The Children's Hour, Volume 3 (of 10)
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In Ten Volumes




Selected & Arranged by


Houghton Mifflin Company


Between the dark and the daylight, when the night is beginning to lower comes a pause in the days occupations, that is known as the Children's Hour.


All rights in stories in this volume are reserved by the holders of the copyrights. The publishers and others named in the subjoined list are the proprietors, either in their own right or as agents for the authors, of the stories taken from the works enumerated, of which the ownership is hereby acknowledged. The editor takes this opportunity to thank both authors and publishers for the ready generosity with which they have allowed her to include these stories in "The Children's Hour."

"The Wonder-Book," and "Tanglewood Tales," by Nathaniel Hawthorne; published by Houghton, Mifflin & Company.

"Old Greek Folk Stories," by Josephine Preston Peabody; published by Houghton, Mifflin & Company.

"The Odyssey of Homer," English prose version by George Herbert Palmer; published by Houghton, Mifflin & Company.



STORIES FROM HERODOTUS LADRONIUS, THE PRINCE OF THIEVES Retold by G. H. Boden and W. Barrington d'Almeida ARION AND THE DOLPHIN Retold by G. H. Boden and W. Barrington d'Almeida



OLD GREEK FOLK-STORIES ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE Josephine Preston Peabody ICARUS AND DAEDALUS Josephine Preston Peabody PHAETHON Josephine Preston Peabody NIOBE Josephine Preston Peabody PYRAMUS AND THISBE Josephine Preston Peabody



ULYSSES IN ITHACA ULYSSES LANDS ON THE SHORE OF ITHACA F. S. Marvin, R. J. C. Mayor, and F. M. Stowell ULYSSES AT THE HOUSE OF THE SWINEHERD F. S. Marvin, R. J. C. Mayor, and F. M. Stowell THE VENGEANCE OF ULYSSES A. HIS RECEPTION AT THE PALACE F. S. Marvin, R. J. C. Mayor, and F. M. Stowell B. THE TRIAL OF THE BOW Translated by George Herbert Palmer C. THE SLAYING OF THE SUITORS F. S. Marvin, R. J. C. Mayor, and F. M. Stowell D. PENELOPE RECOGNIZES ULYSSES Translated by George Herbert Palmer














The greater part of this book is made up of stories from the poems of Homer and Virgil. Homer is thought to have lived in Greece about three thousand years ago, and yet his poems never seem old-fashioned and people do not tire of reading them. Boys and girls almost always like them, because they are so full of stories. If you want to read about giants or mermaids or shipwrecks or athletic contests or enchanters or furious battles or the capture of cities or voyages to strange countries, all you have to do is to open the Iliad and the Odyssey, and you will find stories on all of these subjects. Homer can describe a foot-race or the throwing of a discus so that you hold your breath to see who will win; and he can picture a battle so vividly that you almost try to dodge the arrows and spears. He can make the tears come into your eyes by telling you of the grief of the warrior's wife when he leaves her and their baby son to go to battle; and he can almost make you shout, "Hurrah for the brave champion!" when he tells you what wonderful deeds of prowess have been done. He can describe a shield so minutely that you could make one like it; and he can paint a scene of feasting so perfectly that you feel as if you had been in the very room.

How is it that Homer makes his stories seem so real? There are several reasons, but one of the strongest is because he tells the little things that writers often forget to put in. When he describes the welcome given to two strangers at the house of the lost Ulysses, by Telemachus, son of the wanderer, he begins, "When they were come within the lofty hall, he carried the spear to a tall pillar and set it in a well-worn rack." That one word, "well-worn," gives us the feeling that Homer is not making up a story, but that he has really seen the rack and noticed how it looked. The same sentence shows why it is that people do not tire of reading Homer. It ends, "where also stood many a spear of hardy Ulysses." This reminds the reader that in spite of the hero's long years of absence, no one has been allowed to remove his weapons from their old place. From this one phrase, then, we can realize how much his wife and son love him, and how they have mourned for him. Telemachus welcomes the strangers, but we can feel how eager he is for them to be made comfortable as soon as possible so he can talk of his father and learn whether they have chanced to meet him in their wanderings. Homer's poems are full of such sentences as these; and, no matter how many times one reads them, some thought, unnoticed before, is ever coming to light. That is why they are always fresh and new and interesting.

There is a tradition that Homer was blind, and that he wandered about from one place to another, singing or reciting his poems; but this is only tradition, and there is little hope that we shall ever be able to find out whether it is true or not.

Homer's great poem, the Iliad, is the account of the Trojan War. His Odyssey relates the adventures of the hero Ulysses, or Odysseus, as the Greeks called him, in many years of wandering at the close of the war before his enemies among the Gods would permit him to return to his home. There were Trojan heroes, however, as well as Greek, and AEneas was one of them. Virgil, the Latin poet, has told in the AEneid the story of his troubles and adventures. AEneas, too, was driven over the waters, for the Gods had told him it was the will of Jupiter, or Zeus, as it is in Greek, for him to seek Italy and there found a city. Part of his journey is the same as that of Ulysses. He, too, stops at the country of the one-eyed giants and has to row as fast as he can to escape the rocks that they throw at his vessel. He, too, hears the thunders of Mount AEtna and sees the flashing of the fires of the volcano. His sailors point to it in fear and whisper to one another, "That is the giant Enceladus. He rebelled against the Gods and they piled the mountain on top of him. The fires of Jupiter burn him, and he breathes out glowing flames. When he tosses from one side to the other, the whole island of Sicily is shaken with a mighty earthquake."

Virgil was no homeless singer; he was one of the great literary men of Rome, and he read his poems aloud to the Emperor Augustus. He had a handsome villa and a troop of friends. He enjoyed everything that was beautiful and seemed as happy when a friend had written a good poem as if he had composed it himself. He was never satisfied with his verse till he had made every line as perfect as possible. When he was ill and knew that he could not recover, he made a will, and in it he ordered the AEneid to be burned, because it was not so polished as he wished. "I meant to spend three years more on it," he said. Fortunately for all the people who enjoy a great poem, the Emperor forbade that this part of the will should be carried out. He gave the manuscript to three friends of Virgil, all of them poets, with orders to strike out every phrase that they believed Virgil would have struck out on revision, but not to add one word. This is the way that the AEneid was saved for us. If it had been destroyed, we should have lost the work of one of the best storytellers that have ever lived.

