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Title: Our Little Grecian Cousin
Author: Nixon-Roulet, Mary F.
Language: English
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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.

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[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
text is surrounded by _underscores_.]



Our Little Grecian Cousin



THE

Little Cousin Series

(TRADE MARK)

    Each volume illustrated with six or more full-page plates in
    tint. Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover,
    per volume, 60 cents

LIST OF TITLES

BY MARY HAZELTON WADE

(unless otherwise indicated)

    =Our Little African Cousin=
    =Our Little Alaskan Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
    =Our Little Arabian Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=
        By Constance F. Curlewis
    =Our Little Australian Cousin=
    =Our Little Brazilian Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
    =Our Little Brown Cousin=
    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=
        By Elizabeth R. MacDonald
    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
        By Isaac Taylor Headland
    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=
    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Egyptian Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little English Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=
    =Our Little French Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little German Cousin=
    =Our Little Greek Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=
    =Our Little Hindu Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Indian Cousin=
    =Our Little Irish Cousin=
    =Our Little Italian Cousin=
    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=
    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=
    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike
    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
        By Edward C. Butler
    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=
    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
        By H. Lee M. Pike
    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=
    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=
    =Our Little Russian Cousin=
    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
        By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=
    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
        By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=
        By Claire M. Coburn
    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=
    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=

    L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    New England Building,      Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: "SHE TOOK HER BASKET AND RAN DOWN THE HILLSIDE." (_See
page 11._)]



Our Little Grecian Cousin

    By
    Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
    _Author of "God, the King, My Brother," "Our
    Little Spanish Cousin," "Our Little Alaskan
    Cousin," "Our Little Brazilian
    Cousin," etc._

    _Illustrated by_
    Diantha W. Horne

[Illustration: SPE LABOR LEVIS]

    Boston
    L. C. Page & Company
    _MDCCCCVIII_



    _Copyright, 1908_
    BY L. C. PAGE & COMPANY
    (INCORPORATED)

    _Entered at Stationers' Hall, London_

    _All rights reserved_


    First Impression, July, 1908



    TO
    =Mary and Julia Rhodus=
    TWO LITTLE FRIENDS



Preface


Of all people in the world the Grecians did most for art, and to the
ancient Hellenes we owe much that is beautiful in art and interesting
in history. Of modern Greece we know but little, the country of isles
and bays, of fruits and flowers, and kindly people. So in this story
you will find much of the country, old and new, and of the every-day
life of Our Little Grecian Cousin.



Contents


    CHAPTER                           PAGE
       I. ZOE                           1
      II. MARIA'S WEDDING              12
     III. THE ANTIQUE CUP              22
      IV. THE "AGIASMO"                38
       V. A VISIT TO MARCO             47
      VI. TEA WITH A BRIGAND           67
     VII. ZOE TAKES A JOURNEY          84
    VIII. BY THE SEA                  107
      IX. AUTUMN PLEASURES            119
       X. A HAPPY EASTER              132



List of Illustrations


                                                                 PAGE
  "SHE TOOK HER BASKET AND RAN DOWN THE HILLSIDE"
        (_See page 11_)                                  _Frontispiece_
  "SOMETHING LAY THERE HALF COVERED WITH EARTH"                     31
  "PAPA PETRO CAME RIDING DOWN FROM HIS HOUSE ON A TINY DONKEY"     39
  "STOOD BEFORE THEM IN THE BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL COSTUME OF GREECE"   68
  "THEY WASHED BENEATH A HUGE PLANE TREE"                          108
  "SHE SPRANG TO HER FEET, AND IN SO DOING PULLED THE BELL-ROPE"   125



Our Little Grecian Cousin



CHAPTER I

ZOE


ZOE sat in the doorway tending baby Domna as she lay asleep in her
cradle. She was sleeping quietly, as any child should who has the cross
on her cradle for good luck. Her skin was as white as milk, and this
was because Zoe had taken care of her _Marti_. On the first day of
March she had tied a bit of red ribbon about her little cousin's wrist,
for a charm. The keen March winds could not hurt the baby after that,
nor could she have freckles nor sunburn.

Early on the morning of April first, Zoe had dressed the baby and
carried her out of doors. The dew lay over the flowers, the sun was
just up, and his rosy beams turned the blossoming lemon trees to
beauty. Zoe had sought the nearest garden and there hung the _Marti_ on
a rose bush, plucking a rose and pinning it to Domna's cap.

"Now, Babycoula,"[1] she had said, clapping her hands, "you shall have
luck. Your _Marti_ is upon a rose bush kissed with dew before the sun
is high. The summer's heat shall not touch you and you shall be cool
and well."

It was fortunate for Zoe as well as for the "Joy," which the Greek word
for baby means, that Domna was a quiet baby. As most of the little
girl's time was taken up with caring for one or another of her aunt's
children, when they were cross it left her but little time for thinking
and dreaming. Zoe's thoughts were often sad ones, but her dreams were
rose-coloured. When the little girl thought, she remembered the home
she had once had. It was far in the sunny south where lemon groves
lifted golden-fruited arms to the soft winds, and hillsides gleamed
with purple and white currants.

Her father had met with ill luck and men had told him of a land beyond
the seas, where people had plenty to eat and found gold pieces rolling
in the streets. He had sent her mother and herself to live near Zoe's
uncle and she had seen no more the bright, gay father whom she loved.
Then her mother died, and this, her first great sorrow, made her
into a quiet, sober child with a dark, grave face. At ten she was a
little old woman, taking such good care of her aunt's babies that that
hard-working woman did not begrudge the orphan the little she ate.

Uncle Georgios was a kind man. He loved children, as do all Grecians,
who say, "A house without a child is a cold house." He worked too
hard to pay much attention to any one of the swarm which crowded his
cottage. Aunt Anna had so many children that she never had time to
think of any of them except to see that they had food and clothes. Zoe
was but another girl for whom a marriage portion must be provided.
Every Grecian girl must have a dowry, and it would be a great disgrace
if none were ready for her when she was sought in marriage. Fathers and
brothers have to earn the necessary money, and the girls themselves
make ready their household linens, often beginning when only ten years
old.

Zoe had not commenced making her linens because her aunt had not been
able to give her thread or even to take time to teach her to spin. So
the little maid's hands were idle as she watched the babycoula and that
was not good, for a girl's fingers should always be at work, lest she
have too much time to think sad thoughts. But, if her thoughts were
dark, her dreams were bright, for she saw before her a rosy future in
which she lived where the sun shone and everyone was happy.

Baby Domna stirred in her cradle, for flies were crawling over her
little nose. Zoe waved them off singing, "Nani, nani, Babycoula,
mou-ou-ou!" The baby smiled and patted her hands.

"You are a good child," said Zoe. "The best of tables was set out
for you the third night after you came from Heaven. There was a fine
feast for the Three Fates, even a bit of _sumadhe_ and a glass of
_mastika_.[2] You must have good fortune.

    "Palamakia,[3] play it, dear,
     Papa's coming to see you here,
     He brings with him _loukoumi_[4] sweet
     For Babycoula now to eat.

"It's time you went to sleep again, Baby," said Zoe, her foot on the
rocker, but the babycoula gurgled and waved her fat arms to be taken
up, so the patient nurse took up the heavy little child and played with
her.

"Little rabbit, go, go, go," she said, making her little fingers creep
up the soft little arm, as American children play "creep mousie," with
their baby sisters.

    "Dear little rabbit, go and take a drink,
     Baby's neck is cool and clean and sweet,"

and the little girl's fingers tickled the warm little neck and Domna
laughed and gurgled in glee. Zoe danced her up and down on her knee and
sang,

    "Babycoula, dance to-day,
     Alas, the fiddler's gone away,
     He's gone to Athens far away,
     Find him and bring him back to play."

The pretty play went on, and at last the tiny head drooped on Zoe's
shoulder and the babycoula slept again. Then her little nurse gently
laid her in the cradle, tucked in the covers and sat slowly waving an
olive branch above her to keep away the flies.

Zoe's uncle lived in Thessaly, that part of Northern Greece where
splendid grain fields cover the plains, a golden glory of ripened
sheaves.

Uncle Georgios worked in the fields in harvest time and the rest of the
year he was a shepherd, herding sheep and goats in the highlands. The
boys worked with him. There were Marco and Spiridon, well grown boys of
eighteen and twenty, working hard for their sisters' marriage portions,
which must be earned before they themselves could be married. After
Spiridon came Loukas, a sailor, who was always away from home, and then
Maria and Anna. Another boy, mischievous Georgios, was next in age
to Anna, there were two little girls younger than she, and then Baby
Domna, Zoe's especial charge.

It had been a hard summer. The sirocco had blown from Africa and made
the days so hot that all field work had to be done at night. Now the
threshing-floors were busy and Uncle Georgios was working early and
late to get in the grain.

"Zoe!" called Aunt Anna from within the house. "It is time to take your
uncle's dinner to him."

"Yes, Aunt," said Zoe, rising from the doorway, and hastening to take
the basket Aunt Anna had prepared. There was black bread, fresh garlic
and eggs. Then she ran quickly along the path which led to the fields.
It was a beautiful day and the air was fresh and sweet.

"I am Atalanta running for the apple," laughed Zoe to herself, as
she sped up the hill, reaching the threshing-place just at noon. The
threshing-floor was very old and made of stone. It was thirty feet
across, and over its stone floor cattle were driven up and down, with
their hoofs beating the grain out of the straw. Zoe stood and watched
the patient creatures going back and forth yoked together in pairs.

"Heu! Zoe!" called Marco, with whom she was a great favourite, "Have
you brought us to eat?"

"I have, Cousin," she answered, gazing with admiring eyes at the tall
fellow, with his slim figure, aquiline nose, oval face, and pleasant
mouth shaded by a slight moustache. Marco was a true Thessalonian,
handsome and gay. He had served his time in the army and had come home
to help his father bring up the younger children.

"Why don't you put muzzles on the oxen, they look so fierce?" said Zoe,
looking at the great creatures as they passed and repassed.

"Oh, they are never muzzled," said Marco. "It was not done by our
fathers. It reminds me of what I read in Queen Olga's Bible, 'Do not
muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the grain.'"

"What is Queen Olga's Bible?" asked Zoe. She was not afraid of Marco.
With her other cousins she was as quiet as a mouse, but she chatted
with Marco without fear.

"The good queen found that the soldiers had no Holy Scriptures which
they could read," said Marco. "Because all the holy books were in the
ancient Greek. She had them put into the language we talk and printed
for the soldiers. Then she gave one to each man in our regiment and I
have mine still."

"How good she was!" cried Zoe. "Did every one love her for her
kindness?"

"Not so," said Marco. "Many people were angry at her. They said she was
not showing respect to the Scriptures and was trying to bring in new
things, as if that was a sin! All new things are not bad, are they,
little cousin?"

"I do not know, it is long since I had anything new," said Zoe.

"That is true, poor child," said Marco, kindly as he glanced at her
worn dress. "Never mind. When we get Maria married you shall have
something new and nice."

"Oh, thank you, I am very well as I am," said Zoe, flushing happily at
his kindness, for she was a loving little soul and blossomed like a
flower in the sunlight. "I must go home now," she said. "Baby will be
awake from her nap and Aunt Anna will need me to tend her."

"Are you never tired of baby?" asked Marco.

"Oh, I love her," said Zoe brightly, as if that was an answer to his
question, and nodding gaily, she took her basket and ran down the
hillside, where buttercups and bright red poppies nodded in the sun.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Pet name for a baby as we would say "Babykins."

[2] Sumadhe is a sweetmeat and mastika a cordial.

[3] The Grecian equivalent of "Pattycake, pattycake."

[4] Loukoumi is a paste made of sweet gums, sugar, rosewater and nuts.



CHAPTER II

MARIA'S WEDDING


MARIA was to be married. This was a very great event in the family
and all the little Mezzorios were wild with excitement. Maria was the
favourite sister, and she was tall and very beautiful. Her hair and
eyes were dark and her smile showed through gleaming white teeth.
Her marriage chest was ready, her dowry was earned, and a cousin of
the family had acted as "go-between" between Uncle Georgios and the
father of the young man who wished to marry Maria. His name was Mathos
Pappadiamantopoulas, and he had seen Maria as she walked spinning in
the fields.

Generally in Greece the parents arrange the marriages and the young
people scarcely see each other before the marriage ceremony binds them
together. Maria's, however, was quite a love match, for she and Mathos
had grown up together and had been waiting only for the dowry to go to
housekeeping in a little white cottage near to that of her mother.

Mathos had often been beneath Maria's window and had called his
sweetheart all the fond names he could think of. She was in turn "cold
water" (always sweet to a Grecian because good water is so scarce in
that country), a "lemon tree," and a "little bird." He had sung to her
many love songs, among them the Ballad of the Basil.

  "If I should die of love, my love, my grave with basil strew,
   And let some tears fall there, my life, for one who died for you,
   Agape mon-ou-ou!"

Maria's _prekas_[5] was a fine one. Her father and brothers had
determined that.

"She shall not be made ashamed before any man. If I never marry, Maria
shall have a good dowry," said Marco.

When the list of what she would give to the furnishing of the little
home was made for the groom there was a strange array, a bedstead, a
dresser, a chair, sheets and pillowcases, blankets and quilts. There
were copper kettles and saucepans of many sizes and shapes, and the
lovely homespun linens were beautifully embroidered.

Early in the morning of the wedding day, Mathos' friends helped him
carry the _praekika_[6] from the bride's old home to her new one. Not
a single pocket handkerchief but was noted on the list Mathos' best
man had made, and it would have been a disgrace to all the family of
Mezzorios had there been even a pin missing from all that had been
agreed upon when the match was arranged.

Musicians played the guitar and mandolin, as Maria sat straight upright
upon a sofa. She was a little white and frightened, but looked very
pretty in her white dress embroidered in gold, her yellow embroidered
kerchief over her head. Zoe, with the other children, had been flying
around the room ready, whenever the _mastiche_ paste was passed on a
tray, to take a spoon from the pile and gouge out a taste of the sweet
stuff.

