the ocean. From the time when
Orion was old enough to catch a sea horse and ride on its back to shore
he was gone from his home in the depths of the sea for days at a time.
When Neptune blew his conch-shell to call the runaway home, Orion would
return regretfully with the tales of the bear he had seen in the forest
or the comb of wild honey he had found in an old oak tree.

Neptune wanted Orion to be happy, so he bestowed upon him at last the
power of wading as far and in as deep water as he liked. No one had ever
been able to wade right through the fathomless ocean before, but Orion
could be seen any day, his dark head showing above the surface of the
waters, and his feet paddling beneath without touching the bottom. He
was not obliged to depend any more upon his father's chariot or the
dolphins or the sea horses to carry him to shore.

So Orion began to spend a good deal of his time on land, and as he grew
up to be a youth he became a mighty hunter. His arrows seemed to have
been charmed by Diana, so swift and sure they were. And every day Orion
bagged great spoils of game and deer.

He was making his way through the forest one day with a mighty bear that
he had just slain over his shoulder when he came suddenly upon a
clearing and in its midst there stood a fair white castle, its towers
reaching above the pine trees toward the sky. It was surrounded by a
great wall, and when Orion approached and asked the gatekeeper why it
was so fortified, he was told that the king of that country who lived in
it was in constant terror, day and night, of wild beasts.

"He would give half of his kingdom to whoever could rid the forest of
its ravening beasts," the gatekeeper told Orion.

As Orion listened, he glanced up at a window of one of the castle towers
and there he saw the face of the king's daughter, Merope, looking down
at him. Hers was a bright face, the blue eyes and smiling lips framed in
her hair which fell in a golden shower and wrapped her about like a
cloak. Orion delighted in the thought that Merope was smiling at him,
although her eyes were really looking beyond this uncouth son of the sea
and as far as the shores of Corinth where the heroes set sail for their

"Would the king, by any chance, do you think, give his daughter, Merope,
to that hunter who rids the forest of wild beasts?" Orion asked.

The gatekeeper looked at Orion's shaggy hair, his bare feet and his
mantle, made of a lion's skin. He turned away to conceal a smile as he

"One could ask the king," he said.

Orion returned to the deep places where the night was made terrible by
the crying of those beasts of prey that hunted for men, and Neptune did
not see his son for many moons. Orion shot lions and wrestled
single-handed with bears. He strangled great snakes with his own brawny
hands and he hunted the wolf and the tiger with his spear. When the
forest was rid of the pest of these man-eating creatures, Orion returned
to the castle in the clearing, not waiting even to wash the gore of his
mighty hunting from his hands and garments, and he presented himself to
the king.

"The forest is free of wild beasts that kill, O King," Orion said. "You
may tear down your ramparts and walk in safety among the trees. As my
reward for the great deed I have done, I ask the hand of your daughter,
Merope. I would take her home with me to my palace of coral and shell in
Neptune's kingdom. And if you refuse her to me, I will take her by

The king was speechless at first. Then, when he realized the boon that
this son of the sea was asking, he seemed to have no words with which to
express his scorn. He raised his sceptre in anger and struck Orion's

"Begone from my court, boaster," he commanded.

Orion rose from his place where he had been kneeling at the foot of the
king's throne and he put his hands to his eyes, for the room seemed
suddenly as dark as night. He tried to find the door but he stumbled,
groping for it, until the attendants of the court had to take his hands
and lead him outside. They mocked at him as they pushed him through the
palace gate and watched this mighty hunter, who had the strength of the
sea in his limbs, stagger down the road like a blind beggar.

Orion was now sightless. The king, for his presumption in asking for
Merope, had struck him blind.

Without sun by day or moon by night, Orion wandered up and down the
earth, asking of whoever he met the way he must take to find the light

Once he came to a spot in the woods where he heard the sound of many
soft footsteps dancing on the moss to the sound of merry piping. Orion
stretched out his arms as he felt his way nearer to the Hamadryads,
those gay creatures of the forest who played all day long with Pan and
his tunes for company.

"Can you, by any chance, direct me to Apollo who drives the chariot of
the sun?" Orion asked.

"Oh, no," the Hamadryads answered, scattering at the sight of the blind
wayfarer. "We seldom see Apollo, for he doesn't like the music Pan plays
on his pipes."

So Orion stumbled on, and he heard in the course of his wanderings the
clash and din of battle as two armies met in mortal combat on the edge
of a city. War chariots crashed by him, and he heard the din of shield
striking shield, and the groans of those heroes who fell wounded to

"These fighters must know the way to take to the light," Orion thought
and, sheltering himself from the combat beside a column that still
stood, he cried out to one of the warriors,

"Have you seen Apollo, driving the chariot of the sun, pass this way

"No," the man replied. "Apollo avoids the battle field. We cannot direct
you to the god of light."

So Orion wandered on in his darkness until he came at last to the island
of Lemnos and as he stumbled along a rocky road the sharp ringing of
hammers beating on metal came to his ears.

"There must be a smithy close by," Orion thought, "a place as black and
ugly as the world my blindness makes for me. I have heard tales of the
Cyclopes, with only one eye apiece, who spend all their lives under the
mountains shaping thunderbolts at their forges. Their master is the
ill-shaped Vulcan, the despised of the gods. There is little use in my
following the sound of a hammer."

But, against his will, Orion kept on. There was a call in the ringing of
the hammer that drew him on faster than the merrymaking of Pan had, or
the sound of battle. Before long the heat of the forge fire touching his
face told Orion that he had reached the doorway of Vulcan's smithy at
the foot of the mountain, and he asked again,

"Can you tell me the way to Apollo, who drives the chariot of the sun?"

How surprised he was to hear Vulcan reply,

"Apollo is here. We are sending some forgings of gold to his palace and
he will take you with him to the sun, blind Orion."

That was a thrilling ride for Orion, away from the darkness he had
walked in so long on the earth, and up along the road of stars that led
to the sun. Apollo drove the chariot himself, and when they came to the
stately gold columns that guarded the entrance to his palace, he told
Orion to look straight at the blazing light of the sun. As he looked,
Orion's blindness passed. He opened his eyes and could see again.

The myths say that Orion never left the sky after that. The gods changed
him into a giant, with a wide hunting belt, a sword, a lion's-skin
mantle and a club made all of stars. And they even brought Sirius, his
faithful hunting dog, to follow his master forever through the heavens.


Of all the many strange things that happened in the days of the old gods
and goddesses, the most wonderful of all came to pass one spring morning
near the island of Cyprus.

One expects all kinds of surprises in spring, new leaves and flowers on
bare branches, the nesting and singing of the wild birds and brighter
sunshine than in months before, but this wonder of Greece was quite
unexplainable. To this day no one seems to have been able to account for
it or understand it. There was hardly a breeze to stir the blue sea and
the waters lay like a turquoise mirror, smooth and still. Suddenly the
fishermen who were casting their nets on the shore saw a bright, rose
colored cloud that trembled and then began to drop lower toward the sea
until it floated lightly on the surface of the water. It was so soft and
ethereal that it seemed as if a breath would blow it away, but it rose
and fell like mist and seemed to almost breathe.

No one spoke, watching the wonder, and suddenly the cloud began to take
form and shape. It really breathed, and it blossomed into the most
beautiful woman who had ever been seen on earth or on Mount Olympus
either. Her hair was as bright as sunlight and her face glowed with warm
color like that of the rosy cloud from which she had come. Her flowing
garments were as soft and lovely as the tinted sky at sunrise, and she
stretched out her slender white arms toward the shore.

At once the four Zephyrs of the west who had not been anywhere about
before came and surrounded this beauteous being, and with their help she
glided toward the island of Cyprus. The four Seasons descended from
Mount Olympus to meet her there, as the people of Cyprus watched and
wondered at the marvel.

"Can it be possible that this heavenly being has come to remain with
us?" they asked each other.

And even as they wondered the second strange thing happened.

Vulcan, the smith of Mount Olympus, had a shop on Cyprus. Here his anvil
could be heard ringing every day from sunrise until sunset, for Vulcan
was shaping and fitting together the parts of a gold throne for
Jupiter. He was making other things with his skilful hands, weapons and
armor for the gods and the heroes, and thunderbolts for Jupiter. He was
a lonely smith, very much handicapped by his lameness, and seldom went
about much unless it was to take his finished work home to Mount

But this is what happened that long ago morning in spring. With amazing
grace this lovely person who had been born in the foam of the sea made
her way to the abode of Vulcan. She was the goddess of love, Venus, who
is sometimes called Aphrodite. She had come to be the wife of Vulcan who
was, in spite of his lameness, the god of fire.

Things were very different on the earth after the coming of Venus. The
whole world had been looking for her and hoping for her coming although
they had not really known this desire of their hearts. And one of the
first matters that the goddess of love attended to was that of the
wilful Atalanta who had caused so much sorrow among the heroes of

Atalanta was a princess, too boyish for a girl and too girlish for a
boy. Many of the heroes had claimed her hand in marriage but she liked
her own free, wild ways too much to give them up for spinning and the
household arts. To any prince or hero who asked for her hand Atalanta
made the same reply,

"I will be the prize of him who shall conquer me in a race; but death
shall be the penalty of all who try and fail!"

It was a cruel decree. How Atalanta could run! There had never been a
boy even who was able to beat her in a race. The breezes seemed to give
her wings, her bright hair blew over her shoulders, and the gay fringe
of her dress fluttered behind her. But as Atalanta raced, the ruddy hue
of her skin seemed to fade and she became as white as marble, for her
heart grew cold. All her suitors were outdistanced and they were put to
death without mercy.

Then Hippomenes came and decided to risk his life in a race with
Atalanta. He was a brave, bold youth and although he had been obliged to
act as judge and condemn many of his friends whom Atalanta had defeated
to death, he wanted to run. And he asked Venus to help him in the race.

In Venus' garden in her own island of Cyprus there was a tree with
yellow leaves and yellow branches and golden fruit. Aphrodite gathered
three golden apples from the tree and gave them, unseen, to Hippomenes,
telling him how to use them.

The signal was given and Atalanta darted forward along the sand of the
shore near Venus' temple with Hippomenes at her side. Hippomenes was a
swift runner, with a tread so light that it seemed as if he might skim
the water or a field of waving grain without leaving a foot print. At
first he gained. Then he felt the beat of Atalanta's breath on his
shoulder, and the goal was not yet in sight. At that moment Hippomenes
threw down one of the golden apples.

Atalanta was so surprised that she stopped a second. She stooped and
picked up the apple and as she did so Hippomenes shot on ahead. But
Atalanta redoubled her speed and soon overtook him. Again he threw down
a golden apple. Atalanta could not bear to leave it, and she again
stopped and picked it up. Then she ran on again. Hippomenes was almost
to the goal but Atalanta reached and passed him. In a minute she would
have won, but Hippomenes dropped the third golden apple. It glittered
and shone so that Atalanta could not resist it. A third time she
hesitated and as she did so Hippomenes won the race.

The two were very happy, Hippomenes in his success and Atalanta in her
precious fruit. She at once wanted a house in which to keep it, and when
Hippomenes built her one Atalanta began to spin and weave and take great
pride in making her home beautiful and comfortable. Venus had been quite
sure that this would happen. She had known that it would be better for
Atalanta to forget her cruel races, so she gave her these golden apples
to show her the prizes love brings.

The goddess of love had other work to do on earth. She was particularly
fond of her garden in Cyprus and she busied herself for a long time
tending and coaxing a new bush to live and blossom. It was different
from any shoot that had been seen there before, tough, and dry, and
covered with sharp thorns that pricked whoever touched them and drew
blood like spear points. But Venus handled and trimmed the stalks
without fear until the bush spread and sent out branches that stretched
up and covered the wall of her temple like a vine. It was noticed that
the new shoots and leaves pushed their way up from underneath some of
the thorns, which dried up at once and dropped off. Then flower buds
appeared where there had been sharp thorns which opened, when summer
decked Cyprus, into the loveliest blossoms the earth had ever seen.
Their fragrance filled the island and their color was like that of the
cloud from which Aphrodite had come.

It was the rose, Venus' own flower, and destined to be always the most
loved flower of earth.

Venus watched over everything that was beautiful on earth. That is why
she was sorry that Pygmalion, the King of Greece, was so hardhearted.
Pygmalion was a sculptor as well as a king, and so skilled with clay and
marble that he was able to mould likenesses of the beings of Mount
Olympus, even. But he closed his heart to men and he felt that there was
no woman living who was worthy to share his kingdom.

One spring Pygmalion decided to make a statue of ivory, and when it was
finished it was so exquisite that there had never before been seen such
beauty save that of Venus. Pygmalion was proud of his work and as he
admired it Venus put a better feeling into his heart. Pygmalion laid his
hand upon his statue to see if it were living or not. He began to wish
that it was not ivory, and he named it Galatea.

Pygmalion gave Galatea the presents that a young girl of Greece loved,
bright shells and polished stones, birds in golden cages, flowers of
many colors, beads, and amber. He dressed her in silk and put jewels on
her fingers and a necklace about her neck. She wore ear rings and many
strings of pearls. When he had done all this Venus rewarded him.
Pygmalion, returning to his home one day, touched his statue and the
ivory felt soft and yielded to his fingers as if it had been wax. Its
pallor changed to the color of life, and Galatea opened her eyes and
smiled at Pygmalion.

After that all Cyprus was changed for this king who had been selfish and
hardhearted. He was able to hear the silvery song of his fountain that
he had never noticed before. He began to love the forests, and flowers,
and people, for Venus had given him Galatea to share his kingdom.

Venus and Vulcan began to spend about as much time with the gods as they
did on the earth, for Mount Olympus was their real home. Venus carried
her roses there to deck her hand-maidens, the Graces, who presided over
the banquets, the dances, and the arts of the gods. She was watchful of
mortals, though, for she knew that they would always have need of her.


Daedalous stood in the shadows at the entrance of the Labyrinth and
watched one of the heroes enter the dark passageway. It was a strange,
secret edifice that Daedalous, an artist of the gods, had built with his
mighty skill. Numberless winding passageways and turnings opened one
into the other in a confusing maze that seemed to have no beginning or
end. There was a river in Greece, the Maeander, that had never been
traced to its source, for it flowed forward and backward, always
returning and Daedalous had planned the Labyrinth like the course of the
river Maeander.

There was hardly anything that Daedalous was not able to do with his
hands, for he had been given great gifts by the gods. But he liked
trickery more than honesty and had spent years and used his clever brain
in inventing this maze.

As he peered into the dark alleys of the Labyrinth he saw the hero
disappear. He would never return, Daedalous knew, for no one yet had
ever been able to retrace his steps through its turnings. Like many
secret things, the Labyrinth caught and destroyed even the brave.

It was a pity that anything so dreadful should have happened on such a
day as that. The olive trees of Crete were in full leaf, and Daedalous
could hear a nightingale singing in the forest nearby. He was deaf to
the music of birds, though, for he was listening for another sound. It
was May of the year, and the day when Athens sent a tribute of seven of
the strongest lads and seven of the fairest daughters of Greece to be
driven into the the Labyrinth, a tribute to King Minos of Crete. The
Minotaur, a raging beast half man and half bull, waited in its secret
passageways to devour them. Daedalous had built the Labyrinth and
confined the Minotaur in it to commend himself to King Minos. The sound
he listened for was the crying of these youths and maidens on their way
to the sacrifice.

The road was strangely quiet, although Daedalous could see the white
garments of the children as they made their way toward him through the
aisles of flowering trees. Their eyes were bright with courage, and a
youth who was taller and older than the others led them. Daedalous
trembled and hid behind a bank of moss as he saw him.

All Greece was beginning to talk of this youth, Theseus, the son of the
King of Athens. He had but lately come to Athens, having lived with his
grandfather at Troezen, and had astounded the populace with his prowess.
The boys in the streets had ridiculed him a bit at first because of the
long Ionian garment that he wore and his long hair. They called him a
girl and told him that he should not be out alone in public. Hearing
this ridicule, Theseus had unyoked a loaded wagon that stood near by and
had thrown it lightly up into the air to the marvel of all who saw him.
Next, Theseus had overpowered some fifty giants who hoped to overthrow
the government of Athens and set up their own rule of pillage and terror
in the city. Then Theseus had, by his extraordinary strength, captured a
furious bull that was destroying the fields of grain outside the city,
and had brought it captive into Athens.

Daedalous did not know, however, of this last adventure which Theseus
had taken upon himself.

The Athenians were in deep affliction when he had come to the court of
Athens, for it was the time of the year when its sons and daughters must
be sent for the annual offering to King Minos. Theseus resolved to try
and save his countrymen from this too great sacrifice and had offered
himself as one of the victims to leave for Crete. His father, King
Aegeus, was loath to have him go. He was growing old, and Theseus was
his hope for the throne of Athens. But the day of the tribute came,
seven girls and six boys were drawn by lot, and they set sail with
Theseus in a ship that departed under black sails.

When they arrived at Crete, the victims were exhibited before King
Minos, and Theseus saw Ariadne, his daughter, seated at the foot of his
throne. Ariadne was so beautiful that we may still see her crown of gems
in the sky, a starry circle above the constellation of Hercules who
kneels at her feet. She was also as good as she was beautiful, and a
great pity filled her heart when she saw Theseus and these young people
of Athens so soon to perish in the Labyrinth. She wanted to save them
all to be the glory of Athens when they grew up, so she gave Theseus a
sword for his encounter with the Minotaur and a coil of slender white

Daedalous, from his hiding place, saw these and wondered as Theseus
approached the Labyrinth and fearlessly entered.

As he followed the crooked, twisting passages, Theseus unwound his white
skein and left the thread behind him. He went on boldly until he reached
the devouring beast in the center of the Labyrinth and slew it easily
with Ariadne's keen blade. Then Theseus retraced his steps, following
the thread, as he found his way out of the Labyrinth and into the light
again. Daedalous was seized with an overpowering fear, for the artifice
of his work had been discovered. There would be no more sacrifices of
the heroes and the children of Greece to the Minotaur. The crooked ways
of the Labyrinth had been made plain by Theseus' white thread of truth.

King Minos was most angry of all with Daedalous at this failure of the
maze. He imprisoned Daedalous and his son, Icarus, whom Daedalous loved
more than anything else in the world, in a high tower in Crete. When
they escaped, he set guards along the entire shores of the island and
had all ships searched so that the two might not leave by sea. Icarus
had great faith in his father and entreated him to find some way by
which they might elude the guards and begin their life anew on some
other island. So Daedalous forgot his lesson of the Labyrinth and set
about making wings for himself and Icarus.

The wings were as false as the maze had been crooked. Daedalous set the
boy to gathering all the feathers he could find that the sea birds and
the birds of the forest had dropped. Icarus brought his hands full of
these; he was very proud of his father and had always longed to be old
enough to help him in his work. He sat beside his father in the shelter
of a cedar grove, sorting the larger from the smaller feathers, and
bringing wax that the bees had left in the hollow trees. Daedalous
wrought the feathers together with his skilful fingers, beginning with
the smallest ones and adding the longer to imitate the sweep of a
bird's wings. He sewed the large feathers with thread and fastened the
others with wax until he had completed two pairs of wings. He fastened
them to his own shoulders and to those of Icarus, and they ran to the
shore, buoyed upwards and feeling the power of birds as they made ready
for their flight.

Icarus was as joyous as the nightingale that spreads his wings to carry
his song as far as the sky. But Daedalous was again terrified at the
work of his hands. He warned the boy:

"Fly along the middle track, my Icarus," he said, "not high or low. If
you fly low, the ocean spray will weight your wings, and the sun may
hurt you with his fiery dart if you fly too far. Keep near me."

Then Daedalous kissed his boy, rose on his wings and flew off beckoning
for Icarus to follow. As they soared away from Crete, the ploughmen
stopped their work and the shepherds forgot their flocks as they watched
the strange sight. Daedalous and his son seemed like two gods chasing
the air above the blue sea.

Together they flew by Samos and Delos, on the way to Sicily, a long
distance. Then Icarus, exulting in his wings, began to rise and leave
the lower course along which his father had been guiding him. He had
wanted, all his life, to see the city of the gods on Mount Olympus and
now his chance had come to reach it. Icarus was sure that his wings were
strong enough to carry him as far as he had a desire to fly, because his
father whom he had trusted had made them for him.

Up, up toward the heavens Icarus mounted, but the coolness of the waters
changed to blazing heat, for Icarus was near the sun. The heat softened
the wax that held the feathers together and Icarus' wings came off. He
stretched his arms wide, but there was nothing to hold him in mid air.

"Icarus, my Icarus, where are you?" Daedalous cried, but all he could
see was a ripple in the ocean where his son had fallen and the bright,
scattered plumage floating on the surface.

That was the real end of the Labyrinth, where the daughters of the sea,
the Nereids, took Icarus in their arms and carried him tenderly down
among their gardens of pearly sea flowers. For Daedalous had to fly on
alone to Sicily, and although he built a temple to Apollo there and hung
his wings in it as an offering to the god he never saw his son again.


A heavy storm raged at sea. The billows, as tall and stronger than
ships, rolled from the cave on the coast of Greece where Medusa, the
Gorgon, ruled and directed them. She drove them out in an endless line
of destruction to crush any frail craft that braved the waters, send the
sailors to the bottom and leave only broken oars and spars to be washed
up on the rocks outside her stony dwelling place.

As the sea arose and the winds shrieked, a ship far out from the land
could be seen, riding on the crest of the waves and coming closer to the
shore. Then its form changed and the fishermen who had dared the weather
saw that it was a chest made of carved cedar wood and having hinges of
chased gold. It would be almost submerged one minute and then it would
appear again, floating bravely on the surf. At last it was tossed upon
the rocks, and the fishermen ran to salvage the treasure that some
ruthless destroyer had cast out for Medusa to capture if she could.

When they reached the chest the fishermen saw a young mother inside it
clasping her baby son closely in her arms. It had held a human treasure
abandoned to the Gorgon's cruel powers of the sea. They conducted her to
their King, Polydectes, of Seriphus, and she told him her story.

"I am Danae, the princess of Argos," she said, "but my father, King
Acrisius, is afraid of the powers that this little son of mine may
develop in manhood. He caused us to be shut up in a frail chest and set
adrift among the waves. I pray your protection, O King, for my son, who
is strong and of noble birth, until he is able to dare great deeds and
reward you for your kindness."

No one could have resisted the pleading of Danae, so lovely and holding
her baby in her arms. She remained in Seriphus and her son, Perseus,
grew to a boy and then to a fearless, daring young hero.

All this time Medusa was working sorrow on land and sea. She had once
been a beautiful maiden of the coast of Greece, but she had quarreled
with Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, and for this act the gods had
changed her into a Gorgon. Her long, curling hair was now a mass of
clustering, venomous serpents that twined about her white shoulders and
crawled down to her feet where they twisted themselves around her
ankles. No one could describe the terrible features of Medusa, but
whoever looked in her face was turned from a living thing to a creature
of stone. All around the cave where she lived could be seen the stony
figures of animals and men who had chanced to catch a glimpse of her and
had been petrified in an instant. Above all, Medusa held the
ruthlessness of the sea in her power. Those captains who had cruel
hearts abandoned their enemies to the waters and she crushed them with
her billows.

So it seemed to Perseus that his first adventure on coming to manhood
must be the conquest of Medusa, the snaky haired Gorgon, and the gods
approved of his decision and met in counsel on Mount Olympus to decide
how they should help the young hero.

"I will lend Perseus my shield for his adventure," Minerva, the wisest
goddess of them all, said.

"And I will lend Perseus my winged shoes," Mercury, the god of speed,
decided, "to help him hasten on his brave errand."

Even Pluto, the king of the dark regions beneath the earth, heard of
Perseus' determination and sent him his magic helmet by means of which
any one was able to become invisible.

Perseus was well equipped when he started out. He wore Pluto's helmet
and Mercury's shoes, and travelled to the lonely cave of the Gorgon
without being seen and as fast as a dart of fire sent by Jupiter.

Medusa paced the halls of her cave endlessly, moaning and crying in her
despair, for she was never able to escape those crawling, slimy snakes
which covered her head and body. Perseus waited until she was so weary
that she sank down on the stones of the cave and slept. Then, taking
care not to look at her hideous face but only following her image that
was reflected in his shield, Perseus cut off Medusa's head and carried
it away in triumph.

Then the people who travelled the sea in ships were saved from her
cruelty, and her power for evil was changed in Perseus' hands to a
power for good. Carrying the head of Medusa high, the hero flew in the
winged shoes far and wide over land and sea until he came at last to the
western limit of the earth where the sun goes down.

That was the realm of Atlas, one of the giants who was rich in herds and
flocks and allowed no one to share his wealth or even enter his estates.
Atlas' chief pride was his orchard whose fruits were all of gold, hung
on golden branches and folded from sight by golden leaves. Perseus had
no ambition to take this golden harvest.

"I stop in your domain only as a guest," he explained to the giant, "I
am of noble birth, having sprung from the gods, and I have just
accomplished the brave deed of destroying the terror Medusa wrought on
the sea. I ask only rest and food of you."

But Atlas could think of nothing but his greed for his gold apples.

"Be gone, boaster!" he cried, "or I will crush you like a worm beneath
my heel. Neither your parentage or your valor shall avail you anything."

Perseus did not attempt to meet the force of the giant's greater
strength, but he held up the head of the Gorgon full in his face. Then
the massive bulk of Atlas was slowly but surely turned to stone. His
iron muscles, his brawny limbs, his huge body and head increased in size
and petrified until he towered above Perseus, a mighty mountain. His
beard and hair became forests, his arm and shoulders cliffs, his head a
summit, and his bones rocks. For all the rest of the centuries Atlas was
to stand there holding the sky with its weight of stars on his

Perseus continued his flight and he came to the country of the
Ethiopians. The sea was as ruthless here as it had been when Medusa
ruled the billows in her cave on the coast of Greece. As Perseus
approached the coast he saw a terrible sight.

A sea monster was lashing the waves to fury and coming closer and closer
to the shore. And a beautiful girl was chained to the rocks, waiting to
be devoured by this dragon. She hung there, so pale and motionless that
if it had not been for her tears that flowed in a long stream down the
rocks, and her bright hair that the breezes from the sea blew about her
like a cloud, Perseus would have thought her a marble statue carved and
placed there on the rocks.

Perseus alighted beside her, startled at her horrible plight, and
entranced with her beauty.

"Why are you fastened here in such danger?" he asked.

The girl did not speak at first, trying to cover her face, but her hands
were also chained. At last she explained to Perseus.

"I am Andromeda, the princess of Ethiopia," she said, "and I must be a
sacrifice to the sea because my mother, Queen Cassiopeia, has enraged
the sea by comparing her beauty to that of the nymphs. I am offered here
to appease the deities. Look, the monster comes!" she ended in a shriek.

Almost before she had finished speaking, a hissing sound could be heard
on the surface of the water and the sea monster appeared with his head
above the surf and cleaving the waves with his broad breast. The shore
filled with people who loved Andromeda and shrieked their lamentations
at the tragedy which was about to take place. The sea monster was in
range of a cliff at last and Perseus, with a sudden bound of his winged
feet, rose in the air.

He soared above the waters like an eagle and darted down upon this
dragon of the sea. He plunged his sword into its shoulder, but the
creature was only pricked by the thrust and lashed the sea into such a
fury that Perseus could scarcely see to attack him. But as he caught
sight of the dragon through the mist of spray, Perseus pierced it
between its scales, now in the side, then in the flank, and then in the
head. At last the monster spurted blood from its nostrils. Perseus
alighted on a rock beside Andromeda and gave it a death stroke. And the
people who had gathered on the shore shouted with joy until the hills
re-echoed their glad cries.

Like the prince of a fairy tale, Perseus asked for the fair Andromeda as
his bride to reward him for this last victory over the sea, and his wish
was granted. It seemed as if his tempestuous adventures were going to
reach a peaceful ending as he took his bride. There was a banquet spread
for the wedding feast in the palace of Andromeda's father and all was
joy and festivity when there came a sound of warlike clamor from
outside the gates. Phineas, a warrior of Ethiopia, who had loved
Andromeda, but had not had the courage to rescue her from the terror of
the sea, had arrived with his train to take her away from Perseus.

"You should have claimed her when she was chained to the rock," Perseus
said. "You are a coward to attack us here with so overpowering an army."

Phineas made no reply but raised his javelin to hurl it at Perseus. The
hero had a sudden thought to save him from destruction.

"Let my friends all depart, or turn away their eyes," he said, and he
held aloft the hideous snaky head of the Gorgon.

His enemy's arm that held the javelin stiffened so that he could neither
thrust it forward nor pull it back. His limbs became rigid, his mouth
opened but no sound came from it. He and all his followers were turned
to stone.

So Perseus was able to claim Andromeda as his bride after all, and they
both had a great desire after a while to go to Argos and visit Perseus'
old grandfather, the king of that country who had been so afraid of a
baby that he had sent his grandson drifting across the sea in a chest.

"I want to show him that he has nothing to fear from me," Perseus said.

It happened that they found the old king in a sad plight. He had been
driven from the throne and was a prisoner of state. But Perseus slew the
usurper and restored his grandfather to his rightful place.

In time, Perseus took the throne and his reign in Argos was so wise and
kind that the gods at last made a place for him and beautiful Andromeda
among the stars. You may see them on any clear night in the
constellation of Cassiopeia.


A very strange thing happened when Perseus so heroically cut off the
head of Medusa, the Gorgon. On the spot where the blood dripped into the
earth from Perseus' sword there arose a slender limbed, wonderful horse
with wings on his shoulders. This horse was known as Pegasus, and there
was never, before or since, so marvellous a creature.

At that time, a young hero, Bellerophon by name, made a journey from his
own country to the court of King Iobates of Lycia. He brought two sealed
messages in a kind of letter of introduction from the husband of this
king's daughter, one of Bellerophon's own countrymen. The first message

"The bearer, Bellerophon, is an unconquerable hero. I pray you welcome
him with all hospitality."

The second was this,

"I would advise you to put Bellerophon to death."

The truth of the matter was that the son-in-law of King Iobates was
jealous of Bellerophon and really desired to have him put out of the way
in order to satisfy his own ambitions.