Livy, too, was a friend of the Emperor Augustus, He lived in Rome, enjoying his companions, the libraries of the city, and, most of all, his independence. Even Virgil was ready to insert a few lines here and there in a poem to gratify his friends, or to choose a subject that he knew would please the Emperor; but Livy wrote on the subject that pleased him and treated it just as he believed to be best. His great work was his history, and this he begins with a little preface, as independent as it is graceful. "Whether I shall gain any share of glory," he says, "by writing a history of the Roman people, I do not know. The work, however, will be a pleasure to me; and even if any fame that might otherwise be mine should be hidden by the success of other writers, I shall console myself by thinking of their excellence and greatness." No such thing happened, however, for the kindly historian was so praised and his work so fully appreciated that he said he had all the fame he could wish.

Herodotus was a Greek who liked to travel. The world was very small in his day, for little of it was known except some of the lands bordering on the Mediterranean. To visit Tyre, Babylon, Egypt, Palestine, and the islands of the eastern Mediterranean, as he did, made a man a great traveler five centuries before Christ. Herodotus enjoyed all these wanderings, but they also "meant business" to him. Whenever he came to a place of historical interest, he stayed awhile. He explored the country thereabouts, he measured the important buildings, he talked with the people who knew most about the place. Then, when he came to write of its history, he did not write like a man who had read an article or two in an encyclopaedia and was trying to recite what he had learned, but like one who knew the place which he was describing and liked to talk about it, and about what had happened there. It is no wonder that his history has always been a favorite; and to be a favorite author for twenty centuries is no small glory.

Ovid was a Latin poet who knew how to tell a story. He could not only invent a tale, but he could tell it so well that the reader feels as if it must be true. His most interesting stories, however, he did not invent, for they are a rewriting of the old mythological tales. In one respect he is like Homer; he never forgets the little things, and he tells so many details that we can hardly believe he is imagining them. In his story of Baucis and Philemon, for instance, Ovid does not forget to say that the cottage door was so low that the two gods had to stoop to pass through it; that Baucis hurried to brighten the fire with dry leaves and bits of bark; that one leg of the table was too short and had to be propped up with a piece of tile. He tells us that the kindhearted couple tried to catch their one goose so as to cook it for the supper of their guests; but that they were so old, and the goose so nimble of wing, that he escaped them and flew to the Gods for refuge. We are so accustomed to think of Latin as a grave, dignified language that almost every line of Ovid's "Metamorphoses" is a pleasant surprise. The stories that he tells, "The Miraculous Pitcher", "The Golden Touch", "The Pomegranate Seeds", and others, retold by Hawthorne, are favorites among the boys and girls of to-day, and they must have been liked just as well by the Roman children. In Rome the children read the great poets in school, and I fancy that they were always glad when the hour came to read the "Metamorphoses."



Retold by G. H. Boden and W. Barrington d'Almeida

Many hundreds of years ago, not long after the Greeks returned from the famous siege of Troy, there lived a king of Egypt, whose name was Rhampsinitus. So great a king was he, that he kept a small army constantly employed in supplying the royal household with food, and another small army was required to keep the gardens of the palace in order. And had any one been bold enough to doubt the greatness of the king, he need only have looked at his magnificent dress to set all doubts at rest forever. Upon the neck of the king was a heavy necklace, glittering with priceless jewels, and on his arms were massive bracelets of pure gold. A golden serpent, the symbol of royalty, gleamed from his forehead, and his golden breastplate showed the sacred beetle worked in precious stones, to protect him from evil spirits. Whenever he appeared in the streets of his capital, he was borne in the royal chair on the shoulders of eight of his courtiers, while on each side walked a great noble carrying a fan, shaped like a palm leaf, with a long, straight stem. In front marched the bodyguard of Sardinians, men with fair skins and blue eyes, who looked very much out of place among the swarthy Egyptians; and last of all came the grim, black guards from Ethiopia, with their sabres flashing in the sun. And all the people fell on their faces and kissed the dust before their royal master. Moreover, King Rhampsinitus erected several enormous statues of himself, as well as many fine palaces and a beautiful temple, bearing inscriptions which related all his great and glorious deeds, so that the people who lived after him might know how great a king he had been.

But, in spite of all his greatness, there was one thing that prevented King Rhampsinitus from being a happy man. He had so many treasures—masses of silver, nuggets of gold, and bags of gold-dust, jewelry, precious stones, and carvings in ivory—that he lived in constant fear of being robbed. He had all his treasures packed in large jars and strong chests, which were securely fastened, sealed up, and stowed away in a strong room of the palace; but even then he did not feel comfortable, for might not the palace be broken into by a clever thief and part of his treasure stolen, while he slept? Besides, there was so much treasure packed away already, that it was difficult to find a safe place for any more. His anxiety made the king so unhappy, and caused him so many sleepless nights, that he determined at last to build a large chamber of stone, with walls too thick for any thief to break through. He sent for his chief architect, who collected a great multitude of workmen and set to work building the chamber without delay. Whole villages were compelled to join in the work; even the old men and children were employed in carrying away rubbish, bringing water and clay, and doing other work that was not too hard for them. The stronger and more skillful workmen hewed great blocks of granite, which were dragged to the place on wooden sledges; and, as they had no cranes to lift the stones into their places on the walls, they were obliged to build mounds of sand and rough bricks, and roll up each stone gradually with wooden levers, until they got it into its proper place. It was terribly hard work, but there were so many workmen, and the foremen used their whips so unmercifully, that the walls rose very rapidly.

Now the architect was a cunning man, and guessed what the chamber was intended to hold. He therefore fitted one stone in such a way that it would slide down and leave a hole just large enough for a man to crawl through; and yet, when you looked at the wall, there was no sign at all by which the secret could be discovered. Nor did the architect think it necessary to mention the secret opening to his majesty, when he showed the chamber to him and told him that it was as strong as he could make it.

Rhampsinitus lost no time in moving his treasures into the new treasure-chamber. The key he kept with him night and day, so that at last he could sleep peacefully, knowing that any one who wished to pass the solid, brass-bound door, must first prevail upon him to unlock it.

For some time all went well. The king went to the treasury every morning, and found everything in its place. Evidently he had been too clever for the thieves.

In the mean time the architect was lying ill in bed, and day by day he grew weaker and weaker; until at length he knew that his end was approaching, and, calling his two sons to his bedside, he told them of the secret way into the treasure-chamber.

"I have little of my own to leave you, my sons," he said, "and I have but little influence at court; but by the aid of this secret, which I devised for your sake, you may become rich men, and hold the office of king's treasurers for life."

The young men were delighted at his words, and so impatient were they to enjoy their good fortune, that on the very night of their father's funeral they stole away quietly to the place where the treasure-house stood. They found the sliding stone exactly as their father had described it. The younger and slimmer of the two brothers crawled through the opening and found himself in a dark chamber, surrounded by heavy chests and jars with sealed covers. Breaking open one of the latter, he put in his hand and drew out a handful of gold, which sparkled and twinkled at him even in the faint light which came through the hole in the wall. Handful after handful he drew out and passed to his brother, at the same time filling the bags he had brought with him, until both had as much as they could conveniently carry. Then they replaced the stone, and returned to lay the treasure before their mother; for in those days stealing was considered rather a clever trick, and even the thief's mother did not scold him, so long as he was not so clumsy as to be caught.