"Maria looks lonely," she said to Marco. "I'm glad I'm not in her
place."

"She'll be all right now," he said as the cry "He comes!" was heard
outside. Zoe ran to the door. She had never seen a wedding in Thessaly
and was very curious to see what it was like. Little Yanne Ghoromokos
was coming up the street carrying a tray on which rested two wreaths of
flowers and two large candles tied with white ribbon. Behind him was
Mathos, looking very foolish, surrounded by his friends.

"I shall not marry a man who looks like that," said Zoe to Marco, who
stood beside her.

"What is wrong with him?" asked Marco, who liked to hear his little
cousin talk, her remarks were so quaint and wise.

"He looks very unhappy, as if this were a funeral," she said, "or as if
he were afraid of something. When I marry, my husband shall be glad."

"That he should be," said Marco smiling, and showing his white teeth.

Mathos meanwhile made his way into the house and sat down on the sofa
by Maria. He did not look at her, for that would have been contrary
to etiquette, but over the girl's face there stole a warm and lovely
colour which made her more beautiful than ever.

All the men present looked at her and all the women, old and young,
kissed the groom, and each woman made him the present of a silk
handkerchief. Then it was time for the wedding ceremony and Zoe's eyes
were big with wonder.

On the table were placed a prayer book, a plate of candies, as the
priest, old Papa Petro took his stand near by. Maria came forward with
her father and Mathos and his best man stood beside her. To the child's
great wonder and delight, Zoe was to be bridesmaid, for Maria had said
to her mother,

"Let Zoe be bridesmaid. It will please her and she is a good little
thing." And Aunt Anna had answered,

"What ever you want, my child."

Zoe, therefore, in a new frock, with a rose pinned in her black hair,
stood proudly beside Maria at the altar. She watched the queer ceremony
in silence. First Papa Petro gave the groom a lighted candle and asked
him if he would take Maria for his wife; then Maria received a candle
and was asked if she would take Mathos for her husband, after which
the priest sang the _Kyrie Eleison_ and made a long, long prayer.

He blessed the two rings laid on the tray before him, giving one to
the bride and one to the groom. The best man quickly took them off the
fingers of each, exchanged them, and put the bride's on the groom's
finger, giving his to her.

Papa Petro next put a wreath on the head of each and the best man
exchanged them, and the ceremony continued, but of it Zoe saw little.
She was so overcome by the sight of Mathos' red, perspiring face,
surmounted by the wreath of white blossoms, and looking silly but
happy, that she had all she could do to keep from laughing.

She was so astonished a moment later that she nearly disgraced herself,
for the rest of the ceremony was like nothing she had ever seen before.
The priest took the hand of the best man, he took that of the groom,
and he held his bride by the hand, and all, priest, best man, groom
and bride, danced three times around the altar, while the guests pelted
the dancers with candies, and Zoe stood in open-mouthed amazement,
until Marco threw a candy into her mouth and nearly choked her. Then
the ceremony was over and everybody kissed the bride and her wreath,
which brings good luck.

"What do you think of being bridesmaid?" asked Marco.

"It is very nice, but I was afraid I should laugh," answered Zoe. "What
do they do now, Marco?"

"Maria must go to her husband's house. She is starting now. Come, let
us follow."

They went with the bridal couple down the village street, and at her
door lay a pomegranate. Upon this the bride stepped for good fortune
with her children. Then Mathos' mother tied the arms of the two
together with a handkerchief and they entered their own home. They
drank a cup of wine together and turned to receive the congratulations
of their friends.

"Marco, it is your turn next. Beware lest a Nereid get you," said
Mathos, laughing.

"I am not afraid of a Nereid," said Marco hastily crossing himself.

"Once I saw one upon the hillside when I was watching the sheep," said
an old man. "She was so beautiful I crept up to seize her in my arms
and behold! she turned into a bear and then a snake. The bear I held
but the snake I let go. Then I saw her no more."

"Upon the river bank of Kephissos," said an old woman, "dwell three
Nereids. They are sisters. Two are fair but one is ugly and crippled.
My mother lived there and she has often told me that she heard the fays
talking and laughing in the reeds along the shore. The pretty sisters
like children and love to play with mortals. Sometimes they steal away
little folk when they have stayed out at night in disobedience to
their mothers. They take them to their home in the reeds, but the lame
sister is jealous of pretty children and when she is sent to take them
home, she pinches them. My mother has with her two eyes seen the black
and blue marks of pinches upon the arms of children who did not always
stay in the house after dark. And where my mother lived they say always
to naughty children, 'Beware! the lame Nereid will get you!'"

"Be careful, Zoe," said Marco. "Be a good child and keep within when it
is dark, else you shall see the Nereid."

"God forbid!" said Zoe, quickly crossing herself, "I should die of
fright."

FOOTNOTES:

[5] Dowry.

[6] Wedding things.



CHAPTER III

THE ANTIQUE CUP


FALL had come with its cool, sunny days and Aunt Anna was cooking
beans, symbols of the autumn fruits in honour of the old Feast of
Apollo. Olive branches were hung over the door of the house to bring
luck, as in the olden times olive boughs hung with figs and cakes, with
jars of oil and wine were carried by youths to the temples. Upon the
hillsides the vineyards hung, purple with fruit and winter wheat was
sown in the fields.

Zoe had begun to go to school and the babycoula wept for her. She did
not at all believe in education since it took away her willing slave
and devoted attendant, but in Greece all children are compelled to go
to school and learn at least to read and write and do simple sums.

Zoe enjoyed the school very much. She liked the walk in the fresh
morning air and she liked to learn, but most of all she liked the
stories which her teacher told whenever they were good children,
stories of the days when Greece was the greatest nation of the earth,
her women were famous for beauty and virtue, her men were warriors and
statesmen.

She learned of Lycurgus, the great lawgiver, of Pericles, the
statesman, of Alexander, the great general, and of the heroes of
Thermopylæ. All these tales she retold to her cousins and many were the
hours she kept them listening spellbound.

"It was not far from here, the Pass of Thermopylæ," she said. "Some day
I shall ask Marco to take us there. The story tells of how Leonidas
was king of Sparta and the cruel Persians came to conquer Greece.
Xerxes was the Persian king and he had a big army, oh, ever so many
times larger than the Grecian. Well, the only way to keep out the
Persians was to keep them from coming through the Pass of Thermopylæ,
so Leonidas took three hundred men and went to hold the Pass. For two
days they held it, and kept the Persians from coming in, and they could
have held out longer but for treachery. A miserable man, for money,
told the Persians a secret path across the mountains, so they crept up
behind the Grecians and attacked them. When Leonidas found they were
surrounded, he made up his mind that he and his men must die, but that
they should die as brave men. They fought the Persians so fiercely
that the Pass ran with blood and several times the Persians fell back;
others took their places, but these too turned back, and the Persian
king said,

"'What manner of men are these who, but a handful can keep back my
whole army?' and one of his men replied,

"'Sire, your men fight at your will; these Grecians, fight for their
country and their wives!'

"But at last the end came. Leonidas fell, covered with wounds, and
without him his men could withstand no longer. One by one they fell,
each with his sword in hand, his face to the foe, and when the last one
fell, the Persians, with a great shout, rushed through the Pass over
the dead bodies of the heroes."

"That's a fine story," said Georgios. "But I sha'n't wait for Marco. I
shall go to see the Pass for myself."

"No, no!" said Zoe. "You must not. Aunt Anna would be angry. It is
quite too far and it is in the mountains; you might meet a brigand."

But Georgios said only, "Pooh! I can take care of myself," and
looked sulky. It was rather hard for Zoe to look after him. He was
a mischievous boy, only a year younger than she was, and he thought
himself quite as old. He did not like it at all when his mother told
him to mind what Zoe said and often he did things just to provoke her.
This particular Saturday he was in bad temper because he had wished to
go to the mountains with Marco and his brother would not take him.

"Another time I will take you," said Marco. "But to-day I am in haste.
Stay with the girls and be a good little boy."

"Stay with the girls!" muttered Georgios. "It is always stay with
the girls. Some day I will show them I am big enough to take care of
myself."

So he felt cross and did not enjoy Zoe's stories as much as usual.

"Not long ago," said Zoe, for the other children were listening with
rapt interest, "some shepherds were tending their flocks on the hills
and one of them dug a hole in the ground to make a fire that they
might cook their food. As he placed the stones to make his oven, he
saw something sticking out of the ground and leaned down to see what
it was. It looked like a queer kettle of some kind and he dug it out
and examined it. He cleaned the dirt from it and it turned out to be
an old helmet, rusted and tarnished, but still good. He took it and
showed it to the teacher in the village and he said it was very, very
old and might have belonged to one of Leonidas' men. So the master sent
it to Athens and there they said that it was very valuable, and that
the writing upon it showed that it had been at Thermopylæ. They put
it in the great museum at Athens, and paid the shepherd a great many
_drachmas_[7] for it, so many that he could have for himself a house
and need not herd sheep for another man, but have his own flocks."

"Wish I could find one," said Georgios. "I heard my father say we
needed money very badly. There are so many of us! I wish I was big!"
and the boy's face grew dark. Zoe's clouded too.

"I am but another mouth to feed," she thought; but Aunt Anna's voice,
calling them to come to the midday meal, put her thoughts to flight.

It was not until after the little siesta they all took after luncheon
that she thought of what Georgios had said.

"How I wish I could find something of value," she thought to herself.
"I am not of much use except that I try to help with the children. Oh,
I wonder what Georgios is doing now!" she thought suddenly. She could
not hear him and when Georgios was quiet he was generally naughty.

"Where is Georgios?" she asked the children, but they did not know.
Only little Anna had seen him and she said that he had run quickly down
the road a little while before.

"You must stay with the babycoula here on the door step," Zoe said to
the little girls, calling to her aunt within the house, "Aunt Anna, I
am going to find Georgios, he is not here."

"Very well," said her aunt, and Zoe set off down the road. "Georgios!"
she called. There was no answer, but she thought she saw the tracks of
his feet in the dust of the road.

"Perhaps he has gone to the river," she said to herself, "to try to
fish," and hastily she ran to the bank but there was no little boy in a
red tasselled cap in sight. She hurried back to the road.

"I am afraid he has tried to go and see the Pass," she thought. "It
would be just like him, for he said he would not wait for Marco. Oh,
dear! I must find him. Aunt Anna will think it my fault if he is lost
or anything happens to him." She hurried onward, calling and looking
everywhere but found not a trace of the naughty little boy. It seemed
as if he had disappeared from the face of the earth, and she murmured
to herself,

[Illustration: "SOMETHING LAY THERE HALF COVERED WITH EARTH."]

"Oh, if he has gone to the river and a Nereid has stolen him! Perhaps
he has run to the mountain and a brigand has found him! I must bring
him home. Good St. Georgios, who killed the terrible dragon, help me to
find your name-child! Oh, dear, of course the saints hear us, but it
would be ever so much nicer if they would answer!" she thought. Then
she had little time to think more, for her whole mind was bent upon
finding the naughty boy whom, with all his naughtiness, she dearly
loved. She hurried up the hill, peering under every bush, behind every
tree, beginning to think that perhaps something had happened to the
child. She went on and on until the shadows of twilight began to gather
and she grew more and more frightened. Beneath her on the mountain-side
flowed a little stream and she peered into its silver depths wondering
if perhaps Georgios could have fallen into it. Then in her eagerness
she leaned too far, lost her balance and fell. Down, down she
tumbled, rolling over and over on the soft grass until she reached the
bottom of the hill. She lay still for a few moments then sat up and
looked about her.

She was in a spot in which she had never been before, a pretty little
glen, where the silvery stream ran over white pebbles with a soft,
murmuring sound. Ferns grew tall and green, delicate wild flowers
bloomed among them, the air was fragrant with the pines which grew
overhead, and the whole spot was like a fairy dell. She tried to rise,
but frowned with pain, for she had hurt her foot. So she sat thinking,
"I will rest a minute and then go on and find Georgios."

As she sat thinking she noticed a queer place hollowed out by the
water. Something lay there half covered with earth and she stooped to
see what it was.

"Perhaps I shall find something like the shepherd did," she thought,
but with sharp disappointment she found that the object which had
caught her eye was but a queer little cup black with red figures around
the rim, and with two handles, one at each side. It had the figure of a
woman at one side and Zoe thought it rather pretty.

"It is not of any use," she said to herself, "It is but someone's old
cup. But I shall take it home for the babycoula to play with. She will
think it is nice." So she tucked it into her pocket and got up to go.
Her ankle hurt but not so badly that she could not walk. She wet her
kerchief and tied it around the swollen joint and climbed up the hill
which she had rolled down so unexpectedly. At the top she stopped and
called as loudly as she could, "Georgios, Georgios!"

An answering shout of "Zoe!" came from below and her heart gave a glad
leap. She turned her steps downward and Marco met her ere she was half
way down.

"Child, what are you doing here?" he asked.

"Is Georgios found? I came to seek him!" she cried.

"He was not lost, that bad boy!" said Marco. "When I reached home I
found my mother disturbed in her mind because you had disappeared and
the little girls said you had gone to the mountain to find Georgios.
Him I found by the river fishing and he said that you had called but
that he had not answered. He will answer the next time," and Marco's
voice told Zoe that he had made it unpleasant for Georgios. "Then I
came on to seek you. Poor child! you must have had a hard climb."

"Oh, I did not mind," said Zoe. "Only I fell and hurt my ankle. I am
glad Georgios was not lost. He might have answered me, though," and her
lip quivered.

"He was a bad boy," said Marco, "and did it just to tease you. Let me
see your ankle. It is badly bruised, but not sprained, I think. Come,
I will help you home," and he put his arm around her.

It took Zoe some time to get home for walking on the lame ankle tired
her and often Marco stopped her to rest.