The King of Lycia was at heart a friendly person and he was very much
puzzled to know how to act upon the advice in the letter introducing
Bellerophon. He was still puzzling over the matter when a dreadful
monster, known as the Chimaera, descended upon the kingdom. It was a
beast far beyond any of mortal kind in terror. It had a goat's rough
body and the tail of a dragon. The head was that of a lion with wide
spreading nostrils which breathed flames and a gaping throat that
emitted poisonous breath whose touch was death. As the subjects of King
Iobates appealed to him for protection from the Chimaera a sudden
thought came to him. He decided to send the heroic stranger,
Bellerophon, to meet and conquer the beast.

The hero had expected a period of rest at the court of Lycia. He had
looked forward to a feast that might possibly be given in his honor and
a chance to show his skill in throwing the discus and driving a chariot
at the court games. But the day after Bellerophon arrived at the palace
of King Iobates, he was sent out to hunt down and kill the Chimaera.

He had not the slightest idea where he was to go, and neither had he any
plan for destroying the creature, but he decided that it would be a good
plan to spend the night in the temple of Minerva before he met the
danger face to face. Minerva was the goddess of wisdom and might give
him help in his hopeless adventure.

So Bellerophon journeyed to Athens, the chosen city of Minerva, and
tarried for a night in her temple there, so weary that he fell asleep in
the midst of his supplications to the goddess. But when he awoke in the
morning, he found a golden bridle in his hands, and he heard a voice
directing him to hasten with it to a well outside of the city.

[Illustration: "Bellerophon took the golden reins firmly in his hand."]

Pegasus, the winged horse, had been pasturing meanwhile in the meadows
of the Muses. There were nine of these Muses, all sisters and all
presiding over the arts of song and of memory. One took care of poets
and another of those who wrote history. There was a Muse of the dance,
of comedy, of astronomy, and in fact of whatever made life more worth
while in the sight of the gods. They needed a kind of dream horse like
Pegasus with wings to carry them on his back to Mount Olympus whenever
they wanted to return from the earth.

Bellerophon had never known of the existence even of Pegasus, but when
he reached the well to which the oracle had directed him, there stood
Pegasus, or, rather, this horse of the Muses poised there, for his wings
buoyed him so that his hoofs could scarcely remain upon the earth. When
Pegasus saw the golden bridle that the goddess of Wisdom had given
Bellerophon, he came directly up to the hero and stood quietly to be
harnessed. A dark shadow crossed the sky just then; the dreaded Chimaera
hovered over Bellerophon's head, its fiery jaws raining sparks down upon

Bellerophon mounted upon Pegasus and took the golden reins firmly in one
hand as he brandished his sword in the other. He rose swiftly in the air
and met the ravening creature in a fierce battle in the clouds. Not for
an instant did the winged horse falter, and Bellerophon killed the
Chimaera easily. It was a great relief to the people of Lycia, and
indeed to people of all time. You may have heard of a Chimaera. It means
nowadays any kind of terror that is not nearly so hard to conquer as it
seemed in the beginning when people were afraid of it.

This story ought to end with the hero returning his winged steed to the
Muses and entering the kingdom of Lycia in great triumph, but something
very different happened. Bellerophon decided to keep Pegasus, and he
rode him so long and so hard that he grew very full of pride and
presumption in his success. One day Bellerophon made up his mind to
drive Pegasus to the gates of the gods in the sky which was too great an
ambition for a mortal who had received no invitation as yet from the
dwellers on Mount Olympus. Jupiter saw this rider of the skies mounting
higher and higher and he became very angry with him. He sent a gadfly
which stung Pegasus and made him throw Bellerophon to the earth. He was
always lame and blind after that.

It really had not been the fault of Pegasus at all. He was only the
steed of those who followed dreams, even if he did have wings. When his
rider fell, Pegasus fell too, and he landed unhurt but a long distance
from his old pastures. He did not know in which direction they lay or
how to find the road that led back to his friends, the Muses. Pegasus'
wings seemed to be of no use to him. He roamed from one end of the
country to the other, driven from one field to the next by the rustics
who mistook him for some sort of a dragon because of his wings. He grew
old and lost his fleetness. It even seemed to him that his wings were
nothing but a dragging weight and that he would never be able to use
them again.

Finally the same thing happened to Pegasus that happens to old horses
to-day that have enjoyed a wonderful youth as racers. He was sold to a
farmer and fastened to a plough.

Pegasus was not used to this heavy work of the soil; his strength was
better suited to climbing through the air than plodding along the
surface of the earth. He used all the strength he could put forth in
pulling the plough, but his wings dragged and were in the way and his
master beat his aching back with an ox whip. That might have been the
end of this winged horse, but one day good fortune came to him.

There was a youth passing by who was beloved of the Muses. He was so
poor that he had often no other shelter than the woods and hedges
afforded, or any food save wild fruits and the herbs of the field. But
this youth could put the beauties of the earth, its hills and valleys,
its temples, flowers, and the desires and loves of its people into words
that sang together as the notes of a lute sang. He was a young poet.

The poet felt a great compassion for the horse he saw in the field, bent
low under the blows of his clownish master, and with wings dragging and

"Let me try to drive your horse," he begged, crossing the field and
mounting upon Pegasus' back.

It was suddenly as if one of the gods were riding Pegasus. He lifted his
head high, and his heavy feet left the clods of earth. His wings
straightened and spread wide. Carrying the youth, Pegasus arose through
the air as the country people gathered from all the neighboring farms to
watch the wonder, a winged horse with a flowing golden mane rising and
then hidden within the clouds that opened upon Mount Olympus.


Terminus was the god of boundaries, and a kind of picnic was being held
in his honor one day in the long-ago myth time on the edge of a little
Roman town.

No one had ever really seen Terminus but every farmer who owned a few
acres of land, and the men who governed the cities were quite sure as to
how he looked. It was likely that he wore such garb as did Pan, they had
decided, and carried instruments for measuring similar to those that a
surveyor uses to-day. His chariot was loaded with large stones and
finely chiselled posts for marking the limits of a man's farm, or that
of a town. There were no fences in those days, but the gods had
appointed Terminus to protect land holders and to safeguard citizens by
keeping all boundaries sacred from invasion by an enemy.

No wonder the Terminalia, as they called this holiday, was a joyous
time. All through the neighboring vineyards and fields and on the edge
of the village stones had been placed to mark the boundaries, and there
were stone pillars, also, having carved heads to make them beautiful.
Everyone who came to the picnic brought an offering for the god
Terminus, a wreath of bright roses, a garland of green laurel, or a
basket of grapes and pomegranates which they placed on one of these
boundary stones or posts. The law of the gods that prevented invasion
was the greatest blessing these people had, for it made them free to
till the earth and build homes and keep their hearth fires burning.

Suddenly the merrymaking was interrupted. The children who had been
gathering wild flowers ran, crying, to their fathers and mothers, for
the sky was darkened in an instant as if a hurricane was approaching.
The young men who had been playing games and the maidens who had been
dancing huddled together in frightened groups, for they saw between
rifts in the clouds the tracks of dark chariot wheels making their swift
way down to earth from the sky. And the older folk, who knew the meaning
of the rumblings and dull roar and occasional darts of fire that parted
the clouds, shuddered.

"See who stands in our midst in his black cloak, scattering hoar frost
that blights the fields and freezes us!" they exclaimed. "It is Dread,
the courier of Mars, the god of war, who is approaching in his chariot."

There came dreadful sounds soon that almost drowned the voices of the
people, the crashing of swords and shields, and the cries of women and
little children as a chariot plunged through their midst, its wheels
dripping with blood. It was driven by two other attendants of war, Alarm
and Terror, the face of one as dark as a thunder cloud, and the other
with a countenance as pale as death.

"What shall we do; we are unarmed and will perish?" one man cried. And
another answered him.

"Look to yourself and your own safety. Why did you leave your sword at
home, and what care is it of mine that you have no means of protecting

Strange words for a noble people to speak to one another in a time of
such need, were they not? But it was not the heart or the soul speech
of these Romans. The two other attendants of war, Fear and Discord in
tarnished armor, had appeared in their midst and had put these thoughts
into the minds of the men.

"Mars comes!" they said then, and the air grew dense and suffocating
with smoke, only pierced at intervals by fiery arrows. Thunderbolts
forged by the black, one-eyed Cyclopes in their workshops under the
volcanoes fell all about, tearing up the earth and bursting in thousands
of burning pieces. Through this slaughter and carnage rode the mailed
Mars, one of the gods of war.

His steeds were hot and bleeding, and his own eyes shone like fire in
his dark, cruel face, for Mars had no pity and took pleasure in war for
the sake of itself. It was never the purpose but always the battle that
gave him pleasure. With his attendants he sat on a throne that was
stained with blood, and the worship that delighted his ears like music
was the crash of strife and the cries of those who were sorely wounded.

Mars' palace on Mount Olympus was a most terrible place. Fancy a grim
old stronghold built for strength only, without a chink or a crack for
letting in Apollo's cheerful sunlight, and never visited by the happy
Muses or by Orpheus with his sweet toned lute, or by jolly old Momus,
the god of laughter. The palace was guarded, night and day, by a huge
hound and a vulture, both of them the constant visitants of battle
fields. Mars sat on his throne, waited upon by a company of sad
prisoners of war, and holding forever the insignia of his office, a
spear and a flaming torch. Why had he left his abode and descended upon
the peaceful merrymaking of the Terminalia?

Mars was a very ruthless kind of god. In fact he was so cruel and
thoughtless that the family of the gods was rather sorry that Jupiter
had appointed him to so important a position, and they decided at last
to have two war-gods. But who the other one was and what happened when
this second chariot of war crashed down through the clouds is another
story that you shall hear presently. The reason for Mars riding out with
those frightful friends of his, Dread, Alarm, Fear, and Discord, was
that he had not the slightest respect for Terminus, the god of
boundaries. He had decided to knock down his stones and shatter his

Everyone, from the days of the myths down to the present time, has
believed in a fair fight. It is about the greatest adventure a man can
have, that of using all his strength and giving up his life perhaps in a
battle to right a wrong or protect a defenseless people. But fancy this
old fight of Mars when he rode down in the chariot that the gods had
given him upon a people who were without arms and with the purpose of
violating their boundaries.

With a rumble like that of all the thunder storms in the world rolled
into one and a crashing like the sound of a thousand spears, Mars
touched the earth and rode across Terminus' carefully laid out boundary
lines and destroyed them. The wheels of his chariot ground the stones
Terminus had so honestly placed to powder, and the beautifully carved
pillars were shattered, and the pieces buried in the dust. The shouts of
Mars and his followers drowned all the peaceful melody of earth, the
singing of birds, the laughter of the children, and the pleasant sounds
of spinning and mowing and grinding.

It was indeed a most dreadful invasion and for a while it seemed as if
it was going to end in nothing but destruction of the people and the
industry on the earth which the gods loved and had helped. But in an
instant something happened.

There was a roar as if wild beasts of the forests for miles around had
been captured, and the earth trembled as it did when the giants were
thrown out of the home of the gods, for Mars had fallen and was crying
about it. He had thought himself invulnerable, but whether an arrow from
some unseen hero had hit him or whether his steeds had stumbled over one
of Terminus' boundary posts, the invincible Mars lay prostrate on the
field he had himself invaded, and before he could pick himself up,
something else happened.

It was really rather amusing, for Mars was not hurt. He was only taught
a much needed lesson.

Just beyond the lines of Terminus which Mars had violated there lived
two giant planters, Otus and Ephialtes, whose father had been a planter
also and his father before him. They had been much too busy to attend
the Terminalia picnic. In fact they almost never took a holiday, but
toiled from sunrise to sunset on their farm which supplied the nearby
market with fruits and bread stuffs. Otus and Ephialtes were very much
surprised to hear the thundering crash that Mars made when he tumbled
down; and they dropped their tools and ran to see what was the matter.

It is said that the fallen Mars covered seven acres of ground, but the
two giants started at once picking him up and he began to shrink then
like a rubber balloon when the air leaks out of it.

"What shall we do with this troublemaker?" Otus asked his brother.

"We must put him where he will not interfere with our work or the other
work of the earth for a while at least," Ephialtes said as they tugged
Mars, still roaring, home.

"That's a good idea," Otus agreed. "We will shut him up."

And so they crammed the troublesome Mars into a great bronze vase and
took turns sitting on the cover so that he was not able, by any chance,
to get out for thirteen months. That gave everyone an opportunity to
plant and gather another harvest, and to place Terminus' boundary stones

These giant planters would have liked to keep this god of war bottled up
in the vase for all the rest of time, but he was one of the family of
the Olympians and so this was not possible. In time he was allowed to
drive home and both the Greek and the Roman people tried to make the
best of him, not as a protecting deity, but as the god of strength and

The Greeks named a hill for him near Athens, and here was held a court
of justice for the right decision of cases involving life and death.
That put Mars to work in a very different way. And the Romans gave him a
great field for military manoeuvres and martial games. We would call it
a training camp to-day. There, in Mars Field, chariot races were held
twice a year and there were competitions in riding, in discus and spear
throwing, and in shooting arrows at a mark. Once in five years the
able-bodied young men of Rome came to Mars Field to enlist for the army,
and no Roman general started out to war without first swinging a sacred
shield and spear which hung there and saying,

"Watch over me, O Mars." For Mars could put muscle into a man's arm, and
the heroes themselves were learning to choose the good fight.


The sea that broke in surf on the shore of Attica became suddenly as
smooth as a floor of crystal. Over it, as if he had leaped from the
caverns of rock in its depths, dashed Neptune, the god of the sea, his
trident held high, his horses' golden manes flowing in the wind, and
their bronze hoofs scarcely touching the water as they galloped toward
the shore.

At the same moment a war-like goddess appeared on the edge of the land.
She was as tall and straight and strong as Mars, but her armor shone
like gold while his was often tarnished. She held the storm shield of
her father, Jupiter and carried a dart of lightning for her spear.
Minerva, the other god of war, she was, as fearful and powerful as a
storm, but also as gentle and peaceful as the warmth of the sky when it
shines down on the fields when the storm is over.

"Why have Neptune and Minerva met?" the fishermen and sailors who
crowded the beach asked.

"They have come together for a contest to see which shall have the
honor of building a City," some of the wise men told them, and then
these Greeks drew aside and waited to see what would happen, for with
them was to rest the judgment in the matter.

Neptune drove his chariot up onto the land, dismounted, and blew a
mighty blast on his trumpet to call the nymphs of the waters and the
spirits of the winds to his aid. Then he ascended to a barren rock that
lifted its head above the surrounding hills, bleak and without a single
blade of grass to soften it. The Greeks watched Neptune breathlessly as
he stood on its top, a mighty figure in his cloak of dripping seaweed
and the white of sea salt in his flowing, dark green hair. He raised his
trident, struck the rocks with it, and the age-old stone cracked in a
deep fissure. Out of the crack in the rock burst a spring of water where
there had been not a drop through all the centuries before.

"Neptune wins! None of the gods can excel this feat of bringing water
out of bare rock," the cry went up from the people.

But Minerva ascended now to this rock of the Acropolis and took her
place beside Neptune. She, also, touched the barren stone with her spear
that was forged and tempered by the gods. And as she did so, a marvel
resulted to her honor as well.

The green shoot of a tree suddenly appeared, pushing its way up through
the hard stone. The shoot grew tall and broadened to form a trunk and
branches, and then covered itself with gray-green leaves that made a
pleasant shade from the brilliancy of the sun. Last, this wonder tree
was hung on every branch with a strange new fruit, green balls of
delicious flavor and full of oil that was healthful and healing and
needed by the whole world.

The Greeks broke their ranks and gathered about the tree to taste and
enjoy the fruit.

"Minerva wins!" they shouted. "Neptune's spring here in the Acropolis is
like the sea, brackish in flavor, but Minerva has given Greece the olive

That is just what had happened. Minerva had given the people something
that they really needed, and the fair city of Athens was raised and
awarded to this goddess of war as the prize of her kindness to the

But Neptune proved himself a very poor loser. He was a blustering,
boastful old god, used from the days of his father Oceanus, when the
waters were first separated from the land, to having his own way. He had
wanted to own Athens himself, to be able to go and come in it whenever
he liked, and it was particularly humiliating that he must give it up to
a goddess. Neptune stormed down to the shore, blew another blast on his
trumpet, and called all the deities of the sea and of tempests to come
to his aid and destroy the city.

What an army they made as they obeyed his summons!

Triton, a son of Neptune, led the hosts and sounded the horn of battle
as they approached the land, and all around him flew the Harpies, those
birds as large as men with crooked claws and a hunger for human flesh.
There were sea serpents that could crush a man with a single coil, and
Boreas, the North Wind, drove the regiment of the high tides up on the
coast. With these powers of the sea came a mighty rushing of water, and
it seemed as if neither Athens or its people would be able to survive
this arising of the sea.

But Minerva, the goddess of righteous, defensive war was there and on
the side of the Greeks. She presided over battles, but only to lead on
to victory and through victory to peace and prosperity. Few could
withstand the straight glance of Minerva's eyes, valiant, conquering and
terrifying, or the sight of her gloriously emblazoned shield. As the
powers of Neptune advanced, Minerva raised her shield, and the tides
rested and the waters receded. Then she drove the forces of Neptune back
at the point of her spear, and Athens was saved.

You will remember that the gods were very much like men in wanting
particular kinds of gifts which would be their very own, and which they
could treasure. Jupiter had a special fondness for thunderbolts and kept
piles of them behind his throne. Apollo treasured his lyre, and Mercury
his shoes and his cap. Venus never travelled without a jewelled girdle
which she thought added to her beauty, but Minerva had always wanted a
city. Now her wish had come true, for she had a very large and beautiful
one, the fair Athens.

People began coming to Athens from all parts of Greece and from
neighboring countries as well, because Minerva spent so much time there
tending and spreading the olive orchards, and keeping the city free from
invasion. Neptune had left a horse near the hill of the Acropolis when
he had to retreat, and Minerva invented a harness for it and broke it to
the bit and bridle with her own hands in the market square of Athens.
Having horses for ploughing and carrying loads of lumber and stone and
grain helped the prosperity of Athens and brought it wealth. And when
the people were at peace, Minerva laid aside her armor and crossed the
thresholds of the houses, teaching the women to spin, and weave, and
extract the precious oil from her olives.

Everyone was growing very prosperous and very rich. It seemed that the
olive tree had brought all this wealth, for it had spread throughout
Attica and plenty followed wherever it bore fruit.

Not far from Athens lay the kingdom of the Persians who were invincible
in battle, having devoted themselves for many years to the arts of
warfare. Through their interest in their own affairs the Athenians
forgot about their warlike neighbors, until one fateful day when a
runner breathlessly told them that the hosts of the Persian army waited
at the boundaries of their cities.

Such confusion and terror as ensued! The Athenians were not ready for
war. They consulted an oracle as to how to meet the Persian host and the
oracle replied,

"Trust to your citadel of wood!"

The wise men of Athens quite misunderstood this advice and went busily
to work erecting wooden fortifications around the hill of the Acropolis
where Minerva's first olive tree stood as if it were guarding their
prosperity. The oracle had meant for the Athenians to trust to their
fleet and try to prevent the Persian army from entering along the coast,
and by the time the wooden wall was built, the Persians had begun to
fire Athens.

Minerva, with her flaming spear raised and her eyes filled with tears,
went to her father, Jupiter, to beg for the safety of her city. She
kneeled at the foot of his throne to make her plea, and it must have
been hard indeed for Jupiter to refuse his favorite daughter as he
looked down at Minerva, prostrate before him in her shining suit of
mail. But the king of the gods told Minerva something about her city
which even he was powerless to change.

"Athens, in her prosperity, has forgotten the gods," Jupiter said. "She
lives and works for herself and not for others. She must perish in order
that a better and nobler city may rise from her ruins."

So Minerva was obliged to watch from the clouds as fire and sword
consumed Athens and the smoke of the flaming city rose like incense to
the seats of the gods. When there seemed to be nothing left except the
stones which had been the foundation of Athens' beauty, and those of her
heroes who had not perished had been obliged to take to the sea, Minerva
descended to her hill, the Acropolis. She wanted to see if the roots, at
least, of her olive tree had been spared, and she found a wonder.

As a sign that she had not forsaken Athens, even in ruins, Jupiter had
allowed the roots of her tree to remain, and from them there sprang a
new green shoot. With wonderful quickness it grew to a height of three
yards in the barren waste that was all the Persians had left, a sign
that Athens was not dead, but would live and arise a new, fairer city.

Minerva held her bright shield above her golden helmet and hastened to
the sea coast, calling together the heroes to man the ships and set sail
against the fleet of the enemy. The Persian fleet greatly outnumbered
that of the Greeks, but at last it was driven off with terrible rout and
those of the Persians who were left on land were destroyed. The war was
won for the Greeks through Minerva's help, but Jupiter's prophecy had
been fulfilled. The old Athens was gone, and it was necessary to build a
new city.

That was just the kind of undertaking that Minerva liked, to win a
defensive war and then build so as to destroy all traces of it. She and
the Greeks, with the help of all the other gods, went to work to make
Athens such a city as had not been dreamed of before.

Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, restored the waste fields and
orchards so that the olive grew again and plenty came once more. Minerva
busied herself encouraging the women to do more beautiful handwork than
before the war, and she taught them how to feed and tend little children
so that they might grow up strong and well and be the glory of Greece.
Large numbers of horses were trained and harnessed to war chariots.
Apollo sent sunshine and music to the city, and the builders erected
beautiful marble temples and statues and pillars and fountains.

The Athenians began doing things together, which always helps to make a
city great and strong. There were parades of the soldiers and the
athletes on the holidays, and public games and banquets and drills were
held. The best holiday of all was Minerva's own. First, there was a
procession in which a new robe for the goddess, woven and embroidered by
the most skilful women and girls of Athens, was carried through the city
on a wagon built in the form of a ship, the robe spread like a sail on
the front. It was like a great float in a parade. All Athens followed
the wagon, the young of the nobility on horseback or in chariots, the
soldiers fully armed, and the trades people and farmers with their wives
and daughters in their best clothes. The new robe was intended for the
statue of Minerva that stood in the Parthenon in Athens. They named her
Pallas Athene at last, the guardian of their beloved city.

Then came games in which the athletes took part, and the most sought for
prize was a large earthenware vase on one side of which there was
painted a figure of Minerva striding forward as if she was hurling her
spear, and having a column on each side of her to indicate a
race-course. On the other side of the vase was a picture of the game in
which it was won, and it was filled to brimming with pure olive oil from
Minerva's tree. For the Greeks had learned that war is sometimes
necessary, but Minerva would heal their wounds with the oil of her
sacred tree and the new Athens was to be known always as one of the most
perfect cities of the ages.


There are many ways of building a city, and this is how Cadmus, in the
days of the myths, built Thebes, the beautiful.

Cadmus was but a youth when he began his wanderings which took him from
shore to shore of the earth, for he was descended from Neptune, the god
of the sea, and had been born with the spirit of the restless tides in
his heart. But Cadmus had a longing to search out and make for himself a
home on land where he could gather the heroes about him and make temples
and a market place and set up fair statues.

So he consulted the oracle of Apollo to know what country he should
settle in, and a voice issued from that strange, deep cleft in the rock
at Delphi saying that he would find a cow in a field, and should pursue
her wherever she wandered. Where she stopped Cadmus also should stop and
build a city which he was to call Thebes.

As soon as Cadmus left the cave of the oracle, he was surprised to see
a white cow wearing a garland of flowers about her neck and cropping in
the grass nearby. She raised her head when Cadmus appeared, and walked
slowly before him. So he followed her, and she went on until she came to
a wide plain in the fertile land of Egypt. Here she stood still and
lifted her broad forehead to the sky, filling the air with her lowings.

Cadmus stooped down and lifted a handful of the foreign soil to his
lips, kissing it, and looking with delight at the beauties of the blue
hills which surrounded this spot to which Apollo had guided him. He felt
that he ought to offer his thanks to Jupiter, and so he went to a nearby
fountain to draw some pure water to bathe his hands before he lifted
them up to the sky.

The fountain spouted, as clear as crystal, from a cave covered with a
thick growth of bushes and situated in an ancient grove that had never
been profaned by an axe. Cadmus pushed his way into it, and when he was
inside the cave it seemed as if he had left the world behind, so dark
was it, with the shadows of the boughs and thick leaves.

Cadmus dipped a vase which his servants had brought him in the waters
of the fountain, and was about to raise it, brimming full, when it
suddenly dropped from his hands, the blood left his cheeks, and his
limbs trembled. A venomous serpent whose eyes shone like fire and who
showed triple fangs and triple teeth raised its head from the waters
with a terrible hiss. Its crested head and scales glittered like
burnished bronze; it twisted its body in a huge coil and then raised
itself, ready to strike, to a height that over-topped the trees of the
grove. And while Cadmus' servants stood still, unable to move for their
fright, the serpent killed them all, some with its poisonous fangs, some
with its foaming breath, and others in its choking folds.

There was only Cadmus left, and at last he crept out of the cave,
screening his body behind the bushes, and made ready to take his stand
against the serpent. He covered himself from head to foot with a lion's
skin. In one hand he carried a javelin and in the other a lance, but in
his heart Cadmus carried courage which was a stronger weapon than either
of these. Then he faced the serpent, standing in the midst of his
fallen men and looking into its bloody jaws as he lifted a huge stone
and threw it straight. It struck the serpent's scales and penetrated to
its heart. The creature's neck swelled with rage, the panting breath
that issued from its nostrils poisoned the air. Then it twisted itself
in a circle and fell to the ground where it lay like the shattered trunk
of a tree. Cadmus, watching for his chance, went boldly up to the
monster and thrust his spear into its head, fastening it to the tree
beneath which it had fallen. The serpent's weight bent and twisted the
tree as it struggled to free itself, but at last Cadmus saw it give up
the fight and hang there, quiet in death.

Then a marvellous thing happened. As Cadmus stood, looking at his fallen
foe, a voice came to him which he could hear distinctly, although he was
not able to know from whence it came, and it said,

"It is decreed, O Cadmus, that you shall take out the teeth of this
dragon and plant them in the plain upon which you are to found the city
of Thebes."

So Cadmus obeyed the command. He pulled out the serpent's triple row of
sharply pointed teeth. He made a furrow and planted them in it, and
scarcely had he covered them with earth than the clods raised
themselves. As happened in the days when Jason had traveled all the long
way in search of the fleece of gold, the ground where the dragon's teeth
had taken root was pierced by the metal points of helmets and spears.
After these sprouting signs of war came the heads and breasts of an army
of warriors until the entire plain was bright with their shields and the
air smoked and resounded with the din of fearful fighting.

Cadmus was only one against the terrible ranks of all these earth-born
brothers of his, but he made ready to do his best and encounter this new
enemy. As he advanced, however, he heard the unknown voice again,

"Meddle not with civil war, Cadmus," it said.

But Cadmus' spirit was fired with his high desire to build a city which
would be a place of peace and industry, and he knew that civil strife
was the destruction of such a city. So he entered the battle, single
handed, and smote one of these, his fighting brothers, with a sword,
but fell, pierced in his side by an arrow. He was up and advancing again
as soon as he staunched the flow of blood, killing four of the warriors.
In the meantime the warriors seemed to become mad with the spirit of
warfare and killed each other until the whole crowd was pitted against
one another. At last all of the warriors fell, mortally wounded, except
five. These five survivors threw aside their weapons and cried, as with
one voice,

"Brothers, let us live in peace."

And they joined with Cadmus in laying the foundations of a great city
which they called Thebes.

They measured and laid out roads, making them hard and strong for the
wheels of heavy chariots which would bear kings to and from the city.
They built houses whose decorations of carvings and precious metals were
not to be equalled in all Greece, and they filled them with rare
furnishings, and they painted pictures of the contests of the gods on
the walls, and shaped golden plates and cups for the tables. They set up
a strong citadel at the boundary line of the city to protect it from
invasion, and Cadmus built factories for making tools and furniture and
household utensils so as to draw traders to the city and increase its
prosperity through commerce. And there were seven gates to Thebes, in
honor of the seven strings of Apollo's lyre from which he drew the sweet
strains that brought harmony to the earth.

When Thebes was finished, it seemed as if it had no rival among the
cities of the earth, it was so good to look upon, so full of industry,
and peace, and plenty. But Cadmus had yet one gift more to make to

For a long time he worked secretly, carving with a sharp pointed tool
upon a stone tablet. One day he brought forth the result of his work.
Cadmus had invented the alphabet; he had given the power of learning
through reading and writing to his people.

That made his city complete, for a people who are through with civil
strife, and able to work and be educated can be as great as the gods if
they will it so.

They became great and they made Cadmus the king of Thebes for a rule
that was long and just and good.


Arachne, the wonderful girl weaver of Greece, took a roll of white wool
in her skilled hands and separated it into long white strands. Then she
carded it until it was as soft and light as a cloud. She was at work out
of doors in a green forest and her loom was set up under an old oak tree
with the sunlight shining down between the leaves to brighten the
pattern that she set up on it. In and out her shuttle flew without
stopping until she had woven at last a fair piece of fabric.

Then Arachne threaded a needle with wool dyed in rainbow colors. She had
all the colors of this long arch, that the sunbeams shining through
raindrops make, to use in her work.

"What design will the clever Arachne embroider on her tapestry to-day?"
one of the Nymphs of the forest who had clustered about her to watch her
work asked. Then all the Nymphs, looking like a part of the forest in
their soft green garments, crowded close as Arachne began to embroider
a picture. The grass seemed to grow in it beneath her needle, and the
flowers bloomed just as they always bloom in the spring.

[Illustration: "What design will Arachne embroider to-day?" asked one of
the nymphs.]

"You weave and sew as if the great Minerva herself had taught you her
arts," a Nymph said timidly to Arachne.

The girl's face flushed with anger. It was true that the goddess Minerva
who presided over the arts that women need to know, spinning, weaving
and needlework, had taught Arachne her skill, but the girl was vain and
always denied it.

"My skill is my own," she replied. "Let Minerva try to compete with me
and if she is able to finish a rarer piece of work than mine, I am
willing to pay any penalty."

It was a thoughtless, daring boast which Arachne had made. As she spoke
the leaves of the trees fluttered, for the Nymphs, frightened at a
mortal's presumption, were moving away from Arachne. She looked up and
in their place saw an old dame standing beside her.

"Challenge your fellow mortals, my child," she said, "but do not try to
compete with a goddess. You ought to ask Minerva's forgiveness for your
rash words."

Arachne tossed her head in disdain.