Imagine the consternation of King Rhampsinitus when he visited the chamber the following morning! Everything seemed as secure as ever, and yet, when he opened the door, there lay one of the great jars turned over and empty, while the lid of one of the chests was broken open and part of the contents scattered on the floor. He examined every nook and cranny of the chamber from floor to ceiling, and there was no sign of any one's having forced an entrance. The fastenings of the door were firm, and the lock was one which it was perfectly impossible to pick. For greater security, however, Rhampsinitus sent at once for a locksmith, and commanded him to fit the door with a second lock, the key of which he kept with the other.

Notwithstanding this precaution, the treasure-chamber was robbed again on the next night, and this time the thieves had broken open a great many of the chests, and carried away some of the most valuable jewels. On the following night a sentinel was posted, and still the treasury was robbed. The sentinel vowed that he had stood with his back to the door all night, and there is little doubt that he spoke the truth, though the poor fellow was accused of sleeping at his post, and punished for his negligence.

Then the king took counsel of the fan-bearer on the right hand, who was also prime minister. He made a long speech, beginning with his regret that his majesty had not thought fit to consult him earlier, and concluding with a learned discourse on the habits of rats.

"This is all very interesting," said Rhampsinitus, "but I do not see that it helps very much to protect my treasure."

"I crave your majesty's pardon," the prime minister answered. "I was about to observe that the best way to catch a rat is first to study the habits and tastes of the rat, and next to apply the knowledge so gained in setting a trap."

From which one may see that the prime minister was a very learned man, and could not be expected to come to the point all at once. The king thanked him for his valuable advice, and procured two or three powerful man-traps, which he placed within his treasure-chamber.

Night came on, and the two thieves set to work as before, but no sooner had the younger brother disappeared through the hole in the wall than he began to utter loud cries of agony.

"Peace, brother! You will rouse the guard," said the elder. "What can have befallen you?"

The other controlled himself, and said with a groan, "Ladronius, we are ruined. I am held fast in a trap, and I think my leg is broken. O Horus, Lord of Life, deliver me!"

With some difficulty Ladronius crawled through the opening to aid his brother, for, though a thief, he was no coward.

"Go back, Ladronius, go back!" cried his brother. "Leave me to my fate! I think I hear the cries of the guard. No, brother, waste no more time!" he entreated, as Ladronius tugged in vain at the cruel teeth of the trap. "One thing remains to be done. Cut off my head, and take it away with you, that I may not be recognized and so we both perish! I hear the footsteps of men approaching. Do not rob our mother of both her sons!"

And Ladronius, seeing that there was nothing else to be done, drew his sword, cut off his brother's head, and escaped through the opening, not forgetting to replace the stone behind him. He was only just in time, for scarcely had he gained the cover of a clump of trees, when the soldiers of the guard came running to the place and began to belabor the door. To their surprise they found everything quiet and nothing displaced. They examined the outside of the building thoroughly, and then, supposing that they had been roused by a false alarm, they returned to the palace.

In the morning, Rhampsinitus paid his daily visit to the chamber, and discovered the headless body in the trap. He was more puzzled than ever. He examined the fastenings of the door and the whole of the chamber over and over again, and no hole nor crevice could he find.

"Nevertheless," said he, "I have now bait for my trap. What can I do better than set a thief to catch a thief?"

So he ordered the body to be hung from the outer wall of the chamber, and placed sentinels to guard it, strictly charging them to bring before him any one who showed pity or sorrow for the dead.

When the mother heard of her son's death and how the body had been treated, she reproached Ladronius bitterly for his cowardice, and implored him with many tears to bring back the body for proper burial. For the Egyptians thought that unless a man's body were properly embalmed and buried whole, he could have no life in the next world; so that it would be a terrible misfortune if the head and the body were buried separately. Ladronius attempted to comfort his mother, but did not dare to carry off his brother's body so long as the sentinels were watching. In vain his mother wept and entreated him, until at last her grief was turned to anger, and she vowed that, if he did not obey her, she would go to the king and tell him the whole story. Then Ladronius, seeing her so determined, promised to do as she wished, and set his wits to work to invent some means of carrying off the body without being caught by the sentinels. At last he thought of a plan, which seemed to have some chance of success. He hired two donkeys, and having bought some wineskins, which were used in the place of bottles, he filled them with strong wine and placed them on the donkeys' backs.

Thus equipped, and dressed up to look like an old merchant, he set out for the place where his brother's body was suspended. When he drew near to the sentinels, he secretly loosened some of the strings which fastened the necks of the wineskins, and then whipping the donkeys and letting them run on a little way in front, he pursued them with loud cries.

"Oh, miserable wretch that I am!" he cried, beating his head and looking the very picture of despair. "All my good wine wasted on the ground! What shall I do? Oh, what shall I do? Stop, most ungrateful of donkeys, children of Set, that devour my substance and waste my wine as if it were water! May Tefnet plague you with gadflies, and Renenutet poison the thistles! Oh dear! oh dear! I am a ruined man."

The soldiers, supposing it to be a genuine accident, laughed loudly at the fellow's distress, and while some chased and caught the donkeys, the others brought bowls and pitchers and began to drink the wine, as it ran out of the skins.

"Never mind, worthy sir!" they said to Ladronius. "The wine is serving a very good purpose. Here is to our future friendship and your excellency's very good health!"

Ladronius pretended to fly into a great passion, and called them thieves and monsters of iniquity for robbing a poor man of his wine.

"Ay, laugh away!" he cried. "But a day of reckoning will come for your wickedness. See how the law treats robbers!" And he pointed to his brother's body hanging on the wall.

"Now, by Anubis, the fellow speaks truth," said one of the soldiers. "We are but sorry fellows to drink away a poor man's living, and if this were to come to the ears of the king, we should be in evil case for leaving our duty."

The others laughed good-humoredly, as they tied up some of the skins, and did their best to put the merchant into a good temper. Ladronius, after a little more grumbling, appeared to be pacified, and, as a sign of good-will, presented a wineskin to the soldier who had first spoken in his favor.

"May you never want a young friend to speak for you in your old age," said he, "and may you meet with no worse companions than these; for though they seem to be somewhat headstrong, yet I perceive that I spoke hard words in my anger."

The soldiers, who by this time had sat down on the grass and were passing the wineskin from one to another, declared that the merchant was a good-hearted old fellow and invited him to come and drink their health.

"Nay, my masters," said Ladronius, pretending to adjust the straps on the donkeys' backs. "I have far to go, and I am but a little way on my journey."