"What is it you have in your hand?" he asked her, as they sat down to
rest beneath a giant fir.

"Oh, it is nothing," she said. "Just a queer little cup I found and
thought Baby Domna might like to play with."

"Let me see it," said Marco, and he examined it carefully. "Where did
you find it?" he asked at length and Zoe answered,

"When I fell by the river it lay in the dirt. Is it too dirty for the
babycoula?"

"Zoe," Marco looked strangely excited. "I believe this old cup is of
great value."

"Oh Marco!" the little girl could say no more.

"Yes," he said. "I may be mistaken, but I think it is very old and
that it is like some cups I saw in Athens. They were sold for many
_drachmas_. They were black like this with a little red on them, in
lines and figures, and with two handles. A man in my regiment said they
were of ancient pottery and that they were dug up out of the earth. He
said the museum at Athens paid good prices for such things."

"Oh Marco!" Zoe's eyes were like stars. "If it would only turn out that
this was worth something, even a little, how happy I should be! I want
money so badly."

"What do you want it for?" Marco looked surprised.

"To give to Aunt Anna, of course," said Zoe, surprised in her turn.
"Georgios said to-day that your father needed money and Aunt Anna needs
many things." The child said it so simply that one would have supposed
she never needed anything for herself, and Marco caught her hand with a
sudden impulse.

"You are a strange little one," he said. "If this turns out to be worth
any money, you shall have it all to spend, every cent."

"For whatever I want?" asked Zoe in surprise.

"Yes, indeed," said Marco.

"Then I shall buy a dress for Aunt Anna and for each of the little
girls a new one that has not been made over from someone's else. And
something I shall buy for each one of the family, most of all for the
babycoula, since I meant to take the cup to her. And all the rest I
shall give to Uncle Georgios, for I am such an expense to him."

"That you are not," said Marco. "My mother said but yesterday that she
did not know how she would ever get along without you."

"Did she really?" Zoe's face flushed with pleasure. "My foot is much
better, we must go on now, it grows so late."

So they hastened home and Zoe met a warm welcome, even Georgios
hugging her and saying he was sorry he had sent her on such a wild
goose chase. Her cup was displayed and wondered at, and later, when
Papa Petro sent it to a priest in Athens and he sold it for many
_drachmas_, Zoe was delighted and insisted upon giving the money to
her uncle for all of them to share. Many comforts it brought for the
family, besides paying the debts which had been worrying her uncle. And
mischievous Georgios said airily,

"It was all due to me that the cup was found; for, if Zoe had not gone
to find me, she would never have fallen down the hill on top of it."

"Nevertheless," said Marco sternly, "do not let me catch you playing
any such tricks on your cousin again, or you will find something not so
pleasant as antique cups. She's too good a little girl to tease."

And Zoe said in her soft little voice, "Oh, Marco."

FOOTNOTE:

[7] A Grecian coin worth about twenty cents.



CHAPTER IV

THE "AGIASMO"


MARIA had a little son. Mathos was almost beside himself with delight,
and the young mother was beautiful in her happiness. Her pretty face,
always sweet, took on a deeper loveliness as she gazed on the little
creature, so pink and white and dear, and Zoe thought she had never
seen anything sweeter than her cousin and the baby together. Zoe had
cared for her Aunt's babies so well that she was quite an authority
and Maria trusted her with the little treasure when she would look
anxiously at anyone else who took him up. He was indeed a joy. Serene
and healthy, he lay all day, quite happy in the fact that he was able
to get his tiny thumb in his mouth.

[Illustration: "PAPA PETRO CAME RIDING DOWN FROM HIS HOUSE ON A TINY
DONKEY."]

Maria had made her visit at Church on the fortieth day after the baby
was born and Papa Petro had taken the little angel in his arms and
walked thrice around the altar with him. Now the time had come when the
good old priest was to christen the baby, and all the relatives and
friends assembled to see the ceremony.

Papa Petro came riding down from his house on a tiny donkey. He was a
dear old man with a wise, kindly face. He had been all his priestly
life over the one parish, and his people were dear to him. They in
turn loved him devotedly and he was always welcomed joyfully at any
festivity.

Before the christening he blessed the house, performing the _agiasmo_
or blessing, with great earnestness. First he took off his tall hat
and let down his hair which was long and snowy white and usually worn
in a knob at the back of his head. Then he set a basin of water and
some incense before the _eikon_ which was hung in a corner of the
room. Every Grecian home has its _eikon_ or picture of a saint or the
Blessed Virgin. The incense he placed in a bowl and lighted it, the
smoke rising and filling the room with a strong perfume. He read the
prayers which keep off the evil spirits in an impressive manner, and
then turned his attention to the christening.

Baby Mathos, very cunning in his new cap, was set down before the
_eikon_ which bore the pictured face of the saint to whom he was to be
dedicated. That was the signal for all the women present to rush for
his cap, the one who secured the coveted bit of lace and muslin being
the godmother. Zoe was the lucky one, and she stood proudly up beside
Maria and the godfather, who had been Mathos' best man. The _nounos_[8]
had given baby his fine new dress and had come prepared for all that a
godfather must do.

The babycoula was then undressed and held up to the priest in Zoe's
proud arms for Papa Petro to cut three hairs from the tiny head and
throw them into the baptismal font. This was filled with water into
which the godfather had poured a little olive oil.

Baby Mathos was then held to the west, to represent the kingdom of
darkness, and Papa Petro asked three times, "Do you renounce the devil
and all his works?" To this the godfather replied, "I do renounce
them." At this the priest and godfather turned toward the east with the
baby and the baby was plunged three times into the water. Baby squealed
and kicked, and Zoe smiled, for if a baby does not cry at the water it
is very bad luck, showing that the Evil One has not gone out of him.
The babycoula did his little best to assure the company that he had
no evil spirit left within, howling wrathfully after he was dried and
anointed with holy oils, refusing to stop even when prayed over at
length, only smiling when, the ceremony over, the _nounos_ gave some
_drachmas_ to his parents and threw a whole handful of _lepta_[9] among
the children present.

"He is generous with his witness money," whispered Zoe to Maria and she
smiled happily.

"Our little one will have the best of godparents," Maria said sweetly.
"You to love him and Loukas to think of his welfare."

Papa Petro dipped an olive branch in holy water and sprinkled the rooms
of the little cottage, then he sat down beside Maria, tied up his hair
and took a cup of coffee. Everyone was served to glasses of water and
sweets and everybody talked and laughed and said what a beautiful
little Christian the babycoula was! As each one admired the baby Maria
coloured and looked anxious and fingered the blue beads about her
darling's neck.

"What have you for a charm against the evil eye?" asked Papa Petro,
kindly. "Ah, I see, the blue beads. Well, that is good. Blue is the
Blessed Virgin's colour and the Panageia[10] will be your help.
However, I have brought you a bit of crooked coral which I have always
found good."

"It is most kind of you," said Maria prettily, as she hung the precious
spray of coral at the babycoula's throat. Zoe smiled to herself. She
had not intended to run any risk that her cousin's little baby should
be marked with the evil eye, which can be put on a child just by
admiring it. So, for the baby was so pretty she had felt sure it would
be admired all day, she had put a bit of soot behind his ear, for that
will ward off any evil eye. It is a sure charm. Therefore she felt
quite satisfied even though every one present did say that the baby was
perfectly beautiful. Then she held the little thing up before a mirror,
for that would insure another baby in the family before the close of
the year, and as the Grecians love children dearly they are glad to
have many of them.

The baby had so many pieces of white stuff given to him that the little
house looked as if it had been in a snow storm. No polite person would
come to see a new baby and not give it something white, even if it
were only an egg, for such a gift insures to the infant a lovely fair
complexion.

Thus was Baby Mathos started on his journey as a Christian with all
good omens, and his little godmother went home in the cool of the
evening, happy in all of the pleasures of the day.

"It was lovely, Aunt Anna!" she said to her aunt. "Was it not? Maria's
baby is a dear little fellow. He is my own godchild and I love him
dearly, but of course not more than our own babycoula," and she buried
her face in Baby Domna's neck. The baby crowed and cooed and patted
Zoe's face with her tiny chubby hands and pulled her hair and acted in
the entrancing way in which only a baby can act and Zoe laughed back at
her and hugged her tight.

"You're my own babycoula," she said. "And I love you better than
anything."

"Better than you do me? Oh shame!" said Marco teasing, while Aunt
Anna, like every other good mother pleased with the attention her baby
received, smiled upon her. Marco, however, looked very solemn and said
reproachfully,

"I thought you would never like any baby better than me!"

"But you are not a baby," said Zoe, and Aunt Anna said,

"I am not so sure that he is not. But do not mind him, he is only
teasing. You are a good child, Zoe," and little Zoe went happily to bed
her heart warm at the thought that everybody seemed to love her, if she
was an orphan and far away from home.

"It is only love that counts," she murmured to herself sleepily and
fell asleep with a smile on her face, as the silver moon streamed
through her window and the air came in soft and kind, fragrant with the
breath of spring.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] God-father.

[9] Small copper coin.

[10] All Holy One.



CHAPTER V

A VISIT TO MARCO


THE winter passed quietly to Zoe and spring came with its glories
of cloud and flower and sunshine. Men began to plough in the fields
with quaint old-fashioned, one-handled ploughs, drawn by great strong
oxen. Snows still crested Ossa and Pelion, and beautiful Olympus, in
snow-crowned grandeur golden in the morning's glow, turned to rose in
the evening sunset.

Marco had gone far up the mountain side to herd for a rich farmer who
had many goats. He watched the herds all day and, when they were safely
housed for the night, camped in a rough little hut on the hillside.

Zoe missed him from the cottage, for of all her cousins she most loved
Marco. She was very happy therefore when her Aunt Anna told her one
day that she might carry a basket of food to the mountain.

She started off happily, running along the village street into the open
country, going more slowly up the hillside, where the early wildflowers
were beginning to bloom.

She reached the little hut where Marco slept, nearly at sundown but he
was not there, so she sat down to wait for him. The sun was streaming
in a golden glory and the Vale of Tempe opened before her as fair as
when the god Apollo slept beneath its elms and oaks, wild figs and
plane trees. Zoe loved everything beautiful and she sat and looked
eagerly at the lovely scene.

"It is almost as pretty as my own Argolis," she said aloud, and then
gave a little sigh.

"Still homesick, little one?" Marco's voice said close behind her, and
she sprang to her feet in astonishment. He seemed to have sprung from
the ground, so quickly had he come upon her.

"Oh, Marco!" she said. "I did not hear you come. I am so glad to see
you. It has been lonely at home without you."

"I have missed you, too. It is good of you to come to see me," he said.

"Aunt Anna sent me with fresh cheese and eggs and bread for your
supper," she told him. "This is a beautiful place isn't it, Marco?"

"It is indeed," he answered. "Like a fine old man, Mt. Olympus always
has snow upon his head. See how the clouds float about the summit; you
know that was the home of the gods in the old days. 'Not by wind is it
shaken nor ever wet with rain, but cloudless upper air is spread about
it and a bright radiance floats over it.'"

"Papa Petro says we must not talk of the gods of olden times, for they
were heathen," said Zoe primly. "But they were interesting. Where did
you learn so much, Marco?"

"It is not much I know," he said with a laugh. "But when I was in
Athens I took service with a man from America. He knew much. He read
ancient Greek and when I told him I was a Grecian from near Mt.
Olympus, he asked many questions about Thessaly and the way we live
here. In return he told me much of our Ancient Grecian stories. He told
me of Jason and his adventures after the Golden Fleece, of Perseus and
Theseus and many others."

"Tell me some of them," demanded Zoe eagerly.

"Well, Perseus was the son of Danae, and a god was his father. He was
taller and stronger and handsomer than any of the princes of the court
and the king hated him. But Pallas Athene, the beautiful goddess of
wisdom, loved him and helped him and took him under her protection.
She gave him a task to perform, to rid the land of the horrible Gorgon
Medusa, whose hair was a thousand snakes and whose face was so
horrible that no man could look upon it and live. That Medusa might not
kill Perseus, Athene gave him a magic shield and told him to look into
the shield and seeing there the Gorgon's image, strike! He was to wrap
the head in a goat's skin and bring it back. She gave him also Herme,
the magic sword, and sandals with which he might cross the sea and even
float through the air. They would guide him, too, for they knew the way
and could not lose the path.

"So Perseus started out, and he flew through the air like a bird. And
many were the dangers which he met, but all he overcame. Far was the
journey, but he made it with a light heart. He went until he came to
Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, and of his
daughters, the gentle Hesperides, he asked his way. And they said to
him, 'You must have the hat of darkness so that you can see but not be
seen.'

"'And where is that hat?' he asked. And Atlas said to him,

"'No mortal can find it, but if you will promise me one thing, I will
send one of my daughters, the Hesperides for it.'

"'I will promise,' said Perseus. 'If it is a thing I may do.'

"'When you have cut off the Gorgon's head, which turns all who see it
into stone,' said Atlas, 'promise me that you will bring it here that I
may see it and turn to stone. For I must hold up the world till the end
of time, and my arms and legs are so weary that I should be glad never
to feel again.' So Perseus promised, and one of the Hesperides brought
him the hat of darkness, which she found in the region of Hades. Then
Perseus went on and on until at last he came to the Gorgons' lair. And
he put on the hat of darkness and came close to the evil beasts. There
were three of them, but Medusa was the worst, for he saw in the mirror
that her head was covered with vipers. He struck her quickly with his
sword, cut off her head and wrapped it in the goat's skin. Then, flying
upward with his magic sandals, he fled from the wrath of the other two
Gorgons, who followed fast. They could not catch him, for the sandals
bore him too swiftly. Remembering his promise he came to Atlas, and
Atlas looked but once upon the face of Medusa and he was turned to
stone. They say that there he sits to this day, holding up the earth.
Then Perseus said farewell to the Hesperides, thanking them, and he
turned away toward his home.