"Keep your counsel," she replied, "for your hand-maidens. I know what I
say and I mean it. I am not afraid of the goddess. I repeat it; let
Minerva try her skill with mine if she dare venture."

"She comes!" said the old dame, dropping her disguise and appearing
before Arachne in the shining silver mail of the goddess Minerva.

Arachne grew pale with fear at first, but her presumption overcame her
fear. Her heart was full of her foolish conceit and she set a new piece
of work on her loom as Minerva produced a second loom, and the contest
began. They attached the web to the beam and began tossing their slender
shuttles in and out of the threads. They pushed the woof up into place
with their fine reeds until the fabric was compact. Then the needlework
was begun.

Arachne, though, had decided to work something that was forbidden by the
gods. She was going to use her skill of hand and all her art for evil
instead of good.

She began embroidering a picture that would be displeasing to the gods,
and she was able to make it seem as if it were alive, because of the
figures and scenes she could outline with her needle and fill in with
her colored wools. The picture Arachne embroidered was that of the fair
Princess Europa tending her father's herds of cattle beside the sea. One
of the bulls seemed so tame that Europa mounted his back, and he plunged
into the sea with her and carried her far away from her native shores to
Greece. Arachne pictured this bull as the great god Jupiter.

Minerva's embroidery was of a very different pattern from this. She was
the goddess of wisdom and her gift from Mount Olympus to the earth had
been the beautiful olive tree that gave mortals shade, and fruit, and
oil, and wood for their building. Minerva stitched the pattern of a
green olive tree on the tapestry she was embroidering.

Among the leaves of the olive tree Minerva embroidered a butterfly. It
seemed to live and flutter in and out among the olives. One could almost
touch the velvet nap that lay on its wings and the silk down which
covered its back; there were its broad, outstretched horns, its
gleaming eyes, its glorious colors. Minerva's workmanship was more
wonderful than Arachne could ever hope to learn. As they finished she
knew that she was outdone.

Minerva looked at Arachne's tapestry, woven of pride and a desire for
vain conquest. It could not be allowed to stand beside hers that showed
the gift of life to man in the olives and such beauty as that of the
butterfly. The goddess struck Arachne's tapestry with her shuttle and
tore it in pieces.

Arachne was suddenly filled with an understanding of how she had wasted
her skill, and she longed to get away from all sight and sound of her
weaving. A vine trailed down to the ground from a near by tree. Arachne
twisted it about her body and tried to pull herself up by it to the
tree, but Minerva would not allow this. She touched Arachne's form with
the juices of aconite and at once her hair came off, and her nose and
her ears as well. Her body shrank and shrivelled and her head grew
smaller. Her fingers fastened themselves to her side and served for
legs. She hung from the vine which changed to a long gray thread.

Arachne, the skilful weaver of Greece, was changed to Arachne, the
spider of the forest. Through all the centuries since then she has been
spinning her fragile threads and weaving her frail webs that a breath of
wind, even, can destroy.


The prince who was the hero of one of your favorite once-upon-a-time
stories was quite sure to have had a fairy godmother to watch over his
ways and help in bringing his adventures to success. But Hercules, the
Great, of old Greece than whom we have never known a greater hero, had
two fairy godmothers. They were not known by exactly that name in the
days when the myths were made, but there were two very powerful
goddesses who presided over Hercules' destiny, and the odd thing about
it was that no one knew which of these was the more important.

Hercules began life just like any other baby except that his father was
the mighty Jupiter, a fact which made everyone expect a great deal of
him. And just as used to happen in your old fairy tales, he had enemies
because of his noble birth. One of these was the goddess, Juno.

Hercules lay in his cradle one day before he was able to walk even, and
he suddenly saw something that would have frightened anyone much older
than he. On each side of his cradle there appeared the green, hissing
head of a huge serpent, their poisonous fangs thrust out to sting this
child of the gods to death. Hercules' attendants ran away in terror not
daring to give fight to the vipers, but he reached out his tiny hands,
gripped a serpent in each by its throat and strangled them.

People began to look at Hercules in wonder after that. They watched him
grow up, just like any other boy except that his limbs were stronger and
his muscles harder than those of the average boy of Greece. There were
still those who admired him and those who hated him, knowing that he
was, really, the son of a god. So his enemies put Hercules in charge of
a kind of tutor named Eurystheus who was under orders to give him the
most impossible tasks to try and perform.

"The lad will fail and then we shall be well rid of him," the goddess
Juno, who particularly disliked Hercules, said.

Hercules began life in a part of Greece that was known as the valley of
Nemea. It was a place of olive orchards and fruit trees and fields of
grain, but the terror of the place was the Nemean lion who lived close
by in the fastness of the hills. There had never been known so huge a
lion, with such wide, blood thirsty jaws. Eurystheus ordered Hercules to
bring him the tawny hide of this monster.

"How shall I slay the Nemean lion?" Hercules asked.

"With your arrows and your club," Eurystheus replied carelessly, but he
knew that no arrows in all Greece could pierce the lion's skin and that
Hercules' club, made of a stout young tree, would also be powerless
against the beast.

"Hercules will never return," the people of the valley said to each
other as they watched the young hero start out boldly toward the hills.

But he returned the next day, as fresh and untroubled as when he had
started, with the hide of the Nemean lion slung over his shoulder.

"Are yours magic arrows, and is your club charmed as well?" the youths
who were Hercules' friends asked, crowding around him.

"I killed the lion with my hands alone, grasping him about his throat,"
Hercules explained to them.

Eurystheus, listening on the edge of the crowd, frowned at these words.
"I must plan a greater labor for him," he thought.

There was a rich and beautiful city of Greece named Argos, but a fearful
monster called the Hydra infested a swamp just outside it and one never
knew when it would descend upon the well that supplied the people with
pure water. It had nine heads and one of these was immortal, so the
rumor went.

"Go to Argos and kill the Hydra," Eurystheus commanded Hercules.

Hercules was ready to dare this adventure. He started out again with no
other arms than he had carried before and when he came to the well of
Argos which kept the country from drought, he found the Hydra stationed
there. Going up to it, Hercules struck off one of its heads with his
club. What was his surprise to see two heads grow in the place of this
one! It was going to be a task to destroy this creature, Hercules
understood, as he laid on with his club against the menacing and
increasing heads, hitting right and left and with no time between his
telling blows. He struck off all of the Hydra's heads at last except the
undying one. Finally Hercules thought of a plan for destroying this. He
wrenched it off with his mighty hands and buried it deeply underneath a

"Hercules shall be put to a task he will not like so well as
encountering wild beasts," Eurystheus decided then. "He shall clean the
Augean stables. We will see if a son of the gods has the will to
accomplish that labor."

This was indeed a labor with very little of the spirit of adventure in
it. Old King Augeus, of Elis in Greece had a herd of three thousand
cattle and their stalls in his many stables had not been cleaned for
thirty years. The cattle, all of them of blooded stock, were dying off
because they were not properly cared for, and there was no hero of the
king's train but felt the work of cleaning the stables to be too menial
for him.

Hercules had no such thought as this, however. He was ready to attempt
the labor; his only idea was how to accomplish it, and thoroughly. At
last he had a very novel idea.

There were scarcely any of the lesser gods of outdoors who had not, by
this time, felt the strength of Hercules. There had been the river god
who took delight in leading the waters of the streams over their banks
and inundating the farms in the spring when the fields had just been
planted. Hercules had wrestled with this river god and had broken off
one of his horns, on account of which he had to keep the streams between
their banks. Hercules made up his mind that he would take advantage of
his power over the river god in his present need.

So what did Hercules do but lead the courses of two streams, the Alpheus
and the Peneus, right through the Augean stables cleansing them
thoroughly. When he finished this labor, the result was so fine that he
had quite as much reason to be proud of it as he had over his other
prowess. It was as splendid to use one's strength in cleaning as in any
other way, Hercules discovered.

He went on from one adventure to another with the years, always
successful although everyone prophesied that some day his strength would
fail and he would have to give up. Eurystheus wanted a new yoke of
oxen, and none would do except those who lived in the land of the
setting sun, in the western part of Greece and were guarded by a giant
who had three bodies. Hercules set out for the place and when he reached
it he discovered that not only the giant, but a huge dog that had two
heads guarded the oxen. Hercules killed the giant and his dog and drove
the oxen home to Eurystheus.

Victor over wild beasts and giants, and able to accomplish any work
which he attempted! What labor was there left for this son of Mount
Olympus? Eurystheus knew. He sent Hercules on what seemed indeed a wild
goose search. He commanded him to bring back to Greece the golden apples
of the Hesperides without telling him where they were to be found.

They were very plump and beautiful apples made altogether of solid gold.
It is said that they were the first oranges the world had ever known.
However that may be the Greeks wanted them very much. Juno had received
them for a wedding present from the goddess of Earth, and had hung some
on a golden tree in the fair garden of the daughters of Hesperis who
kept a dragon to guard them. It would have been a task to pick them even
if one had known where to go for them. Hercules started out, though,
without route or chart and it was the most difficult of all his

He met Antaeus, a son of the Earth, who was a mighty giant and wrestler.
Hercules encountered this son of the Earth and threw him countless
times, but each time the giant rose from the ground with renewed
strength. It was like magic, but Hercules found out at last the secret
of Antaeus' strength, as you, also, will in the next story, and did
battle with him. Then, on went Hercules, for the Earth could no longer
stop him, and after awhile he found himself at Mount Atlas in Africa.
The bent old giant, Atlas, stood on the top of this, holding up the sky
on his shoulders. He was as ancient as the mountain itself and doomed by
the gods to stand there through the seasons and never go home to the
garden of the Hesperides where his daughters lived.

"If you will but bring me the golden apples of the Hesperides, old
Atlas, I will take your place on the mountain top for a space,"
Hercules said to the giant.

"The sky is heavier than you imagine, my son," Atlas replied. "I doubt
if you can bear it."

"Let me but try," Hercules urged him.

So Atlas shifted the burden of the heavens from his shoulders to those
of Hercules and the hero held them securely. When Atlas returned, his
arms full of the precious golden balls, Hercules still held the sky as
if he scarcely felt its weight. Atlas wanted to have him hold it always,
but Hercules was of no mind to do that. He gave back his load to Atlas
and took the apples of the Hesperides home to Greece.

Hercules had conquered the earth even in this last adventure, and it
seemed as if there was no great deed left for this hero. But he
continued using his mighty strength, even to descending to Pluto's realm
of darkness and bringing back the heroic Theseus who was a prisoner
there. At last even his enemies on Mount Olympus were forced to grant
him a place of honor in their midst and Jupiter wrapped him in a cloud
and sent a four horse chariot to bring him home along the road of the
stars. When Hercules reached the Olympian Heights it is said that old
Atlas bent still lower with the weight on his shoulders, for this hero
had added new strength to the heavens.

But how about those two goddesses, you ask, who presided like fairy
godmothers over the destiny of Hercules? The ancients asked that same
question, and Hercules answered it just before Jupiter called him away
from Greece.

One of these goddesses was named Virtue, and the other Pleasure, but it
was the first whom Hercules followed all his life.


A great while ago, in the days of the myths, there lived an earth-born
Giant named Antaeus, and a race of little earth-born people who were
called Pygmies. This Giant and these Pygmies, being children of the same
Mother Earth, lived together in a very friendly way far off in the
middle of hot Africa.

It must have been very curious to behold the Pygmies' little cities with
streets two or three feet wide paved with the smallest pebbles and
bordered by habitations about as big as a squirrel's cage. If one of the
Pygmies grew to the height of six or eight inches he was reckoned a
prodigiously tall man and there were so many sandy deserts and high
mountains between them and the rest of mankind that nobody could get a
peep at them oftener than once in a hundred years.

The king's palace was about as tall as a dolls' house and this and the
rest of their houses were built neither of stone or wood. They were
neatly plastered together by the Pygmy workmen, pretty much like birds'
nests, out of straw, feathers, egg shells, and other bits of small stuff
with stiff clay instead of mortar. And when the sun had dried them they
were just as snug and comfortable as a Pygmy could desire.

Their giant friend, Antaeus, was so very tall that he carried a pine
tree for a walking stick. It took a far-sighted Pygmy to see the top of
his head on a cloudy day. But at noonday, when the sun shone brightly
over him, Antaeus presented a very grand spectacle. There he used to
stand, a perfect mountain of a man, with his great countenance smiling
down on his little brothers and his one eye, which was as big as a cart
wheel and placed right in the centre of his forehead, giving a friendly
wink to the whole nation at once. In spite of the difference in their
size, it seemed as if Antaeus needed the Pygmies for his friend as much
as they did him for the protection he was to them. No creature of his
own size had ever talked with him. When he stood with his head among the
clouds, he was quite alone and had been so for hundreds of years and
would be forever. Even if he had met one of the other Giants, Antaeus
would have fancied the earth not large enough for them both and would
have fought with him. But with the Pygmies he was the most merry and
sweet tempered old Giant who ever washed his face in a cloud.

The Pygmies had but one thing to trouble them in the world. They were
constantly at war with the cranes. From time to time very terrible
battles had been fought in which sometimes the little men were
victorious and sometimes the cranes. When the two armies joined battle,
the cranes would rush forward, flapping their wings, and would perhaps
snatch up some of the Pygmies crosswise in their beaks. It was truly an
awful spectacle to see the little men kicking and sprawling in the air
and then disappearing down the crane's crooked throat, swallowed alive.
If Antaeus observed that the battle was going hard with his little
allies, he ran with mile-long strides to their rescue, flourishing his
club and shouting at the cranes who quacked and croaked and retreated as
fast as they could.

One day the mighty Antaeus was lolling at full length among his
friends. His head was in one part of the kingdom and his feet in another
and he was taking what comfort he could while the Pygmies scrambled over
him and played in his hair. Sometimes, for a minute or two, the Giant
dropped to sleep and snored like the rush of a whirlwind. During one of
these naps a Pygmy climbed upon his shoulder and took a view around the
horizon as from the summit of a hill. Suddenly he saw something, a long
way off, that made him rub his eyes and looked sharper than before. At
first he mistook it for a mountain and then he saw the mountain move. As
it came nearer, what should it turn out to be but a human shape, not so
large as Antaeus, but an enormous figure when compared with the Pygmies.

The Pygmy scampered as fast as his legs would carry him to the Giant's
ear and, stooping over, shouted in it,

"Brother Antaeus, get up this minute! Take your walking stick in your
hand for here comes another Giant to do battle with you!"

"Pooh, pooh!" grumbled Antaeus, only half awake. "None of your
nonsense, my little fellow. Don't you see that I am sleepy? There is not
another Giant on earth for whom I would take the trouble to get up."

But the Pygmy looked again and now perceived that the stranger was
coming directly toward the prostrate form of Antaeus. There he was, with
the sun flaming on his golden helmet and flashing from his polished
breastplate. He had a sword by his side, and a lion's skin over his
back, and on his right shoulder he carried a club which looked bulkier
and heavier than the pine-tree walking stick of Antaeus.

By this time the whole nation of Pygmies had seen the new wonder and a
million of them set up a shout all together,

"Get up, Antaeus! Bestir yourself, you lazy old Giant. Here comes
another Giant, as strong as you are, to fight with you."

"Nonsense," growled the sleepy Giant. "I'll have my nap out, come who

Still the stranger drew nearer, and now the Pygmies could plainly
discern that, if his stature were less lofty than the Giant's, yet his
shoulders were even broader. What a pair of shoulders they must have
been, for they were, later, to uphold the sky! So the Pygmies kept
shouting at Antaeus, and even went so far as to prick him with their
swords. Antaeus sat up, gave a yawn that was several yards wide, and
finally turned his stupid head in the direction in which the little
people pointed.

No sooner did he set eye on the stranger than, leaping to his feet and
seizing his walking stick, he strode a mile or two to meet him, all the
while brandishing the sturdy pine-tree so that it whistled through the

"Who are you?" thundered the Giant, "and what do you want in my domain?
Speak, you vagabond, or I'll try the thickness of your skull with my

"You are a very discourteous Giant," answered the stranger quietly, "and
I shall probably have to teach you a little civility before we part. As
for my name, it is Hercules. I have come hither because this is my most
convenient road to the garden of the Hesperides, where I am going to get
some of the golden apples for King Eurystheus."

"Then you shall go no farther!" bellowed Antaeus, for he had heard of
the mighty Hercules and hated him because he was said to be so strong.

"I will hit you a slight rap with this pine-tree, for I would be ashamed
to kill such a puny dwarf as you appear. I will make a slave of you, and
you shall likewise be the slave of my brothers here, the Pygmies. So
throw down your club. As for that lion's skin you wear, I intend to have
a pair of gloves made of it."

"Come and take it off my shoulders then," answered Hercules, lifting his

At that Antaeus, scowling with rage, strode, towerlike, toward the
stranger and gave a mighty blow at him with his pine-tree, which
Hercules caught upon his club; and, being more skilful than the Giant,
he paid him back such a rap that down tumbled the poor man-mountain flat
upon the ground. But no sooner was the Giant down than up he bounded,
aiming another blow at Hercules. But he was blinded with his wrath and
only hit his poor, innocent Mother Earth, who groaned and trembled at
the stroke. His pine tree went so deep into the ground that before
Antaeus could get it out, Hercules brought his club down over his
shoulders with a mighty whack which made the Giant let out a terrible
roar. Away it echoed, over mountains and valleys. As for the Pygmies,
their capital city was laid in ruins by the vibration it made in the

But Antaeus scrambled to his feet again and succeeded in pulling his
pine-tree out of the earth. He ran at Hercules, and brought down another

"This time, rascal!" he shouted, "you shall not escape me."

But once more Hercules warded off the stroke with his club, and the
Giant's pine-tree was shattered to a thousand splinters. Before Antaeus
could get out of the way, Hercules let drive again, and gave him another
knock-down blow. Then, watching his opportunity as the Giant rose again,
Hercules caught him round the middle with both hands, lifted him high
into the air, and held him aloft.

But the most wonderful thing was that, as soon as Antaeus was off the
earth, he began to lose the vigor that it now appeared he had gained by
touching it. Hercules soon discovered that his enemy was growing
weaker, both because he kicked and struggled with less violence, and
because the thunder of his big voice subsided to a grumble. The truth
was that, unless the Giant touched Mother Earth as often as once in five
minutes, not only his overgrown strength, but the very breath of his
life would depart from him. Hercules had guessed this secret; it may be
well for us all to remember it in case we should ever have to fight with
a fellow like Antaeus. For these earth-born Giants are not only
difficult to conquer on their own ground but may easily be managed if we
can contrive to lift them into a loftier and purer region.

When Antaeus' strength and breath were gone, Hercules gave his huge body
a toss and flung it a mile off where it lay heavily with no more motion
than a sand hill. His ponderous form may be lying in the same spot
to-day, and might be mistaken for those of an uncommonly large elephant.

What a wailing the poor little Pygmies set up when they saw their
enormous brother treated in this terrible way! As soon as they saw
Hercules preparing for a nap, they nodded their little heads at one
another and winked their little eyes. And when he had closed his eyes
the whole Pygmy nation set out to destroy the hero.

A body of twenty thousand archers marched in front with their little
bows all ready and their arrows on the string. The same number were
ordered to clamber on Hercules, some with spades to dig his eyes out,
and others with bundles of hay to plug up his mouth and nostrils. These
last could not harm him at all, for as soon as he snored he blew out the
hay and sent the Pygmies flying before the hurricane of his breath. It
was found necessary to hit upon some other way of carrying on the war.

After holding a council, the captains ordered their troops to collect
sticks, straws and dry weeds and heap them around the head of Hercules.
The archers, meanwhile, were stationed within bow shot with orders to
let fly at Hercules the instant that he stirred. Everything being in
readiness, a torch was applied to the pile which immediately burst into
flames and soon waxed hot enough to roast Hercules. A Pygmy, you know,
though so very small, might set the world on fire just as easily as a
Giant could.

But no sooner did Hercules begin to be scorched than up he started.

"What's all this?" he cried, and staring about him as if he expected
another Giant.

At that moment the twenty thousand archers twanged their bow strings and
the arrows came whizzing like so many mosquitoes. Hercules gazed around,
for he hardly felt the arrows. At last, looking narrowly at the ground,
he espied the Pygmies at his feet. He stooped down and taking up the
nearest one between his thumb and finger, set him on the palm of his
left hand and looked at him.

"Who in the world, my little fellow, are you?" Hercules asked.

"I am your enemy," answered the Pygmy. "You have slain the Giant,
Antaeus, our brother by our mother's side, and we are determined to put
you to death."

Hercules was so amused by the Pygmy's big words and warlike gestures
that he burst into laughter and almost dropped the poor little mite of a
creature off his hand.

"Upon my word," he said, "I thought I had seen wonders before to-day,
hydras with many heads, three headed dogs, and giants with furnaces in
their stomachs, but you outdo them all. Your body, my little friend, is
about the size of an ordinary man's finger. Pray, how big may your soul

"As big as your own," said the Pygmy.

Hercules was amazed at the little man's courage, and so he left the
Pygmies, one and all, in their own country, building their little
houses, waging their little warfare with the cranes, and doing their
little business whatever it might have been.


[2] By permission of and special arrangement with the Houghton
Mifflin Co.


Dejanira was one of the most beautiful of princesses who lived in the
long ago days of the Greek gods and goddesses. It seemed as if all the
charm of the world in this, its myth time, was hers. Her hair was bright
with the yellow of the first spring sunshine, and her eyes were as blue
as the skies of spring. Summer had touched Dejanira's cheeks with the
pink of rose petals, and the colors of the autumn fruits shone in her
jewels, crimson and purple and gold. Her robes were as white and soft as
the snows of winter, and all the music of soft winds and bird songs and
rippling brooks was in this princess' voice.

Because of her beauty and her goodness, which even surpassed it, princes
came from all over the world to ask Dejanira's father, Aeneus, if she
might go home to their kingdoms to be their queen. But to all these
Aeneus replied that to none but the strongest would he give the

So there were many tests of these strangers' skill and strength in
games and wrestling, but one by one they failed. At last there were only
two left, Hercules who was strong enough to hold the sky on his broad
shoulders, and Achelous, the river-god, who twisted and twined through
the fields making them fertile with the brooks and the streams. Each
thought himself the greater of the two, and it lay between them which by
his prowess should gain the princess to be his wife.

Hercules was massive of limb and of powerful strength. Beneath his
shaggy eyebrows, his eyes gleamed like balls of fire. His garment was of
lions' skins and his staff was a young tree. But the clever Achelous was
able to slip between the huge fingers of Hercules. He was as slender and
graceful as a willow tree and his garment was of the green of foliage.
He wore a crown of water lilies on his fair hair, and carried a staff
made of twined reeds. When Achelous spoke, his voice was like the
rippling of a stream.

"The Princess Dejanira shall be mine!" said Achelous. "I will make her
the queen of the river lands. The music of the waters shall be always
in her ears, and the plenty that follows wherever I go shall make her

"No!" shouted Hercules. "I am the strength of the earth. Dejanira is
mine. You shall not have her."

Then the river-god grew very angry. His green robe changed its color to
that of the black of the sea in a storm, and his voice was as loud as
that of a mountain cataract. Achelous could be almost as powerful as
Hercules when he was angered.

"How do you dare claim this royal maiden?" he roared, "you, who have
mortal blood in your veins! I am a god and the king of the waters.
Wherever I take my way over the earth grains and fruits ripen and
flowers bud and bloom. The Princess Dejanira is mine by right."

Hercules frowned as he advanced toward the river-god. "Your strength is
only in words," he said scornfully. "My strength is in my arm. If you
would win Dejanira, it must be by hand-to-hand combat." So the river-god
threw off his garments and Hercules his lion's skin, and the two fought
for the hand of the princess.

It was a brave and valorous battle. Neither yielded; both stood their
ground. Achelous slipped in and out of Hercules' mighty grasp a dozen
times, but at last the hero's powerful strength was too much for this
god who had to depend upon adroitness only. Hercules gripped the
river-god fast by his neck and held him, panting for breath.

Then Achelous resorted to the trickery that he knew. He suddenly changed
his form through the magic arts he could practise to that of a long,
slimy serpent. He twisted out of Hercules' grasp and darted a forked
tongue out at him, showing his fangs. Hercules was not yet undone. He
only laughed scornfully at the serpent and grasped the creature by the
back of its neck, ready to strangle it.

Achelous struggled in vain to escape and at last resorted once more to
sorcery. In a second the serpent had changed its form to that of a
ferocious, roaring bull. It charged upon Hercules with lowered horns.
But the hero was still unvanquished. He seized hold of the bull's horns,
bent its head, gripped its brawny neck and threw it, burying its horns
in the ground. Then he broke off one of the horns with his iron strong
hand and held it up in the air shouting,

"Victory! Dejanira is mine!"

Achelous returned to his own shape and, crying with pain, ran from the
castle grounds where the combat had taken place and did not stop until
he had plunged into a cooling stream. It had been right that Hercules
should triumph, for his was the strength of arm, not of trickery.

The Princess Dejanira came to him and with her the goddess of plenty,
Ceres, to give the conqueror his reward.

Ceres took the great horn which Hercules had torn from Achelous' head
and heaped it full to overflowing with the treasures of the year's
harvest. Ripe grain, purple grapes, rosy apples, plums, nuts,
pomegranates, olives and figs filled the horn and spilled over the edge.
The wood-nymphs and the water-nymphs came and twined the horn with vines
and crimson leaves and the last bright flowers of the year. Then they
carried this first horn of plenty high above their heads and gave it to
Hercules and the beautiful Dejanira as a wedding present. It was the
richest gift the gods could make, that of the year's harvest.

And ever since that long-ago story time of the Greeks, the horn of
plenty has stood for the year's blessing of us.


Latona had very wonderful twin babies and the queen of the gods, Juno,
was jealous of her on account of these little ones. Perhaps Juno had the
power to look ahead through the years to the time when Latona's children
should be grown up and take their places with the family of the gods on
Mount Olympus.

Who were these twins? Oh, that is the end of the story.

So Juno, who could work almost any good or evil which she desired,
decreed that this mother should never have any fixed home in which to
bring up her babies. If Latona found a shelter and a cradle for the
twins in the cottage of some hospitable farmer, a drought would descend
at once upon his fields and dry up the harvest, or a hailstorm would
destroy his fruit crop so that there would be no food for the family. If
Latona stopped with the vine dressers, laying her babies in the cool
shade of an arbor while she helped to pick the grapes, a gale might
arise and sweep down upon the vineyard and all would have to flee for
their lives.

She was obliged to wander up and down the land with her little ones,
wrapping her cloak about them to shield them from the weather, and she
grew very weary and despaired of ever raising her little boy and girl to
be the fine man and woman she longed to have them.

One day in the heat of the summer Latona came to the country of Lycia in
Greece and it really seemed as if she could not walk a single step
farther. The babies were heavy and she had found no water for refreshing
herself for a long time. By chance, though, she saw a pool of clear
water just beyond in the hollow of a valley. Some of the country people
of Lycia were there on the edge of the water gathering reeds and fine
willows with which they were weaving baskets for holding fruits. Latona
summoned all her strength and dragged herself to the pool, kneeling down
on the bank to drink and dip up water for cooling the babies' heads.

"Stop!" the rustic people commanded her. "You have no right to touch our

"I only wish to drink, kind friends," Latona explained to them. "I
thought that water was free to all, and my mouth is so dry that I can
hardly speak. A drink of water would be nectar to me. The gods give us
as common property the sunshine, the air, and the streams and I would
only share your pool to revive me, not to bathe in it. See how my
babies, too, stretch out their arms to you in pleading!"

It was quite true; Latona's little ones were holding out their arms in
supplication, but the rustics turned their heads away. They did more
than this. They waded into the pool and stirred up the water with their
feet so as to make it muddy and unfit to drink. As they did this they
laughed at Latona's discomfiture and jeered at her sorry plight.

She was a long suffering mother, but she felt as if this unkindness was
more than she could bear. She lifted her hands toward the habitation of
the gods and called to them for help.

"May these rustics who refuse to succor two children of your family be
punished!" Latona begged. "May they never be able to leave this pool
whose clear waters they have defiled!"

The company of the gods, and perhaps Juno also, heard Latona's entreaty
and one of the strangest things of all mythology happened.

The rustics tried to leave the pool and return to their basket-making,
but they discovered that their feet had suddenly grown flat and
shapeless and were stuck fast in the mud. They called for help, but
their voices were harsh, their throats bloated, and their mouths had
stretched so that they were unable to form words. Their necks had
disappeared and their heads, with great bulging eyes, were joined to
their backs. Their flesh was turned to thick green skin and they could
not stand erect.

It was as Latona had asked. These boorish, unseeing country clowns would
never leave the slimy water into which they had stepped, for the gods
had changed them into the first frogs.

"This is indeed a terrible punishment for so slight an offence as
ridiculing a stranger," the people of Lycia said to each other as they
visited the pools and rivers during the seasons that followed and
listened to the continual, hoarse croaking of the frogs. The river god,
Peneus, knew them also and so did the lovely nymph, Daphne, his
daughter, who was never happier than when she was flying on her fairy
like feet, her soft green garments fluttering about her, along the edge
of some stream.

Daphne was more like a spirit of the woods than a girl. She would rather
live within the shadow of leaves than under a palace roof, and she liked
better to follow the deer and gather wild flowers than to have any
intercourse with the boys and girls of the villages. But she was
unmatched by the most beautiful daughter of all Greece, her long hair
flung loose like a veil over her shoulders, her eyes as soft and shining
as stars, and her body as graceful and well moulded as some rare vase.

At that time a strange youth was seen to haunt the forests and banks of
the river god. He was as fair and well shaped as Daphne, and there was
also something unusual about him. Whenever he was seen, there seemed to
be more light along the paths where he walked. He made the daytime
brighter and the gold rays of the sun shine more gloriously. When this
youth stopped for a while with a shepherd, no wolves attacked the flock,
and he kept herds safe from the mountain lions. He had made a lyre for
himself, a musical instrument of many tuneful strings that had not been
heard in Greece before. He was touching the strings into a song about
the pastures and the woods in the spring one day when he suddenly saw
the nymph, Daphne.

He had seen her before moving like a green bough blown by the wind along
the shores of many waters. He thought that he had never seen so
beautiful a creature or one so much to be desired, but whenever Daphne
caught a glimpse of this strange, strong youth, she was frightened and
was at once off and away. Now, though, he was determined to pursue
Daphne and catch her. He dropped his lyre and ran after her, but she
eluded him, running more swiftly than the wind.