But, as they pressed him, he consented to drink one cup with them before he went. "Though in truth," he added, "if I mistake not, the skin is emptied already. I see that you would force me to part with another, before I set out."

As he spoke, he produced another wineskin, and the soldiers, who were growing merry, greeted him with a shout of delight, and insisted on his sitting down with them. Ladronius, still declaring that he could stay only long enough to drink one cup with them, allowed himself to be placed in the midst, where he presently proved himself so good a companion and told so many merry tales that the soldiers would not hear of his departure. They drank more and more heavily, until at length a third skin was opened, and one by one the sentinels were overpowered by the strong wine, and all lay asleep on the ground.

By this time it had grown dark, and Ladronius, who had pretended to be as drunk as the rest, cautiously raised his head, and finding that all the sentinels were snoring, he took down his brother's body and carried it off. But, before he went, he shaved the right side of the head of each of the sentinels, to show his contempt for the king's precautions.

The king was furious when he discovered the failure of his plan and the insult offered to his guards, all of whom were beheaded for their disobedience to his orders. He was more determined than ever to catch the thief, and after taking counsel once more with his prime minister, he decided upon another plan. He caused a proclamation to be made, in which he promised the hand of his daughter to the man whom she should consider the cleverest and most wicked of all men. He commanded the princess to sit on a throne in the temple of Ra, the sun-god, and to speak to all who came to pay their homage to her, asking them what was the cleverest and most wicked deed they had done. But secretly Rhampsinitus told her that, if any one related the story of the robbing of the treasury, she was to seize him by the hand, and hold him till the guards came and secured him.

The moment Ladronius heard the proclamation, he saw that it was another trick to catch him, but he was so daring and so fond of adventure that he could not resist the temptation to outdo the king in cunning once more. He determined actually to put his head in the lion's mouth—in other words, to go boldly to the temple and talk to the princess. He took with him under his cloak the strangest of presents, an arm cut from a dead man's body.

When he entered the temple, he beheld the princess seated on her throne, looking very beautiful in her royal robes, with her dark curls flowing over her shoulders, and the golden vulture of Egypt spreading his wings over her head. She looked a little pale and weary too, for she had talked with many scores of suitors, all of whom had told her tales which were very much alike and nothing at all to do with her father's treasure-chamber. And when the princess looked up and saw Ladronius standing there, with his bold, handsome face, and resolute eyes, she had a suspicion that this was the robber of the treasury. At the same time she felt some pity for the young man, whom she was to be the means of punishing for his bravery. However, she could only obey her father, and motioning to Ladronius to approach, she addressed him with great courtesy, saying, "You seem, sir, by your bearing, to be a man of some strength and courage. Tell me now, what is the most wicked thing, and what the cleverest, you ever did in your life?"

And Ladronius looked her straight in the face and answered, "Most gracious princess, the most wicked thing I ever did in my life was to cut off my brother's head in His Majesty's treasure-house, and the cleverest was when I made the sentinels drunk and carried off my brother's body."

Scarcely were the words out of his mouth, when the princess jumped up and caught him, as she supposed, by the arm, at the same time crying out for the guards, who were concealed behind the throne. But, to her dismay, the arm seemed to part company with the rest of the body, and she was left with the cloak of Ladronius and the arm of the dead man, while Ladronius himself was out of the temple before she had recovered from her surprise; nor could the guards find any trace of him outside.

The princess went back to her father in fear and trembling, and related how Ladronius had escaped once more; but the king was so amazed at the daring and skill of the young man, that he quite forgot to be angry.

The picture of the princess holding the arm that had no body attached to it, and gazing blankly after the departing figure of Ladronius, so took his fancy, that he lay back on his couch, and laughed till his sides ached.

"Bast!" he cried at length. "If the youth is really as clever as this, I would rather have him my friend than my enemy. Such a man should be rewarded and not punished for his genius. So he made you a present of his cloak too, did he?" And the king collapsed once more.

"And what manner of youth is he?" he asked the princess; the princess answered, with a blush, that he looked like a brave young man.

"That I am sure he is," said the king. "I have learnt it to my cost. And he is not ill-looking?"

"No," said the princess; she would not describe him as ill-looking.

"Ah! well," said the king dryly, "we must see whether we cannot find some means of securing his friendship."

So King Rhampsinitus ordered another proclamation to be made, promising that if the robber would present himself to the king and confess how he had broken into the treasury, the king would grant him a free pardon and a great reward beside.

Ladronius was not long in making up his mind. He knew that kings were not always above treachery, but he had survived so many dangers that he determined to risk this also. He arrayed himself, therefore, in his best attire, and boldly presented himself to the king, who was delighted with his courage and bade him relate the whole story fearlessly. And when Rhampsinitus heard of the secret way into his treasury, he would not rest until he had seen the sliding stone and moved it for himself. He laughed heartily when he remembered how he had put another lock on the door, and how he had posted a sentinel in the one place where he could see nothing of the thieves. Then he returned to the palace, and sent for the princess, his daughter. Presently she entered with her train of maidens, and Ladronius was so overcome by her fresh, girlish beauty, that he could hardly find voice enough to reply to the king's questions. The king rose and embraced his daughter, and then, addressing Ladronius before the assembled courtiers, he said, "Ladronius, the Egyptians are the most cunning of all nations on the face of the earth, and you have proved yourself more cunning than all the Egyptians. And now, after robbing me of so many treasures, you are about to rob me of the best and most priceless of all."

So saying, he took his daughter by the hand, and led her to Ladronius.

"Take her, my son!" he said. "A good and obedient daughter should make a faithful and loving wife."

The princess stood with her eyes cast down, blushing very prettily, and Ladronius looked very handsome as he knelt and kissed her hand. Then the trumpets began to blare, the drums rattled, the cymbals clashed, and the courtiers shouted, "Long live our gracious princess! Long live Rhampsinitus and his son-in-law Ladronius!" The royal minstrel brought his harp and sang a solemn chant, all about the beauty of the princess and the bravery of Ladronius; and the maids of honor performed a graceful dance to the music, winding wreaths of lotus flowers about the bride and bridegroom. As the music ceased, the venerable High Priest of Ra, a tall old man with his head clean-shaven, came forward to bless and anoint them, and to tell how he had foreseen it all from the beginning.

So Ladronius and the beautiful princess were married, and, though it is not in the story, there can be no doubt that they lived very happily for the rest of their lives.