"He flew over mountains and valleys by sea and land for weary days and
nights. As he came to the water of the blue Aegean sea, there he found
a strange thing, for, chained to a rock, was a maiden, beautiful as
day, who wept and called aloud to her mother.

"'What are you doing here?' demanded Perseus, and she answered,

"'Fair youth, I am chained here to be a victim to the Sea God, who
comes at daybreak to devour me. Men call me Andromeda, and my mother
boasted that I was fairer than the queen of the fishes, so that the
queen is angry and has sent storm and earthquake upon my people. They
sacrifice me thus to appease her wrath. Depart, for you can be of no
help to me and I would not that you see the monster devour me.'

"'I shall help you, and that right promptly,' said Perseus, who loved
her for her beauty and her sweetness. So he took his sword and cut her
chains in two, and he took her in his arms and said,

"'You are the fairest maiden I have ever seen. I shall free you from
this monster and then you shall be my wife.' And she smiled upon him,
for she loved him for his strength and for his brave words.

"The sea monster was a fearful beast. His jaws were wide open and his
tail lashed the waters as he rushed toward the maiden. She screamed
and hid her face, but Perseus dropped down from the rock, right on the
monster's back, and slew him with his gleaming sword. Then Perseus
took Andromeda and flew to her home, and her parents received him with
joy, giving him their daughter and begging him to stay with them. That
he could not do, because of his promise to Pallas Athene. So he took
his bride, and her father gave him a great ship and he returned to his
mother like a hero, with his galley and much gold and treasure, the
marriage portion of Andromeda. The wicked king was not glad to see him
and would have had him killed, but Perseus held up to him the head of
Medusa and it turned the king to stone. Then Perseus reigned in his
stead, and one night in a dream Pallas Athene came to him and said,

"'You have kept your promise and brought back the Gorgon's head. Give
back to me the sword, the sandals, the shield and the hat of darkness,
that I may give each to whom it belongs.' And when he awoke they were
all gone.

"Then he went home to his own land of Argos and there he lived in
happiness with Andromeda, and they had fair sons and daughters, and men
say that when they died they were borne by the gods to the heavens, and
that there one can still see, on fair nights of summer, Andromeda and
her deliverer Perseus."

"Oh!" exclaimed Zoe, with a long drawn breath of delight. "What a
lovely story! But, Marco, why don't people do such brave things as that
now days?"

"There are just as brave men now as there were in the old times,"
said Marco, his eyes kindling. "In my regiment they tell a story of
a Grecian soldier in our War for Independence. Beside him marched a
comrade, a man from his own island. They had played together as boys
and had always been friends. But the other fellow had married the girl
whom Spiro loved, and he had a sore heart about that. The regiment was
up in the mountains and was attacked by the Turks and Spiro's friend
captured. Spiro wept, but that was not all. He went to his captain and
begged that he might be sent to the Turks in exchange for his friend.
His captain said it was impossible, that the Turks would not accept him
in exchange, but would kill both. Spiro said, 'My captain, if they did
accept me it would be well. Let me go.'

"'You are a silly fellow,' said the captain. 'I cannot give you any
permission. If you can get word to the Turks and they will accept you,
then you may go.' This he said because he was sure the Turks would but
laugh at such an idea of Spiro. But Spiro thanked him with tears of
joy. Then he went to a man in the regiment who could write. 'Will you
write a letter just as I say it?' he asked and his friend said that he
would. Here is the letter,

    "'To the most noble general of the Turks,' it began,

    "'I am Spiro Rhizares of the ---- Grecian Infantry. I salute
    your Worship. You have captured a man of my regiment, one
    Yanne Petropoulas. He is a better man than I am but I am
    good enough to kill. I am taller than he so there is more
    of me to die. He has a wife and I have not, so there is
    more need for him to live. Wives take money; he should not
    be killed, for then there is no one to buy bread and garlic
    and embroidered kerchiefs for Evangoula. She is a good
    wife, but even good women must have loukoumi and coloured
    kerchiefs to keep them good. I ask you therefore to have the
    great kindness to kill me, _Effendi_, in place of Yanne,
    and I think he would not object. If therefore, your Worship
    will consent send me word, but do not speak of it to Yanne,
    since he might feel a disappointment that he might not die
    for his country at your most worshipful hands. Asking
    your Graciousness to send me word when I shall have to the
    pleasure to be killed, I sign myself, through the hands of a
    comrade, since I am too ignorant a fellow to write (you see
    I am fit only to kill),            With respect,
                                         "'SPIRO RHIZARES.'

"This letter Spiro sent through the mountain passes by a shepherd boy
and awaited an answer. At last one came. It was short.

    "'To one Spiro Rhizares, --th, Grecian Infantry.

    "'SIR:--Since you are wishing to feel the edge of a Turkish
    scimiter, come and be killed. When you are dead your friend
    shall go free. This on the honour of a Turk. I promise
    because I know you will not come. You thought to work on my
    heart. I have no heart for Greeks. As we will kill all your
    men in a few months, you may as well die now if you like.
    Your friend I will send back.    (Signed) SELIM PASHA.'

"Spiro was like a fellow mad with joy. He sent all his money to
Evangoula, gave his things to his comrades, and, lest he be hindered,
stole off in the night. He reached the Turkish camp and smilingly
asked to die quickly that Yanne might quickly go home. But the Turks
had other ideas. They tried to buy Spiro to talk about his regiment
and tell secrets of the army, promising that both he and his comrade
should live, but he said only that he came to die and not to talk, and
they could get nothing out of him though they tried in many ways. So
at last they cut off his head and set Yanne free. He was in a terrible
rage. He said that he never would have consented had they told him. But
they only laughed at him and set him outside the camp. And he came back
to the regiment, but he was not happy. He grieved for Spiro and made
himself ill. Then the captain spoke with him. He told Yanne that Spiro
had died for him and that now he must make the life that Spiro had
saved of some account. His time in the army was nearly up. He should go
home and care for his wife and thus do what Spiro would wish.

"'This will be the only way to win happiness,' said the captain. 'For
if you do not do this, your wife will say that Spiro was the better man
and that he should not have died, but you.' And Yanne wept, but he did
what the captain had said. And that is the end of the story. But all
the regiment drink to the eternal health of Spiro Rhizares, the hero."

"Oh, the brave splendid fellow!" cried Zoe. "Indeed, he was as poor, as
Perseus. That is the nicest story I ever heard. Thank you so much for
telling it to me.

"How did there come to be war with Turkey, Marco?"

"That is a long story, child, but one that you should know. Once, you
know, Greece included Macedonia and all the strip of land along the
sea as far as Constantinople. But the Turks always wanted Greece and
in the year 1453 they came down upon us in a frightful war and took
the land. The Turkish rule was horrible. Their rulers knew nothing but
to wring money out of our poor people and many Grecians fled to the
mountains and became _klephts_.[11] These fought always against the
Turks and kept ever within them the spirit of freedom. At last they
formed the Hetaeria, or Revolutionary Secret Society, and soon Greece
was fighting for her independence. Such terrible battles as came; such
heroes as there were! It makes one want to shout at the very name of
Marco Bozzaris, who surprised the Turks one night at Karpenisi and
overcame them.

"Our people fought like the ancient heroes, but they could not get
money to carry on the war. The Turks brought in hordes of soldiers;
Greece was plundered and burned; people starved by the roadside, women
and children were murdered. At last the nations of Europe said that
such things could no longer be, and they joined together to compel the
Turks to allow Greece to be free. This the Turks did not wish to do;
but France, Russia and England compelled them to permit Greece to have
her own government. The Turks gave us back a part of our country and a
king was chosen to reign over us.

"This was better than belonging to Turkey, but it was not enough. We
wanted all the land that belonged to us and this we could not get. The
island of Crete especially wanted to be Grecian but the Turks would not
let it go.

"At last in 1897, came the war in Macedonia, in which our poor soldiers
were shot down by the hundred and we had to turn our backs upon the
foe. It was then that Spiro Rhizares fought and died, and many, many
splendid fellows as brave as he. It was a terrible war, Little One.
War is easy when a man marches toward the foe. He is never tired or
hungry or footsore. But when he is ordered back and must march away,
his knapsack grows heavier at each step; he is hungry and cold and
weary, and his heart is within him like lead. Our men could have fought
like heroes and Macedonia would now be ours; but the orders came
always, 'Retreat! Back to Velestino!' and what could they do?

"The Powers forbade the Turks to conquer further, or we might be slaves
again. Never mind, the day will come when every Grecian shall arm
himself, and the detestable Turks shall be swept from our borders and
all Greece shall once more be free!"

Marco's eye kindled and his face flushed.

"Thank you so much for telling me about it, Marco, I hope you'll never
have to go to fight, but I wish Greece could have all the land that
belongs to her. I am afraid I must go now. Aunt Anna will be displeased
if I am late. It is growing dark. Are you not afraid all alone here in
the mountains?"

"Afraid of what, Little One?" asked Marco, his hand on the
hunting-knife which he carried in the soft sash at his waist. "You see
I am not alone, I have a good friend here."

"Yes, but you might see a bear or a brigand!" she said. "Oh, Marco,
what is that?" A tall figure appeared as she spoke from out of the
rocks above them. "It is a brigand I am sure!" she whispered and clung
close to her cousin.

"Nonsense," he answered. "Nobody ever sees brigands now, Zoe," but as
he spoke he tightened his grasp on his dagger and put his arm around
his cousin, for every Grecian knows there are brigands in the mountains
of Thessaly, though they are much less frequently seen than they used
to be.

Zoe gave a frightened gasp, "It is, I know it is! _Pana yea_,[12] save
me!" she said as the stranger approached, but Marco said pleasantly,

"_Kalos orsesate!_"[13]

FOOTNOTES:

[11] Brigands.

[12] Holy virgin.

[13] Welcome.



CHAPTER VI

TEA WITH A BRIGAND


THE stranger replied to Marco with "Tee Kamnete"[14] and came up close
to them. Zoe blessed herself and said not a word.

"Kala,"[15] Marco said briefly, and the stranger said,

"It is late for you and your sister to be on the mountain. She is a
pretty child."

"Na meen avosgothees,"[16] whispered Marco to Zoe, then to the
stranger, "Not later than for you."

"But I have business here," he said with a smile.

[Illustration: "STOOD BEFORE THEM IN THE BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL COSTUME OF
GREECE."]

"And so have we," and Marco's tone was a little curt.

"My business is to eat supper," said the man. "Will you join me?"

Marco was surprised, but Zoe whispered, "Do not make him angry," so he
said,

"Thank you. Zoe has brought me to eat also. Will you not share with us?"

"We will eat together," said the stranger, so they seated themselves
upon the green grass and Marco took from the basket Zoe had brought,
black bread and cheese for all three.

"This is the best I have, but I am glad to give," he said, for he
thought to himself, "He has not a bad face now that one sees him close.
In any case it is best to be civil, for bees are not caught with sour
wine."

The stranger threw aside his cloak and stood before them in the
beautiful national costume of Greece. Zoe thought that she had never
seen anything so fine as his clothes. He wore a white shirt, a
little black jacket and _fustanellas_, the full white petticoat
reaching to the knees, to which Grecian men cling in spite of the fact
that it can be soiled in ten minutes while it takes a woman almost as
many hours to make it clean again.

He carried a leather bag over one shoulder, and from this he took a
parcel, seating himself beside Zoe and opening it with a gay smile.

"I did not think this morning, when I had this put up, that I should
eat it with so dear a little girl," he said. "Perhaps I should have
put in Syrian _loukoumi_ had I known that you would be here instead of
_halva_[17] and _tarama_.[18] Should I not?"

"_Halva_ is very nice," said Zoe shyly. "And I have never tasted
_loukoumi_ of Syria."

"Have you not? Poor child! Tell me where you live and I will send you
a packet of it."

"I live in Karissa, near to Volo," said Zoe with a sweet smile. "The
gentleman takes too much trouble."

"I shall certainly do it," he said, "unless I am wrestling with
Charos."[19]

"When your soul shall be a Petalouda[20] and your dust shall become
myrrh," said Zoe. "On the third day I shall carry raw wheat and a
candle to Papa Petro, that he may say prayers for you."

"You are an angel of a child!" there were tears in the man's eyes.
"It matters little when Charos comes, since God sends Charos to take
souls. It is well if we leave behind us some grateful hearts to say
'may your dust become myrrh.' Come, let us eat. Here is a bottle of
_resinato_,[21] bread and _tarama_, with olives and garlic and _halva_
for dessert. It is a feast for the gods, yet the best Christian may eat
it in Lent."

They ate, the two men chatting together, Zoe listening in silence. It
had been long since she had seen such a feast, for bread and eggs were
often all that was to be had in her aunt's house, and sometimes there
were no eggs.

They sat beneath a giant tree on a carpet of maiden-hair fern; scarlet
anemones and heath, orchids and iris bloomed beside them, and the
silver tinkle of a waterfall came softly through the evening air. The
fragrance of violets was there, and a few early asphodel raised their
star-like blooms toward heaven.

"There is no place in all the world like Greece," said the stranger, as
he looked down over the beautiful valley. "It was near to here that
Cheiron's cave lay, and one can almost see Olympus, home of the gods."

"Who was Cheiron?" asked Zoe.

"Do you not know the story of the Golden Fleece?" said the stranger.
"Shall I tell it while we eat?"

"Oh, if you only would?" cried Zoe, and he began.