"Stay, daughter of Peneus," he called. "Do not fly from me as a dove
flies from a hawk. I am no rude peasant, but one of the gods and I know
all things, present or future. It is for love that I pursue you, and I
am miserable in the fear that you may fall and hurt yourself on these
stones and I shall have been the cause of your hurt. Pray run slower and
I will follow more slowly!"

But Daphne was deaf to the youth's entreating words. On she sped, the
wind blowing her green garments, and her hair streaming loosely behind
her. It was, at last, like the fleet running hound pursuing the hare;
the youth was swifter and gained on her. His panting breath touched her
neck. In her terror she did not stop to understand that he pursued her
only because he loved her so much and that he would not do her any harm.

At last she came to the edge of a stream.

On one side of Daphne were the croaking frogs and the water reeds and
the deeper waters beyond. On the other side was her pursuer. Daphne
called to her father, the river god,

"Help me, Peneus! Open the earth to take me into it out of sight and

But the god of light and music knew what was better far for Daphne than
this. He touched her fair form and it stiffened and her feet stood
firmly upon the bank of the stream. Her body was suddenly enclosed in
tender bark and her hair became leaves. Her arms were long, drooping
branches and her face changed to the form of a tree top. There had
never been a tree like the one into which Daphne was transformed, the
green laurel tree.

The young god looked at her and saw how fair a work of his hands was
this changing of a nymph. The tree would never fade, but would stretch
its green top up toward the sky to feel the light that he would pour
down on it. When the wind touched the laurel's leaves they would sing as
his lyre sang.

"Come and see what beauty I have given to the nymph, Daphne, whom I
loved," he called, and out of the forest came a brave young huntress, a
deer walking quite unafraid at her side. It was Diana, his sister, and
she hung her quiver of arrows on the laurel tree and led the deer to a
shelter underneath its branches.

"This shall be my tree," he said putting his hands on the laurel. "I
will wear it for my crown, and when the great Roman conquerors lead
their troops to the Capitol in triumphal pomp it shall be woven into
wreaths for their brows. As eternal youth is mine, the laurel shall
always be green and its leaves shall never wither."

The sun began to sink behind the hills and the youth saw the light fade
in terror. He could give the laurel the brightness of day but he had no
power to keep it safe through the darkness of night. Just then a silver
ball appeared in the purple sky rising higher and higher and sending
down long white beams to brighten the dusk.

"Diana, see, there is a light in the evening sky!" the youth exclaimed,
but his sister had disappeared. Diana, the huntress, was now Diana, the
moon, the queen of the darkness and shedding her light on the laurel
tree that her brother, Apollo, the god of the sun, loved so much.

The frogs along the river bank croaked harshly and could not understand
any of these wonders that had come to pass right beside them. They had
missed a wonder when they were rustics, too. There are some people like
that. They, too, would see only a ragged, weary stranger with her tired
babies, not worth the trouble of helping, when those little ones might
be an Apollo and a Diana, the gods of the day and the night.


"You are only boasting, Phaeton. I don't believe for a moment that your
father is Apollo, the god of light," Cycnus, one of his schoolmates,
said to the lad who had just made this proud statement.

"It is true," Phaeton replied. "You won't believe me because I am alone
here in Greece, cared for by one of the nymphs and learning the lessons
that all Greek boys do. I shall show you, though. I will take my way to
the home of the gods and present myself to my father."

That was indeed a bold plan on the part of this youth who had not been
beyond the shores of his native land in all his life. But Phaeton set
out at once for India, since that was the place where the sun which
lighted Greece seemed to rise. He felt sure that he would find Apollo at
the palace of the Sun, so he did not stop until he had climbed mountains
and then beyond and higher through the steeps of the clouds. Suddenly he
was obliged to stop, covering his eyes with his hands to shut out the
brilliant light that dazzled him. There, in front of Phaeton, reared
aloft on shining columns, stood the palace of the Sun.

It glittered with gold and precious stones, and Phaeton made his way
inside through heavy doors of solid silver. He had heard of the
beautiful workmanship of Vulcan who had designed Apollo's palace, but
when he stood beneath the polished ivory ceilings of the throne room it
was more wonderful than anything he had ever imagined.

Apollo, in a royal purple robe, sat on the throne that was as bright as
if it had been cut from a solid diamond, and about him stood his
attendants who helped him in making the earth a pleasant, fruitful
habitation for men. On Apollo's right hand and on his left stood the
Days, the Months, and the Years, and at regular intervals the Hours.
Spring was there, her head crowned with flowers, and Summer who wore a
garland formed of spears of ripened grain. Autumn stood beside Apollo,
his feet stained with the juice of the grape, and there was icy Winter,
his hair stiffened with hoar frost. There was nothing hidden from Apollo
in the whole world and he saw Phaeton the instant he entered the hall.

"What is your errand here, rash lad?" he asked sternly.

Phaeton went closer and knelt at the foot of the throne.

"Oh, my father, light of the boundless world!" he said. "I want to be
known as your son. Give me some proof by which I can show mortals and
the gods as well that I am not of the earth but have a place with you on
Mount Olympus!"

Apollo was pleased with the pleading of the youth and, laying aside the
crown of bright beams that he wore on his head, stretched out his arms
and embraced Phaeton.

"My son, you do not deserve to be disowned," he said. "To put an end to
your doubts ask whatever favor you like of me and the gift shall be

It was wonderful; Phaeton had never, in his dreams even, expected so
great a boon as this. But he was as reckless and ambitious as many a boy
of to-day who fancies himself able to carry on his father's work without
all the skill and experience which earned his success. He knew at once
the desire that was closest to his heart.

"For one day only, father, let me drive your chariot?" Phaeton begged.

Apollo drew back in dismay.

"I spoke rashly," he said. "That is the one request I ought to refuse
you. It is not a safe adventure or suited to your youth and strength,
Phaeton. Your arms are mortal and you ask what is beyond mortal's power.
You aspire to do that which even the gods can not accomplish. No one but
myself, not even Jupiter whose terrible right arm hurls the thunderbolts
and the lightning, may drive the flaming chariot of day."

"Why is it so difficult a task?" Phaeton asked, determined not to give

Apollo explained to him with great patience.

"It is a difficult track to keep through the skies," he said. "The
beginning of the way is so steep that the horses, even when they are
fresh in the morning, can hardly be urged to climb it. Then comes the
middle of the course, so high up in the heavens and so narrow that I
myself can scarcely look below without giddiness at the earth and its
waters. The last part of the course descends rapidly and calls for most
expert driving. Add to all this the constant, dizzy turning of the sky
with its sea of stars. I must be always on my guard lest their movement,
which sweeps everything along with it, should hurry me or throw me out
of my course. If I lend you my chariot, what can you, a boy, do? Can you
keep the road with all the spheres in the universe revolving around

"I am sure that I can, father," Phaeton replied boldly. "What you say,
of course, does not deter me from starting along it. I have a strong arm
and a steady eye for driving. There is no danger other than this on the
way, is there?" he asked.

"There are greater dangers," Apollo said. "Do you expect to pass cool
forests and white cities, the abodes of the gods, and palaces, and
temples on the way? The road goes through the domain of frightful
monsters. You must run the gauntlet of the Archer's arrows and pass by
the horns of the Bull. The Lion's jaws will be open to devour you, the
Scorpion will stretch out its tentacles for you, and the great Crab its
claws. And you will find it no easy feat to manage the horses, their
breasts so full of fire that they breathe it out in flame through their
nostrils. I can scarcely hold them myself when they are unruly and
resist the reins."

"I have driven a chariot at the games of Athens," Phaeton boasted, "when
wild beasts were close to the arena, and my steeds were most

Apollo made one last plea.

"Look the universe over, my son," he entreated, "and choose whatever is
most precious in the earth or on the sea. This will I give you in proof
that you are my son, but take back your other, rash request."

"I have only one wish, to drive the chariot of the Sun," Phaeton
answered stubbornly.

There was but one course left then for Apollo, because a god could never
break his promise. Without a word he led Phaeton to the great stable
where he kept his lofty chariot.

The chariot was a gift of Vulcan to Apollo, and made of gold. The axle
was of gold, the pole and wheels also of gold, and the spokes of the
brightest silver. There were rows of chrysolites and diamonds along the
seat that reflected the rays of the sun. Apollo ordered the Hours to
harness the horses and they led the steeds, full fed with ambrosia, from
the stalls, and attached the reins. As Phaeton, full of pride, watched
he saw that Dawn had thrown open the purple gates of the east and his
pathway, strewn with roses, stretched before him. He seated himself in
the chariot and took the reins.

Apollo anointed his son's face with a powerful unguent that would make
it possible for him to endure the flaming heat of the sun. He set the
rays of light on his head and said sorrowfully,

"If you will be so rash, I beg of you to hold the reins more tightly
than you ever did before and spare the whip. The horses go fast enough
of their own accord, and the difficulty is to hold them in. You are not
to take the direct road, but turn to the left. You will see the marks of
my wheels and these will guide you. Go not too high, or you will set the
heavenly dwellings on fire, or so low as to burn the earth, but keep to
the middle course which is best. Night is just passing out of the
western gates so you can delay no longer. Start the chariot, and may
your chance work better for you than you have planned."

Phaeton stood up in the gilded chariot, lifted the reins, and was off
like a dart.

In an instant the snorting, fiery horses discovered that they were
carrying a lighter load than usual and they dashed through the clouds as
if the chariot had been empty. It reeled and was tossed about like a
ship at sea without ballast. The bars of the sky were let down and the
limitless plain of the universe lay before the horses. They left
Apollo's travelled course and Phaeton was powerless to guide them. He
looked down at the earth so far below him, and he grew pale and his
knees shook with terror. He turned his eyes on the trackless heavens in
front of him and was even more terrified to see the huge forms among
which he rode as if he was driven by a tempest; the Archer, the Great
Bear, the Lion and the Crab. All those monsters of whom Apollo had
warned him were there, and others too.

Phaeton wished he had never left the earth, never made so bold a request
of his father. He lost his self command and could not tell whether to
draw the reins tightly or let them loose. He forgot the names of the
steeds. At last, as he saw the Scorpion directly in his path, its two
great arms extended and its fangs reeking with poison, he lost all his
courage and the reins dropped from his hands. As the horses felt their
loosened harness, they dashed away headlong into unknown regions of the
sky, now up in high heaven among the stars and then hurling the chariot
down almost to the earth.

The mountain tops took fire and the clouds began to smoke. Plants
withered, the leafy branches of the trees burned, the harvests blazed
and the fields were parched with heat. The whole world was on fire.
Great cities perished with their beautiful towers and high walls, and
entire nations with all their people were reduced to ashes. It is said
that the river Nile fled away and hid its head in the desert where it
still lies concealed. The earth cracked and the sea shrank. Dry plains
lay where there had been oceans before and the mountains that had been
covered by the sea lifted up their heads and became islands. Even
Neptune, the god of the sea, was driven back by the heat when he tried
to lift his head above the surface of the waters, and the Earth looked
up to Mount Olympus and called to Jupiter for help.

It was indeed time for the gods to act. Jupiter mounted to the tall
tower where he kept his forked lightnings and from which he spread the
rain clouds over the earth. He tossed his thunderbolts right and left
and, brandishing a dart of lightning in his right hand, he aimed it at
Phaeton and threw it, tossing him from his chariot down, down through
space. The charioteer fell in a trail of fire like a shooting star. One
of the great rivers of the earth received him and tried to cool his
burning frame, but he was never again to see the palace of the Sun. His
recklessness had brought him, not honor, but destruction.

Phaeton's friend, Cycnus, stood beside the bank of the river mourning
for him and even plunged beneath the surface of the water to see if he
could bring him back to the earth. But this angered the gods and they
changed Cycnus to the swan who floats always on the water, continually
thrusting its head down as if it were still looking for the fated
charioteer of the skies.

Even the sea shell tells the story of Phaeton. Hold it to your ear and
listen to its plaintive singing of the lad who lost a place in the
palace of the sun because he drove the chariot of light for his own
pride and without thought of others.


Apollo had incurred the anger of his father, Jupiter, and for the very
good reason that this god of light had interfered with Jupiter's will.

It was Jupiter's privilege to throw thunderbolts about whenever he
wished and to strike down anyone he chose. He kept the Cyclopes busy
night and day forging his bolts down under the mountains so that he
might have a never-failing supply. One day a thunderbolt directed by
Jove hit Aesculapius, a man of the Greeks who could heal almost any
sickness among mortals by means of his herbs. Apollo looked upon this
physician as an adopted son, because his art of healing brought so much
joy and light to men. He resented the injury done him by Jupiter's hand
and he did what even mortals do when they are angry; Apollo vented his
wrath on whoever was handiest. He aimed his arrows at those innocent
workmen, the Cyclopes, and wounded several.

Jupiter could not have his authority put aside in this way and he knew
that he must punish Apollo. So he commanded him to descend to the earth
and offer his services as herdsman to Admetus, the king of Thessaly.

It was very humble work for a god to wear a shepherd's dark cloak and
pasture his flocks in the meadows outside of Thessaly, particularly a
god who was used to living in the sumptuous palace of the sun. Apollo's
slender hands were little suited to the work of ploughing, sowing and
reaping, but he took excellent care of his ewes and lambs and grew to
enjoy his task. In his leisure time he found an empty tortoise-shell and
stretched some cords tightly across it. Then he ran his slender finger
tips across the cords and drew from them most beautiful music. That was
the first lute, and Apollo played on it every day. King Admetus heard
his music and came out to listen to the tunes his herdsman played,
sitting beside Apollo on a mossy bank, but he looked very sorrowful. The
sweet strains seemed to have no power to cheer him, or even rouse him
from his sadness.

"Why do you mourn, O King?" Apollo asked Admetus at last.

"I long for the hand of the fair Alcestis, the princess of a neighboring
kingdom, that I may make her my queen," King Admetus explained, "but she
has expressed a strange desire. She demands that her suitor appear
before her in a chariot drawn by lions and bears in which she will ride
home with him. In no other way will Alcestis come to my court and it is
impossible for me to harness wild beasts to any one of my chariots."

Apollo could not help but be amused at the foolish whim of this wayward
princess, but he had a desire to bring happiness wherever he went so he
decided to humor her. He went with his lute to the edge of the forest
that lay just next to his pasture and he played a tune upon it so sweet
as to tame any wild beasts. Then out of the forest came two lions and
two bears, as quietly as if they had been sheep. The king fastened them
to a gilded chariot and drove off for Alcestis with great rejoicing. And
Apollo had the pleasure of seeing the two return and Alcestis crowned as
the queen of Thessaly.

[Illustration: Apollo charms the wild beasts.]

It seemed as if Admetus were destined to enjoy a long and prosperous
reign, but shortly after he brought his queen home he fell ill of a very
deadly plague. Aesculapius, the physician, was no longer able to come to
the king's aid and it seemed as if there was no hope for him. But his
celestial herdsman, Apollo, again befriended him. Apollo was not able to
entirely remove the plague but he decreed that the king should live if
someone, who cared enough for him, would die in his stead.

Admetus was full of joy at this hope. He remembered the vows of faith
and attachment that bound all his courtiers to him and he expected that
a score would at once offer themselves, willing to sacrifice their lives
for their king. But not one was to be found. The bravest warrior, who
would willingly have given his life for his king on the battlefield, had
not the courage to die for him on a sick-bed. Old servants, who had
known the king's bounty and that of his father from the days of their
childhood, were not willing to give up the rest of their few days for
their sovereign. Each subject wished someone else to make the sacrifice.

"Why do not the parents of Admetus give their lives for their son?" was
asked, but these aged people felt that they could not bear to be parted
from him for even a short time, and looked to others.

What was to be done about it. It was an irrevocable decree on the part
of Apollo that he had wrested only by means of much persuasion from the
Fates. There was no remedy for Admetus except this sacrifice.

Then a very strange and wonderful thing happened. Queen Alcestis, the
fair princess who had wanted to ride behind lions and bears when she was
a girl in her own kingdom, had grown very wise and gracious since she
had attained to the throne of Thessaly. It had never for an instant
entered the minds of anyone that she could be offered to the gods in the
place of the king. But Queen Alcestis offered herself to save Admetus,
and as she sickened the king revived and was restored to his old health
and vigor.

Apollo was, of all the mourners of Thessaly, the saddest to see Alcestis
so ill. She had often found her way to the pastures where he led his
flock and had sat on a bank twining wreaths of wild flowers that she
liked better to wear than a crown, while he entertained her with the
music of his lute. And, for once, Apollo did not know what to do,
banished as he was from the council of the gods for a while, and unable
to summon the physician, Aesculapius, to his aid.

He knew that only great strength could bring Alcestis back from the
stupor in which she now lay, neither moving or speaking, and with her
rosy cheeks pale and her eyes closed. He knew, too, that of all the
heroes Hercules was the strongest. Hercules had performed feats that no
one had believed possible. Would he attempt to keep Alcestis safe from
death, Apollo wondered, particularly when he was entreated by a lowly

Hercules assented, however. He took his station at the gates of the
palace and wrestled with Death, throwing him, just as he was about to
enter and claim Alcestis. She lost her weakness, opened her eyes, the
color came again to her cheeks and she was restored to Admetus by this
last labor of Hercules.

So the matter which had bade fair to be so disastrous for a good many
people turned out very well after all. Apollo returned to Mount Olympus
when the period of his exile on the earth was up and he delighted the
Muses much with the sweet tones of his lyre. He even pleaded with his
father, Jupiter, to take pity on Aesculapius and the god at last made a
place for the physician on the road of stars that leads across the sky.


Each of the villagers in a town of Phrygia heard a knock at the door of
his cottage one summer day in the long-ago time of the myths. Each, on
opening it, saw two strangers, weary travellers, who sought food and a
shelter for the night.

It was a part of the temple teachings that a man should succor a
stranger, no matter how humble, but these Phrygians were a
pleasure-loving, careless people, neglectful of hospitality and of their
temple, even, which had fallen into decay.

So it happened that the same retort met the strangers at whatever door
they stopped.

"Be off! We have only sufficient food for ourselves and no room for any
but members of our own family."

There was not a single door but was shut in the faces of these

The afternoon was passing and it would soon be dusk. The strangers,
tired and half famished, climbed a hill on the edge of the village and
came at last upon a little cottage set there among the trees. It was a
very poor and humble cottage, thatched with straw, and barely large
enough for the two old peasants, Philemon and his wife, Baucis, who
lived there. But it opened at once when the strangers knocked to let in
the two strangers.

"We have come to-day from a far country," the one who seemed to be the
older of the two explained.

"And we have not touched food since yesterday," added the younger one
who might have been his son.

"Then you are welcome to whatever we have to offer you," said Philemon.
"We are as poor as the birds that nest in the straw of our eaves, but my
old wife, Baucis, can prepare a meal from very little which may perhaps
serve you if you are hungry. Come in, and share with us whatever we

The two guests crossed the humble threshold, bowing their heads in order
to pass beneath the low lintel, and Baucis offered them a seat and
begged them to try and feel at home.

The day had grown chilly and the old woman raked out the coals from the
ashes, covered them with leaves and dry bark, and blew the fire into
flame with her scanty breath. Then she brought some split sticks and dry
branches from a corner where she had kept them like a treasure and put
them under the kettle that hung over the fire. Afterward, she spread a
white cloth on the table.

As Baucis made these preparations, Philemon went out to their small
garden and gathered the last of the pot-herbs. Baucis put these to boil
in the kettle and Philemon cut a piece from their last flitch of bacon
and put it in to flavor the herbs. A bowl carved from beech wood was
filled with warm water that the strangers might be refreshed by bathing
their faces, and then Baucis tremblingly made the preparations for
serving the meal.

The guests were to sit on the only bench which the cottage afforded and
Baucis laid a cushion stuffed with seaweed on it and over the cushion
she spread a piece of embroidered cloth, ancient and coarse, but one
that she used only on great occasions. One of the legs of the table was
shorter than the other, but Philemon placed a flat stone under it to
make it level, and Baucis rubbed sweet smelling herbs over the entire
top of the table. Then she placed the food before the strangers, the
steaming, savory herbs, olives from the wild trees of Minerva, some
sweet berries preserved in vinegar, cheese, radishes, and eggs cooked
lightly in the ashes. It was served in earthen dishes and beside the
guests stood an earthenware pitcher and two wooden cups.

There could hardly have been a more appetizing supper, and the kindly
cheer of the two old peasants made it seem even more delectable. The
guests ate hungrily and when they had emptied the dishes Baucis brought
a bowl of rosy apples and a comb of wild honey for dessert. She noticed
that the two seemed to be enjoying their milk hugely and it made her
anxious, for the pitcher had not been more than half full. They filled
their cups again and again and drained them.

"They will finish the milk and ask for more," Baucis thought, "and I
have not another drop."

Then a great fear and awe possessed the old woman. She peered over the
shoulder of the older of the strangers into the pitcher and saw that it
was brimming full! He poured from it for his companion and it was again
full to overflowing as he set it down. Here was a miracle, Baucis knew.
Suddenly the strangers rose and their disguise of age and travel stained
garments fell from them. They were Jupiter, the king of the gods, and
his winged son, Mercury!

Baucis and Philemon were struck with terror as they recognized their
heavenly guests, and they fell on their knees at the gods' feet. With
their shaking hands clasped they implored the gods to pardon them for
their poor entertainment.

They had an old goose which they tended and cherished as the guardian of
their cottage, and now they felt that they must kill it as a sacrifice
and offering to Jupiter and Mercury. But the goose ran nimbly away from
them and took refuge between the gods themselves.

"Do not slay the bird," Jupiter commanded. "Your hospitality has been
perfect. But this inhospitable village shall pay the penalty for its
lack of reverence. You alone shall remain unpunished. Come and look at
the valley below."

Baucis and Philemon left the cottage and hobbled a little way down the
hill with the gods. In the last light of the setting sun they saw the
destruction which the people below had brought upon themselves. There
was nothing left of the village. All the valley was sunk in a blue lake,
the borders of it being wild marsh land indented with pools in which the
fen-birds waded and called shrilly.

"There is no house left save ours," Philemon gasped.

Then, as they turned, they saw that their cottage, also, had
disappeared. It had not been destroyed, though. It was transformed.
Stately marble columns had taken the place of the wooden corner posts.
The thatch had grown yellow and was now a golden roof. There were
colored mosaic floors and wide silver doors with ornaments and carvings
of gold. Their little hut, that had been scarcely large enough for two,
had grown to the height and bulk of a temple whose gilded spires reached
up toward the sky. Baucis and Philemon were too awed for words, but
Jupiter spoke to them.

"What further gift of the gods would you like, good people? Ask whatever
you wish and it shall be granted you."

The two old folks consulted for a moment and then Philemon made their
request of Jupiter.

"We would like to be the guardians of your temple, great Jupiter. And
since we have passed so much of our lives here in harmony and love, we
wish that we might always remain here and never be parted for a moment."

As Philemon finished speaking, he heard Jupiter say, "Your wish is
granted." And with these words the gods disappeared from earth. There
was a long trail of purple light in the sky like Jupiter's robe, and
beside it lay two wing-shaped clouds which marked the road Mercury had
taken, but that was all.

Baucis and Philemon went into the temple and were its keepers as long as
they were able. One day in the spring when the old couple had become
very ancient indeed they stood on the temple steps side by side, looking
at the new green the earth was putting forth. In that moment another
miracle happened to them.

Each grew straight instead of bent with age, and their garments were
covered with green leaves. A leafy crown grew upon the head of each and
as they tried to speak, a covering of bark prevented them. Two stately
trees, the linden and the oak, stood beside the temple door to guard it
in the place of the two good old people who, for their reverence, had
been thus transformed by the gods.


Kings and athletes, country folk and the musicians, sages and merchants
from the towns were all on their way toward the green hill of Parnassus,
one of the long-ago days of the myths, where the city of Delphi stood.
The kings rode in their gaily adorned chariots which were drawn by the
fleetest steeds from the royal stables. The youths were dressed for
running, or they carried flat, circular discs of stone for throwing at a
mark, javelins and bows and quivers of arrows. The road that led to the
white temple of Apollo at Delphi was choked with people on foot, people
on horseback, and people riding in farm wagons, all going in the same
direction. It was a very great occasion indeed, one that came but once
in five years, the day when the Pythian games in honor of Apollo were
held at Delphi.

They climbed the hill of Parnassus which was a very famous mount,
because of all that had happened there. When the gods saw fit to destroy
the earth, Parnassus, alone, had raised its head above the waters and
sheltered man. There, too, Apollo had transformed his beloved, Daphne,
into a laurel tree and ever since then the slopes of the hill had been
green and pink with the branches and blossoms of the laurel. Now,
Parnassus sheltered one of the most famed cities of Greece, Delphi, and
on a wide plain, near a deep cleft in the rock where the oracle was
supposed to speak, the games of the Greeks were held in honor of Apollo,
who was the god of sports.

The ground about the game field and the tiers of stone seats surrounding
it were soon filled with a crowd of onlookers in their holiday garments
of white and purple and gold. Upon a carved marble pillar at the
entrance of the field was hung a great wreath of laurel, the prize of
the winner, and everyone was talking about who this would be.

"The greatest test of all is the discus throwing," a lad on the edge of
the crowd said to another. "The stone that is hurled from a javelin, or
a spear thrown by a trained soldier has a chance to go straight to the
mark, but who can aim the thin discus with the wind waiting to turn it
from its course and carry it wide of the mark?"

The other lad thought for a moment. Then he spoke.

"The youth, Hyacinthus, could," he said.

"Oh, Hyacinthus!" the first lad replied as if the name was a kind of
spell to work magic. "Hyacinthus, of course, would win the prize, for is
he not the friend of Apollo? It is said that the great god of sports has
visited and played games with Hyacinthus ever since the lad was able to
swing a javelin. He comes to him in the form of a youth like himself
because he loves him so, and they run races and have contests of skill
here on Parnassus, and roam the groves together. How great an honor to
have a god for one's friend!" the boy said wistfully.

But both boys stepped back then and watched breathlessly as four war
chariots, driven abreast, approached. The horses sweated and foamed, the
drivers stood up perilously, shouting and gripping the reins as the
chariots tipped and crashed along the course. Two chariots locked wheels
and the drivers fell beneath the terrified, stamping steeds, but no one
heeded them as the other two rolled and swayed past them, and one
reached the goal heralded by a shout the crowd sent up as if from one
giant throat.

"Now, the discus combat!" the boy who had spoken before said, as a
slender youth in a robe of Tyrian dyes stepped proudly into the centre
of the field holding the flat, round discus in his hand.

"Hyacinthus, by my word!" the second lad exclaimed, "but who is that
beside him?" he asked, as another youth, dark eyed, straight limbed, and
with a countenance that shone like fire appeared, as if he had dropped
from the clouds, and took his place beside Hyacinthus.

"It is Apollo himself in the guise of a youth!" the awed whisper ran
through the crowd. "He has come to guide the discus that his friend
Hyacinthus carries straight to the mark."

That was the wonder that had happened. Those who had far-seeing eyes
could discern in the strange youth on the game field the god Apollo, his
crown of light showing in bright rays about his head. No one spoke. All
faces were turned toward the two as Apollo grasped the discus, raised it
far above his head, and with a strange power mingled with skill sent it
high and far.

Hyacinthus watched the discus cut through the air as straight as an
arrow shot from a bow. He was perfectly sure that it would skim, without
turning, as far as the goal at the opposite end of the field and perhaps
farther, for he had great faith in this heavenly youth who had been his
companion in so many good times. As swiftly as the discus traveled, did
Hyacinthus' thoughts wing their memories of Apollo's friendship. He had
accompanied Hyacinthus in his tramps through the forest, carried the
nets when he went fishing, led his dogs to the chase and even neglected
his lyre for their excursions up to the top of Parnassus.

"I will run ahead and bring back the discus," Hyacinthus thought, and
excited by the sport and the crowds, he leaped forward to follow the
flight of the swift stone.

At that instant the discus, turned from its course by Zephyrous, the
wind-god, who also loved Hyacinthus and was jealous of Apollo's
affection for him, struck the earth and bounded back, hitting
Hyacinthus' forehead.

Apollo, as pale as the fallen Hyacinthus, ran to his side, raised him,
and tried with all his art to stop the bleeding of his wound and save
his life. But the youth's hurt was beyond the power of all healing. As a
white lily, when one has broken it, hangs its head in the garden and
turns toward the earth, so the head of the dying Hyacinthus, too heavy
for his neck, lay upon his shoulders.

"I have killed you, my dearest friend," Apollo cried, as the people
pushed closer to see the tragedy and then turned their faces away from
this grief of a god which was greater than a mortal could feel. "I have
robbed you of your youth. Yours was the suffering and mine the crime. I
would that I were able to mingle my blood with yours which is spilled
here for me." Then Apollo was silent, looking at the ground where
Hyacinthus' blood had stained the grass, for a wonder was happening.

The crimson stain on the leaves changed to royal purple, and the stem
and foliage and petals of a new flower appeared, so sweetly fragrant
that it filled the whole field with its perfume. There had never been so
beautiful a blossom as this. Touching its wax-like flowers, Apollo knew
that the gods had comforted him in his sorrow. His friend would live
always in the flower that had sprung where he fell on Parnassus, our
hyacinth, the promise of the spring.


They needed a new king in the country of Phrygia in Asia and there was
an old saying at the court that some day they would have a ruler who
arrived at the palace in a farm wagon.

No one had thought very much about this prophecy but, to the surprise of
all, a peasant and his wife drove into the public square one day in an
ox cart, bringing their son, Midas, on the seat between them. The
peasant's name was Gordius, and he dismounted, tying his wagon in such a
hard knot that it looked as if he intended that the team should stay
there. In fact it was called the Gordian knot and it was so hard a knot
that it was reported that he who was able to untie it would be the ruler
of all Asia.

The wagon remained there, just outside the palace gates, securely
fastened, and Gordius and his wife walked home leaving Midas. It was so
exactly an interpretation of the prophecy that Midas was made king and
put upon the throne of Phrygia.

He had every opportunity of being a ruler of parts, for his humble
birth would not have interfered at all, but Midas, from the very
beginning of his reign, used his power to satisfy his own wishes instead
of carrying out the will of the people.