Retold by G. H. Boden and W. Barrington d'Almeida

It happened once upon a time, in the olden days, that a young man, Periander of Corinth, started from a port in the south of Greece to sail to Miletus. Being caught in a storm, the boat was carried out of her course as far as the island of Lesbos, where she stayed for several days, in order that the damage caused by the storm might be repaired. In the mean time Periander landed, and occupied himself in wandering about the island and watching the inhabitants. In his wanderings, he came one evening upon a group of men and women, the sight of whom made him pause with a longing to join them. They had been working hard all day, gathering the grapes, and pressing them in big, wooden vats, to extract the wine for which Lesbos was famous; and now, in the beautiful autumn evening, they were making merry after their labors.

No wonder Periander stayed to watch them, for they made a very pretty picture,—the handsome youths, with their bronzed faces and strong, fine limbs; the women with their gay dresses and bare feet, that seemed to have been made for dancing; the vine-clad hill at the back, and, over it all, the glow of the setting sun. In the centre of the dancers sat a boy, playing upon a small lute with seven strings. To this accompaniment the dancers chanted a song in praise of Dionysus, the god of the vine. Gradually the music went faster and faster; and faster and faster the feet of the dancers sped over the ground, until they were all out of breath, and lay laughing on the grass.

Then, as the boy struck another chord, all laughter was hushed, and he began to sing; it was a simple, plaintive little song, but there was a magic in his voice which held the listeners spellbound. The last rays of the setting sun played about his golden curls, and lit up his sweet, childish face, as he sang:—

"Why should you grieve for me, my love, When I am laid to rest? Our lives are shaped by the gods above, And they know best. What though I stand on the farther shore, Others have crossed the stream before— Why weep in vain? Life is but a drop in the deep, Soon we wake from the last, lone sleep, And meet again."

As the last note died away, a sigh came from the listeners; some of the women turned away their faces, and the young men began to talk hastily, as if to hide their emotion.

Periander waited until the group began to break up. Then he stepped forward and laid his hand on the boy's shoulder. The boy looked up with a smile.

"What is your name, my fair minstrel?" asked Periander.

"My name is Arion," answered the boy, as if he were used to being questioned. "I come from Methymna beyond the hills, where I used to tend the goats." And he told Periander that his mother and father died before he could remember, and that he was brought up by an old goat-herd; until a traveling minstrel, who happened one day to hear him singing on the hills, took charge of him and taught him to play the lute.

"That was one of his own songs I was singing," said Arion. "He always liked me to sing his songs; but, when I am a man, I shall make my own songs, and sing them in the great cities over the sea."

"And so you shall," said Periander. "Now, listen to me, Arion! Some day, perhaps, I also may be a great man, able to help you to become a great singer. Remember, when you have need of a friend, that Periander of Corinth will help you, if he can!"

And, when he departed, Periander left a sum of money with a worthy old couple, who promised to look after the boy, and see that he wanted nothing.

After some years, Periander became king of Corinth, and having a love of everything beautiful, he soon gathered about him a little band of poets, artists, and musicians. One day, when he was listening to one of the court musicians, something—it might have been a chord in the music—reminded him of the little Lesbian Arion. He seemed to see once more the boy with the golden light on his curls, and the upturned faces of the peasants grouped around him; and the very words of the song ran in his head.

"By Apollo!" he cried, so suddenly that the musician nearly fell off his seat. "We will have the little Lesbian at court, and make a famous singer of him. Where is Glaucus? Ho, there! Bid Glaucus attend the king!"

When Glaucus appeared, the king bade him take a boat and sail for Lesbos. "There you will make search for one Arion, a singer," he said. "And when you have found him, say, 'Periander of Corinth has need of his friend Arion.' And see that you bring him safely to Corinth!"

Glaucus did as he was bidden, and in due time found Arion, now grown into a tall, graceful youth. Arion, when he heard the message, consented to accompany Glaucus to Corinth, where he was greeted with great kindness by Periander. He very soon became a great favorite among the Corinthians, and all the musicians envied him his beautiful voice and his skill in playing on the lute. No one had such power to soothe the king in his black moods; nor was it at court alone that his fame as a singer was known, for he was ever ready to sing to the people, who idolized him and called him the son of Apollo. Among other things he taught them the song and dance of the Lesbians in honor of Dionysus and the vine; it afterwards became one of the most famous songs of Greece.

Many years Arion stayed with Periander, who held him in high honor and loaded him with costly presents. His fame spread as far as Italy and Sicily, and he had many requests that he would go over and sing to the people there. At length, he determined to make the journey, not only from curiosity to see new countries, but also because he had heard of the songs sung by the Sicilian shepherds, and had a great desire to study them. Periander tried to dissuade him, but, finding him resolved, he assisted him in his preparations, and on his departure exacted from him a promise that he would return to Corinth.

Arion traveled about Italy and Sicily for a long time, and made a great fortune by his singing. But growing tired at last of the wandering life, he went to Tarentum to find a ship which would take him back to Corinth. There were two or three ships ready to make the journey, among them one named the Nausicaa, which was manned by a crew of Corinthians. This he chose, being somewhat nervous about the large sum of money he was carrying, and thinking that he could trust the Corinthians, whom he knew, better than a crew of foreigners.

The Nausicaa was a strange-looking vessel, with a single sail, and long oars pulled by men who sat on benches along the side. The prow, which was carved to represent the maiden Nausicaa, stood well out of the water, and the bulwarks descended in a graceful curve to rise again at the stern, where the captain stood and shaped his course by means of a broad paddle, which was hung over the side.

The voyage began happily enough, the wind being favorable, and the captain and crew all deference and politeness. But when they were well out to sea, the behavior of the crew changed; they answered Arion's questions with scant politeness, and held many whispered consultations, which, from the black glances cast at him, made him uneasy as to his safety. On the second evening, waking out of a light sleep, he heard them conspiring to throw him overboard and divide his wealth among them. Arion started up and implored them not to carry out their evil purpose, offering to hand over all his wealth, if they would spare his life. His entreaties and promises were all in vain.

"We give you a fair choice," said the captain brutally. "Either leap into the sea at once, or kill yourself in some other way, and we will bury you decently on shore."

Abandoning his vain appeals for mercy, Arion begged them, as a last favor, to let him sing once more before he died.

"That we will not refuse," the captain answered; "though, if you think to move us by your wailing, let me tell you that you waste your breath!" In reality, he was not displeased to have an opportunity of hearing the most famous singer in the world.

Arion put on his sacred robes, in which he used to sing in the temple of Apollo, and taking his lute he stepped firmly to the prow of the vessel. There he stood, pale and calm, in the silvery light of the moon, his fair hair playing with the wind, while the little waves lifted themselves to look at him, and then ran playfully into the shadow of the boat, to dash their heads against the beams and be broken into spray. The sailors were awed in spite of themselves, as that beautiful voice rose on the breeze. He sang the old song which he had sung in the Lesbian vineyards when Periander saw him first. And when he came to the last lines,—

"Life is but a drop in the deep, Soon we wake from the last, lone sleep, And meet again,"

Arion leapt over the side of the vessel, just as he was.