"Long, long ago, when the gods lived on Olympus, there was a cave in
the depths of old Mount Pelion and it was called the cave of Cheiron,
the Centaur. Cheiron was a strange being, half horse and half man, for
he had the legs of a horse but the upper part of his body was that of
a man. He was wise and kind and men called him 'the Teacher.' Many
men sent their sons to him to be taught, for he knew not only all the
things of war, but music and to play the lyre, and of all the healing
herbs, so that he could cure the wounds of men. Among his pupils was
a lad named Jason, whose father was Æson, king of Iolcos, by the
sea. The wicked brother of Æson had cast him forth from his kingdom,
and fearing that Jason would be killed, the father left the lad with
Cheiron. Cheiron taught him much, and he learned quickly. He learned
to wrestle and box, to ride and hunt, to wield the sword, to play the
lyre, and even all that Cheiron knew of healing herbs Jason learned.
Jason was happy with Cheiron and loved him, and the youths who dwelt in
the Centaur's cave, these he loved as brothers. He was quite content
until one day he looked forth over the plains of Thessaly to the south,
and as he saw the white-walled town beside the sea, something stirred
within him, and he said to Cheiron,

"'There lies my home. Now I am grown, I am a hero's son, let me go
forth and take my heritage from that bad man who cast forth my father,
for I know that one day I shall be king in Iolcos.'

"'That day is far, far away,' said Cheiron, who could read the future.
'But it will come. Eagles fly from the nest, so must you fly hence. Go,
but promise me this. Speak kindly to each one that you meet and keep
always your promises.'

"'I promise you and I will perform,' said Jason, and he bade Cheiron
farewell. Then he hurried down the mountain-side, through the
sweet-smelling groves where grew the wild thyme and arbutus, beyond the
vineyards green in the sun, and the olive groves in fragrant bloom. He
came to the river bank, a stream swollen with spring rains and foaming
to the sea. Upon the bank was an old woman, wrinkled and gray, and she
cried to Jason,

"'Good sir, carry me across this stream.'

"Jason looked at her, and at first he thought to leave her, for the
stream was broad and it roared over cruel rocks and was heavy with the
mountain's melting snow. But she cried pitifully,

"'Fair youth, for Hera's sake, carry me across.'

"Now Hera was queen of all the gods who lived on Olympus, and Jason
said,

"'For Hera's sake will I do much. Cling upon my back and I will carry
you across. That I promise you.' Then he remembered Cheiron's word and
was glad he had answered her softly. He struggled through the foam, but
the old woman was heavy and she clung about his neck and seemed to grow
heavier. He buffeted the waves and struggled, and twice he thought he
must let the old woman go, but he remembered his promise and held her
fast, and at last he reached the farther shore and scrambled up the
bank. And as he gently set his burden down, lo! she was a fair young
woman, and she smiled upon him and said,

"'I am that Hera for whose sake you have done this deed of kindness. I
will repay you, for whenever you need help call upon me, and I will not
forget you.' Then she rose up from the earth into the clouds, and with
awe and wonder, Jason watched her fade from his sight.

"Then he went on to Iolchis, but he walked slowly, for he had lost one
sandal in the flood. He went into the city and spoke with the king,
demanding his realm, and the king was afraid of him, for soothsayers
had foretold that a man wearing one sandal should take the kingdom away
from him.

"But the king spoke to him kindly and gave him food, and said to him,
'Your father gave me the kingdom of his own free will. See him and ask
him if this is not true.' Jason said that he would do so, and he ate
with his uncle, and at last the king said,

"'There is a man in my kingdom whom I am afraid will cause me trouble
if he stays here. What would you do with him were you I? I ask because
I know you are wise.'

"'I think I would send him to bring home the Golden Fleece,' said Jason.

"'Will you go?' said the king, and Jason saw that he was caught in a
trap, and that his uncle had meant him.

"'I will go, and when I return I will take the kingdom,' he said, and
straightway he made ready. He made sacrifice to Hera, for in those
days people killed a lamb in honour of the gods, as we to-day burn a
candle at a shrine. Then he fitted up a ship and sent word to all those
princes who had been with him in Cheiron's cave that they come with
him on this glorious quest. And they came and all the youths set forth
upon a mighty ship. Of the many things that happened to them I have no
time to tell, but at last Jason came to the shores of Cutaia, where the
Colchians lived. There was the Golden Fleece, but guarded so that no
man might take it. There it had been for many years, since King Phrixus
had slain the Golden Ram and offered it in sacrifice, and since then
all the world had longed to possess the wonderful Golden Fleece.

"Medea, the king's daughter, saw Jason, and loved him because he
was fearless and brave. She was a witch and she helped him with her
witchcraft, giving him a magic salve with which he rubbed himself so
that no weapon could hurt him, and his strength was as the strength of
mighty hills. He who would possess the Fleece must first wrestle with
two terrible bulls, then he must sow serpent's teeth in a ploughed
field. From the teeth sprang up a field of armed men, and these must
be overcome, and then the deadly serpent which guarded the Fleece must
be slain. All these things Medea's magic helped Jason to do. He fought
with the bulls and conquered them; he harnessed them to the plough and
ploughed the field. He hewed down the armed men as if they were stalks
of wheat and last of all he sought to slay the serpent. Orpheus, who
had been with Jason in Cheiron's cave, went with him to the tree where
hung the Golden Fleece. He was the sweetest singer in all the world,
and he played soft and sweet upon his lyre and sang of sleep, and the
serpent closed his eyes and slumber stole upon him. Then Jason stepped
across his body and tore the Fleece from the tree, and he and Orpheus
and Medea fled to the ship and away they sailed to Greece again."

As he finished a sudden sound reached their ears and Marco sprang to
his feet.

"A wolf is at my goats!" he cried. "I must go. Zoe, fly quickly down
the mountain; but no--it is too late for you to go alone, there are
wild beasts abroad. You should not have stayed so late!"

"Go quickly to your goats, Marco. That is your duty. I shall be safe,
for I shall pray to the saints and the Holy Virgin, and I shall run
very fast."

"Go to your herd, good shepherd, and I will take your sister home,"
said the stranger, putting up the remains of his meal, but Marco did
not look reassured. He looked helplessly from one to the other. "I may
be out all night," he said, when another squeal, sharp and shrill, came
through the air.

"Go at once, Marco, I shall be quite safe with this gentleman," said
Zoe.

"I will promise that she shall go straight home," said the stranger,
and Marco unwillingly turned to the mountain.

Zoe and her strange companion walked hastily down the steep path which
led to the village.

"Child," said the stranger, "why did you tell your brother to go? Are
you not afraid of me?"

"He is not my brother, but my cousin, and I am not at all afraid," she
said.

"But you were afraid at first," he said. "You thought I was a brigand."

"That was before I had seen your face," said the little girl. "And now
that I have seen you and heard you talk, I know that you are not."

"How do you know?" he asked.

"You are a good man, because you keep the Lenten fast, you speak well
of God and you are kind to a little girl. So I know you have a white
heart. You may perhaps be a brigand, but you are a good one."

He threw back his head and laughed aloud.

"You are a strange little one," he said. "Tell me your name."

"I am Zoe Averoff, of Argolis."

"Zoe Averoff of Argolis! Child, what are you doing here?"

She looked at him in wonder as she answered, "My mother is dead, my
father is gone and comes no more; he must be dead too. I live here with
my uncle, the father of Marco."

The stranger's eyes were fixed upon her and she saw them fill with hot
tears.

"Child," he said, "I believe you are my little niece. I am Andreas
Averoff, and your father was my brother. I feared that I would fail to
find you, since all they could tell me at your old home was that you
had gone to Thessaly. Do you remember me, since I went to your house
once long ago?"

"I know that I had an Uncle Andreas," said Zoe, scarce believing her
ears. "But I do not remember him."

"I am that uncle," he said, "and I have come to take you with me to my
home. I have a wife and son in Argolis, but our little girl we lost.
Will you come and be our daughter, or are you too happy here?"

"I am not too happy," said Zoe, "but it would be hard to leave Marco.
He is so good to me."

"Perhaps your Marco will come with us, for I have money and we can find
him better things to do than to fly to the mountains with the shepherds
each St. George's Day. Now, take me to your home and tell your aunt
what has come of your taking tea with a brigand."

FOOTNOTES:

[14] How do you do?

[15] Well?

[16] Said to avert the evil eye.

[17] A kind of paste eaten on fast days.

[18] A sea food.

[19] Dying.

[20] Butterfly, a Grecian superstition being that the soul becomes a
butterfly after death.

[21] Grecian wine with resin in it.



CHAPTER VII

ZOE TAKES A JOURNEY


THE next few days seemed to Zoe to pass as in a dream. So many things
happened which she had never supposed could come to her, that she
was almost dazed. Uncle Andreas was such an energetic person that he
carried everything his own way. He silenced all objections to his
plans, and before the child fairly knew what was happening she had said
good-bye to her Thessalonian relatives, and with her new-found uncle
and Marco was sailing out of the harbour of Volo on her uncle's ship.
She wept a little at leaving her cousins, especially the babycoula, but
that Marco was to be with her robbed the separation of half its sting.
The future opened before her with much of interest. Unknown lands were
to be explored, and to Zoe this in itself was charming.

"Do you feel as if you were setting out to find the Golden Fleece?"
asked Marco as the two sat upon the deck and watched the hills of
Thessaly fade in the distance, as they sailed over the blue Gulf of
Velos.

"I feel very strange and full of wonder as to what will come next," she
said.

"Well, Little One," said Uncle Andreas' hearty voice, "what kind of a
sailor are you going to make?"

"Oh, I like it on the sea," she answered brightly. "When we came to
Thessaly, Mother was very ill, but I was not at all. I love the salt
air, the spray and the feel of the wind on my cheek. It is like a kiss."

"Good girl," her uncle smiled at her. "You are just the one to have a
sailor uncle. Many a fine sail shall we have together when we reach our
own Argolis. Marco shall be a fisherman and we three shall sail and
sail in the roughest weather. They do not know the sea who know her
only when she is calm. She is most beautiful when angry. Shall you tire
of your long voyage?"

"Oh, no, Uncle Andreas, I could sail for ever."

The time passed pleasantly for Marco told Zoe pleasant tales of their
own beautiful Greece, and her uncle told of rovings from shore to
shore. He had been a sailor for many years and now owned his own sloop,
in which he sailed over the Mediterranean with cargoes of currants
and lemons. He had had many adventures, had been shipwrecked upon one
of the little islands of the sea and in his youth had even sailed to
America.

"I do not believe that your father is dead," he said to Zoe one day.
"He may have written letters which you have never received, but I think
if he were dead we would have heard of it. Some day he will come back
or we will go and hunt him up."

Zoe's eyes grew large and tender.

"If my father would only come back," she said, "I should never ask the
saints for anything so long as I live. But I know I will be very happy
with you and Aunt Angeliké."

"Especially as Marco will be there," laughed her uncle, and Zoe laughed
too.

"Marco has been so good to me that I would be a strange girl could I be
happy without him," she said.

When they sailed into the Gulf of Athens and, rounding the point, she
saw the "City of Sails," as it is called from the many boats in the
harbour, the little girl could hardly contain herself. She saw for the
first time the wonderful marble buildings of the city of Athens, with
the Acropolis and the Areopagus, where gleamed the famous ruins of the
Parthenon; and to the child, her mind filled with the lore of the long
ago, every marble was peopled with heroes, every leaf and bud and bird
sang of Pericles and other famous Athenians, as Mt. Olympus and Tempe's
Vale had whispered of the gods of old.

Athens is perhaps one of the most interesting cities in the world. The
ship anchored in the harbour of Pireas and the three landed in a small
boat rowed by Uncle Andreas' stout sailors. Then they drove in a cab
between the long rows of pepper trees, Zoe bouncing from one window
of the cab to the other in a frantic effort to see both sides of the
street at once. The driver drove very fast, calling "Empros!" to any
passer who chanced to cross his path, and Zoe wished he would go slowly
so that she might see all the wonderful things they passed.

"Oh, Uncle, what is that?" she cried as they passed a procession of men
carrying something on a bier.

"It is a funeral," he said.

"Why isn't the coffin covered?" she asked, for as they drew nearer she
saw that there was no cover and the dead man lay covered only with
flowers.

"The custom of burying the dead without cover arose in the time of the
first Turkish war," he said. "The Turks feared that soldiers would get
outside of the wall by pretending to be dead and being carried out in
coffins. Several famous leaders got out of the city in that manner and
stirred up the country people to revolt. So they made a law that people
who died must be carried through the streets uncovered and a lid put
on the coffin only as it was lowered into the grave. Miserable Turks!"
and Uncle Andreas spat on the ground, as every good Grecian does when
mentioning the name of his hated enemy. The Turks have always coveted
Greece and in the bitter wars between the two countries has been bred a
hatred which does not die out as the countries grow older.

"Oh, Marco!" cried Zoe from the other window, "See them cooking in the
street! I never heard of such a thing."

"That is quite common," said Marco. "It is not good to have fire in the
house, you know, so men make their living by taking stoves around from
house to house and cooking whatever people wish for dinner. You see
many of the houses are built without any chimneys for the smoke, and
when they have stoves in them they have to let the smoke out through a
pane of the window. Often it blows back into the room, and so people do
not care for stoves. Heat in the house is very bad for the health, you
know, so these travelling stove-men make a good living."

"Nearly everything is brought to your door in Athens," said Uncle
Andreas. "The street sellers peddle not only everything to eat, but dry
goods, notions, hats, shoes, and nearly everything else, from trays
hung around their necks."

Suddenly their cab stopped and drew up at the edge of the sidewalk. Zoe
wondered what was the matter as she saw the driver take off his cap,
and her uncle exclaimed,

"Well, Zoe, you are in luck! Here comes the royal carriage."

"Oh, Uncle, is it the King?" she cried, bouncing up and down with
excitement.

"His Majesty, the Queen and Prince Constantine," said her uncle as a
handsome carriage drove by. Zoe had a glimpse of a fine-looking man,
and a sweet-faced woman gave her a bright smile. Then the cab drove on
again and she sat down with a gasp of astonishment.

"Is that all?" she said. "Why, Uncle, it was only a two-horse carriage,
and there wasn't any music or soldiers or crowns on their heads or
anything!" Her uncle and Marco laughed heartily.