Bacchus, with vine leaves twisted about his curling locks and a goblet
of the purple juice of the grape always in his hand, was the god of the
vineyards. King Midas made the acquaintance of Bacchus, who was a
friendly, peaceful god and fond of human companionship. And Bacchus
unexpectedly offered Midas his choice of any wish that he cherished.

What did King Midas ask but that whatever he touched might be turned to

He hardly believed that Bacchus would be able to grant the gift of such
greedy power as this, and Bacchus wished that Midas had made a better
choice. The god consented, though, and King Midas hurried off to test
his gift alone so that he need not share it with anyone. He could not
believe his eyes when he discovered that the twig of an oak, which he
pulled from a branch, turned in his fingers to a bar of solid gold. He
picked up a stone; it turned to a gold nugget. He touched a piece of
sod; it became a mass of gold dust, thick and heavy. He snatched an
apple from an orchard tree; it was as if he had robbed the gardens of
Hesperides of one of their apples of gold. King Midas' joy knew no
bounds. He hurried home and ordered his servants to prepare and serve a
most costly and elaborate feast for him in celebration of his new found
gift of gold.

He was hungry and could scarcely wait to eat; he almost snatched a piece
of white bread to begin his meal. What was King Midas' surprise to see
the bread harden into a slab of yellow metal in his hands. He lifted a
goblet of creamy milk to his lips and it congealed into a thick, molten
liquid of gold. It was so with whatever King Midas tried to eat; fowls,
fruit, cakes, all were changed to gold before he had a chance to even
touch the food with his lips. He was faced in the midst of all his
wealth with death by starvation.

Raising his arms, shining with gold, in supplication to Bacchus, Midas
begged that he might be saved from his own power of glittering

Although the gods were able to grant gifts, it was not possible for
Bacchus to relieve a man from the dangers of his own use of a godly gift
unless he, himself, helped. Bacchus was too kind hearted, however, to
leave the foolish king to his fate so he consented to show him a way out
of his dilemma.

"Go," he told Midas, "to the River Pactolus. Follow its winding course
to the fountain head and then plunge your body and head in its waters to
wash away your greed and its punishment."

It was a long and difficult journey for King Midas whose joints, even,
creaked and were stiff with the golden metal into which they had
changed, and who could find no food or any bed on the way that was not
at once transformed to gold the instant he touched it. He was obliged to
flee and hide from robbers who pursued this fugitive form of gold. At
last, however, he came to the river, immersed himself in it, and had the
relief of feeling his stiff, glittering body soften to its natural flesh

"I have had enough of the power of gold," Midas said when he returned
to his court. "From this time I shall avoid all riches and live in the

So King Midas acquired a farm and took his court there, becoming a
worshipper of Pan, the goat-footed god of the fields.

The god Pan was the merriest and almost the best beloved of all the
gods, for his domain was the whole of the beautiful, wide outdoors. He
was a wanderer of the mountains and valleys through all the seasons,
peering into the grottos where the shepherds lived, amusing himself by
chasing the nymphs, and bringing laughter and merriment wherever he
went. The stump of a tree with its shaggy roots was Pan's pillow and the
dusky leaves his only shelter.

No one on the earth was safe from the wiles of Pan. One summer day
Diana, the huntress, was roaming through a forest when she heard a
rustle of leaves in the path behind her. Turning, she saw the dark,
mocking face of Pan and his horned head and hairy body. Diana fled and
Pan followed.

Pan must have known it was a goddess whom he pursued, for Diana's
hunting horn and her bow were of silver like the moon whose deity she
was, but this did not stop him. On he went as Diana ran in terror from
him until they came to the bank of a river. Here Pan overtook her and
Diana had only time to call to her friends, the water-nymphs, for aid
when the god clasped her in his arms.

But it was not Diana he had caught. He held a tuft of dripping water
reeds in his hands through which the nymphs had allowed the goddess to
escape. Pan held up the reeds and breathed a sigh through them because
of the failure of his prank. The reeds gave out a lovely melody. Pan was
charmed with the novelty and the sweetness of the music. He took some of
the reeds of unequal lengths and, placing them side by side, he bound
them together. So he made his pipes on which he learned to play tunes
like the singing of birds and the babbling of brooks.

King Midas enjoyed his life in the country, and he made the acquaintance
of the god Pan as he had that of Bacchus. He encouraged Pan in his
tricks and flattered him by telling him how well he played his pipes.

"If you think me skilful, King Midas, it is possible that I may
challenge Apollo in a contest of musical skill," Pan boasted.

"It would be an excellent idea," King Midas replied.

Midas should have known better and so should the frolicsome, reckless
Pan. Apollo's lute was the musical instrument of the heavens and Pan's
pipes could play only the tunes of earth, but Pan sent for Apollo and
the god of light and song descended to a green field where the contest
was to be held. Tmolus, the mountain god, was chosen to be the judge and
at a signal Pan played the rustic melody on his pipes which was all he
knew, and which greatly pleased King Midas who sat near to listen.

Then Apollo rose, crowned with laurel and wearing a robe of Tyrian
purple that swept the ground. He struck the strings of his lyre and
earth was filled with the music of the gods. The mountain-god swept away
the trees that surrounded him so that he could listen better, and the
trees themselves leaned toward Apollo in wonder and homage. When the
music stopped, the strings still vibrated making the hills carry and
echo the harmony to the skies. The mountain-god awarded the victory in
the unequal contest to Apollo, but King Midas objected.

"I like better the music of Pan's pipes," he said. "I question the
judgment of Tmolus."

Poor old Midas, still self centered and earthly! Apollo could not suffer
such a depraved pair of ears to wear human form any longer. He touched
Midas' ears and they began to lengthen, to move where they joined his
head, and they grew heavy inside and outside. Midas had the ears of an

Such a mortification for a king to have to bear! Indeed King Midas could
not stand it alone, and he told the secret of his odd ears to the court
hair-dresser in order to get his help in disguising them.

"But on pain of death do not tell anyone about my ears!" Midas

The hairdresser cut the King's hair so as to cover up the flopping ass's
ears and he even fashioned a large turban to further conceal them, but
he couldn't keep such a good secret. He went out into a meadow, dug a
hole in the ground, and stooping down, whispered the secret into it.
Then he carefully covered it up.

In a very short time a thick bed of reeds sprang up in the meadow in the
exact spot where the hairdresser had buried the secret of King Midas'
disgrace. As soon as the reeds had grown high enough to be played upon
by the breezes they began to whisper the story of the king who had to
finish his reign with a pair of asses' ears instead of his own, because
of his self will. And it is said that the meadow reeds, blown by the
wind, tell the story of King Midas to-day.


Apollo was in great trouble, for he had lost one of the herds of cattle
he owned upon the earth. He knew the exact spot where he had left them
the night before in a pasture of Arcadia, but when he rode out the next
morning in his chariot of light with the first dawning of the day, the
herd had disappeared. He searched the country for leagues about, but was
unable to find a single trace of the cows. There was not even one hoof
print to tell where they had gone.

As Apollo searched, he met a farmer of that country named Battus, whose
eyes were fairly popping out of his head with wonder.

"Have you seen a straying herd of cattle in these parts, rustic?" Apollo
asked him. "I have lost my best herd, and can find trace of neither hoof
or hide of one of them."

"I saw strange doings last evening with a herd," Battus replied. "The
night was dark and cloudy, and I went out to see if my flock of sheep
was safely fastened in the fold. What I saw was like one of the tricks
that Pan and his family of Satyrs plays, but I doubt if even they have
such witching powers. I do believe that I must have dreamed it."

"Tell me what you saw with no further words," Apollo commanded the
farmer impatiently.

"It was in the middle of the night," Battus explained. "As I passed a
field where a fine herd of cattle was at rest I saw a child coming as
swiftly and as surely over the grass as if he had wings. Once in a while
he stopped and gathered a handful of broom straw, sorting it into
bunches and tying it with dried grass. Presently the child came to the
herd, and he tied a bunch of straw to the hoof of each cow. Then he
drove the entire herd backward toward the cave of Pylos that you know is
but a short distance from here. I followed him for part of the way, but
I lost them, for the child went with the speed of the wind. I could not
find their trail again, because they left not a single foot print. The
brooms on their hoofs swept their track clean."

"A trick played on me, of the circle of the gods!" Apollo exclaimed,
his eyes dark with anger and the rays of light he wore about his head
sending off sparks of fire. And without so much as thanking Battus for
his information, Apollo drove with the swiftness of lightning to the
cave of Pylos. There was his herd feeding peacefully outside, and as
Apollo forced his way into the cave, he saw the mischievous little boy
who had been the cause of all the trouble.

He was still fast asleep and he was quite alone, for he had been born in
that cave and knew no other home. Apollo shook him, and he opened a pair
of the brightest, most roguish eyes that ever were seen in the earth or
on Mount Olympus either. But when he spied Apollo, he closed them again,
pretending that he was asleep, for, like most people who use their
clever wits to make trouble for others, he didn't want to be found out.
It was Mercury, and he had begun as early as this to play tricks on even
the gods.

"What do you mean by driving away the herds of Arcadia to this lonely
spot?" Apollo asked Mercury angrily. "Do you not know that the
inhabitants of the country depend on them for food and that the gods,
descending to earth, have need of cream and curds?"

But Mercury said not a word. He only shrugged his small shoulders and
squeezed his eyes more tightly shut.

"Well, you shall be punished as you deserve," Apollo said, quite losing
his patience, and he picked up Mercury, not very gently, and dropped him
into his chariot. Then he drove off with him as fast as he could
straight up to the throne of Jupiter, the king of the gods, on Mount

It must have been quite an ordeal, particularly for a little boy like
Mercury. Jupiter's throne was very high and quite blinded his eyes with
its flashing gold and precious stones, and there were piles of
thunderbolts close by all ready to throw if the need arose. And Jupiter
himself wore a very dark frown when Apollo told him of the trick that
Mercury had played.

"He shall be thrown--" Jupiter began, having in mind the punishment of
denying Mercury the fellowship of the gods, but just then Mercury looked
the king of the gods straight in the eyes, and Jupiter looked back. Then
Jupiter started, for he saw that Mercury was, himself, a god. He might
be, just then, a very naughty and young god, but it seemed as if he
could do great deeds if only he were to make up his mind to. Jupiter
called Mercury close to his throne and spoke to him.

"I, myself, have lost a cow," he told Mercury. "In fact she is not
really a cow at all, but a beautiful maiden named Io, in disguise, and I
understand that she lives upon the earth guarded by a watchman named
Argus who has a hundred eyes. I should like to rescue the lovely Io and
restore her to her proper form, but Argus never closes all of his eyes
at once. He sleeps with as many as fifty of them open. Could you help me
in this matter, do you suppose?"

Mercury stood up very straight as he said,

"I will try."

"You may need help, lad," Apollo said, forgetting his anger in his
interest at this great adventure Mercury was going to attempt. "Take
these," and he gave the young god some very useful presents, a golden
divining rod made in a design of two twined serpents, and a pair of
wings for his feet and a pair also for his cap.

As Mercury took the golden rod in his hand and fastened on his wings,
he suddenly grew very tall and of almost the stature and pattern of the
gods. He was their messenger now, and he knew that he had quicker wits
and more shrewdness than any of them. He set out at once for the green
fields of Arcadia where Io was pastured.

And there was old Argus guarding her with all his hundred eyes. He let
the little heifer feed during the day, but when night came he tied a
rough rope around her neck. She longed to stretch out her arms and
implore freedom of Argus, but she had no arms to stretch and her voice
was only a loud bellow that frightened even herself. Her father and her
brothers fed her tufts of grass but did not know who she was. No wonder
Mercury made haste to come to Io's help, laying aside his wings when he
reached Argus and keeping only his wand. On the way he borrowed the
pipes of Pan and brought a flock of sheep so that he appeared before
Argus as only a wandering shepherd.

Argus listened to the music of the pipes with the greatest delight, for
he had never heard them before. He called to Mercury as he strolled

"Come and take a seat by me on this stone," he begged. "There is no
better grazing ground in all Arcadia than this."

So Mercury sat down beside Argus and played to him as long as he wished,
and then he told him stories all the rest of the day until the sun had
set and it was starlight and Io still grazed nearby without being tied.
As the night wore on and Mercury still soothed Argus with his music and
his tales, one by one his hundred eyes closed. At the first streak of
dawn, the last eye was shut, and Mercury led Io away to Jupiter to be
restored to her proper shape. He did something else too. He gave Juno
all of Argus' eyes as a present, which pleased her so much that she put
them for ornaments in the tail of her peacock. You may see them there

So Mercury was safe in the good graces of the gods. They began giving
him unusual things to do, such as taking Pandora and her enchanted box
down to the earth, carrying new suits of armor to the heroes, and taking
off the chains which Mars, the clumsy god of war, had made for his own
uses but had become bound with himself. These commissions were little
more than fun for Mercury, and they made him feel so important that he
began playing tricks again.

Almost all the gods had their own particular treasures which were, in a
way, the marks of their authority and power. They grew to depend on
these and to feel that they could not carry on their good works without
them. And what did that rascal, Mercury, do but take Venus' jewelled
girdle, Jupiter's sceptre, Mars' best sword, Vulcan's tongs, and
Neptune's trident, and either hide them or try to make use of them
himself for a while. Then he would manage to make up in some way for his
mischief and smooth the whole matter over. It caused a great deal of
anxiety and inconvenience among the gods and at last they sent Mercury
down to earth once more to act as a guide to the heroes when they
undertook dangerous adventures.

So Mercury took his winged way from one end of the world to the other.
Whenever there was a hazard where skill and dexterity were needed as
greatly as courage, Mercury was there. His journeys took him to the
islands of Greece and to many foreign lands, and in these travels he
never lost a chance to direct travellers and strangers who had lost
their way.

Mercury was so busy that he forgot to play tricks on either the gods or
men, and after a while he was accepted as a member in good standing of
the family of the gods. The people of Greece had reason to worship
Mercury because of something very helpful that he did for them.

There was a place in Greece where several roads met. It was really such
a place as is known as the cross-roads now, and dangerous. A traveller
on foot was not able to see the approach of a swiftly driven chariot,
and a stranger might easily lose his his way, for the roads were not
marked. Mercury set up the first sign post here at the cross-roads with
plain directions telling where each one of the roads led.

The Greeks placed sign posts in honor of Mercury at every crossing of
the roads after that, much more beautiful than ours because they were
made in the form of marble pillars with a head of Mercury in his winged
cap at the top. Every man who came to one of these first sign posts was
asked to place a stone beside it as an offering to Mercury. The stones
were greatly appreciated by this god of speed, for they helped in
clearing the fields and making the roads easier to travel. Commerce and
business were beginning. Loads of timber and grain and wool and fruits
were carried in huge ox carts to the sea to be loaded in ships, and
Mercury wanted good roads as a help to commerce.

Mercury turned out very well indeed, in spite of his bad beginning. It
had depended upon how he used his wits, whether or not he helped the
world or hindered it.


Once upon a time there was a child of the gods named Iris who had many
very interesting relatives. On her mother's side was the Pleiades
family, daughters of old Atlas who held the earth on his shoulders and
nymphs in the train of Diana, the huntress. Diana was to be seen in the
silvery moon of the night sky, and the Pleiades surrounded her there,
seven shining stars.

Iris had a most distinguished grandfather, Oceanus, the sea god. So she
spent part of her time in the sky with the Pleiades and part in the
ocean with her grandfather. It was very interesting to be in either
place, for she loved the bright lights of the heavens, and the coral
palaces of the sea made delightful places to explore.

All of her family loved Iris, and it is surprising that she was not
spoiled with the amount of freedom she had, going here and there between
earth and sky without any one saying no to her. But Iris had been well
brought up, and she began when she was still quite small making herself
just as useful as she possibly could.

At that time another child of the gods, Proserpine, had made a great
deal of trouble by straying away from home and being kidnapped by Pluto.
Her mother Ceres, the goddess of the fields, had to neglect her work for
a long time as she searched for Proserpine, and the earth grew dry and
barren in her absence. As Iris took her way from the sky to the sea and
then back again, she felt sorry for the grain, the fruits and the
flowers that were withering, and she did wish that she might help them.

One summer day Iris was paying a visit to Oceanus, her grandfather, and
having a most beautiful time riding the crest of the waves on a
frolicsome dolphin. The sea was covered with soft, light vapor and when
it was time for Iris to go home to the sky in order to be there in time
to help light the lamps of the Pleiades, she wrapped herself all about
with this fleecy vapor. Still wearing it like a cloak, Iris reached the
sky when a most unusual thing happened. It was so cool up there among
the clouds that the sea foam turned to raindrops. Iris had to hurry
away or she would have been wet through. Leaning over the edge of a
cloud bank to see what was happening, she discovered that a shower of
rain was falling to cool the earth and comfort it a little in its
condition of drought.

Iris could travel with the speed of the wind from one end of the world
to the other, and after that she busied herself searching for thirsty
plants and trying to help them. She would descend to the ocean, a lake
or a river, wherever she might be, and carry vapor that was full of
water to the sky from which it dropped to earth to nourish all growing
things. The farmers looked upon Iris as their most important help, and
at last the news of her good works came to the ears of the gods on

The gods had one messenger, Mercury, who wore wings on his heels and
also on his cap. He was so swift that he was detailed to carry out the
most difficult and delicate errands of the gods such as taking new suits
of armor to the warriors of Greece, guiding the heroes, and even
rescuing Mars, the god of war, when he once found himself bound by the
chains he had designed for others. But one never knew exactly how
Mercury would carry out a commission. He liked to linger with Pan in the
woods and forests, giving as an excuse the care of young Bacchus, god of
the vine, whom he must guard.

So the gods decided that they would have an errand girl who would live
on Olympus and leave the habitation of the gods only when it was
necessary to go to man as a guide and adviser.

That was the high trust which was given Iris by the gods. She had to use
her own judgment to quite an extent as to when and where she was most
needed by the dwellers of the earth, and how she could best help them.
One day she noticed something happening in the kingdom of her

A ship glided out of a harbor, the breeze playing among the ropes, and
the seamen drew in their oars and hoisted their sails. The night drew
on, the sea began to whiten with swelling waves, and the east wind blew
a gale. The captain gave orders to strengthen the ship and reef the sail
but none of the sailors could hear his voice above the roar of the wind
and the sea. The cries of the men, the rattling of the shrouds, and the
breaking surf mingled with the thunder. Then the swelling sea seemed to
be lifted up to the heavens, to scatter its foam among the clouds, and
then sink away to the bottom.

The ship could not stand the storm; it seemed like a wild beast charged
upon by the spears of the hunter. There came a flash of lightning,
tearing the darkness asunder, and illuminating all with its glare. It
shattered the mast and broke the rudder, and the triumphant surge,
rising over the ship, looked down on the wreck, then fell and crushed it
to fragments. As the ship went down, the captain cried out in longing,


Then Iris, who could see beyond and through the darkness, had a vision
of the beautiful Queen Halcyone, of Sicily, who mourned her shipwrecked
husband, the captain of this ship.

Without a moment's hesitation, Iris set out for the palace of Somnus,
the king of sleep. It was a long and dangerous journey. Even Apollo did
not dare to approach it at dawn, noon, or evening. It was set in a
country where the light glimmered but faintly, and clouds and shadows
rose out of the ground. No wild beast, or cattle, or tree moved by the
wind, or any sound of voices broke the stillness, but the river Lethe
flowed through it, rippling with a low kind of lullaby.

Iris approached the home of Somnus very timidly. All the way there were
fields of poppies and the herbs from which Night distilled sleep to
scatter over the darkened earth. There was no gate to the palace to
creak as it opened, or any watchman. So this little errand girl of the
gods went inside and made her way to the room where there was a throne
of black ebony draped with dusky plumes and curtains. On the throne
reclined Somnus, scarcely opening his eyes, and with his hair and beard
covering him like a mantle.

Iris knelt before him,

"Somnus, gentlest of the gods, and soother of careworn hearts," she
said, "will you not allow me to despatch a dream to Halcyone about her
husband whom she mourns. See these dreams that lie around you, as many
as the harvest bears stalks, or the forest leaves, or the seashore
grains of sand! Can you not spare one beautiful dream for Halcyone?"

Somnus called his servant, Morpheus, who selected a dream and flew,
making no noise with his wings, until he came to the city of Trachine
where Halcyone could not sleep, but lay and tossed and wept in terror at
the thought of what might have happened to her husband's ship. And at
that moment Halcyone fell into a deep and happy dream in which she saw
her husband. He stood beside her couch and spoke to her.

"The stormy winds have sunk my ship in the Aegean Sea," he told
Halcyone, "let me not be alone. Arise and come with me!"

It was the most enlightening dream that Somnus could have sent. Halcyone
left off her lamentations and implored the gods that she be allowed to
join her husband, and the pitying gods turned them both into birds. They
became the Halcyone gulls of the sea, riding the surf together, guarding
their nest that floated upon the sea, and never again separated.

As soon as she felt sure that her errand was safely accomplished, Iris
made haste to leave the domain of Somnus, for she felt its drowsiness
creeping over her. She tried not to crush any of the sleep producing
herbs as she went, and she was careful not to pick a single poppy. At
last she was safely outside the boundaries, and then she could hardly
believe what she saw, for a wonder had happened to her.

The gods had built her a long bridge that arched from the earth to the
sky and over which she could go home to Olympus. It was made of colored
stones, the ruby, the topaz, the emerald, the sapphire, and the
amethyst. Row upon row the glistening stones of the arch made a bright
path for Iris' feet. She passed along it, the light of the brilliant
gems scintillating about her, and when she came to the abode of the
gods, Iris found another surprise. There was a beautiful new dress
waiting for her there.

It had the same colors as those of the precious stones that made the
bridge, crimson, orange and yellow, green, blue, and violet and so
marvellously blended that they seemed to be one pattern and one piece of
brightness. There were wings that went with the dress, and when Iris put
it on not even Juno had so beautiful a garment.

Iris wore her dress of colors as she took her way along her arched
bridge from Olympus to earth and then back again. And her errands were
those of help and courage and bright hope.

Have you guessed who she was? Why, of course you have, for you see her
bridge of colors in the sky after a shower when the sun is shining
through the clouds. Iris was the child of the gods who gave us the


There were lilies and great blue violets growing wild on the banks of
the lake in the vale of Enna. How could a little girl resist them, and
particularly Proserpine whose mother was Ceres, the goddess of
agriculture, and who had played and lived outdoors all her life?
Proserpine had been racing through the forest with some of her boy and
girls friends, farther than was wise.

"Don't go out of sight of our own home fields," Ceres had said that

But here was Proserpine out of sight and sound of her playmates even.
Violets like to grow in damp, dark places, and Proserpine had followed
their blue trail until she was shut in the vale of Enna by the trees.
She was quite alone and, suddenly, in danger.

There was the sound of racing chariot steeds and the crash of heavy
wheels breaking the low branches and the bushes. A dark shadow made the
vale darker than it had been before. A black chariot burst into sight,
drawn by black horses and driven by a man who was dressed in black from
head to foot. He was Pluto, the king of darkness, who had been waiting
for a long time for this chance to kidnap fair little Proserpine. Her
flowers fell from her apron in which she had been holding them; she
screamed, but there was no one to hear her. Pluto dragged her into his
grasp and threw her in the chariot. The horses dashed away, and
Proserpine left the land of springtime for Pluto's dark kingdom beneath
the earth.

Pluto shouted to his steeds, calling each by name, and giving them the
length of the iron colored reins over their heads and necks. He reached
the River Cyane which had no bridge, but he struck the waters with his
trident and they rolled back, giving him a passage down through the
earth to Tartarus where his throne was.

It was a prison place that they reached by way of a deep gulf, and its
recesses were as far beneath the level of the earth as Mount Olympus was
high above their heads. A strange sound of singing came to Proserpine
from the depths of the cave where Pluto led her:

     "Twist ye, twine ye! Even so,
     Mingle shades of joy and woe,
     Hope, and fear, and peace, and strife
     In the thread of human life."

And when Proserpine's eyes were a little more used to the dimness of the
cave she saw three gray women, the Fates, with threads and shears,
seated beside the throne and singing those words. One of them spun the
thread of life, and another twisted its bright and dark lines together.
But the third Fate cut the threads apart whenever she liked.

Other grim and terrible creatures met Proserpine's frightened gaze. The
Furies had spread their couches there as had also Fear and Hunger. The
Hydra hissed with each one of its nine heads and the Chimaeras breathed
fire. There was a giant with a hundred arms, and Discord whose hair was
bound with a fillet made of vipers.

"Take me back to the light. I want to go home. Oh, I beg of you, take me
home!" Proserpine cried, but her words only echoed through the vaults of
the kingdom of darkness. And when she tried to make her escape, her
frail little hands were bruised from beating against the thick iron
door that shut her in.

The next morning Aurora rode through the sky to put away the stars and
touch the clouds with the pink color of the dawn. Looking down to the
earth, she saw a goddess who had arisen long before the dawn and was
hurrying up and down the earth, wringing her hands and with tears in her
eyes. She wore a chaplet woven of the golden heads of the grain, and she
was straight and strong and beautiful in her flowing robes of green, but
she did not lift her eyes from the earth, so deep was her sorrow.

That evening Hesperus, who followed in Aurora's course each sunset to
lead out the stars, saw the same goddess. Her robes were torn and
stained from her travels and bedraggled with the dew. She was still
weeping, and still searching. She was going to search, without rest, all

Many others saw this goddess in the days that followed. She was always
roaming from daylight until dark, in the open, in sunlight and
moonlight, and in falling showers. She was weary and sad. In such a
plight a peasant, named Celeus, found her one day. He had been out in a
field gathering acorns and blackberries, and binding bundles of sticks
for his fire. The goddess sat there on a stone, too tired to go on.

"Why do you sit here alone on the rocks?" Celeus asked her. He carried a
heavy load, but he stopped to try and succor her. "Come to my cottage
and rest," he entreated her. "My little son is very ill, and we have
only a most humble roof, but such as it is we will be glad to share it
with you."

The goddess rose and gathered her arms full of crimson poppies. Then she
followed Celeus home.

They found deep distress in the cottage, for the little boy was so ill
as to be almost past hope. His mother could scarcely speak for her
sorrow, but she welcomed the wandering goddess and spread the table for
her with curds and cream, apples, and golden honey dripping from the
comb. The goddess ate, but her eyes were on the sick child and when his
mother poured milk into a goblet for him she mingled the juice of her
poppies with it.

At last night came, and the peasants slept. Then the goddess arose and
took the little boy in her arms. She touched his weak limbs with her
strong, skilful hands, said a charm over him three times, and then laid
him in the warm ashes of the fire.

"Would you kill my son? Wicked woman that you are to so abuse my
hospitality!" the child's mother cried, awaking and seeing what the
goddess had done.

But just then a strange thing happened. The cottage was filled with a
splendor like white lightning, and a light seemed to shine from the skin
of the goddess. A lovely perfume was scattered from her fragrant
garments, and her hair was as bright as gold.

"Your son will not die, but live," she told the wife of Celeus. "He
shall grow up and be great and useful. He shall teach men the use of the
plough, and the rewards which labor can win from the cultivation of the

"Who are you?" the woman asked in amazement as she saw the boy's white
cheeks grow rosy with new life.

"I am Ceres," the goddess answered, "whose grief is greater than yours,
for my child is lost. I search the earth for her, and never find her."
With these words she was gone, as if she had wrapped herself in a cloud
and floated away to meet the dawning of another day of her journey.

That was who this wanderer of the earth was, the immortal Ceres, who
still did not care to live without her loved little daughter,

She was obliged to neglect her work of caring for the earth in her
search for Proserpine, and disaster came to the land for many seasons.
The cattle died and no plough broke the furrows. The seed failed to come
up. There was too much sun and too much rain. The birds stole the
harvest, little as there was, and seeds and brambles were the main
growth. Even Arethusa, the nymph of the fountain, was about to die as
Ceres, in her search, came to the banks of the River Cyane, where Pluto
had passed with Proserpine to his own domain. Ceres had almost given up

"Ungrateful soil that I have clothed with herbs and fruits and grains,"
she said. "You have taken my child and shall enjoy my favors no longer."

But Arethusa spoke:

"Do not blame the earth, Mother Ceres," she said. "It opened unwillingly
to take your daughter. I come from the waters. I know them so well that
I can count the pebbles in the bottom of this river, the willows that
shade it and the violets on the bank. I was at play not long since in
the river and Alpheus, the god of the stream, pursued me. I ran and he
followed in an attempt to keep me from going back to my home in the
fountain. As I tried to escape him, I plunged through the depths of the
earth and into a cavern. While I passed through the bowels of the earth
I saw your Proserpine. She was sad, but had no look of terror. Pluto had
made her his queen in the realm of the dead. I have made my way back to
tell you."

Ceres knew then that Proserpine was lost to her unless Jupiter helped in
taking her away from the king of darkness. She summoned her chariot and
rode to Mount Olympus, but even Jupiter had not complete power over

"If Proserpine has taken food in Pluto's realm, the Fates will not allow
her to return to earth," he told Ceres. "But I will send my swift
messenger, Mercury, with Spring to try and bring her home."

In all that time Proserpine had eaten none of the rich food that Pluto
had set before her, only six seeds of a red pomegranate as she had
pressed the fruit to her lips to quench her thirst. But Spring, with all
her strength that can bring new leaves and blooms from dead branches,
with the help of Mercury, the god of the winged shoes, brought
Proserpine the long way back to her mother for six months. The remaining
six months of the year, one month for each pomegranate seed that she had
eaten, Proserpine was doomed to spend as queen of Pluto's kingdom of

No one, and particularly not her mother, worried very much, though,
about those months of darkness because of the wonders that Proserpine
brought when she returned to earth. Every tree that she touched with her
garments burst into green, and wherever her feet pressed the earth the
grass and wild flowers appeared and spread. Ploughing and planting were
begun again, and the new shoots of the corn pushed up through the

Indeed, it seemed to Ceres that her other child, the corn, was telling
the story of lost Proserpine. The seed of the corn that is thrust into
the earth and lies there, concealed in the dark, is like Proserpine
carried off by the god of the underworld. Then Spring gives the seed a
new form and it appears to bless the earth, just as Proserpine was led
forth to her mother and to the light of day.