The captain, fearing that some of the crew might be moved to lend him assistance, gave the order to make all speed ahead. Had he waited, he might have seen a most wonderful sight. For, as Arion fell into the sea, the water seemed to become alive beneath him, and he felt it lifting him up, and carrying him rapidly away from the ship. Then he discovered that he was seated astride on a great, black fish, which was swimming very rapidly on the top of the water, and he knew it must be a dolphin, which had been attracted by his singing; for the dolphins, unlike most things that live in the sea, have sharp ears, and are very fond of music. He touched his lute, to see if the strings had suffered from the water, and, as he did so, the great back quivered beneath him. Finding, therefore, that the dolphin liked the music, and thinking that he owed it some return for saving his life, Arion began to sing, and sang song after song; whenever he stopped, the dolphin ceased from swimming, as if to inquire the reason; and when Arion began again, the dolphin bounded through the water with great strokes of his broad tail. A strange sight it must have been, had there been any one there to see! But the dolphin went straight across the open sea, where no ships were to be seen; for the sailors of that day did not care to lose sight of the coast, but would sail all the way round a large bay rather than straight across it. So it was that Arion came to Taenarus in Greece, without having been seen by any man. The dolphin took him close to the shore, where he bade it good-by, and watched it swim away disconsolately.

From Taenarus he made his way on foot to Corinth. Periander was overjoyed to see him once more; and when he marveled at the strange costume in which Arion had traveled, Arion related the whole story.

Periander listened attentively, and, when it was finished, remarked gravely, "Are you then so little satisfied with your victories over the musicians, Arion, that you have determined to be king of story-tellers also?"

"Does your majesty intend to throw doubt on my story?" asked Arion.

"Far be it from me!" answered Periander. "The story pleases me well, and if you will tell me another such, I will take pains to believe that also."

"Then Zeus be my witness! I will find means to prove it," cried Arion.

"Have I not said that I doubted not?" asked Periander. "Yet I would gladly see the proof. My crown to your lute upon the issue!"

"So be it!" said Arion. "But first I must ask your majesty that none may speak of my return; and when the ship Nausicaa comes to port, let the seamen be dealt with as I shall appoint!"

The king assented laughing, for he deemed the tale impossible. After some days, however, it was announced that the ship Nausicaa was in the harbor. Periander summoned the captain and all the crew to the palace, and asked them whether they had brought any news of his minstrel Arion. The captain replied that men said at Tarentum that Arion was still in Italy, traveling from place to place, and received everywhere with great honor. The rest of the sailors confirmed the story, and one of them added that Arion was said to prefer Italy to Greece, nor had he any intention of returning to Corinth.

At that moment a curtain was drawn and disclosed Arion, standing in his sacred robes and holding his lute, just as they had seen him last in the prow of the ship. The sailors, supposing that they beheld his spirit, were seized with terror, and fell at the king's feet, confessing all their wickedness and begging for mercy. But Periander was filled with indignation, and spurned them angrily. Arion interposed, urging the king to be merciful, now that the seamen had seen their wickedness, and were willing to make restitution. Periander, however, would not hear of mercy.

"Your compassion bears witness to your noble spirit, Arion," he replied. "But these men have planned a most cruel and cowardly murder, and cruelly shall they suffer for it. Seize me these men, guards, and bind them!"

The guards came forward and began to lead away the trembling wretches.

"Stay!" cried Arion. "It is I who am king. Did not your majesty stake your crown against my lute, and can the royal word be broken? Back, guards! I claim my wager."

Periander could not refrain from laughter, but confessed himself beaten by this piece of strategy. "The wit of Arion," he said, "is stronger than the tears of repentance. Release the prisoners!"

"That being so," said Arion, "and seeing that I find myself more easy with the lute, I will restore the royal crown to Periander."

So the men were set at liberty, after having restored the property of Arion, and departed full of gratitude, invoking blessings on his head.

And lest any man should doubt the truth of the story in time to come, Arion erected at Taenarus a statue in bronze, representing a man riding on a dolphin's back.



Adapted by Alfred J. Church

AEneas of Troy, coming to the land of Italy, took to wife Lavinia, daughter of King Latinus, and built him a city, which he called Lavinium, after the name of his wife. And, after thirty years, his son Ascanius went forth from Lavinium with much people, and built him a new city, which he called Alba. In this city reigned kings of the house and lineage of AEneas for twelve generations. Of these kings the eleventh in descent was one Procas, who, having two sons, Numitor and Amulius, left his kingdom, according to the custom, to Numitor, the elder. But Amulius drove out his brother, and reigned in his stead. Nor was he content with this wickedness, but slew all the male children of his brother. And the daughter of his brother, that was named Rhea Silvia, he chose to be a priestess of Vesta, making as though he would do the maiden honor, but his thought was that the name of his brother should perish, for they that serve Vesta are vowed to perpetual virginity.

But it came to pass that Rhea bare twin sons, whose father, it was said, was the god Mars. Very wroth was Amulius when he heard this thing; Rhea he made fast in prison, and the children he gave to certain of his servants that they should cast them into the river. Now it chanced that at this season Tiber had overflowed his banks, neither could the servants come near to the stream of the river; nevertheless they did not doubt that the children would perish, for all that the overflowing of the water was neither deep nor of a swift current. Thinking, then, that they had duly performed the commandment of the king, they set down the babes in the flood and departed. But after a while the flood abated, and left the basket wherein the children had been laid on dry ground. And a she-wolf, coming down from the hill to drink at the river (for the country in those days was desert and abounding in wild beasts), heard the crying of the children and ran to them. Nor did she devour them, but gave them suck; nay, so gentle was she that Faustulus, the king's shepherd, chancing to go by, saw that she licked them with her tongue. This Faustulus took the children and gave them to his wife to rear; and these, when they were of age to go by themselves, were not willing to abide with the flocks and herds, but were hunters, wandering through the forests that were in those parts. And afterward, being now come to full strength, they were not content to slay wild beasts only, but would assail troops of robbers, as these were returning laden with their booty, and would divide the spoils among the shepherds. Now there was held in those days, on the hill that is now called the Palatine, a yearly festival to the god Pan. This festival King Evander first ordained, having come from Arcadia, in which land, being a land of shepherds, Pan, that is the god of shepherds, is greatly honored. And when the young men and their company (for they had gathered a great company of shepherds about them, and led them in all matters both of business and of sport) were busy with the festival, there came upon them certain robbers that had made an ambush in the place, being very wroth by reason of the booty which they had lost. These laid hands on Remus, but Romulus they could not take, so fiercely did he fight against them. Remus, therefore, they delivered up to King Amulius, accusing him of many things, and chiefly of this, that he and his companions had invaded the land of Numitor, dealing with them in the fashion of an enemy and carrying off much spoil. To Numitor, therefore, did the king deliver Remus, that he might put him to death. Now Faustulus had believed from the beginning that the children were of the royal house, for he knew that the babes had been cast into the river by the king's command, and the time also of his finding them agreed thereto. Nevertheless he had not judged it expedient to open the matter before due time, but waited till occasion or necessity should arise. But now, there being such necessity, he opened the matter to Romulus. Numitor also, when he had the young man Remus in his custody, knowing that he and his brother were twins, and that the time agreed, and seeing that they were of a high spirit, bethought him of his grandsons; and, indeed, having asked many questions of Remus, was come nigh to knowing of what race he was. And now also Romulus was ready to help his brother. To come openly with his whole company he dared not, for he was not a match for the power of King Amulius; but he bade sundry shepherds make their way to the palace, each as best he could, appointing to them a time at which they should meet. And now came Remus also, with a troop of youths gathered together from the household of Numitor. Then did Romulus and Remus slay King Amulius. In the meanwhile Numitor gathered the youth of Alba to the citadel, crying out that they must make the place safe, for that the enemy was upon them; but when he perceived that the young men had done the deed, forthwith he called an assembly of the citizens, and set forth to them the wickedness which his brother had wrought against him, and how his grandsons had been born and bred and made known to him, and then, in order, how the tyrant had been slain, himself having counseled the deed. When he had so spoken the young men came with their company into the midst of the assembly, and saluted him as king; to which thing the whole multitude agreeing with one consent, Numitor was established upon the throne.