"You are all mixed up, Little One," said Marco. "Crowns on whose
head--the horses? Our king is the most democratic monarch in Europe.
He often walks around Athens without any one with him at all. He is
quite safe, for every one likes him. He likes a joke and does not care
at all for fuss and ceremony. They tell a story that one day he was out
walking and met an American, who stopped him to ask if it was permitted
to see the royal gardens. Of course the American did not know to whom
he was talking, but the king said, 'Certainly, sir, I will show them
to you;' and he took him all around the gardens, talking with him
pleasantly and telling him many interesting things about Athens. At
last the American said,

"'What kind of a woman is the queen?'

"'She is beautiful and good as she is beautiful,' answered the king.

"'What about the king?' asked the stranger.

"'Oh, he isn't of much account,' said King George. 'He hasn't done much
for the country.'

"'That's strange,' said the American. 'You are the first person I have
met in Greece who did not speak well of the king.'

"'Indeed,' said the king with a laugh. 'Well, I know him better than
most people.' The man found out afterwards that he had been talking to
the king, and he was very much astonished.

"When the king first came to reign," said Uncle Andreas, "people
thought he would not be popular. He was a stranger, the son of the King
of Denmark, and brother of the Queen of England, but he brought to our
country such a magnificent present that our people felt kindly to him
from the first. You know the miserable Turks had taken away from us the
Ionian Isles, and England had taken them from the Turks and ruled well
over them for the years in which they occupied them. When the king came
to us he brought to us, a free gift, those beautiful islands, the loss
of which every Grecian had mourned for years."

"It is no wonder people like him," said Zoe. "I am so glad I saw him.
He has such a nice, kind face, and the queen is lovely."

"She gives much to the poor and is greatly beloved," said Uncle Andreas.

"It should make her very happy to be surrounded by so many who love
her," said Zoe softly.

"Angel of a child!" said her uncle. "You shall never be unhappy again
if I can help it."

"Oh, I am very happy," she exclaimed. "I was not unhappy at Marco's
home, not very," she added truthfully. "Only I wanted my mother, and
sometimes I wanted to be where we had been together. I think there are
always things we miss, no matter where we are. Now I shall be happy in
my own dear Argolis, but I shall still long for my mother and father,
and I shall miss the babycoula."

"You will have your cousin Petro to play with," said her uncle. "He is
about your age, and will love you like a sister and tease you like a
brother. Come, I know that you and Marco are thirsty. Let us stop here
and take a cup of coffee."

"That will be nice," said Zoe who had never seen a coffee-house. They
got out of the cab in front of a little shop with little tables at
which sat a number of people. They sat down to one of the tables and
Zoe watched with delight the making of the coffee. Grecian coffee is
made in a peculiar way. The coffee-machine has a round brass cylinder
which pulverizes the beans till they are fine as powder. A teaspoonful
of powder is used to each cup, and the powder is put in a brass dipper
with an equal quantity of sugar. To this is added boiling water and
the mixture is put over the fire until it boils. Then it is beaten to
a froth and boiled again, beaten again, and boiled and beaten a third
time, when it is a thick and delicious syrup. It is said to contain
all the good part of the coffee, and taken in this manner not to be
injurious at all. In Greece it is taken in great quantities, and this
may account for the fact that one almost never sees a drunken man in
Greece. Zoe sipped her coffee with delight and ate the _loukoumi_
and the handful of pistachio nuts served with it. Then as they sat
so quietly, there came to Zoe the greatest excitement of her life.
Suddenly there was a great commotion in the cafe; men jumped from their
seats, the waiters ran to the door, in the street children shouted and
waved their caps, as a cab drove up and from it emerged a young man. He
was of medium height, dark-haired, dark-eyed, with a strong, keen face
and an air of great simplicity, seeming rather abashed at the shouts
which rang through the air,

"Zito, Loues! Spiridione Loues!"

"Zoe, good fortune goes with you!" cried her uncle. "It is Loues,
the winner of the Marathon," and he lifted her high in air to see the
hero. All Grecians rejoiced to see him, for he had won the Marathon
race, when all the other prizes of the Olympian Games had been won by
Americans.

"Since the first Olympian Games," said Marco, as the noise quieted down
and Loues was allowed to take his coffee in peace, "there has never
been such an excitement as there was over Loues."

"Why do we have the Games?" asked Zoe, who could not understand why
there was so much fuss over a young peasant whom she thought not nearly
so handsome as Marco.

"It comes from the days of ancient Greece," said Marco. "I will tell
you of it while we wait for your uncle, who must speak with a friend
over there on business.

"In the very old days when men worshipped the gods, there was at
Olympia a temple of Zeus, and here men gathered every year to do him
honour. The Greeks loved all manner of sports. They wrestled, ran,
jumped, and threw the discus better than any people in the world. Their
bodies were strong and beautiful, as we know from the wonderful statues
which have been kept in the museums. They loved beauty so much that
they did everything to keep their bodies beautiful, fasting, exercising
and loving all fine, manly sports. So every four years they had the
Olympic Games; and men came from all over Greece to try to win the
prizes, for to have the laurel wreath of victory at Olympia placed upon
his brow, was the highest honour a man could wish. Envoys were sent out
early in the year of the games to invite strangers to witness them,
and people came hither from many lands. The victors were crowned and
carried in procession with shouts and hand-clapping, honoured by all.

"The games were stopped in the time of the Emperor Theodosius, because
he thought them too pagan, and he wished Grecians to put aside pagan
things and become Christians. They were begun again in 1896, and now
the King takes great interest in them, and so does Prince Constantine.

"Loues won the Marathon race, which is the most exciting of any of the
sports. Many, many years ago the Persians were at war with Greece.
They had so many soldiers that the Grecians felt certain that their
enemy would conquer, but they determined to fight to the death. It was
in the fifth century before Christ; Darius, the Persian king, led one
hundred thousand men against Miltiades and the Athenians, who numbered
only ten thousand men, and they fought a terrible battle on the plains
of Marathon. At home the wives and mothers, the old men and children
waited, feared and trembled.

"'Is there no news from Marathon?' they asked each other. 'Is all
lost?' But no answer came. At last they saw a speck of dust in the
distance and they held their breath. Was it defeat, dishonour,
captivity, which came flying to them from Marathon? None knew. The
speck came nearer and nearer, no speck but the figure of a man, running
as never man ran before. Breathlessly they waited, no one daring even
to speak, as he dashed to the city gates. White with dust he staggered
within the wall with one wild cry of 'Victory!' as he fell fainting
upon the ground. How men honoured him, the fleet runner who had brought
the news from Marathon, where Darius' men lay in mighty heaps of slain,
and Greece was free.

"So they made in honour of this victory the Marathon race at the
games, and Loues was the proud winner, the prouder because all the
other contests, even our Grecian disc-throwing, were won by men from
America."

"I am so glad I have seen him," said Zoe. "And thank you for telling me
all about it."

Then they started again on their drive and found that the sun was
setting. As they drove to the inn where they were to spend the night,
he was clothing with a rosy glow Hymettus and Penteligos, the two
mountains on either side of Athens. Then the glow faded and a deep
purple spread over the sky, deepening into violet. Zoe thought she had
never seen anything so beautiful, and she sank to sleep that night,
tired but happy, murmuring to herself, "It is my home, this lovely
Greece of ours. How glad I am that I am a Grecian."

The two days spent in Athens were full to the brim with delight for
Zoe. Her uncle seemed to have money enough to spend freely, and he
bought her a new frock, a new hat, and--wonder of delight! red shoes
stitched in gold. These came from Shoe Street, where all manner of
shoes hung in pairs outside the small doorways of the shops. Her uncle
had some business to attend to, and she and Marco wandered about seeing
the ruins of the ancient temples, with their wonderful marbles and
carvings, which have made the Parthenon of Athens famous all over the
world.

The most wonderful things Zoe saw were the peasant dances, and these
she stumbled upon quite by accident. Uncle Andreas had gone out to a
village north of Athens to attend to some business and had taken Zoe
with him. On their way home they saw a crowd at a small village through
which they passed.

"I wonder what is happening here?" said Zoe, and her uncle asked the
driver of their carriage.

"It is the time of the peasant dances," he said. "If you have never
seen them you should stop, for they are very beautiful." So they
stopped the carriage and watched the dancing, which was held on a
smooth bit of green sward outside the town. Men and maidens danced,
hand-in-hand, in long lines, with a slow, dignified grace of motion,
the men in _fustanellas_, or some of them in plain European clothes,
but the women's clothes were the most beautiful things Zoe had ever
seen. Especially lovely were three girls who danced particularly well
and were beautifully dressed. Round and round they circled, in a slow,
stately movement, to the music of a drum, clarionet and flute. The
costumes of the girls were loaded with embroidery, all the work of
their own fingers. Their dresses were white, but the embroidery, which
reached to nearly a foot above the hems of the skirts, was of coloured
woolen, green, blue and gold in the richest of designs. Over the skirts
they wore aprons, also embroidered, and sleeveless jackets of white,
with red borders embroidered with gold thread. There were caps on their
heads, covered with veils which floated back and gave a bride-like
appearance to the dancers. Bangles of gold and silver coins hung as
necklaces around their throats, and the driver explained that these
coins were the girls' dowries and showed how much they were worth to
the man who married them.

"I should think anyone would be glad to marry them without any dowry,"
said Zoe. "They are so beautiful."

"Yes," said her uncle laughing. "But even beauty has to be fed and
clothed, and a fair woman is fairer with a good marriage portion."

At last came the day for their departure and they were up and away on
the ship, sailing over the blue water.

"Tomorrow we shall be in Argolis, and you will see your new home, Zoe,"
said her uncle, and she answered, "My old home, too, Uncle. Thank you
for bringing me back to it."

They reached the harbour as the moon was rising in the sky, a slender,
silver bow such as Diana wielded in the forests of Ephesus. A soft,
hazy twilight breathed of fays and nereids, and Zoe imagined that
she heard them laughing in the crested waves. She was tired and very
sleepy, and her uncle said,

"We shall soon be there, child, and your aunt will be waiting for us
with a good supper."

She smiled a little, but her footsteps lagged as they walked up the
steep village street. Marco bent down to look at her face, then he
stooped and lifted her in his strong arms.

"She is tired out. I will carry her," he said, and Zoe heard nothing
more, for her head fell on his shoulder and she fell asleep, until a
kind voice said,

"Oh, Andreas, is that you?" Then two warm arms were around her and a
soft voice said close to her ear, "Is this my little girl?" She looked
up to see a lovely woman's face above hers; then she cuddled down in
the tender arms of Aunt Angeliké happier than she had been since her
mother died.



CHAPTER VIII

BY THE SEA


A MONTH in Argolis found Zoe rosy, happy and quite unlike the sad-faced
little maid who had tended the babycoula in far-away Thessaly. Uncle
Andreas soon went to sea again, taking Marco with him; but Aunt
Angeliké was kindness itself and Zoe's cousin, a merry boy of ten,
proved such a delightful playfellow that the two soon became fast
friends.

Their home was on a pleasant village street, where a huge plane tree
hundreds of years old shaded the little balcony which extended from the
second story out over the street. Near-by was the village fountain, a
meeting place for old and young, for all the water used for cooking
had to be carried from the fountain in water-jars.

[Illustration: "THEY WASHED BENEATH A HUGE PLANE TREE."]

Aunt Angeliké was young and full of laughter. She was much younger
than her husband, and seemed to Zoe almost like her cousin Maria. She
entered into everything the children did, and added to their enjoyment
by her pleasure in their happiness. She made play even of work, and Zoe
enjoyed nothing more than the family washing-day. This occurred only
once a month, but that was far oftener than many of their neighbours
washed their household linen.

Aunt Angeliké went to the mountain stream which gurgled down to the sea
over rocks and pebbles, clear and limpid, reflecting the blue sky and
white clouds.

They washed beneath a huge plane tree, the largest one Zoe had ever
seen, and about whose trunk she and Petro together with arms extended
could not reach. The linen had been brought up the hill on the back
of a little donkey which the children often rode. First Aunt Angeliké
soaked the clothes in lye water, then boiled them and laid each piece
upon the stones to be beaten with a paddle.

"Now, Zoe and Petro, it is your time to help," she said laughing. "Beat
them until they are clean and white. Your uncle's _fustanellas_, Child,
take great pains with them. Of all things they must be clean."

"I shall make them perfect," said Zoe, "and Marco's also." And she beat
and paddled the skirts until they were as white as the snow on Mount
Olympus.

"There, that will do. Now spread them out to dry," said Aunt Angeliké,
and Zoe and Petro laid the clothes about on the grass and bushes, the
_fustanellas_ alone covering yards and yards of the green.

"Let us rest," said Petro, throwing himself down beneath the tree. "I
am tired."

"You are a lazy one," said his mother, seating herself beside him.
"Next you will want to eat."

"That I do," cried Petro, sitting up hastily and forgetting his
fatigue. "What have you, little mother?"

"Now you are a greedy," said his mother, laughing at him.

"But tell me," he said coaxingly, laying a hand on her arm.

"Nay, Zoe is quiet and polite, she shall be helped first," said the
mother, and she drew a basket of luncheon from its hiding-place within
the hollow trunk of a tree. There was bread, cheese, olives and fresh
_mousmoula_, the most delicious of Grecian fruits, yellow as gold, with
four huge seeds within and a juice cool and refreshing. They ate with
health and laughter for sauce, and then Zoe begged for a story. "Just
one, my aunt, before we take a siesta."

"I shall tell you of the good Saint Philip," said the aunt, who was
very pious and thought that children should always be told holy tales
to make them think of good things.