Erisichthon had made up his mind to kill the Dryad who lived in the oak

He was one of the strongest ploughmen in all Greece, and he knew Ceres
who presided over the fields and her favorite Dryad of the oak tree very
well. The oak tree had stood for centuries in a grove in which Ceres
loved to rest, and it was almost a forest in itself. It overtopped the
other trees as far as they stretched above the shrubs. Its trunk
measured fifteen cubits around, and it was supported upon roots that
were almost as strong as iron cables.

It was supposed in those old days of Greece to be a tree of wonders. It
was this oak that guarded the wide agricultural domain of Ceres, and the
Dryad who lived inside was one of the messengers of this goddess through
the farms and orchards. She was a slender, fair young creature who would
never grow old and carried sunbeams in her hands that brought new
growth wherever she spilled them.

When the grove was empty and still, all the other Dryads would step
softly from their dwelling places in the cypress, the olive and the pine
trees and join hands as they danced lightly about the oak tree, singing
their praises of the great Ceres who fed with her bounty the whole of
Greece. The country people, and even those from the cities, came to pay
their homage to Ceres' oak, bringing garlands of roses and laurel that
they hung on its boughs, and carving messages of thanks and love for the
Dryad on its bark.

Erisichthon knew all this, but he wanted a quantity of wood for his farm
without the trouble of earning it. He decided the property of Ceres was
his, by right, because he had ploughed her fields at the time of the
planting. So Erisichthon saw no reason why he should spare the wonderful
oak tree, even if it did shelter a Dryad. He called his servants
together, armed them with freshly sharpened axes, and they set out for
the forest.

When they reached the oak tree, Erisichthon's men hesitated. The tree
looked like a temple, its wide spreading branches sheltering the other
trees, and its great trunk towering toward the sky like a bronze pillar.
Each man remembered Ceres' bounty toward him, her gifts of apples and
corn, grapes and wheat, and best of all her offering of land that would
bring plenty for the ploughing and planting.

"We cannot cut it. This is a tree well beloved of Ceres," the men said
to their master.

"I care not whether it be a tree beloved of the goddess or not,"
Erisichthon shouted angrily to them. "If I cut it down I shall have no
more need of Ceres, for its wood will make me rich beyond the need of
planting. She owes me a living on account of the past seasons in which I
have worked for her. If Ceres herself were in my way I would cut her
down also!" he exclaimed.

With this terrible threat on his lips, the lawless ploughman seized an
axe from one of his trembling servants and began chopping the trunk of
the mighty tree. He had great strength, and each blow cut a deep gash.

As Erisichthon cut in toward the heart of the oak tree, that held the
Dryad, the oak began to shiver and groan, but he showed it no mercy. He
ordered his men to tie ropes to the branches and pull, and he continued
to cut it until the tree fell with a crash that was like the sound of a
thunderbolt, and brought down with it a great part of the forest that
surrounded it.

As the giant trunk lay on the ground at the feet of Erisichthon, there
was a sighing of the branches like that of a summer breeze passing
through, and the leaves fluttered as if they had been stirred by the
flight of a bird. It was the spirit of the Dryad whom Erisichthon had so
hurt, taking her way to her family of the gods on Mount Olympus.

Those Dryads who were left in the grove hastened to Ceres with news of
what had happened.

"This man must be punished!" they cried.

Ceres bowed her head in assent, and the fields of grain bowed also, and
the branches of the fruit trees drooped. It was the ripe time of the
harvest, but there were no crops on the farm of Erisichthon, and Ceres
decreed that no neighbor should share with him.

In the northern part of Greece lay the ice topped mountains of Scythia,
a bleak, unfertile region without fruit or grain. Cold, and Fear, and
Shuddering lived there and one other, who was more to be dreaded than
all three. This was Famine with unkempt hair and sunken eyes, blanched
lips, and her skin tightly drawn over her sharp bones. She made her home
in a hard, stony field where she pulled up the scanty herbage with her
claw-like fingers and tried to subsist on it.

After Erisichthon had cut down the old oak tree Ceres sent to Scythia
for Famine.

Erisichthon found that it was going to be a month's task to cut up his
wood and carry it to his farm, so he went home to rest over night,
planning to start the work in the morning. He felt hungry after his hard
work of chopping down the tree, but he had not even a pomegranate for
his supper. All his food had strangely disappeared. He decided to go to
bed and try to forget his hunger in sleep.

"I will sell a load of wood in the morning for many gold coins," he
thought, "and buy food in plenty."

So Erisichthon lay down on his couch and was soon fast asleep. Then
Famine sped in through the window and hovered over where he lay. She
folded her wings around him and breathed her poison into his veins. Then
she hastened back to Scythia, for she had no other errand in a land of

Erisichthon did not wake but he stirred in his sleep and moved his jaws
as if he were eating, for he was very hungry in his dreams. In the
morning he woke with a raging hunger that was a hundred times worse than
that of the day before.

He sold his load of wood and spent all the money for whatever food the
earth, the air, and the sea produced. He consumed vast quantities of
fish, fowl, the flesh of lambs, fruit and vegetables; but the more
Erisichthon ate, the greater was his hunger. The amount of food that
would have been enough for the whole of Athens was not sufficient for
this man. He continually craved more.

Erisichthon sold the wood of the entire oak tree, and began selling
pieces of the land that made his farm in order to get food for appeasing
his terrible hunger. At last his fields were gone and he had to sell his
furniture, his tools, his books, and all his vases. Still he could not
get food enough to appease his gnawing appetite, so he sold his house
and lived in a tent that he set up beside the road. But his hunger was
still unsatisfied and in his madness Erisichthon sold his only daughter
to be the slave of a fisherman who cast his nets beside the Aegean Sea.

The girl loved her father very dearly and her grief, as she gathered sea
weed along the shore for her master, touched the heart of Neptune, the
god of the sea. He changed her to the form of a horse, and she went home
to Erisichthon, hoping that he would look upon so fine an animal with
favor, and give it a home. But her father sold the horse to a chariot
racer. She escaped and went again to the shore where Neptune changed
her, in turn, to a stag, an ox, and a rare bird. Each time she made her
way home, and each time her father sold her to buy food. So the bird
flew away to Mount Olympus and was never seen again.

At last there came a day when Erisichthon could feed himself no longer.
There was nothing left to him in the world that he could sell, and his
hunger was so great that he went, like a raving beast, up and down the
bountiful fields of Ceres demanding that food be given him.

But those whom Famine touches because they break Ceres' laws, and
destroy life and property find no help unless they try to restore the
order that they have hurt. Erisichthon was too weak to work, and he
could never raise another oak tree like that one which had been growing
for centuries. So he went, at last, to live with Famine in Scythia which
was a long way from the Mount of the gods.


Strange things were happening in a field of the beautiful country called
Arcadia. A youth who wore a wreath of green laurel leaves on his dark
hair sat on a rock and held a lyre in his hands from whose strings he
drew sweet music. And as he played a wolf, who had been the terror of
the shepherds for many leagues around, came out of the woods and lay
down like a great dog at the feet of the youth. Next, the nearby olive
trees bent their heads to listen and then moved toward him until they
stood in a circle at his feet. Then the hard rock on which the musician
rested covered itself with soft green verdure and bluebells and violets
began to lift their heads, growing out of its age-old stones.

This was what always happened when Orpheus, the son of Apollo, played
the lyre that his father had given him and had taught him to use.
Nothing could withstand the charm of his music. Not only the farmers and
shepherds, the nymphs and fauns of Arcadian woods and fields were
softened and drawn by his tunes, but the wild beasts as well laid by
their fierceness and stood, entranced, at his strains.

Orpheus touched his lyre again and played an even lovelier song. And out
of the forest glided the nymph, Eurydice, taking her place near Orpheus.
His music had won her devotion and Hymen, the god of marriage, had made
the two very happy. Their deepest wish was that they might never be

The whole of Arcadia was charmed by Orpheus' lute. No, there was just
one person in that beautiful country who positively disliked music, and
that was the bee-man, Aristaeus. In fact, Aristaeus could not see the
value of anything beautiful, the statues and vases in the temple of
Apollo, the tapestries the weavers decorated with so many soft colors,
the tints of the wild flowers, or the arch of the rainbow in the sky
after a shower. This bee-man could find no interest in anything except
his combs of yellow honey, their number, and how many gold coins he
would be paid for them. Not only did Aristaeus dislike beautiful
things, but he did not want others to enjoy them. A cross old Arcadian,
was he not?

He was feeling particularly disagreeable on the morning when Orpheus
began playing his lute near his farm. And when Eurydice, whom Orpheus so
loved, approached him to ask for a comb of his delicious honey for
dinner for the two, Aristaeus entirely lost his temper. He not only
refused the nymph, which no one but a very stingy person could have
done, for she smiled at him so winningly and asked for it so politely;
but he chased Eurydice off his farm.

No one had treated Eurydice so rudely in all her life before. Even Pan
had gathered flowers for her to twine into garlands and had refrained
from teasing her as he did almost all the other nymphs. And here she
was, a long distance from Orpheus and pursued by an ugly tempered
country man! Eurydice ran like the wind, the bee-man coming fast behind
her. She was much fleeter than he and would have reached the woods
safely, but she stepped suddenly on a snake that she had not seen as it
lay coiled up in the grass. The snake stung Eurydice's bare feet and she
dropped down on the ground.

"It serves her right!" the bee-man said, not going to see how badly she
was hurt. And with that he went back to his bees.

Aristaeus was the very first bee-man, the myths tell us. When the gods
made the little creatures of the earth they made also the honey bees and
taught them how to build themselves homes in hollow trees or holes in
the rocks, to find the nectar in the flowers, and make from it their
thick, golden honey. Aristaeus was the son of the water-nymph Cyrene,
and he came to Arcadia with the remembrance of the music of the waters
and the brightness of the sun in his heart, but when he discovered how
to attract the bees to his farm and take their honey away from them and
sell it, he forgot everything except his business. That was when he
began to dislike Orpheus and to become blind to the fair country in
which he lived.

"Three hives are swarming to-day," the bee-man thought as he came home.
"I ought to be able to get a good sum for the honey." Then, as he
reached the orchard where his hives were placed on the wall, he looked
about him in amazement. Hives, bees, all were gone. Not a buzz, a
sting, or a single drop of honey was left!

Aristaeus looked throughout the entire countryside for his bees for
days, but he could not find a single one. At last he gave up the search
and did what a good many boys and girls would be apt to do in the same
emergency. He went to ask the advice of his mother, the sea-nymph

He went to the edge of the river where he knew she lived and called her.

"O mother, the pride of my life is taken away from me. I have lost my
precious bees. My care and skill have availed me nothing. Can you turn
from me this blow of misfortune?"

His mother heard these complaints as she sat in her palace at the bottom
of the river with her attendant nymphs around her. They were busy
spinning and weaving beautiful designs in water weeds and painting
pebbles while another told stories to amuse the rest. But the sad voice
of the bee-man interrupted them and one put her head above the water.
Seeing Aristaeus, she returned and told his mother, who ordered that he
be brought down to her.

At the command of Cyrene, the river opened itself and let him pass
through, as it stood curled like a mountain on either side. The bee-man
descended to the place where the fountains of the great rivers lie. He
saw the enormous rock beds of the waters and was almost deafened by
their roar as he saw them hurrying off in all their different directions
to water the face of the earth. Then Aristaeus came to his mother's
palace of shells and stone and he was taken to her apartment where he
told her his troubles.

Cyrene, being a dweller of the waters which are the fountain of life,
was very wise. She understood at once that her son had made a mistake in
not seeing that it was possible to combine beauty and usefulness.
Arcadia needed bees, but it needed Orpheus and his lute also, and the
gods had punished the bee-man for his sordidness. Still, he was her son
and Cyrene decided to try and help Aristaeus out of his difficulty.

"You must go to old Proteus, who is the herdsman of Neptune's
sea-calves," Cyrene said. "He can tell you, my son, how to get back your
bees, for he is a great prophet. You will have to force him to help
you, however. If you are able to seize him, chain him at once; he will
answer your questions in order to be released. I will conduct you to the
cave where he comes at noon to take his nap. Then you can easily secure
him, but when he finds himself in chains he will cause you a great deal
of trouble. He will make a noise like the crackling of flames so as to
frighten you into loosing your hold on the chain. Or he may become a
wild boar, a fierce tiger, a lion with ravenous jaws or a devouring
dragon. But you have only to keep Proteus fast bound and when he finds
all his arts to be of no avail he will return to his natural shape and
obey your commands."

So Cyrene led Aristaeus to the cave by the sea and showed him where to
hide behind a rock while she, herself, arose and took her place behind
the clouds. Promptly at noon old Proteus, covered with dripping green
weeds, issued from the water followed by a herd of sea calves who spread
themselves out on the shore. The herdsman of the sea counted them, sat
down on the floor of the cave, and then in a very short time had
stretched himself out, fast asleep. Aristaeus waited until he was
snoring and then he bound him with a heavy chain he had brought for the

When Proteus awoke and found himself captured, he struggled like a wild
animal at bay. Next, he turned to flame and then, in succession to many
terrible beasts, but Aristaeus never once let go of the chain that
secured him. At last he returned to his true form and spoke angrily to

"Who are you, who boldly invades my domain and what do you want?"
Proteus demanded.

"You know already," the bee-man replied, "for you have the powers of a
prophet and nothing is hidden from you. I have lost my bees, and I want
to have them returned to me."

At these words, the prophet fixed his eyes on Aristaeus with a piercing

"Your trouble is the just reward sent you by the gods because you killed
Eurydice," he said. "To avenge her death, her companion nymphs sent this
destruction to your bees."

"I killed Eurydice?" Aristaeus asked in amazement. "Does she no longer
listen to the music of Orpheus?"

"Yes, but not in Arcadia," Proteus explained. "When she was stung by
the viper, she was obliged to make her way alone to the dark realm of
Pluto. Orpheus sang his grief to all who breathed the upper air, both
gods and men, and then he started out to search for Eurydice. He passed
through the crowd of ghosts and entered the realm beyond the dark river
Styx. There, in front of the throne of Pluto, he sang of his longing
that Eurydice might be restored to him, until the cheeks of even the
Fates were wet with tears.

"Pluto himself gave way to Orpheus' music and called Eurydice. She came
to Orpheus, limping on her wounded foot. They roam the happy fields of
the gods together now, he leading sometimes and sometimes she. And
Jupiter has placed Orpheus' lyre among the stars."

As Proteus finished telling his story, the penitent Aristaeus fell on
the ground at his feet.

"What can I do to appease the anger of the gods for my wickedness?" he

"You may use your skill to build temples to the two in the country of
Arcadia which they so loved," Proteus said. "Take your way home. Forget
your own gains for a while and gather stones to fit together for the

So the bee-man did this, and he discovered that he came to enjoy the
work very much. He took pleasure in cutting and polishing the stones
until they were as beautiful as those of any temple in Greece. As he
worked in the grove that he had selected for his building he often
thought that he detected the music of Orpheus' lyre as the birds sang,
and the streams rippled, and the wind blew through the leaves. He found
it very sweet indeed.

One day, shortly after his beautiful altars were built, Aristaeus found
a wonder. It was spring, when the nearby orchards were white and sweet
with blossoms, and there were all his honey bees returned, and busily
starting their hives under the shadow of the temple of Eurydice.


Pomona was a dryad, and Venus had given her a wild apple tree to be her
home. As Pomona grew up under the shadow of its branches, protecting the
buds from winter storms, dressing herself in its pink blossoms in the
spring time, and holding up her hands to catch its apples in the fall,
she found that her love for this fruit tree was greater than anything
else in her life. At last Pomona planted the first orchard and lived in
it and tended it.

The dryads were those favored children of the gods who lived in the
ancient woods and groves, each in her special tree. Dressed in
fluttering green garments, they danced through the woodland ways with
steps as light as the wind, sang to the tune of Pan's pipe, or fled,
laughing, from the Fauns. They missed Pomona in the woods, and tales
came to these forest dwellers of the wonders she was working in the
raising of fruits fit for the table of the gods.

She had trees on which golden oranges and yellow lemons hung among deep
green leaves. She raised citrons and limes, and even cultivated the wide
spreading tamarind tree whose fruit was of such value to Epictetus, the
physician of Greece, in cooling the fires of fever. The wood folk left
their mossy hiding places to peer over the wall of Pomona's orchard and
watch her working so busily there.

They were a strange company. Pan came from Arcadia where he was the god
of flocks and shepherds. He had fastened some reeds from the stream
together to make his pipes, and on them he could play the merriest
music. It sounded like birds and the singing of brooks and summer
breezes all in one. With Pan came his family of Fauns, the deities of
the woods and fields. Their bodies were covered with bristling hair,
there were short, sprouting horns on their heads, and their feet were
shaped like those of a goat. Pan was of the same strange guise as the
Fauns were, but to distinguish his rank, he wore a garland of pine about
his head.

These and Pomona's sisters, the dryads, watched her longingly from the
budding time of the year until the harvest. It was a pleasant sight to
see Pomona taking care of her apples. She was never without a pruning
knife which she carried as proudly as Jupiter did his sceptre. With it
she trimmed away the foliage of her fruit trees wherever it had grown
too thick, cut the branches that had straggled out of shape, and
sometimes deftly split a twig to graft in a new one so that the tree
might bear different, better apples.

Pomona even led streams of water close to the roots of the trees so that
they need not suffer from drought. She looked, herself, a part of the
orchard, for she wore a wreath of bright fruits and her arms were often
full of apples almost as huge and golden as the famous apples of

The dryads and the Fauns begged one, at least, of the apples, but Pomona
refused them all. She had grown selfish through the seasons in which she
had brought her orchard to a state of such bounteous perfection. She
would not give away a single apple, and she kept her gate always locked.
So the wood creatures were obliged to go home empty handed to their
forest places.

In those days Vertumnus was one of the lesser gods who watched over the
seasons. The fame of Pomona's fruits came to the ear of Vertumnus and he
was suddenly possessed of a great desire to share the orchard and its
care with her. He sent messengers in the form of the birds to plead his
cause with Pomona, but she was just as cruel to him as she had been to
the family of Pan and to her own sisters. She had made up her mind that
she would never share her orchard with any one in the world.

Vertumnus would not give up, though. He had the power to change his form
as he willed, and he decided to go to Pomona in disguise to see if he
could not win her by appealing to her pity. She was obliged to buy her
grain, and one day in October when the apple boughs bent low with their
great red and yellow balls a reaper came to the orchard gate with a
basket of ears of corn for Pomona.

"I ask no gold for my grain," he said to the goddess, "I want only a
basket full of fruit in return for it."

"My fruit is not to be given away or bartered for. It is mine and mine
alone until it spoils," Pomona replied, driving the reaper away.

But the following day a farmer stopped at the orchard, an ox goad in
his hand as if he had just unyoked a pair of weary oxen from his hay
cart, left them resting beside some stream, and had gone on to ask
refreshment for himself. Pomona invited him into her orchard, but she
did not offer him a single apple. As soon as the sun began to lower she
bade him be on his way.

In the days that followed Vertumnus came to Pomona in many guises. He
appeared with a pruning hook and a ladder as if he were a vine dresser
ready and willing to climb up into her trees and help her gather the
harvest. But Pomona scorned his services. Then Vertumnus trudged along
as a discharged soldier in need of alms, and again with a fishing rod
and a string of fish to exchange for only one apple. Each time that
Vertumnus came disguised to Pomona he found her more beautiful and her
orchard a place of greater plenty than ever; but the richer her harvest
the deeper was her greed. She refused to share even a half of one of her

At last, when the vines were dripping with purple juice of the grape and
the boughs of the fruit trees hung so heavily that they touched the
ground, a strange woman hobbled down the road and stopped at Pomona's
gate. Her hair was white and she was obliged to lean on a staff. Pomona
opened the gate and the crone entered and sat down on a bank, admiring
the trees.

"Your orchard does you great credit, my daughter," she said to Pomona.

Then she pointed to a grape vine that twined itself about the trunk and
branches of an old oak. The oak was massive and strong, and the vine
clung to it in safety and had covered itself with bunches of beautiful
purple grapes.

"If that tree stood alone," the old woman explained to Pomona, "with no
vine to cling to it, it would have nothing to offer but its useless
leaves. And if the vine did not have the tree to cling to, it would have
to lie prostrate on the ground.

"You should take a lesson from the vine. Might not your orchard be still
more fruitful if you were to open the gate to Vertumnus who has charge
of the seasons and can help you as the oak helps the vine? The gods
believe in sharing the gifts they give the earth. No one who is selfish
can prosper for long."

"Tell me about this Vertumnus, good mother," Pomona asked curiously.

"I know Vertumnus as well as I know myself," the crone replied. "He is
not a wandering god, but belongs among these hills and pastures of our
fair land. He is young and handsome and has the power to take upon
himself any form that he may wish. He likes the same things that you do,
gardening, and caring for the ruddy fruits. Venus, who gave you an apple
tree to be your first home, hates a hard heart and if you will persist
in living alone in your orchard, refusing to share your apples, she is
likely to punish you by sending frosts to blight your young fruits and
terrible winds to break the boughs."

Pomona clasped her hands in fear. She suddenly understood how true was
everything that this old woman said. She had known a spring-time when a
storm of wind and hail had shaken off the apple blossoms, and frosts had
touched the fruits one fall before she had been able to pick them.

"I will open my gate to the country people and to strangers," she said.
"I will open it also to Vertumnus if he is still willing to share my
orchard and my work."

As Pomona spoke, the old woman rose and her gray hair turned to the dark
locks of Vertumnus. Her wrinkles faded in the glow of his sunburned
cheeks. Her travel stained garments were replaced by Vertumnus' russet
gardening smock and her staff to his pruning fork. He seemed to Pomona
like the sun bursting through a cloud. She had never really seen him
before, having never looked at anyone except with the eyes of
selfishness. Vertumnus and Pomona began the harvesting together, and
they opened the gate wide to let in those who had need of sharing their

Then the fauns danced in and made merry to the tunes that Pan played.
The dryads found new homes for themselves in the trunks of the trees,
and the seasons gave rain and sunshine in greater abundance than ever
before as these two pruned, and trimmed, and grafted the trees and vines

Achelous, the river god, took his way past the orchard kingdom of Pomona
and Vertumnus and brought with him Plenty who was able to fill her horn
with gifts of fruit for all, apples, pears, grapes, oranges, plums, and
citrons until it overflowed. Ever since the October when Pomona opened
her gate and shared her apples, an orchard has been a place of beauty,
bounty, and play.


Once upon a time there was a king of Greece who had three beautiful
daughters, but the youngest, who was named Psyche, was the most
beautiful of all. The fame of her lovely face and the charm of her whole
being were so great that strangers from the neighboring countries came
in crowds to enjoy the sight and they paid Psyche the homage of love
that was due to Venus herself. Venus' temple was deserted, and as Psyche
passed by the people sang her praises, and strewed her way with flowers
and wreaths.

Venus had a son, Cupid, who was dearer to her than any other being on
Mount Olympus or in the earth. Like every mother, Venus had great
ambitions for the future of her son, but she was not always able to
follow him, for Cupid had wings and a golden bow and arrows with which
he was fond of playing among mortals. What was Venus' wrath to discover
at last that Cupid had lost his heart to Psyche, the lovely maiden of
earth! It was like a fairy story in which a prince marries a peasant
girl and may not bring her home to the palace because of her mean birth.
Venus quite refused to recognize Psyche or award her a place in the
honored family of the gods.

Cupid and Psyche had a very wonderful earthly palace in which to live.
Golden pillars supported the vaulted roof, and the walls of the
apartments of state were richly carved and hung with embroidered
tapestries of many colors. When Psyche wished food, all she had to do
was to seat herself in an alcove when a table immediately appeared
without the aid of servants and covered itself with rare fruits and rich
cakes and honey. When she longed for music, she had a feast of it played
by invisible lutes, and with a chorus of harmonious voices. But Psyche
was not happy in this life of luxury, for she had to be alone so much of
the time. Venus could not take Cupid away from her altogether, but she
allowed him to be with Psyche only in the hours of darkness. He fled
before the dawn.

There had been a direful prophecy in Psyche's family of which her
sisters had continually reminded her.

"Your youngest daughter is destined for a monster whom neither gods nor
men can resist," was the oracle given to the king, and the memory of it
began to fill Psyche's heart with fear. Her sisters came to visit her
and increased her fear. They asked all manner of questions about Cupid,
and Psyche was obliged to confess that she could not exactly describe
him because she had never seen him in the light of day. Her jealous
sisters began at once to fill Psyche's mind with dark suspicions.

"How do you know," they asked, "that your husband is not a terrible and
venomous serpent, who feeds you for a while with all these dainties that
he may devour you in the end? Take our advice. Provide yourself with a
lamp well filled with oil and tonight, when this villain returns and
sleeps, go into his apartment and see whether or not our prophecy is

Psyche tried to resist her sisters, but at last their urging and her own
curiosity were too much for her. She filled her lamp, and when her
husband had fallen into his first sleep, she went silently to his couch
and held the light above him.

There lay Cupid, the most beautiful and full of grace of all the gods!
His golden ringlets were a crown above his snowy forehead and crimson
cheeks, and two wings whose feathers were like the soft white blossoms
of the orchard sprang from his shoulders. In her joy at finding no cause
for her fears, Psyche leaned over, tipping her lamp, that she might look
more closely at Cupid's face. As she bent down, a drop of the burning
oil fell on the god's shoulder. He opened his eyes, startled, and looked
up at Psyche. Then, without saying a word, he spread his wide wings and
flew out of the window.

Psyche tried to follow him, but she had no wings and fell to the ground.
For one brief moment Cupid stayed his flight and turned to see her lying
there below him in the dust.

"Foolish Psyche," he said, "why did you repay my love in this way? After
having disobeyed my mother's commands and made you my wife, could you
not trust me? I will inflict no further punishment upon you than this,
that I leave you forever, for love cannot live with suspicion." And with
these words Cupid flew out of Psyche's sight.

That was the beginning of the long road of trouble Psyche had to
follow. She wandered day and night, without food or rest, in search of
Cupid. One day she saw a magnificent temple set upon the brow of a lofty
hill and she toiled the long way up to it, saying to herself,

"Perhaps my love inhabits here."

When Psyche reached the top of the hill and entered the temple, she saw
heaps of corn, some in sheaves and others in loose ears, and there was
barley mingled with it. There were sickles and rakes and all the other
instruments of the harvest scattered about in great confusion as if the
reapers, at the end of the sultry day, had left them in this disorder.
In spite of her sorrow, Psyche could not bear to see this disarray and
she began trying to set the place in order. She worked so busily that
she did not see Ceres, whose temple it was, enter. Turning at last,
Psyche saw the goddess of the harvest, wearing her fruit trimmed
garments and standing at her side.

"Poor Psyche!" she said pityingly. "But it is possible for you to find a
way to the abode of the gods where Cupid has his home. Go and surrender
yourself to Venus and try by your own works to win her forgiveness and,
perhaps, her favor."

So Psyche obeyed this command of Ceres, although it took a great deal of
courage, and she travelled to the temple of Venus in Thebes where the
goddess received her in anger.

"The only way by which you can merit the favor of the gods, unfortunate
Psyche," she said, "is by your own efforts. I, myself, am going to make
a trial of your housewifely skill to see if you are industrious and

With these words Venus conducted Psyche to a storehouse connected with
her temple where there was an enormous quantity of grain laid up; beans,
lentils, barley, wheat and the tiny seeds of the millet which Venus had
stored to feed her pigeons.

"Separate all these grains," the goddess said to Psyche, "putting those
of the same kind in a pile, and see that you finish before evening."
Then she left Psyche who was in consternation at the impossible task
spread before her.

Psyche dipped her fingers into the golden heap gathering up a handful to
sort the grains, but it took her a long time and the grain lay about her
on every side like a yellow river. The grains she held were less than a
drop taken from its surface.

"I shall not be able to finish. I shall never see my husband again!"
Psyche moaned.

Still she worked on steadily and at last a little ant, a native of the
fields, crawled across the floor and took compassion on the toiling
Psyche. It was a king in its own domain and was followed by a host of
its little red subjects. Grain by grain, they separated the seeds,
helping to put them in their own piles, and when the work was
accomplished they vanished as quickly as they had appeared.

When evening came Venus returned, breathing odors of nectar and crowned
with roses, from a banquet of the gods. When she saw that Psyche's task
was done, she scarcely believed her eyes.

"You must have had assistance," she said. "To-morrow you shall try a
more difficult undertaking. Beyond my temple you will see a grassy
meadow which stretches along the borders of the water. There you will
find a flock of sheep with golden shining fleeces on their backs and
grazing without a shepherd. Bring me a sample of their precious wool
that you gather from each of the fleeces."

Psyche once more obeyed, but this was a test of her life as well as of
her endurance. As she reached the meadow, the river god, whispering to
her through the rushes, warned her.

"Do not venture among the flock while the sun shines on them," he told
her. "In the heat of the rising sun, the rams burn with a cruel rage to
destroy mortals with their sharp teeth. Wait until twilight, when you
will find their woolly gold sticking to the bushes and the trunks of the

The compassion of the river god helped Psyche to do as Venus had
commanded her and she returned to the temple in the evening with her
arms full of golden fleece.

Still Venus was not satisfied.

"I have a third task for you," she told the weary Psyche. "Take this box
to the realm of Pluto and give it to Proserpine saying to her, 'My
mistress, Venus, desires you to send her a little of your beauty, for in
tending her son whom Psyche burned she has lost some of her own.' And
make all possible haste, for I must use it before I appear next in the
circle of the gods on Mount Olympus."

Psyche felt that now her destruction was surely at hand. It was a
dangerous road that led to the dark, underground kingdom of Pluto and
there were deadly dangers on the way. But Psyche was finding a new
courage with each of the difficulties that she had to encounter, and she
set out with the box. She passed safely by Cerberus, Pluto's three
headed watch dog. She prevailed upon Charon, the ferryman, to take her
across the black river and wait for her while she begged Proserpine to
fill the box. Then she started back to the light again.

All would have gone well with Psyche if she had not grown curious. That
was why her road to the dwelling place of the gods was so long and
difficult. Psyche was always mixing up a little bit of earth with her
good intentions. Having come so far successfully with her dangerous
task, she wanted to open the box.