After this Romulus and his brother conceived this purpose, that, leaving their grandfather to be king at Alba, they should build for themselves a new city in the place where, having been at the first left to die, they had been brought up by Faustulus the shepherd. And to this purpose many agreed both of the men of Alba and of the Latins, and also of the shepherds that had followed them from the first, holding it for certain all of them that Alba and Lavinium would be of small account in comparison of this new city which they should build together. But while the brothers were busy with these things, there sprang up afresh the same evil thing which had before wrought such trouble in their house, even the lust of power. For though the beginnings of the strife between them were peaceful, yet did it end in great wickedness. The matter fell out in this wise. Seeing that the brothers were twins, and that neither could claim to have the preference to the other in respect of his age, it was agreed between them that the gods that were the guardians of that country should make known by means of augury which of the two they chose to give his name to the new city. Then Romulus stood on the Palatine hill, and when there had been marked out for him a certain region of the sky, watched therein for a sign; and Remus watched in like manner, standing on the Aventine. And to Remus first came a sign, six vultures; but so soon as the sign had been proclaimed there came another to Romulus, even twelve vultures. Then they that favored Remus clamored that the gods had chosen him for king, because he had first seen the birds; and they that favored Romulus answered that he was to be preferred because he had seen more in number. This dispute waxed so hot that they fell to fighting; and in the fight it chanced that Remus was slain. But some say that when Romulus had marked out the borders of the town which he would build, and had caused a wall to be built round it, Remus leapt over the wall, scorning it because it was mean and low; and that Romulus slew him, crying out, "Thus shall every man perish that shall dare to leap over my walls." Only others will have it that though he perished for this cause Romulus slew him not, but a certain Celer. This much is certain, that Romulus gained the whole kingdom for himself, and called the city after his own name.

And now, having first done sacrifice to the Gods, he called a general assembly of the people, that he might give them laws, knowing that without laws no city can endure. And judging that these would be the better kept of his subjects if he should himself bear something of the show of royal majesty, he took certain signs of dignity, and especially twelve men that should continually attend him, bearing bundles of rods, and in the midst of the rods an axe; these men they called lictors. Meanwhile the city increased, for the king and his people enlarged their borders, looking rather to the greatness for which they hoped than to that which they had. And that this increase might not be altogether empty walls without men, Romulus set up a sanctuary, to which were gathered a great multitude of men from the nations round about. All that were discontented and lovers of novelty came to him. Nor did he take any account of their condition, whether they were bond or free, but received them all. Thus was there added to the city great strength. And the king, when he judged that there was strength sufficient, was minded to add to the strength counsel. Wherefore he chose a hundred men for counselors. A hundred he chose, either because he held that number to be sufficient, or because there were no more that were fit to bear this dignity and be called Fathers, for this was the name of these counselors.

After this the people bethought themselves how they should get for themselves wives, for there were no women in the place. Wherefore Romulus sent ambassadors to the nations round about, praying that they should give their daughters to his people for wives. "Cities," he said, "have humble beginnings even as all other things. Nevertheless they that have the Gods and their own valor to help become great. Now that the gods are with us, as ye know, be assured also that valor shall not be wanting." But the nations round about would not hearken to him, thinking scorn of this gathering of robbers and slaves and runaways, so that they said, "Why do ye not open a sanctuary for women also that so ye may find fit wives for your people?" Also they feared for themselves and their children what this new city might grow to. Now when the ambassadors brought back this answer the Romans were greatly wroth, and would take by force that which their neighbors would not give of their free will. And to the end that they might do this more easily, King Romulus appointed certain days whereon he and his people would hold a festival with games to Neptune; and to this festival he called all them that dwelt in the cities round about. But when many were gathered together (for they were fain to see what this new city might be), and were now wholly bent on the spectacle of the games, the young men of the Romans ran in upon them, and carried off all such as were unwedded among the women. To these King Romulus spake kindly, saying, "The fault is not with us but with your fathers, who dealt proudly with us, and would not give you to us in marriage. But now ye shall be held in all honor as our wives, and shall have your portion of all that we possess. Put away therefore your anger, for ye shall find us so much the better husbands than other men, as we must be to you not for husbands only but parents also and native country."

In the meanwhile the parents of them that had been carried off put on sackcloth, and went about through the cities crying out for vengeance upon the Romans. And chiefly they sought for help from Titus Tatius, that was king of the Sabines in those days, and of great power and renown. But when the Sabines seemed to be tardy in the matter, the men of Caere first gathered together their army and marched into the country of the Romans. Against these King Romulus led forth his men and put them to flight without much ado, having first slain their king with his own hand. Then, after returning to Rome, he carried the arms which he had taken from the body of the king to the hill of the Capitol, and laid them down at the shepherds' oak that stood thereon in those days. And when he had measured out the length and breadth of a temple that he would build to Jupiter upon the hill, he said, "O Jupiter, I, King Romulus, offer to thee these arms of a king, and dedicate therewith a temple in this place, in which temple they that come after me shall offer to thee like spoils in like manner, when it shall chance that the leader of our host shall himself slay with his own hands the leader of the host of the enemy." And this was the first temple that was dedicated in Rome. And in all the time to come two only offered in this manner, to wit, Cornelius Cossus that slew Lars Tolumnius, king of Veii, and Claudius Marcellus that slew Britomarus, king of the Gauls.