"St. Philip was always very sorry for the poor. He was himself very
good, and though he had once had many _drachmas_ he had given away so
much that he had hardly a _lepta_ left. He had even given away his
food, and kept for himself only a cow, living upon the milk to keep
himself from starving. One night he slept and dreamed a strange dream.
He thought that he went to heaven and that our Lord did not smile upon
him. Instead he turned away his face. But the great St. Petro said,
'Our Lord, this is Felipo, lover of the poor. Wilt thou greet him?' 'He
loved the poor, but himself he loved more,' said our Lord with sadness,
and St. Philip awoke with a start. At that moment there came a loud
'moo!' from without his hut, and he jumped to his feet and said,

"'It is the cow! I have no need for a cow when God's poor starve! I
will kill her and let the starving eat!' So with grief in his heart,
for he loved the animal dearly, he slaughtered her and divided the
meat among his poor. That night he went to bed hungry, for he had no
milk for his supper, but his heart was full of joy, for he felt the
satisfaction of those who 'give to the poor and lend to the Lord.'

"He slept without dreaming and was awakened in the morning by a
familiar sound. It was the 'moo moo' of his cow without his door, and
he said to himself, 'Of a truth I dream, my poor cow is dead!' but
again he heard the call, 'Moo moo!' and he looked out of the window.
There stood his friend and favourite, at the door of her little shed,
awaiting her morning meal. He could not believe his eyes, but the
cow was hungry and did not at all like being left to stand at the
door until her master made up his mind that she was not a ghost. She
stamped the ground with her foot and mooed again, this time very loud.
'It is indeed she,' cried the saint. 'Now is the good God good indeed!
I have fed his poor and he has rewarded me by restoring life to my
favourite. Always hereafter shall I believe in his mercy.'"

"Oh, what a nice story!" cried Zoe, but Petro said,

"If God could do anything, why didn't He keep the cow from being
killed. It must have hurt her!"

"You are a heathen!" said his mother. "You talk like an unbelieving
Turk! Since God can do anything He doubtless kept the knife from
hurting her when she was killed. It is not well to talk so of the
stories of the saints."

"I like stories of battles better," said Petro, still dissatisfied, but
his mother said,

"I tell no more stories to boys who do not like holy things, and now
it is siesta time." So they slept beneath the great tree, and all was
still, save the splash of the waterfall and the hum of the bees, in
the hearts of the scarlet poppies. When they awoke it was late in the
afternoon and many of the clothes were already dry.

"Let us go down to the beach and fish!" said Petro.

"But you will fall in!" said his mother.

"Oh, no, Mother," said Petro. "But if I do it will not hurt."

"Wait a little and I will go with you, that at least I may be there to
pull you out," said Aunt Angeliké, laughing. She had not great faith
in her boy's promises, for she had lived with him for ten years and
knew that he was always in head-first when there was any danger. Petro
was a gay little fellow--happy and full of laughter, and he and Zoe
played together always pleasantly. So they ran about under the trees
while Aunt Angeliké sorted her linen into piles ready to pack upon the
donkey's back for their return.

"We shall catch a fish and roast him for supper, then go back by
moonlight," she said, always ready to give the children pleasure, and
both thought the plan delightful.

"You can't catch me," shouted Petro as he darted away from Zoe, and she
chased him about until both fell panting upon the grass.

"See that boat," said Zoe. "How pretty it looks! Its sails look like
great wings spread over the sea. Look! It is coming here!"

"No," said Petro. "I think it will anchor and send in a boat. Yes,
there come two men. They have a fishing-net set here and are coming to
see what they have caught. See!"

Two sailors sprang from their boat on the beach and started to haul in
a seine. Zoe gave one look at them and was off like an arrow from a
bow, crying, "Marco! It is Marco!" Petro following not less quickly,
calling,

"Father! We are here! Mother and I are here!" The two men turned in
astonishment to see the two flying figures, and gay Uncle Andreas cried,

"Beware, Marco! The Turks are upon us!" As the two little folk hurled
themselves into the arms awaiting them.

"Oh, Marco, my own dear Marco! I am so glad to see you! It is so long
since you went away!" cried Zoe, while Petro said,

"Were you coming home tonight? What did you bring me?"

"We were coming home tonight to surprise you, but it seems we are the
ones to be surprised," said his father. "How came you here?"

"Mother brought the washing and we have been here since morning,"
said Petro. "We hoped to catch a fish for our supper and walk home by
moonlight."

"We shall do better than that," said his father, as his mother came
hastily down the hill to greet them. "How would it please you to eat
one of my fish, when we have cooked it, and then sail home with us in
the boat?"

"Oh!" squealed Zoe.

"That will be fine!" cried Petro, but Aunt Angeliké said,

"The fish and the supper, yes--but what will we do with my white
clothes and the donkey?"

"We shall send the donkey home on his four feet and the clothes on his
back, both in charge of one of my sailors," laughed kind Uncle Andreas,
and so it was settled.

They had a merry supper on the beach, and the fresh _lithrini_[22] made
a delicious meal, roasted over a fire laid on the stones. Other good
things were brought from the ship until Zoe declared she had never seen
such a feast.

"Does she not look well, Marco?" said Aunt Angeliké, and Marco replied,

"Like a different child. Naughty Zoe, you did not like Thessaly!"

"But I like you," said Zoe sweetly, and Uncle Andreas said teasingly,

"Thessaly! Who could like Thessaly! It has been ruled by the Turks! Our
Argolis has never known the heel of the Unspeakable!"

"Then it was not worth their wanting," said Marco in return. "And
Thessaly has cast them out!"

"Do not quarrel," said Aunt Angeliké. "It is all our own land and the
sea is always ours."

So they started homeward over the dancing waves, blue as heaven and as
peaceful, and Zoe's little heart was filled to the brim with happiness.

FOOTNOTE:

[22] A Grecian fish.



CHAPTER IX

AUTUMN PLEASURES


THERE was no lack of work in the little house beneath the plane tree.
Aunt Angeliké was a busy housewife and cared not at all for drones in
her hive. She herself worked, and those with her must work too, but she
had a happy fashion of making work seem like play. She knew how to spin
and to weave both cloth and carpet, so her loom was kept busy with its
cheerful whirring. She also sewed and embroidered, and all this useful
handiwork she taught to Zoe.

"Soon it will be fall, and you will go to school," she said. "Now is
the time to learn things of the house. Girls should not learn too
much of books. It is not good for them. I knew a girl who could read
hard books with very long words, and what came of it? It made her no
fairer to look upon, and her father had to give a large dowry to get
her married. Often I saw her at midday with a book in her hand and the
house not half neat. Do you think it pleased her husband? His time was
spent in the coffee-house, where it was pleasant and people talked
instead of reading. It is best for women to talk and spin and cook;
these things are of some account. Men cannot do them, so leave to men
the books."

So Zoe learned much and worked happily, but played also. Petro was a
delightful playmate, and the two ran and raced in the sun, happy and
gay. To be sure they got into mischief. Petro could think of more
things to do in a minute than poor little Zoe could in an hour. She
never intended to be naughty, which, however, could not be said of her
cousin. He enjoyed more than anything finding out what would happen if
he did things, and he dragged Zoe with him into many a scrape, knowing
that he was not likely to be punished if she was with him in any
iniquity.

He was really the village mischief, but so friendly a little chap,
with such an engaging smile for all the world that he seldom got his
deserts. To be sure, he was a kind-hearted boy, and his mischief seldom
hurt anybody. He tied a bell to the wrong goat so that the herd which
brought milk to the village (for the goats were milked in the streets
every morning instead of the milk being carried around in a cart) went
blindly after the bell-goat and lost itself by going to the wrong
stable. Another day Petro persuaded Zoe to fish, and left her to watch
the lines while he went off and forgot all about her in some new prank.
She caught a devil-fish, and as Petro had told her on no account to let
go of the line if she had a bite, but to pull in as fast as she could,
when she felt a pull at the hook she obediently pulled in the horrid
thing. Then she screamed in fright.

"It is the Old Get Away From Here!"[23] she screamed. "Petro! Petro!"
Naughty Petro was far away and did not hear. The beast was black, with
long legs which wriggled and squirmed and sprawled over the sand until
she was sick with horror. It seemed like a dozen snakes all joined to
one body, and Zoe had never seen anything so horrible. It tried to
reach the water, and the little girl thought it was coming for her. She
screamed again in such an agony of fright that a man passing ran to see
what was the matter.

"It's surely the Old Get Away From Here I have caught!" she cried. "Oh,
please take him off my hook and throw him back into the sea."

"It is but a devil-fish, child," he said. "They are good to eat. I
will take him off and kill him for you, and you will then have a good
dinner."

"Oh, I could not eat it!" said Zoe. "Thank you ever so much," and
she took her lines and ran home to Aunt Angeliké. That good woman
threatened dire things to Petro, but as he was not on hand to receive
them she had forgotten all about it when he did appear. Truth to tell,
Petro seldom received a back judgment that was due him, for there was
always one right at hand, so that the past was overlooked.

The next scrape which overtook Zoe was of a more serious nature. She
and Petro had gone one day to burn a candle in the little church, it
being Zoe's saint's day. This accomplished, they sat down to rest under
the great tree which held the church bell. These tree _campaniles_ are
often found in Greece and are very quaint and pretty. The bell hangs
aloft under a little wooden roof, and is rung by means of a bell-rope
which hangs down among the branches.

[Illustration: "SHE SPRANG TO HER FEET, AND IN SO DOING PULLED THE
BELL-ROPE."]

It was hot and Zoe was tired with the long walk up the hill.

"Let's take a little nap," she said to Petro.

"Very well!" said that youngster. If Zoe had not been so sleepy she
would have suspected that Petro's unusual readiness to keep quiet meant
that he was planning to do something especially naughty. But she merely
thought he was tired, and closing her eyes, was soon sound asleep.

No sooner was he sure of her slumbers than Petro climbed up in the tree
to see what the great bell was like. He had always wanted to do it
but had never had a chance before. It was not very exciting up there,
however, and he climbed down again. Then it occurred to him that it
would be interesting to tie Zoe up with the bell-rope and see what she
would do. So very cautiously, for fear of waking her, he tied the
rope around her waist. Then he thought better of it and tried to untie
it, but he had made the knot too tight and in working at it he wakened
Zoe. She sprang to her feet, and in so doing pulled the bell-rope. The
church bell rang with a wild clamour, Papa Demetrios came rushing from
his house to see what was the matter, after him came the _papadia_[24]
and all the children, while from the village a troop of urchins,
followed by older people, came hastily up the hill.

"Is it a fire?" they called. "Has news come from the king?" cried
another. "What is wrong in the village?" cried Papa Demetrios. Nobody
could give any answer to these questions, and poor Zoe meanwhile rang
the bell louder and louder in her efforts to free herself from the
strange thing that bound her. At last she tripped over the rope, fell,
and sat in a heap on the ground, crying bitterly, but otherwise quiet.
So was the bell. So were all the people. Then Papa Demetrios spoke very
sternly.

"What does all this mean?" Nobody answered, for nobody knew. At last
Petro spoke.

"If you please," he said in a low voice, "I think it is my fault."

"Did you ring the bell?" demanded the priest.

"No," said Petro. Then with an air of engaging frankness, "but I caused
Zoe to ring it. You see, I tied her to the bell-rope."

"You are a--" Papa Demetrios' words failed him. "I have said that the
boy who rang this bell should be whipped."

"Yes," Petro's tone was respectful, but his eyes were dancing, "but Zoe
is not a boy."

"That is true." The priest's face wore a puzzled look. He glanced at
Zoe, now standing before him tear-stained and shame-faced; he looked
at Petro. Then memory took the kind old priest back to the days when he
himself had been the village mischief, and Petro met his eyes and found
therein an answering gleam.

"You are a naughty boy!" said Papa Demetrios. "But since you have told
the truth and not had the meanness to hide behind a girl, you shall not
be punished this time. Tell your cousin that you are sorry for what you
have done to her, and beware that you do not touch my rope again."

"Yes, your Grace," said the boy. "But why do you let your rope hang
down just where any boy would want to ring it?"

"That I do not know," said the priest, with again the twinkle in his
eye. "I suppose it is too much for meddlesome fingers. Hereafter we
shall remedy that." So he cut the rope off so short that no one could
reach it, and he made a pole with a hook in the end with which to reach
it himself, which pole he kept in the priest's house, so that no boys
rang the church bell thereafter. And people went back to their work,
shaking their heads and saying, "What will become of Petro Averoff? He
will grow up to be a vagabond." To which one answered,

"Doubtless he will go to America, so it will matter little!"

Aunt Angeliké was anything but pleased with Petro's escapade and said
severely,

"You are indeed a naughty boy. You shall be punished by staying home
tomorrow while I take Zoe to the currant picking."

"Oh, mother!" Petro's face fell.

"Oh, Aunt Angeliké!" cried Zoe. "Please let him go! I would not enjoy
it without him. Besides--" she added in a whisper--"what do you suppose
he would do in mischief if you left him behind?"

"God only knows," she responded. "Really, I dare not leave him." But
aloud she said, "Since your cousin insists, I shall take you," and
Petro grinned, for the whispers had by no means been lost to him.

The time of currants is one of the happiest seasons for little Grecian
children, for the fruit is delicious and it hangs in great clusters
upon the bushes. The fruit is called "Corenth," named from the city
of Corinth, and the currant trade is among the best in Greece, over a
hundred and seventy tons being gathered each year.

The currant bushes are planted in rows three feet apart, like the
Italian grape-vines, and grow on a single stalk which is trimmed down
each year so that the roots may be strengthened.

Shoots spring up in March and April, and by the last of August the
bushes are loaded with fruit, light and dark varieties. Women break the
earth and heap it around the bushes during the growing season, indeed,
women do much of the field work in Greece, and it seems to agree with
them, for Grecian women are nearly always healthy, though this may be
due to the beautiful climate.

Both drought and rain are bad for the currant crop, and the heavy winds
often blow the fruit off the bushes, but even with these drawbacks,
the currants are sent to England, America and France, besides the
Mediterranean countries, and the finest currants in the world come from
Greece.