"I would take only the least bit of this beauty from Venus," Psyche
thought, "to make myself more fair for Cupid if I ever behold him

So she carefully opened the box, but there was nothing in it of beauty
at all. It was a potion that caused Psyche to fall beside the road in a
sleep which seemed to have no waking. She did not stir, or breathe, or

It was there that love, in the form of Cupid found Psyche. He was healed
of his wound, and he could not bear her absence any longer. He flew
through a crack in the window of the palace of Venus and made his way to
earth and straight to the spot where Psyche lay. He gathered the deadly
sleep from her body and put it fast inside the box again. Then he
touched her lightly with one of his arrows and she woke.

"Again you have almost perished because of your curiosity," he said as
Psyche reached up her arms to him "but perform exactly this task which
my mother asked of you and I will attend to the rest."

Then Cupid, as swift as a bird flies, returned to Mount Olympus and
pleaded with Jupiter for a welcome for Psyche. Jupiter consented at last
to have this daughter of earth admitted to the family of the gods and
Mercury was sent to bring her and offer her the cup of ambrosial nectar
that would make her one of the immortals.

It is said that at the moment when Psyche completed her tasks and took
her departure for Mount Olympus a winged creature, the butterfly, that
had never been seen before on earth, arose from a garden and flew on
golden wings up toward the sun. So it was thought that the story of
Psyche was the story of the butterfly who bursts its gray house of the
cocoon and rises, with a new beauty and the power of wings, toward the
sky. And the Greeks had still another name for Psyche whom neither her
troubles or the sleep of Pluto could keep from the abode of the gods
when Love pleaded for her. They spoke of her as the Soul.


There was a hollow oak tree in front of the house of Melampos in Greece
and inside it was a nest of serpents.

Melampos was a farmer, skilful in raising fruits and grains and full of
love for everything that lived out of doors. He would not so much as
crush an ant hurrying home to its hill with a grain of sand, and
although he did not particularly like snakes he saw no harm in these
that had made themselves a home in a tree that no one wanted.

"They will do us no hurt unless we disturb them," Melampos told his
servants. "Let them alone and perhaps, when the weather is warmer, they
will take their way off to the neighboring marsh."

But Melampos' servants were not so sure as he of the harmlessness of the

"Our master is growing old and child like," they said to each other.
"The next time he drives to the city with a load of grain we will get
rid of the nest of vipers."

So that was what they did. In Melampos' absence they fired the nest of
the serpents with a torch and burned it up completely, as they thought.
But when Melampos returned that afternoon and sat down under his arbor
to rest and eat his supper of bread and grapes, he saw a pair of bright
black eyes peering up at him from the grass. Then he spied a round green
head raised above a long green body. It was one of the young serpents
that had not been hurt when the nest was burned and had come to the
master of the place for protection.

Melampos looked cautiously around to see that no one was watching him.

"If any of the servants see me, they will think me out of my senses," he
said to himself, "but I am sorry for this little creature and would
befriend it." Then, seeing that he was quite unobserved, Melampos broke
off a piece of his bread and threw the crumbs to the young serpent. It
devoured them to the last one and then glided off so silently that it
left no trail except a long line of gently moving grasses.

The next day the serpent came and the next, always hungry and always
lifting its little head and looking at Melampos in its odd, bright way.
One day as Melampos broke his bread as usual to share it with the
serpent, he heard a voice speaking to him.

"The gods have been watching your kindness, Melampos," it said, "and
have rewarded you in the way you will like best. They have given you the
power of understanding the tongues of the wild."

Melampos looked all about him, but there was not another mortal within
sight. Then his eyes caught those of the serpent and he suddenly
realized that it had been its voice which he had heard. That was the
beginning of strange experiences for Melampos upon whom the gods had
conferred so wonderful a gift.

The serpent never returned after that day, but that very same evening a
tree toad spoke to Melampos.

"Water your olive trees well around the roots, Melampos," it said, "for
there is a season of drought approaching."

That was an excellent warning, because the farmer had a grove of young
trees that needed very tender care. Melampos sprayed the trees and
soaked the roots and felt very thankful to the tree toad for its advice.

After a few days of dry weather Melampos was on his way to the city when
a grasshopper spoke to him from the side of the road.

"Turn back, Melampos, and gather your sheaves of wheat into your
storehouse," the grasshopper said, "for Jupiter is about to send a
thunderbolt down to the earth."

That was exactly what happened. Melampos had just time to reach his
grain field and order his men to put the ripe sheaves safely under cover
when the sky grew black and the thunder rolled along the mountain tops.
A high wind blew and the rain was heavy, but Melampos had saved his

All outdoors talked to Melampos after that, and it was very pleasant
indeed, for he had no boys and girls of his own to keep him company. If
he sat down to rest on a bank of moss in the forest, he was at once
surrounded by friends. A little wild bee would light on a branch in
front of him and tell him where he might find its sweet comb dripping
with honey nearby. A butterfly would poise on his rough, soil stained
hand and tell him where he would be able to see a bed of yellow
daffodils beside a brook. Or a bird in a nearby bush would sing to him
of the gay doings of Pan and the dryads and tell him the road to take to
their haunts farther and deeper in the woods.

Melampos had never had such a good time in his life. He was an excellent
husbandman and managed to make his farm pay well every year, but he
cared very much more for this friendship of outdoors than he did for the
hoards of food each harvest gave him. And, more and more, he came to
stay in the woods and fields, holding conversation with the insects and
the wild animals.

One harvest season Melampos was returning from the market with a large
purse of gold pieces that had just been paid him for the sale of his
summer wheat. He was taking his way through a deserted path of the
forest where he hoped he might hear the echo, at least, of the merry
pipes of Pan. He had not a thought or care in the world when, in an
instant, he was laid low on the ground from a blow on his head, his gold
was snatched away from him, and he was bound so tightly that he could
not move. Melampos had been set upon by a band of robbers who threw him
over the back of a horse and made off with him into the recesses of the

It was not that peaceful, sylvan grove of the forest that Pan and his
friends inhabited, but a dark, gloomy part where it was so still that
even the sound of a twig falling to the ground seemed as loud as the
splintering of an arrow, and no one ever passed by. The robbers put
Melampos in an underground passage of a prison-like fortress which they
had built for themselves. From beam to floor the fortress was built all
of oak planks so old and thick and so completely covered with ivy on the
outside that it looked like part of the forest itself.

Melampos had only a slit in the wall for a window, and he never saw his
captors save when they tossed him some dried crusts once a day. He could
hear them, though, counting their stolen coin and rattling it about.
Then he heard the sound of clinking armor and the occasional clashing of

"They are planning to kill me," he thought.

He looked longingly at the narrow chink in his prison wall, hardly large
enough to let a sunbeam through.

"If I could but beckon to a wood pigeon and tell it my plight, I should
be able to send a message to my friends by it," he sighed, "or I could
ask the woodpecker who can bore through wood to try and widen my window
so that I might escape."

Just then Melampos heard a rustling sound in the heavy beam of the
ceiling of the room where he was imprisoned and then a small voice spoke
to him.

"We could teach you better than any other creatures how to escape," it
said. "For years this forest has belonged to us, small as we are, and in
a very short time now it will return to the earth from which the trees
that built it came."

Melampos was amazed. He looked in all the corners of the room but could
see no one. Then the voice went on.

"No wood, or men who live in shelters made of wood are safe from us. We
have bored the beams and timbers of this fortress in a thousand places
until they are hollow and ready to fall."

Suddenly Melampos discovered the source of the voice. Through a knothole
in a beam above his head a wood worm peered down at him. With its
companions it had eaten the planks that made the fortress until it was
no safer than a house of paper.

"We are all doomed," Melampos told one of the robbers who brought him
his food that night.

"Doomed; what do you mean by that?" the robber asked in terror, for like
most of his kind he was nothing but a coward at heart.

Melampos showed him the decayed wood, hollow, and riddled with holes,
and the man called his companions to see their danger. They decided that
they must flee from the fortress at once, and they decided to give
Melampos his freedom. It would not have been safe to stay in the
fortress another season, for almost as soon as the winter storms came it
crumbled like a house of sand, and the ants and the crickets used it to
make themselves winter shelters.

Melampos went back to his farm and the pleasant conversation of the
insects, the birds, and his four-footed friends. He was the first mortal
to have such friends, but there were others who followed him and found
happiness, also, through being kind to little wild creatures.


Although Juno was the queen of the gods she had a failing that is common
to mortals. She was very jealous, and particularly of any maiden of
Earth whom she fancied might sometime be given a place by Jupiter among
the great family of the gods on Mount Olympus. As soon as Juno saw
Callisto, a beautiful huntress of the forests of Arcadia, she disliked

Perhaps Juno would have liked to be free to roam through the woods where
Pan played his music for dancing and the Dryads sported from one season
to another as Callisto did. The goddess may have envied the huntress her
happy, free life with no royal duties to interfere with her daily chase
of the deer or any heavy crown to keep the breezes from tossing her long
dark hair. Callisto reverenced Jupiter and Juno alike, with no thought
that she might be arousing the displeasure of the goddess, but one day a
strange and fearful thing happened to her.

She had just raised her bow to her shoulder ready to shoot an arrow as
straight as a dart through the green path of the forest when it suddenly
struck her hand and she fell to the moss upon her hands and knees. She
tried to reach out her arms in supplication but they had become thick
and heavy and were covered with long black hair. Her hands grew rounded,
were armed with crooked claws and served her for feet. Her voice, which
had been so sweet that it charmed the birds when she called to them,
changed to a terrifying growl.

Callisto raised herself as well as she could, lifting up her paws to beg
mercy of the gods and uttering frightful roars as she bemoaned her fate.
She had always been obliged to defend herself from the lions and wolves
that haunted the forest and she felt that she would be at their mercy
now. All at once, though, she understood what had happened to her. She,
herself, was now no longer a mortal but a wild beast. Juno had persuaded
Jupiter to change Callisto to the first bear.

She had never liked to be out in the wood at night, but now she had no
shelter and had to roam through the darkness, pursued often by the same
wild beasts whom it had been her custom to hunt before. She fled from
her own dogs in terror and was in hourly terror of the same arrows which
she had formerly aimed so straight. In the winter Callisto crawled into
some hollow log or dug a cave for herself that she might keep alive
during the season of the North Wind's reign, and when spring came she
crawled out, lean and weak, to search for the wild bee's comb and the
first juicy berries of the juniper.

One day a boy saw the bear as he was out hunting. Callisto saw him at
the same time and realized that he was her own son, Arcas, now grown to
be a tall youth and taking his part in the chase as his mother had so
many seasons before. Callisto forgot her changed form in her great joy
at seeing her son, and she arose to her hind feet and hastened toward
him holding out her paws to embrace him. The boy, alarmed, raised his
hunting spear and ran to meet the bear and thrust its point through her
heart. Callisto's son would have killed her if Jupiter had not, just
then, looked down on the forest from his throne and felt a sudden pity
for the tragedy he had brought about.

The gods had made a long road in the sky that led to the palace of the
Sun. Any one may see this road on a clear night, for it stretches across
the face of the sky and is known as the Milky Way. The palaces of the
illustrious gods stood on either side of the road and a little farther
back were placed the homes of the lesser deities.

At the very moment that Arcas, his spear raised, rushed upon Callisto,
two new comers appeared in the sky near the road of the gods. They had
the form of a Great Bear and a Little Bear, but their bodies were made
of brightly shining stars. The mighty Jupiter had transformed Callisto
and her son into these two constellations.

How enraged Juno was when she found it out! She descended to the sea and
told her troubles to Oceanus, a giant of the race of Titans who ruled
the waters at that time.

"Do you wonder, Oceanus," Juno cried, "why I, the queen of the gods,
have left the heavenly plains and seek your depths? It is because my
authority has been set aside. I shall be supplanted among my fellow
gods, for Callisto, the bear, has been taken up to the skies and given a
place among the stars. Who can deny but that she may not occupy my
throne next!"

"What would you have me do about it?" old Oceanus asked, a little
puzzled as to why Juno had consulted him.

"I forbade Callisto to keep her human form and my will has been unjustly
set aside," Juno replied. "Now that she has an abode on the road to
heaven she will be able to take any form she desires and may come to you
for help in her attempt to steal my throne. I command you to never allow
the stars of her constellation to touch the waters."

Oceanus called a council of the other powers of the waters and they
assented to Juno's decree. One after another the stars rose and set,
touching the sea in their courses, but the Great Bear and the Little
Bear moved ceaselessly round and round in the sky, never sinking to rest
as the other stars did beneath the ocean. Juno had thought that this
would be a punishment for them but as it turned out it was a kind of

Because the Great Bear and the Little Bear were always to be seen in
their changeless, shining course, people who were obliged to travel at
night, and particularly those who were at sea, grew to depend upon them
as a means of finding their way in the darkness. The last star in the
tail of the Little Bear indicated the north and was known after a while
as the Pole Star. The ancients called it also the Star of Arcadia, for
it helped so many mariners to find their way home across the perilous

It had happened to Juno, as it often happens to jealous people to-day,
that she had not hurt Callisto in the least but had brought her a great
deal of honor.


Glaucus, the fisherman, rubbed his eyes to find out if he was not
dreaming. He had just drawn in his net to land and had emptied it, ready
to sort the fish that lay, a large haul, all over the grass. But a
strange thing was happening to them. Of a sudden, the fishes began to
revive and move their fins exactly as if they were in the water. Then,
as Glaucus looked at them in astonishment, the fishes one and all moved
off to the water, plunged in, and swam away.

The spot where Glaucus fished was a beautiful island in the river, but a
solitary place, for it was inhabited only by him. It was not used to
pasture cattle even, or visited by anyone. No one was there to work
sorcery with his haul. Glaucus did not know what to make of the

"Can it be that the river-god is working this marvel?" he wondered to
himself. Then it occurred to him that there might be some secret power
in the thick green leaves that covered the island among the grasses.

"What may not be the power of this herb?" he asked himself, pulling up a
handful of the leaves and tasting one.

Scarcely had the juices of the plant touched Glaucus' tongue than a
strange feeling of restlessness filled him, and he was overcome by an
unconquerable thirst. He could not keep away from the water but ran to
the edge of the river where he had fished for so many years, plunged in
and swam away toward the sea.

It was a wonderful, free kind of experience for Glaucus who had never
known any life but that of hauling in his nets and then casting them
again. As he followed the swiftly flowing currents, the waters of a
hundred rivers flowed over him, washing away all that was mortal of the
fisherman, and he came at last to the sea. A marvellous sight met him
there. The surf that beat against a rocky shore became suddenly smooth,
as a chariot drawn by horses shod with brass and having long floating
manes of gold rolled toward Glaucus over the surface of the sea. A giant
who held a three-pointed spear for crushing rocks and blew loud trumpet
blasts from a great curved shell, drove the chariot toward Glaucus and
then stopped, inviting him to ride down to the depths of the ocean.

It was Neptune, the god of the sea, and Glaucus discovered that he felt
quite at home in the chariot. He was no longer a dweller of the earth,
but had become a citizen of that boundless country that lay beneath the
waves. The fisherman was completely changed in form. His hair was sea
green and trailed behind him through the water. His shoulders broadened,
and his limbs took the shape and use of a fish's tail. He had never
known such freedom and joy as now when he spent whole days doing nothing
but following the ebb and flow of the tides and learning the use of his
newly found fins as a bird tries its wings on first leaving the nest.

But Glaucus still retained powers of thinking and of action which are
denied the inhabitants of the sea. One day he saw the beautiful maiden,
Scylla, one of the water nymphs, come out from a sheltered nook on the
shore and seat herself on a rock, dipping her hands in the water and
bringing up sea-shells for twining in the water weeds to make a
necklace. Glaucus had never seen so fair a creature as Scylla and he
moved toward her through the waves, rising at last and stopping at the
place where she sat as he murmured his affection for her above the
singing of the sea.

But Scylla was very much terrified at the sight of this strange
personage, half youth and half fish. She turned to run as soon as she
saw him and did not stop until she had gained a cliff that overlooked
the sea. Here she waited for a moment and turned around to look in
wonder as Glaucus raised himself upon a rock and the sun touched his
green hair and scaly covering until he shone in its light. He called to

"Do not flee from me, maiden! I am no monster or even a sea-animal, but
have been transformed from a poor fisherman to a god of the sea." Then
Glaucus told Scylla the whole story of his amazing adventures and tried
to describe to her the kingdom of Neptune with its playing dolphins, the
castles of rose colored and white coral, and the never ending music of
the waters.

"Come with me, and descend to Neptune's realm," he begged, but Scylla
would not remain to even listen. She fled and left nothing to console
Glaucus but her scattered sea shells lying in bright heaps on the rocks.

Glaucus did not pursue Scylla but he felt that he could not give her up.
He remembered the strange charm of the sea that there had been in the
herbs on his native island, and he wondered if he might, by chance, find
some such power for giving the nymph, Scylla, the desire for the sea
that had drawn him to Neptune's kingdom. But Glaucus could not explore
his little fishing island, for it was a long way off and he had
forgotten its direction even. So he made what proved to be an almost
disastrous decision. He set out for the island of Circe, the
enchantress, to ask her help in winning Scylla.

Circe was, in the beginning, a daughter of the sun but she had put her
light of learning to wicked uses and had made herself into a powerful
sorceress. She lived in a palace embowered with trees and those were the
only signs of vegetation on her island. But if a shipwrecked crew came
up the shores, hoping to find a welcome and timber for building a new
bark, they were immediately surrounded by lions, tigers and wolves who
had formerly been men but had been changed by Circe's magic to the form
of beasts.

The brave hero of Greece, Ulysses, came in his travels to Circe's isle
once, and his crew heard the sounds of lovely music coming from the
castle in the trees and the tones of a maiden's sweet singing. They had
endured the raging of the sea and all its perils for many days and they
hastened to the palace where Circe, who had the appearance of a
princess, greeted them and ordered a feast for them. As they ate, she
touched them one by one with her wand and the men were all changed to
swine. They kept the thoughts of men, but they had the head, body, voice
and bristles of these despised creatures, and Circe shut them up in
sties and fed them with acorns. Ulysses persuaded the sorceress to
release his men, but he, the hero, was not able to resist her charms and
remained in her palace a year, his work and country forgotten.

Surely Glaucus was setting out on a mad errand when he decided to go to
Circe. But he persisted and landed on her island. He told her how Scylla
had looked upon him with terror, and he begged to have a charm by means
of which he might make Scylla love the sea as the herb had made him a
subject of Neptune.

"Sooner shall trees grow at the bottom of the ocean and sea weed on the
mountain peaks than I will cease to love Scylla and her alone," Glaucus
told Circe.

The enchantress looked on Glaucus and she began to admire him as much as
Scylla had been frightened by him. He was really quite a distinguished
looking personage, for he had the power to take on human form when he
wished, and his trailing robes of green seaweed looked almost kingly.

"I will brew a potion as you wish with my own hands and carry it to
Scylla," Circe told Glaucus, but she had decided to work harm on the
innocent nymph in order to keep Glaucus forever on her island.

Circe's potion was mixed of the most poisonous plants which grew on her
island. She blended them with deadly skill and then took her way to the
coast of Sicily where Scylla lived. There was a little bay on the coast
where Scylla loved to come in the middle of the day when the sun was
high to bathe in the cool waters. Circe poured her poison into the
clear blue bay and muttered incantations of mighty power over it. Then
she returned to her island.

Scylla came that day as usual when the sun was high and plunged into the
waters up to her waist. What was her horror to discover that she was
sinking to her shoulders and then to her head. The waters covered her
before anyone heard her frightened calls for help and where she had
stepped so happily into the waters which she loved, there were only a
few ripples on the surface of the bay and soon even they were gone.
Circe's charm had taken effect and the lovable Scylla had been carried
down to Neptune's kingdom, but not as Glaucus had desired, for she was
without motion or sight or speech.

Glaucus, meanwhile, forgot Scylla in the enchantment of Circe's island
and remained in the waters near there, taking human form when he wished
and enjoying the luxuries of her palace. Perhaps he might never have
remembered that he was a subject of Neptune if his attention had not
been attracted one day to the wild beasts which prowled about the
island. They were speaking to each other with the voices of men and
bewailing the fate by which they had been led there from their ships and
brought into Circe's power.

Glaucus, hearing them, understood what might be in store for him. He
began to hate the powers of the wicked enchantress and the memory came
to him of Scylla as she had appeared to him on the rock, her hands full
of bright shells. He plunged into the water and was soon a long distance
from the fatal island.

Glaucus began then to search for Scylla through the many leagues of the
ocean but he could not find her. That was because Scylla, through the
design of Circe, had gone down as mortals do and been drowned. The sea
was full of such, and as Glaucus wandered about among the gardens of sea
anemones and along the shell strewn roads of Neptune's kingdom, he felt
a new desire in his heart. He knew how those mortals felt whose loved
ones had been taken away from them by the sea, and he began using his
power to restore the drowned to life again. For a thousand years Glaucus
went up and down through the sea restoring mortals who had loved to
each other again. And in all his following of the tides he was searching
for Scylla.

After a thousand years had passed and it seemed to the gods that Glaucus
had expiated the wrong he had done in appealing to Circe, he found
Scylla in the green depths. And the nymphs say that the two lived always
happily together in a coral palace with a sea garden of anemones and
green water plants all about it.


Jason was having a boat built in which he planned to set sail on a kind
of pirate expedition. He was going as far as the eastern shore of the
Black Sea to try and capture and bring home the Golden Fleece.

This golden fleece was a prize indeed, for it was a good deal like the
magic carpet in a fairy tale. In very ancient times Mercury, the god
with the winged shoes, had given the queen of Thessaly a ram whose
fleece was of pure gold. There came a time when the queen found it
necessary to send her son away from the kingdom for safety as quickly
and secretly as possible. So she sent him on the back of this ram, who
leaped into the air, crossed the strait that divides Europe and Asia,
and landed the boy without accident in Colchis in the Black Sea.

Ever since then its fleece of gold had hung in a sacred grove of Colchis
guarded by a dragon who never slept. It was said that the fleece could
carry one through the air as far as he wished to go, and its gold was
the finest and purest in the world. A great many adventurers had
equipped expeditions for getting the golden fleece, but so far none of
them had been successful. Jason had a different idea about it, however,
than any youth of Greece who had set out for the fleece before. He felt
that it was his right, in a way, because he was going to be a king if he
could bring it home.

Jason's uncle, Pelias, was the king of a part of Thessaly. Because the
golden fleece had belonged in Thessaly in the first place, Pelias had an
idea that any king in Thessaly who could get it might keep it, and enjoy
its magic powers. But Pelias did not want the trouble of going for it.
He was willing to give up his throne to the lad, Jason, if he could
bring the golden fleece home. And Jason was quite willing to be the head
of such a pirate expedition with the promise of this advantage at the

Jason did not even build his ship, but paid a vast sum of money to have
it done for him. It was a stupendous task in those days to make a boat
that would weather a sea voyage. About the only boats that the Greeks
had were small ones shaped like canoes and hollowed out from the trunks
of trees. Jason had decided to take fifty of his friends with him, and
that meant the building of a larger boat than had ever been launched
before from Thessaly. A gigantic tree had to be cut down and gouged and
shaped by hand. New looms had to be set working to weave wide enough
cloth for the sails. For months the sound of axes and chisels echoed
along the beach, until at last this great boat, the Argo, was finished
and launched, and Jason brought his friends, whom he called the
Argonauts, to board her.

Jason chose his crew well. They were all fine, well born youths of
Greece, and everyone of them made a name for himself later on. Hercules
was of the Argonauts, and there has never been any such strength as his.
There was Theseus, who could move rocks and capture robbers
single-handed. There was also Orpheus, the son of Apollo, who could
tame, wild beasts with the beautiful music of his lyre. Nestor, who grew
up to be a famous warrior of Greece, went with them. They seated
themselves with their leader, Jason, in the ship, a whistling breeze
filled her sails, and they shot swiftly before the wind toward Colchis.

It was a long voyage, but they reached this foreign shore with no
serious mishap, leaped onto the bank, and went at once to the king of
Colchis, demanding from him the golden fleece. The Argonauts thought in
the pride of their youth that no one could resist them or refuse them
anything, but the king looked serious over the matter.

"You must earn the fleece, Jason," he said. "Nothing so valuable can be
had for only the asking. Are you brave enough to yoke my bulls to a
plough and plant a field full of dragon's teeth?"

Jason gasped. He knew these bulls of Colchis by reputation, although it
had never occurred to him that he might be called upon to harness and
drive them. They had brazen teeth and breathed fire from their nostrils
that consumed whatever it touched. The sound of their breathing was like
the roar of a furnace, and the smoke of their breath was suffocating.

In spite of his fear, though, Jason had another thought. The king had
said that the fleece must be earned, that nothing so golden could be
had for the asking. That was really true, Jason thought, and he began to
feel a great courage. He was growing into the hero that he always had
been at heart, being a youth of Greece.

"Send out your bulls," he said to the king of Colchis.

Something happened then that is very apt to happen when anyone makes up
his mind to dare a seemingly impossible deed. Help came to Jason. Medea,
the daughter of the king of Colchis, gave Jason a charm that protected
him from fire. The bulls rushed into the field toward Jason, sending
forth their burning breath like dragons, but Jason advanced boldly to
meet them. His friends, the Argonauts, watched him in terror, but he
went straight up to the bulls and his voice seemed to soothe their rage.
He stroked their necks fearlessly, slipped on the yoke and harnessed
them to the plough.

Dragons' teeth were a strange kind of seed to plant. As Jason ploughed
straight furrows and dropped in the teeth, the people of the kingdom and
the Argonauts gathered at the edge of the field to watch, and it came
to his mind that perhaps the king was making a joke of him. There would
have been some sense in having that pair of fiery bulls use their great
strength to plough in corn and wheat, Jason thought, as he plodded up
and down the field. But suddenly a cry from the crowd startled Jason and
he looked back. A strange sight met his eyes.

The clods of earth that covered the teeth of the dragon began to stir,
and the bright points of spears thrust their way up through to the
surface. Helmets with nodding plumes appeared next, and after them came
the shoulders and arms and limbs of men. In a moment the field was alive
with armed warriors advancing upon Jason.

He was only one hero against all of this foe, but the sight put the same
courage that had come to him into the heart of each one of the Argonauts
and they rushed to help their leader. Jason led valiantly against the
warriors, but there would have been no hope for him and the Greeks if
his courage had not been rewarded a second time. Medea sent a charmed
sword to the hero. He threw it into the ranks of the warriors and they
suddenly ceased attacking the Greeks, fell to fighting among
themselves, and were destroyed.

There was still another danger for Jason to face, the dragon who guarded
the fleece with eyes that never closed. His new courage was equal to it.
He entered the grove that sheltered the golden fleece, took the
glittering blanket from the oak tree where it hung, escaped the dragon
and embarked with the Argonauts for the return trip to Greece.

The people proclaimed Jason king when he and the rest of these young
heroes of Greece landed in Thessaly. They chose him for his valor, not
for his spoils, and it seemed to add to his new glory that he had
started out an adventurer and returned a victor in a great fight.

The strangest part of the story is that no one knows what became of the
golden fleece after Jason and the Argonauts brought it home with them.
No one seems to have ever heard of it again. Perhaps even such a
treasure as that was grew dull and lost its value in comparison with the
golden prize of courage in achievement that the Argonauts found and kept
all the rest of their lives.


If a boy of to-day could have lived in the days of the ancient Greeks,
learning by means of self restraint and all the arts of soldiery to be a
hero in warfare, it is possible that his captain would have told him a
strange story as part of his training. The boy would have wondered why
he had to hear such a grim tale, and what it all meant, for it was one
of the myths which rivalled almost all the rest in its hidden meaning.
It was the story of Medea, the dark sorceress, and how she worked her
art on Aeson, the father of Jason.

Jason brought Medea home to Thessaly with him at the same time that he
brought the fleece of gold whose capture had been his great adventure.
She was the princess who had helped him with her sorcery to brave a fire
breathing dragon, but she was ill suited to the court of Greece, never
having taken any pleasure in the arts that most maidens delighted in,
needlework, weaving and the other crafts needful in making a home.
Instead Medea was wont to flee from the feasts and the games of the
court and sit by herself on a cliff beside the sea, her long black hair
blowing about her pale face and her lips muttering incantations to the
wild accompaniment that the waves sang.

She had a fondness for the hero, Jason, though, in her own strange way,
and pride in the mighty deeds he had dared. She heard him speak one day
of his greatest wish.

"There is only one thing lacking in my triumph and the homage that the
nation is paying me," Jason told Medea, "I would that my father were
able to take part in the rejoicing but he is growing daily more feeble
and helpless. I would willingly give enough years from my life to make
him young and strong again."

Medea replied nothing in answer to this wish, but to herself she said,

"My power has been mighty in the aid of this hero and I will try it
still farther. If my sorcery avails me anything, the life of Jason's
father shall be lengthened without the cost of the sacrifice of any of
the youth's own years."

So, when the moon was next in the full, Medea made her way silently and
alone out of the palace when it was the dead of night and all creatures
slept. She moved swiftly along the fields and groves murmuring strange
words as she went, and addressing an incantation to the moon and to the
stars. There was a goddess, named Hecate, who was supposed to represent
the darkness and terror of the night as Diana represented its beauties.
At dusk she began her wandering over the earth, seen only by dogs who
howled at her approach. Medea followed Hecate, imploring her help, and
she also called to Tellus, that goddess of the earth by whose power
those herbs that could be brewed for enchantment were grown. And Medea
invoked the aid also of the gods of the woods and caverns, of valleys
and mountains, of rivers and lakes, and of the winds and vapors.

As Medea took her enchanted way through the night, the stars shone with
an unusual brilliancy and presently a chariot, drawn by flying serpents
descended to meet her through the air. Medea ascended in it and made her
way to distant regions where the most powerful plants grew and brought
them back before the day's first light for her uses. Nine nights Medea
rode away in the chariot of the flying serpents, and in all that time
she did not go within the doors of her palace or shelter herself under
any roof, or speak to a human being.

Hebe was the goddess of youth and one of the cup bearers of the gods.
When Medea had gathered the herbs which she needed for her potion, she
built a fire in front of a nearby temple to Hebe and over the fire she
hung a very wide and deep caldron. In this caldron she mixed the herbs
with seeds and flowers that gave out a bitter juice, stones from the far
distant east, and sands from the encircling shore of the ocean. There
were other ingredients, also, in this brew; a screech owl's head and
wings, hoar frost gathered by moonlight, fragments of the shells of
tortoises who of all creatures are the most long lived, and the head and
beak of a crow, the birds that outlives nine generations of men.

Medea boiled all these ingredients together to get them ready for the
deed she proposed to do, stirring them with a dried branch from an olive
tree. And, strange to say, the branch did not burn, but when the
sorceress lifted it out it instantly turned as green as it had been in
the spring, and in a short time it was covered with leaves and a
luxuriant growth of olives. The potion in the caldron bubbled and
simmered and sometimes rose so high as it boiled that it spilled over
the edge and down on the ground. But wherever the drops touched the
earth, new green grass shot up and there were flowers as bright and
fragrant as the most prized blossoms of the May.

The sorceress wished to further test her brew, though, and she put an
old sheep, one of the most ancient of the flock, in the seething potion.
Instead of being cooked, the creature was quite unhurt and when Medea
removed the cover, a little new lamb, soft and white, jumped out and ran
frisking away to the meadow.

So Medea knew that her spell was ready and she commanded that Jason
bring his aged father, Aeson, to her.

"I would like to know him," she explained, "and hear from his lips of
the deeds you did in your youth."

Then Jason, all unsuspecting, sent for his father and conducted him to
the spot near the temple of Hebe where Medea waited. And as soon as she
saw Aeson, Medea threw him into a deep sleep by means of a charm and
placed him on a bed of herbs where he lay with no apparent breath or
life in him.

"Wicked sorceress, you have killed my father whom I so greatly loved,"
Jason cried.

Then, even as he spoke, Medea advanced toward the old man and wounded
him deeply, so that all his blood poured out. After this she dipped into
her caldron and poured the charmed brew into Aeson's mouth and bathed
his wound with it.

As soon as he had imbibed it and felt its wonderful power, Aeson's hair
and beard lost their whiteness and became as black as they had been in
his youth. His paleness and emaciation disappeared, for his veins were
full of new blood and his limbs were vigorous and robust. Aeson was
amazed at himself as he ran toward Jason, for he was as he remembered
himself to have been two score years before. The sorceress Medea had
made his years drop away from him.

It would be very pleasant to end this story by saying that Medea always
used her art for a good purpose as she did in this case, but that was
not what happened. She did all manner of things that were wrong, such
as riding her serpent-drawn chariot in the pursuit of revenge, sending a
poisoned dress to a bride, and setting fire to a palace. What a strange,
unusual kind of a story is this one of Medea!

What did it mean to the young Greeks who heard it?

It meant for them just what it means for us to-day. Medea and her
caldron signified those times of cruel war and change that come to every
nation. They may result in evil. But sometimes, when the world has
become old and feeble, it may be made young and strong again through
bitter pains, as Aeson was made young through Medea's caldron of such
bitter brewing.


No one, as far as could be found out, had invited Eris to the party.
Indeed everyone would have desired to keep her away, for it was a very
great wedding feast attended by both the immortals and men, and Eris was
the goddess of discontent.

There was a beautiful nymph of the sea named Thetis whom even Jupiter
had looked upon with favor, and she was given in marriage to a mortal,
Peleus. The gathering was being held on Mount Olympus and just when the
merrymaking was at its height and Ganymede, that comely Trojan youth
whom Jupiter in the guise of an eagle had borne away to be the cupbearer
of the gods, was offering his nectar to all, a golden apple fell in
their midst.

It was very large and shone and glittered as if it had been made from
skin to core of precious gold. Even the gods scrambled to grasp it, and
for a moment they did not see who had thrown it. As Jupiter held the
apple, though, and read an inscription on its cheek, "For the Fairest,"
the guests had a flying vision of Discord, riding away in her dark
chariot from the feast she had chosen to make bitter. For that apple was
to be the beginning of a war so long and so terrible that there had
never been any other to equal it through all the centuries.

At once the goddesses began to quarrel among themselves as to which was
fair enough to merit the gilded fruit. Juno, being the queen of the
gods, demanded the golden apple as only her just due, and Minerva wanted
it in addition to her treasure of wisdom. They appealed to the mighty
Jupiter, but neither he or any of the other gods dared to decide this
question and so a judge had to be found among the mortals upon earth.

[Illustration: Paris and the Golden Apple.]

Near the city of Troy, on a high mountain named Ida, there lived a young
shepherd, Paris. No one but the gods knew the secret of Paris' royal
birth. He had been left on Mount Ida when he was only a child because it
had been told to his parents in prophecy that he would be the
destruction of the kingdom and the ruin of his family. So Paris, all
unknowing that he was a prince, had grown up among his flocks, as good
to look upon as a young god and greatly beloved by all the hamadryads
and nymphs of the woods and streams. It was at last decided that the
shepherd Paris should be the judge as to which of the three goddesses,
Juno, Minerva or Venus merited the apple of gold, and they descended in
clouds of glory to Mount Ida and stood before him for his judgment.

They seemed to have forgotten their heavenly birth in their jealousy,
for each offered the young shepherd a bribe if he would declare her the
most fair. Juno offered Paris great wealth and one of the kingdoms of
the earth. Minerva said that she would grant Paris as her boon a share
of her wisdom and invincible power in war. But Venus, her unmatched
beauty dazzling the youth as the bright rays of the noontide sun, and
wearing her enchanted girdle, a spell that no one had ever been able to
resist, laid her hand that was as light as sea-foam on Paris' fast
beating heart.

"I will give you the loveliest woman in the world to be your wife," she

At Venus' words, Paris pronounced his judgment, which has never been
forgotten through all the ages, ringing from singer to singer and from
nation to nation in the great strife which it started. He put the apple
of gold into the outstretched hands of Venus, not noticing that the
cloud which carried the angry Juno and Minerva back to the sky was as
black as when Jupiter was preparing to throw his thunderbolts.

Paris saw little after that except his own desires and ambitions, and
Venus began at once feeding his vanity. She told him of his royal birth.
He was the son of King Priam of Troy. So Paris set out for his father's
kingdom to find his fortune, and his flocks never saw him again.

Just at that time King Priam declared a contest of wrestling among the
princes of his court and those of the neighboring kingdoms. On his way
to Troy, Paris heard of this, and he also saw the prize being led toward
Troy by one of the king's herdsmen. It was the finest bull to be found
on all the grazing plains of Mount Ida, and Paris decided to enter the
contest and see if he could not win it for himself. So Paris presented
himself to the court at Troy and wrestled in the sight of the king and
his brothers and his sister, Cassandra, who did not know him. And he
threw all his opponents, and was proclaimed the victor.

He was greeted with joy, as King Priam recognized him, and was crowned
with laurel. Only Cassandra, that sorrowful princess to whom the gods
had given the fatal power of seeing coming events, wept as Paris was
welcomed at the throne of his father. For Cassandra saw Paris as the
destruction of Troy, and her gift of prophecy was her sadness, because
she was doomed never to be believed.

Then Venus told Paris to demand a ship of King Priam and set sail for
Sparta, in Greece, that her promise to him might be fulfilled. Paris set
out, a wondrous appearing youth and a glorious victor, and he was well
received by King Menelaus and his fair wife, Helen.

If Venus' beauty cast a spell among the gods, so did the loveliness of
Helen blind the eyes of men to everything save her lovely face. There
was a story told that Helen was the child of an enchanted swan and that
this was the reason for the enchantment which she wrought in the hearts
of the heroes. All the great princes of Greece had sued for Helen's
hand, and when she left her home to be the wife of Menelaus, her father
made the heroes bind themselves by oath to go to the aid of Menelaus if
it should chance that she was ever stolen away from him. Helen's father
was fearful for her peace, because of the perilous gift of charm which
was hers. In all of Greece, and indeed in the entire world there was
nothing so beautiful as Helen's fair face.

For a long time Paris remained at the court of Sparta treated with a
courtesy and respect which he did not deserve, because during all that
time Venus was enchanting Helen until she was able to think of no one
save the comely youth, Paris. After awhile King Menelaus was obliged to
take a long journey and in his absence Paris persuaded Helen to forsake
Sparta and set sail with him for Troy.

When these two were discovered in their treachery, the heroes were fired
with anger and remembered their pledge to go to King Menelaus' aid if
any deep wrong was done to him. Their wrath was not so much directed
against Helen, whom they believed to be under the dread spell which
Venus had cast upon her, as against Paris who had so violated their
hospitality. It was decided that preparations for war must be
immediately begun and men were pressed into service everywhere gathering
supplies and building ships. Agamemnon, who was a brother of King
Menelaus and mighty in battle, was appointed to be the leader of the
Greek army, and then began the work of finding the best men to help him
in carrying on the great enterprise that was to be directed against

The heroes were as true and of as high courage then as they are to-day,
but the adventure of the war was to be directed against a foreign shore
and certain of the Greeks found that it tore their hearts to leave their
own country, and in the cause of a wilful youth and a fair woman. One
among these was Ulysses, the king of Ithaca.

Ulysses was content and happy in his peaceful kingdom and the love of
his industrious queen, Penelope, and his baby son, Telemachus. We must
not commit Ulysses to the sin of cowardice because he did not want to
enlist for the Trojan war. There have been heroes like him in all time,
destined to be the greatest warriors of all, when they overcame their
fears and took swords in their hands in the cause of right. But at first
Ulysses pretended that he had lost his reason. He borrowed a plough from
a farmer and drove it up and down the seashore, sowing salt in the
furrows that he made. Ulysses was pursuing this mad occupation when a
messenger of Agamemnon came to demand his services in the army of the
Greeks. The messenger could not believe his eyes, and to test Ulysses he
grasped the king's little son and laid him on the sand in the direct
path of the plough-share. Ulysses dropped the plough handles and lifted
the baby Telemachus to his heart, so his game of madness was over. He
bade his kingdom and Penelope farewell, and set out to join the heroes.
He was to be one of the bravest of them all, and doomed not to see his
own land again for twenty years.

There was also a hero, a wonder of strength, who was detained from the
war because of the very great love that his mother had for him. This was
Achilles, who was destined to be the noblest hero of Greece in the
contest with the Trojans. When he was a baby, Achilles' mother had taken
him to the river Styx and, holding him by one little heel, had plunged
him in its sacred waters. This made him safe from any harm that might
come to him in battle, although she forgot the heel which she had
covered with her hand. Then the mother of Achilles sent him to friends
in a far kingdom in the dress of a girl and he was brought up there
among women so that he could not be called to arms.

At this time, when the Greeks were polishing their shields and fastening
on their swords for the advance upon Troy, news of Achilles' cowardly
hiding came to Ulysses. He who had overcome his own fear could not bear
to have any other hero fall a victim of cowardice. So Ulysses disguised
himself as a vendor of fine wares, scents and embroidered silks, carved
ivory ornaments and jewels, and he went to the kingdom where Achilles,
now a youth, sojourned in the disguise of a maiden. The women of the
court seized with the greatest delight the fine fabrics and necklaces
from Ulysses' store, but Achilles delved in the packet of goods until
his eyes lighted upon some strange and beautifully wrought weapons which
Ulysses had brought also. These alone pleased him. So the destiny of
Achilles was disclosed and he put on armor and went with Ulysses to join
the army.

In the meantime King Priam had welcomed the erring Paris and Helen, so
great was the charm that her fair face wrought everywhere, and had given
them the shelter of his court. It was a sore trial to the heroes of Troy
that this should have happened, for they were as bold and upright men in
their way as the Greeks were, and had not deserved this shame that had
come upon them. But they, too, were banded together to protect their
king and so they made all the needful preparations to meet the forces of
the enemy when the Greeks should cross the sea.

Since this great war had begun in the jealousy of the gods, the gods
themselves took part in the struggle. Neptune carried the ships of the
Greeks safely over to the plains of Troy where Ulysses accompanied King
Menelaus into the city to demand the return of Helen. When King Priam
refused, Venus endeavored to keep Helen in her power and she enlisted
Mars on the side of the Trojans. Juno favored the Greeks, as did also
Minerva, the goddess of just warfare, and Apollo and Jupiter watched
over the fate of those of the heroes whom they loved, no matter on which
side they fought.

So the Trojan war began, but how it ended is a story of a strange horse
made all of wood.


Ten years the siege of Troy lasted, that mighty struggle that had been
kindled by the flame of jealousy of gods and men, and ten years the
Trojans resisted the Greeks. On both sides the brave fell in battle and
the plain outside of the city of Troy became a waste place, full of
dread and death.

The hero Achilles, while offering up a sacrifice in the temple of
Apollo, was treacherously slain by a poisoned arrow from Paris' bow that
pierced his heel. The Greeks made use of the arrows of Hercules in their
struggle, but even these proved useless against the strong
fortifications of the Trojans. There was a statue of Minerva in the city
of Troy called the Palladium. It was said to have fallen from heaven and
that as long as it remained in the city Troy could not be taken. So the
hero, Ulysses, with a few men, entered Troy in disguise and captured
this statute at the risk of their lives, carrying it back to the camp of
the Greeks, but Troy still held out and the tenth year of the war drew
near a close full of wretchedness and famine.

It seemed as if the spell of Helen's beauty, as she leaned from one of
the towers of King Priam's castle to cheer the Trojans or descended to
pass among their ranks, was their safety. No one, looking on her fair
face, remembered hardship or felt fear, although the fated Cassandra
wept alone, and was deemed mad because she saw, in her prophetic vision,
the fall of the strong battlements of Troy.

At last the Greeks despaired of ever subduing Troy by force and they
asked Ulysses if any plan occurred to him by which they could subdue the
Trojans through strategy. Ulysses unfolded a plan to the generals, and
what it was and how it succeeded is one of the strangest stories of all
warfare. Acting upon his advice, the Greeks made preparation to abandon
the war. Their ships that had waited with folded sails in the harbor,
now drew anchor and sailed swiftly away, taking refuge behind a
neighboring island. And the Trojans, seeing the encampment before their
walls broken for the first time in so many years, and the plain that
the enemy's tents had whitened clear, broke into joy and merrymaking
such as they had not known for so long. They forgot caution and opened
the gates through which the men and women and children flocked out to
the plain to make merry and exult over the defeat of the Greeks.

There they saw an astounding thing. In the centre of the plain stood a
great wooden image of a horse, like an idol, more prodigious than any
which the Trojans had ever seen. It was so closely fitted and carved
from its mammoth hoofs to its head that no one could detect the joining.
A hundred men could have ridden the horse with room for more, but they
would never have been able to climb up to its back. At first the people
of Troy, gathering around the wooden horse, were afraid of it. Then they
made up their minds about it.

"This is a trophy of war!" they exclaimed, and they were for moving it
into the city to exhibit in the public square as a sign of their victory
over the Greeks.

There was among them, though, a man named Laocoon, a priest of Neptune,
who objected to this plan.

"Beware, men of Troy!" Laocoon warned them. "You have fought for ten
years with the Greeks and know that they do not give up a fight as
easily as this. How do you know but that this is a piece of trickery on
the part of their dauntless leader, Ulysses? I fear the Greeks, even
when they bring us gifts."

As Laocoon uttered these prophetic words, he threw his lance at the side
of the wooden horse and it rebounded with a hollow sound. At that,
perhaps the Trojans might have taken his advice and destroyed the horse
there where it stood, but suddenly a man, who appeared to be a prisoner
and a Greek, was dragged out from the crowd.

He said that he was a Greek, Sinon by name, who had brought upon himself
the malice of Ulysses and so had been left behind by the Greeks. He
feigned terror, and the Trojans, falling into the trap, reassured Sinon,
the spy, and told him that his life would be spared if he would disclose
to the chiefs of Troy the secret of the wooden horse.

"It is an offering to Minerva," Sinon explained. "The Greeks made it so
huge in order that you would never be able to carry it inside the gates
of Troy."

Sinon's words turned the tides of the people's feelings. They were just
planning how they might best start the work of moving the giant horse
when something happened which completely reassured them. Two immense
serpents appeared advancing directly toward them over the sea. Side by
side they moved toward the shore, their great heads erect, their burning
eyes full of blood and fire and licking their hissing mouths with their
quivering tongues. And these serpents came directly to the spot where
Laocoon stood with his two sons.

They attacked the boys first, winding round their bodies and breathing
their poisonous breath into their faces. Laocoon, trying to rescue his
sons, was drawn into the serpent's coils and all three were strangled.
Then the creatures moved on, threatening to glide into the city of Troy.

"It is an omen of the displeasure of the gods with us for having even
doubted the sacred character of the wooden horse," the Trojans said.
"Laocoon has been punished for his lack of reverence in despising it."

So they gave themselves up again to wild joy and reckless merrymaking.
They wreathed the horse with garlands of flowers and dragged it, all
lending a hand, across the plain and close to the gates of the city so
that they could widen them in the morning and push it through; and they
went home with great shouts like those of a victoriously returning army.

That night a door, cunningly set and concealed in the side of the wooden
horse, was opened by Sinon, the spy. Out of the door came the hero
Ulysses, King Menelaus, and a band of picked Greek generals, for the
Greeks had made the wooden horse hollow so that a hundred men might be
hidden inside for a long time with their arms and provisions and come to
no harm. These men opened the gates of Troy, a city sunk in darkness and
sleep, and through the gates went the Grecian army which had returned in
the ships and crossed the plain silently in the cover of the night.

So the prophecy of Laocoon and of the sad Cassandra was proved true, for
there was not a Trojan on guard. King Priam and his noblest warriors
were killed, Cassandra was taken captive, and the city was set on fire
with torches and burned to the ground.

Then the Greeks set sail for their own country which they had not seen
for so many years, and they took the beautiful Helen with them, awakened
at last from the spell which Venus had cast upon her, and sorrowing for
all the suffering she had caused.

But the glory of the old Trojan days was gone forever. Men search to-day
the ruins of ancient Troy that lie hidden like bright jewels in the
depths of the ancient mountains. There is little left but the memory of
the apple of Discord that caused the destruction of the city and the
heroes and the citadel of Troy's old power.


The hero Ulysses was about to sail home to Greece, after the great city
of Troy had been taken, having wandered farthest and suffered most of
all in the long Trojan war.

He was well-nigh the last to sail, for he had tarried many days to do
homage to Agamemnon, lord of all the Greeks. Twelve ships he had with
him, twelve that he had brought to Troy, and in each there were some
fifty men, being scarce half of those that had sailed with them in the
old days, so many valiant heroes slept the last sleep on the plain and
on the seashore, slain in battle or by the shafts of Apollo.

So first Ulysses sailed to the Thracian coast where he and his men
filled their ships with foodstuffs and oxen and jars of fragrant juices
of the grape. Scarcely had he set out again when the wind began to blow
fiercely, and seeing a smooth sandy beach, they drove the ships to
shore, dragged them out of reach of the waves, and waited there until
the storm should abate. And the third morning, being fair, they sailed
again, and journeyed prosperously. On the tenth day they came to the
land where the lotus grows, a wonderful fruit which whoever eats cares
not to see country, home, or children again.

Now the Lotus eaters, for so they call the people of the land, were a
kindly folk and gave of the fruit to some of the sailors, not meaning
any harm, but thinking it to be the best that they had to give. These
men, when they had eaten, said that they would not sail any more over
the sea. Which when the wise Ulysses heard, he bade their comrades bind
them and carry them, sadly complaining, to the ships.

Then, the wind having abated, they took to their oars and rowed for many
days until they came to the country where the Cyclops lived. A mile or
so from the shore there was an island, very fair and fertile, but no man
dwelled there or tilled the soil, and in the island there was a harbor
where a ship might be safe from all winds and at the head of the harbor
was a stream falling from the rock with whispering alders all about it.
Into this the ships passed safely and were hauled upon the beach and the
crews slept by them, waiting for morning.

But in the morning Ulysses, who was always fond of adventure and would
know of every land to which he came what manner of men it sheltered,
took one of his twelve ships and bade the sailors row to land. There was
a great hill sloping to the shore, and there rose up, here and there, a
smoke from the caves where the Cyclopes lived apart, holding no converse
with men. They were a rude and savage folk, each ruling his own
household without taking thought of his neighbor.

Very close to the shore was one of these caves, very huge and deep, with
a hedge of laurel hiding the opening and a wall of rough stone shaded by
tall oaks and pines. Ulysses selected the twelve bravest men from his
crew and bade the rest remain behind to guard the ship while he went to
see what manner of dwelling it was and who abode there. He had his sword
by his side and on his shoulder a mighty skin of the juice of grapes,
sweet smelling and strong, with which he might win the heart of some
fierce savage, should he chance to meet such.

So they entered the cave, and judged that it was the dwelling of some
rich and skilful shepherd, for within there were pens for young sheep
and goats, divided according to their age, and there were baskets full
of cheeses, and full milk pails ranged along the wall. But the Cyclops,
himself, was away in the pastures. Then the companions of Ulysses
besought him to depart, but he would not, for he wished to see what
manner of host this strange shepherd might be. And truly he saw to his

It was evening when the Cyclops came home, a mighty giant, twenty feet
or more tall. He carried a vast bundle of pine logs on his back for his
fire, and threw them down outside the cave with a great crash. He drove
the flocks inside and closed the entrance with a huge rock which twenty
wagons and more could not have borne. Then he milked the ewes and goats,
and half of the milk he curdled for cheese and half he set ready for
himself when he should be hungry. Last, he kindled a fire with the pine
logs and the flame lighted up all the cave, showing him Ulysses and his

"Who are you?" cried the Cyclops. "Are you traders, or pirates?"

"We are no pirates, mighty sir, but Greeks, sailing back from Troy. And
we beg hospitality of you in the name of Jupiter who rewards or punishes
the host according as he is hospitable or not."

"Then," said the giant, "it is idle to talk to me of Jupiter and the
gods. We Cyclops take no account of gods, holding ourselves to be much
better and stronger than they." Without more ado, he caught up two of
the men, and devoured them with huge draughts of milk between, leaving
not even a morsel or one of their bones. And when the giant had ended
his meal, he lay down among his sheep and fell asleep.

Ulysses would have liked to slay the Cyclops where he lay, but he
remembered that, were he to do this, his comrades would perish
miserably. How could he move away the great rock that lay against the
door of the cave? So they waited until morning. And the monster rose,
seized two more men and devoured them for his meal. Then he went to the
pastures, but put a great rock on the mouth of the cave just as a man
puts down the lid on his quiver of arrows.

All that day the wise Ulysses was thinking what he might best do to
save himself and his companions, and the end of his thinking was this.
There was a mighty pole in the cave, green wood of an olive tree as big
as a ship's mast, which the giant proposed to use as a walking staff.
Ulysses broke off a fathom's length of this and his companions pointed
it and hardened it in the fire. Then they hid it away.

At evening the giant came back, drove his flocks into the cave, fastened
the door and made his cruel feast as before. Then Ulysses came forward
with the skin of crushed grapes in his hand and said:

"Drink, Cyclops, now that you have feasted. Drink and see what a strange
draught we had in our ship."

So the Cyclops drank, and was greatly pleased.

"Give me more," he demanded. "In good truth this is a strange draught.
We, too, have vines but they do not yield any juices like this, which
indeed must be such as the gods drink."

Then Ulysses gave him the skin again and he drank from it. Three times
he gave it to him and three times the giant drank, not knowing how it
would work on his brain. At last he fell into a deep slumber. Ulysses
told his men to be of good courage for the time of their deliverance was

They thrust the olive stick into the fire until, green as it was, it was
ready to burst into flame and they thrust it into the monster's eye, for
he had but one eye set in the middle of his great forehead, and made him

Then the Cyclops leaped up and bore away the stake and cried aloud so
that all the Cyclopes who lived on the mountain side heard him and came
down, crowding about the entrance to his cave. The Cyclops rolled away
the great stone from the door of the cave and came out in the midst of
the other giants stretching out his hands to try and gather his sheep
together. And Ulysses wondered how he and his men would be able to

At last he lighted on a good device. The Cyclops had driven the rams
with the other ship into the cave and they were huge and strong. Ulysses
fastened his comrades underneath the rams, tying them with osier twigs
of which the giant made his bed. There was one mighty ram, far larger
than all the others, and to this Ulysses clung, grasping the fleece
tight with both hands. So they waited in the recesses of the cave for
morning. And when the morning came, the rams rushed out to pasture as
the giant sat in the door, feeling the back of each as it went by, but
never touching the man who was bound underneath each. With them Ulysses

When they were out of reach of the giant, Ulysses loosed his hold of the
rams and then unbound his comrades. They hastened to their ship, climbed
in, and smote the sea with their oars, laying to right lustily that they
might the sooner escape from this accursed land. But when they had rowed
a hundred yards or so, the Cyclops heard them. He broke off the top of a
great hill, a mighty rock, and hurled it where he heard the sound of the
oars. It fell right in front of the ship's bow and washed the ship back
to the shore again. But Ulysses seized a long pole with both hands and
pushed the ship from the land and bade his comrades ply their oars
softly, nodding with his head, for he was too wise to speak, lest the
Cyclops should know where they were. Then they rowed with all their
might and main.

They had gone twice as far as before, when Ulysses' pride became so
great that he could no longer contain himself. He stood up in the boat
and called out.

"Hear, Cyclops. If any man asks who destroyed your power for evil, say
it was the warrior Ulysses, dwelling in Ithaca."

The giant heard and he lifted up his hands and spoke to Neptune, the god
of the sea, who was the father of the Cyclopes. "Hear me, Neptune, if I
am indeed your son and you are my father. May this Ulysses never reach
his home; or, if the Fates have ordered that he shall reach it, may he
come alone, with all his comrades lost."

And as the Cyclops ended this wicked prayer, he hurled another mighty
rock which almost lighted on the rudder's end, yet missed it as if by a
hair's breadth. So Ulysses escaped and all his comrades with him, and
they came to the island of the wild goats where they found the rest of
their men who had waited long for them in sore fear lest they had
perished. And they went home in triumph to Greece.


[3] Copyright Doubleday, Page and Co.


Achelous       Ach-e-lo'us

Achilles       A-chil'les

Acrisius       A-cris'i-us

Admetus        Ad-me'tus

Aegean         Ae-ge'an

Aeneas         Ae-ne'as

Aesculapius    Aes'cu-la'pi-us

Aetna          Aet'na

Agamemnon      Aga'mem-non

Alcestis       Al-ces'tis

Alpheus        Al-phe'us

Andromeda      An-drom'e-da

Antaeus        An-tae'us

Arachne        A-rach'ne

Arcas          Ar'cas

Arethusa       Ar-e-thu'sa

Argonaut       Ar'go-naut

Argos          Ar'gos

Ariadne        A-ri-ad'ne

Aristaeus      Ar-is-tae'us

Atalanta       At-a-lan'ta

Attica         At'tica

Argus          Ar'gus

Aurora         Au-ro'ra

Bacchus        Bac'chus

Battus         Bat'tus

Baucis         Bau'cis

Bellerophon    Bel-ler'o-phon

Belvidere      Bel-vi-dere

Boreas         Bo're-as

Cadmus         Cad'mus

Callisto       Cal-lis'to

Cassandra      Cas-san'dra

Cassiopeia     Cas-si-o-pe'ia

Celeus         Ce'le-us

Cerberus       Cer'be-rus

Ceres          Ce'res

Charon         Cha'ron

Chimaera       Chi-mae'ra

Circe          Cir'ce

Colchis        Col'chis

Crete          Cre'te

Cyane          Cy'a-ne

Cyclopes       Cy-clo'pes

Cycnus         Cyc'nus

Cyrene         Cy-re'ne

Daedalus       Daed'a-lus

Danae          Dan'a-e

Daphne         Daph'ne

Dejanira       Dej'a-ni'ra

Delos          De'los

Delphi         Del'phi

Diana          Di-a'na

Elis           E'lis

Elysian        E-lys'i-an

Enceladus      En-cel'a-dus

Ephialtes      Eph'i-al'tes

Epimetheus     Ep-i-me'theus

Erisichthon    Er-i-sich'thon

Europa         Eu-ro'pa

Eurydice       Eu-ryd'i-ce

Eurystheus     Eu-rys'theus

Galatea        Gal-a-te'a

Glaucus        Glau'cus

Gordius        Gor'di-us

Gorgon         Gor'gon

Halcyone       Hal-cy'o-ne

Hamadryad      Ham-a-dry'ad

Hebe           He'be

Hector         Hec'tor

Helios         He'lios

Hercules       Her'cu-les

Hesperides     Hes-per'i-des

Hesperus       Hes'pe-rus

Hippomenes     Hip-pom'e-nes

Hydra          Hy'dra

Icarus         I'ca-rus

Iobates        I-ob'a-tes

Iris           I'ris

Laocoon        La-oc'o-on

Latona         La-to'na

Lemnos         Lem'nos

Lycia          Lyc'i-a

Medusa         Me-du'sa

Melampos       Me-lam'pos

Menelaus       Men-e-la'us

Mercury        Mer'cu-ry

Merope         Mer'o-pe

Midas          Mi'das

Minerva        Mi-ner'va

Minos          Mi'nos

Minotaur       Min'o-taur

Mosychlos      Mosy'chlos

Nemea          Ne'me-a

Nereides       Ne-re'i-des

Olympus        O-lym'pus

Orion          O-ri'on

Orpheus        Or'pheus

Ossa           Os'sa

Otus           O-tus

Ovid           Ov'id

Pactolus       Pac-to'lus

Pandora        Pan-do'ra

Patroclus      Pa-tro'clus

Pegasus        Peg'a-sus

Pelias         Pe'li-as

Peneus         Pe-ne'us

Perseus        Per'seus

Phaeton        Pha'e-ton

Phineas        Phin'e-us

Polydectes     Pol-y-dec'tes

Priam          Pri'am

Prometheus     Pro-me'theus

Proserpine     Pro-ser'pine

Philemon       Phi-le'mon

Phrygia        Phryg'ia

Pomona         Po-mo'na

Proteus        Pro'teus

Psyche         Psy'che

Pygmalion      Pyg-ma'lion

Pylos          Py-los

Python         Py'thon

Samos          Sa'mos

Scylla         Scyl'la

Seriphus       Se-ri'phus

Sinon          Si'non

Sirius         Sir'i-us

Somnus         Som'nus

Terminalia     Ter'mi-nal-ia

Theseus        The'se-us

Thessaly       Thess'a-ly

Thetis         The'tis

Thracian       Thra-ci'an

Tityus         Tit'yus

Trachine       Tra'ch-ine

Tmolus         Tmo'lus

Triton         Tri'ton

Troegene       Troe'gene

Ulysses        U-lys'ses

Vertumnus      Ver-tum'nus

Vulcan         Vul'can

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