Zoe helped her aunt with the picking, for Uncle Andreas owned a currant
plot, and everybody was needed to help get the fruit in after it was
ripe. It was a delightful outing into the country for the little girl,
and she enjoyed the picking and the lunch in the open air, which they
ate seated upon blocks of white marble, the ruins of what had once been
a beautiful temple. Petro was on his good behaviour and did nothing
worse than fall off a column and scratch his nose, and a fall from
Petro was such an everyday occurrence that no one, least of all the boy
himself, paid any attention to it.

"Well, child," said her aunt, as they went homeward that night. "Have
to-day's pleasures made up for yesterday?"

"Oh, yes, indeed. I have had a beautiful time," said Zoe. "Thank you
ever so much for taking me to see the currant picking."

FOOTNOTES:

[23] Grecian way of speaking of the Evil One.

[24] Priest's wife.



CHAPTER X

A HAPPY EASTER


IT was Easter time. All through the winter with its strict Lenten fast,
Zoe had looked forward to the feast, while Petro had kept the fast
days under his mother's strict supervision until he said he was ready
"to eat a lamb's bones for Easter breakfast." All Grecians eat lamb at
Easter time, and from every house in the village on Holy Saturday can
be heard the bleating of imprisoned sacrifices ready to be slain for
the morrow's festivities.

Uncle Andreas and Marco were to be at home in the early morning, and
Zoe was happy in the thought of seeing them. The little house was clean
and neat, and Zoe with a light heart followed Aunt Angeliké up the hill
to the church, whose bells called sleepily to the midnight Mass.

Bright were the stars, and in the sky soft as the ocean, the moon full
and radiant in beauty. The climb to the church at the top of the hill
was steep, but many of their friends were climbing too, for all the
villagers turned out to the service, since no Grecian would willingly
miss it.

They reached the open square before the church just as the Mass began.
Zoe entered behind her aunt and kissed the _eikon_ at the door, taking
from the server a long taper of yellow wax and holding it unlighted,
as did everyone else. Then the priest came to the altar carrying a
lighted taper, and all the altar boys, of whom Petro was one, scrambled
excitedly to see who could get his candle lighted first. Petro was
the lucky one, and it was his proud duty to light the candles of the
waiting worshippers.

When all were lighted the priest led the procession, every one bearing
his taper alight, out into the square. Zoe thought she had never seen
anything so wonderful as the square all aglow with dancing, flickering
lights, in the centre the catafalque of Christ draped in deepest black.
Upon this had been laid the cross with the image of Christ sawed out
of a flat board with the face painted on it. The Greek Church does not
approve of the use of statues, taking literally the verse of Scripture,
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," and this painted
figure is the nearest to an image ever used in the Grecian churches.

The choir was singing their minor chants, the censers were swinging
back and forth in a cloud of incense, the candles were flaring and
flickering. As soon as one went out a bystander gave of his holy fire
and it was relighted. One by one the worshippers came forward, knelt
and kissed the cloth which covered the catafalque, blessing themselves
as Papa Demetrios sprinkled them with holy water, and all the time the
strange, rhythmic chant of the choir continued.

Zoe prayed earnestly and gave little heed to the service, so that she
did not notice that in the crowd she was separated from her aunt. It
was nearly time for the close of the service and she felt in her pocket
to see if she had her hard-boiled egg. It would be a dreadful thing if
she had forgotten it. But it was there, and she smiled to herself that
the happy day would soon come.

All over Greece, in every province, thousands of Grecians break a
hard-boiled egg when the bells ring on Easter morning, a custom which
has been handed down for centuries. The Grecians say that one must
always eat hard-boiled eggs on Easter morning, and bowls of them are
found in every house on that day. The custom arose in memory of a
miracle performed when the Turks ruled in Greece. A Turkish woman was
carrying an apronful of eggs on Easter day and was met by a Grecian who
politely saluted the infidel, "Christ is risen!"

"Risen indeed!" said the unbeliever. "I shall never believe that until
these eggs in my apron have turned red."

"Open thine apron and see!" said the Grecian, blessing herself as she
spoke, and lo! the eggs were red as blood! The unbeliever straightway
believed, and from that day red eggs have been eaten at Easter.

Suddenly Papa Demetrios raised his hand and blessed the people, saying
in a loud voice, "Christos Aneste!" Immediately the bell-ringer seized
the bell-rope which hung from the great tree beside the church, and
rang the bell in a wild and joyous clamour. All over the land, far and
near, other bells were rung, and from every voice on the square went
up the glad shout, "Christ is risen! Christ is risen!" Boys threw
torpedoes at the white walls of the church and in the distance could
be heard the sound of guns and fire-crackers, and everywhere was the
wildest joy.

Zoe's taper suddenly went out.

"Aunt Angeliké," she said, "please light my taper." Her aunt did not
answer, and looking hastily over her shoulder, Zoe saw that she was not
there and around her surged the crowd. For a moment she was frightened,
then she said to herself,

"There is nothing to fear. I must not be afraid. I shall soon find
her," and she turned here and there, but could find no trace at all of
her aunt.

"Can she have started home without me?" she thought, and tried to reach
the edge of the crowd. Her foot caught against a branch of olive thrown
down, and she stumbled and would have fallen had not a strong arm
caught her.

"Oh, thank you," she cried as she struggled to her feet, to find
herself in the grasp of a bearded stranger who looked at her so
strangely that she wondered what was the matter.

"Your name, child, what is your name?" he demanded.

"My name is Zoe Averoff," she said. "I must find my aunt. Please let me
go." He held her arm so tightly and looked at her so strangely that she
was frightened.

"I shall never let you go!" he exclaimed. "Zoe! Zoe! do you not know
me?" Something in the voice seemed strangely familiar. She looked into
his face, into the dark eyes which looked with such love and longing
into hers, then she gave a glad cry,

"My father! oh, my father!" and his arms closed around her.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Such a happy Easter!" said Aunt Angeliké, as Sunday morning dawned
clear and beautiful. "My husband and Marco at home, Zoe's father come
back to the child, Petro behaving not worse than usual and the Easter
lamb roasting a perfect brown as I baste it with the lemon dipped in
lard."

"Was it not wonderful that my father found me at Easter time?" said
Zoe, a strangely radiant Zoe, with shining eyes and brilliant cheeks.
"He had been ill for weeks in a strange place they call Chicago. There
he met a Grecian from Argolis and from him he heard that the news had
come from Thessaly that my mother and I were dead. At that he did not
want to return home, but he wrote several times to Uncle Georgios to
hear of us and had no answer. Of course those letters never came. At
first he sold things from a little cart in the streets. Then he saved
money and with another Grecian he had a shop with flowers to sell. The
Americans are strange people. They have money to throw away! They buy
fruit and flowers all the time. Think of so strange a country where
one buys what here one may take with but a 'thank you' for pay! In the
flower shop he made much money. But he was always sad. The money was of
little good, since he had no one to share it with. Then he grew very
homesick. He wanted once more to see Argolis and to sail on the blue
seas of Greece. So he sold his flowers to his partner and took all his
_drachmas_ and returned home. He thought to spend his Easter here and
go then to Thessaly to hear of my mother and myself and how we came to
die. Then as Papa Demetrios said, 'Christ is risen!' lo! there was I
risen from the dead."

"I thought it was a miracle," said her father. "For though the child is
grown older, she is just like the Zoe whom I left, and to see alive her
whom I thought dead was indeed a marvel."

"Shall you return to that far land?" asked Uncle Andreas, "and take Zoe
from us?"

"Not so," said Zoe's father. "I shall stay here and have a
fishing-boat, for home is best and I think Zoe would not be happy so
far away."

"I am glad you will not take her from us," Aunt Angeliké said sweetly.
"I have learned to love her as my daughter."

"I am glad, too," said Marco, and Uncle Andreas laid his hand upon her
curls, saying, "We all love the child."

Zoe smiled happily and nestled up to her father.

"Such a happy, happy Easter," she said. "I have nothing in all the
world to wish for."

"Then wish for dinner," said Petro. "It seems to me that lamb will
never be done."

"You are a Turk!" said his mother, laughing, and all laughed too, all
except Petro, for his mother had called him the very worst thing which
one can call our little Grecian Cousin.


THE END.



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    =Our Little Alaskan Cousin= By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet
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    =Our Little Canadian Cousin= By Elizabeth R. Macdonald
    =Our Little Chinese Cousin= By Isaac Taylor Headland
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    =Our Little English Cousin= By Blanche McManus
    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=
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  =Fairy of the Rhone, The.= By A. Comyns Carr.
  =Gatty and I.= By Frances E. Crompton.
  =Helena's Wonderworld.= By Frances Hodges White.
  =Jerry's Reward.= By Evelyn Snead Barnett.
  =La Belle Nivernaise.= By Alphonse Daudet.
  =Little King Davie.= By Nellie Hellis.
  =Little Peterkin Vandike.= By Charles Stuart Pratt.
  =Little Professor, The.= By Ida Horton Cash.
  =Peggy's Trial.= By Mary Knight Potter.
  =Prince Yellowtop.= By Kate Whiting Patch.
  =Provence Rose, A.= By Ouida.
  =Seventh Daughter, A.= By Grace Wickham Curran.
  =Sleeping Beauty, The.= By Martha Baker Dunn.
  =Small, Small Child, A.= By E. Livingston Prescott.
  =Susanne.= By Frances J. Delano.
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  =Young Archer, The.= By Charles E. Brimblecom.



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  =The Little Colonel.=
        (Trade Mark.)

The scene of this story is laid in Kentucky. Its heroine is a small
girl, who is known as the Little Colonel, on account of her fancied
resemblance to an old-school Southern gentleman, whose fine estate and
old family are famous in the region.


=The Giant Scissors.=

This is the story of Joyce and of her adventures in France. Joyce is a
great friend of the Little Colonel, and in later volumes shares with
her the delightful experiences of the "House Party" and the "Holidays."


=Two Little Knights of Kentucky.=

WHO WERE THE LITTLE COLONEL'S NEIGHBORS.

In this volume the Little Colonel returns to us like an old friend, but
with added grace and charm. She is not, however, the central figure of
the story, that place being taken by the "two little knights."


=Mildred's Inheritance.=

A delightful little story of a lonely English girl who comes to America
and is befriended by a sympathetic American family who are attracted by
her beautiful speaking voice. By means of this one gift she is enabled
to help a school-girl who has temporarily lost the use of her eyes, and
thus finally her life becomes a busy, happy one.


=Cicely and Other Stories for Girls.=

The readers of Mrs. Johnston's charming juveniles will be glad to learn
of the issue of this volume for young people.


=Aunt 'Liza's Hero and Other Stories.=

A collection of six bright little stories, which will appeal to all
boys and most girls.


=Big Brother.=

A story of two boys. The devotion and care of Steven, himself a small
boy, for his baby brother, is the theme of the simple tale.


=Ole Mammy's Torment.=

"Ole Mammy's Torment" has been fitly called "a classic of Southern
life." It relates the haps and mishaps of a small negro lad, and tells
how he was led by love and kindness to a knowledge of the right.


=The Story of Dago.=

In this story Mrs. Johnston relates the story of Dago, a pet monkey,
owned jointly by two brothers. Dago tells his own story, and the
account of his haps and mishaps is both interesting and amusing.


=The Quilt That Jack Built.=

A pleasant little story of a boy's labor of love, and how it changed
the course of his life many years after it was accomplished.


=Flip's Islands of Providence.=

A story of a boy's life battle, his early defeat, and his final
triumph, well worth the reading.


_By EDITH ROBINSON_


=A Little Puritan's First Christmas.=

A Story of Colonial times in Boston, telling how Christmas was invented
by Betty Sewall, a typical child of the Puritans, aided by her brother
Sam.


=A Little Daughter of Liberty.=

The author introduces this story as follows:

"One ride is memorable in the early history of the American Revolution,
the well-known ride of Paul Revere. Equally deserving of commendation
is another ride,--the ride of Anthony Severn,--which was no less
historic in its action or memorable in its consequences."


=A Loyal Little Maid.=

A delightful and interesting story of Revolutionary days, in which the
child heroine, Betsey Schuyler, renders important services to George
Washington.


=A Little Puritan Rebel.=

This is an historical tale of a real girl, during the time when the
gallant Sir Harry Vane was governor of Massachusetts.


=A Little Puritan Pioneer.=

The scene of this story is laid in the Puritan settlement at
Charlestown.


=A Little Puritan Bound Girl.=

A story of Boston in Puritan days, which is of great interest to
youthful readers.


=A Little Puritan Cavalier.=

The story of a "Little Puritan Cavalier" who tried with all his boyish
enthusiasm to emulate the spirit and ideals of the dead Crusaders.


=A Puritan Knight Errant.=

The story tells of a young lad in Colonial times who endeavored to
carry out the high ideals of the knights of olden days.


_By OUIDA_ (_Louise de la Ramée_)


=A Dog of Flanders=: A CHRISTMAS STORY.

Too well and favorably known to require description.


=The Nurnberg Stove.=

This beautiful story has never before been published at a popular price.



_By FRANCES MARGARET FOX_


=The Little Giant's Neighbours.=

A charming nature story of a "little giant" whose neighbours were the
creatures of the field and garden.


=Farmer Brown and the Birds.=

A little story which teaches children that the birds are man's best
friends.


=Betty of Old Mackinaw.=

A charming story of child-life, appealing especially to the little
readers who like stories of "real people."


=Brother Billy.=

The story of Betty's brother, and some further adventures of Betty
herself.


=Mother Nature's Little Ones.=

Curious little sketches describing the early lifetime, or "childhood,"
of the little creatures out-of-doors.


=How Christmas Came to the Mulvaneys.=

A bright, lifelike little story of a family of poor children, with an
unlimited capacity for fun and mischief. The wonderful never-to-be
forgotten Christmas that came to them is the climax of a series of
exciting incidents.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Note: Obvious punctuation errors repaired.





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