After this, King Tatius and the Sabines came up against Rome with a great army. And first of all they gained the citadel by treachery in this manner. One Tarpeius was governor of the citadel, whose daughter, Tarpeia by name, going forth from the walls to fetch water for a sacrifice, took money from the king that she should receive certain of the soldiers within the citadel; but when they had been so received, the men cast their shields upon her, slaying her with the weight of them. This they did either that they might be thought to have taken the place by force, or that they judged it to be well that no faith should be kept with traitors. Some also tell this tale, that the Sabines wore great bracelets of gold on their left arms, and on their left hands fair rings with precious stones therein, and that when the maiden covenanted with them that she should have for a reward that which they carried in their left hands, they cast their shields upon her. And others say that she asked for their shields having the purpose to betray them, and for this cause was slain.

Thus the Sabines had possession of the citadel; and the next day King Romulus set the battle in array on the plain that lay between the hill of the Capitol and the hill of the Palatine. And first the Romans were very eager to recover the citadel, a certain Hostilius being their leader. But when this man, fighting in the forefront of the battle, was slain, the Romans turned their backs and fled before the Sabines, even unto the gate of the Palatine. Then King Romulus (for he himself had been carried away by the crowd of them that fled) held up his sword and his spear to the heavens, and cried aloud, "O Jupiter, here in the Palatine didst thou first, by the tokens which thou sentest me, lay the foundations of my city. And lo! the Sabines have taken the citadel by wicked craft, and have crossed the valley, and are come up even hither. But if thou sufferest them so far, do thou at the least defend this place against them, and stay this shameful flight of my people. So will I build a temple for thee in this place, even a temple of Jupiter the Stayer, that may be a memorial to after generations of how thou didst this day save this city." And when he had so spoken, even as though he knew that the prayer had been heard, he cried, "Ye men of Rome, Jupiter bids you stand fast in this place and renew the battle." And when the men of Rome heard these words, it was as if a voice from heaven had spoken to them, and they stood fast, and the king himself went forward and stood among the foremost. Now the leader of the Sabines was one Curtius. This man, as he drave the Romans before him, cried out to his comrades, "See, we have conquered these men, false hosts and feeble foes that they are! Surely now they know that it is one thing to carry off maidens and another to fight with men." But whilst he boasted himself thus, King Romulus and a company of the youth rushed upon him. Now Curtius was fighting on horseback, and being thus assailed he fled, plunging into a certain pool which lay between the Palatine hill and the Capitol. Thus did he barely escape with his life, and the lake was called thereafter Curtius' pool. And now the Sabines began to give way to the Romans, when suddenly the women for whose sake they fought, having their hair loosened and their garments rent, ran in between them that fought, crying out, "Shed ye not each other's blood, ye that are fathers-in-law and sons-in-law to each other. But if ye break this bond that is between you, slay us that are the cause of this trouble. And surely it were better for us to die than to live if we be bereaved of our fathers or of our husbands." With these words they stirred the hearts both of the chiefs and of the people, so that there was suddenly made a great silence. And afterward the leaders came forth to make a covenant; and these indeed so ordered matters that there was not peace only, but one state where there had been two. For the Sabines came to Rome and dwelt there; and King Romulus and King Tatius reigned together. Only, after a while, certain men of Lanuvium slew King Tatius as he was sacrificing to the Gods at Lavinium; and thereafter Romulus only was king as before.

When he had reigned thirty and seven years there befell the thing that shall now be told. On a certain day he called the people together on the field of Mars, and held a review of his army. But while he did this there arose suddenly a great storm, with loud thunderings and very thick clouds, so that the king was hidden away from the eyes of all the people. Nor indeed was he ever again seen upon the earth. And when men were recovered of their fear they were in great trouble, because they had lost their king, though indeed the Fathers would have it that he had been carried by a whirlwind into heaven. Yet after a while they began to worship him as being now a god; and when nevertheless some doubted, and would even whisper among themselves that Romulus had been torn in pieces by the Fathers, there came forward a certain Proculus, who spake after this manner: "Ye men of Rome, this day, in the early morning, I saw Romulus, the father of this city, come down from heaven and stand before me. And when great fear came upon me, I prayed that it might be lawful for me to look upon him face to face. Then said he to me, 'Go thy way, tell the men of Rome that it is the will of them that dwell in heaven that Rome should be the chiefest city in the world. Bid them therefore be diligent in war; and let them know for themselves and tell their children after them that there is no power on earth so great that it shall be able to stand against them.' And when he had thus spoken, he departed from me, going up into heaven." All men believed Proculus when he thus spake, and the people ceased from their sorrow when they knew that King Romulus had been taken up into heaven.


Adapted by Alfred J. Church

[King Tarquin had been driven from Rome because of his tyranny.]

King Tarquin and his son Lucius (for he only remained to him of the three) fled to Lars Porsenna, king of Clusium, and besought him that he would help them. "Suffer not," they said, "that we, who are Tuscans by birth, should remain any more in poverty and exile. And take heed also to thyself and thine own kingdom if thou permit this new fashion of driving forth kings to go unpunished. For surely there is that in freedom which men greatly desire, and if they that be kings defend not their dignity as stoutly as others seek to overthrow it, then shall the highest be made even as the lowest, and there shall be an end of kingship, than which there is nothing more honorable under heaven." With these words they persuaded King Porsenna, who judging it well for the Etrurians that there should be a king at Rome, and that king an Etrurian by birth, gathered together a great army and came up against Rome. But when men heard of his coming, so mighty a city was Clusium in those days, and so great the fame of King Porsenna, there was such fear as had never been before. Nevertheless they were steadfastly purposed to hold out. And first all that were in the country fled into the city, and round about the city they set guards to keep it, part thereof being defended by walls, and part, for so it seemed, being made safe by the river. But here a great peril had well-nigh overtaken the city; for there was a wooden bridge on the river by which the enemy had crossed but for the courage of a certain Horatius Cocles. The matter fell out in this wise.

There was a certain hill which men called Janiculum on the side of the river, and this hill King Porsenna took by a sudden attack. Which when Horatius saw (for he chanced to have been set to guard the bridge, and saw also how the enemy were running at full speed to the place, and how the Romans were fleeing in confusion and threw away their arms as they ran), he cried with a loud voice, "Men of Rome, it is to no purpose that ye thus leave your post and flee, for if ye leave this bridge behind you for men to pass over, ye shall soon find that ye have more enemies in your city than in Janiculum. Do ye therefore break it down with axe and fire as best ye can. In the meanwhile I, so far as one man may do, will stay the enemy." And as he spake he ran forward to the farther end of the bridge and made ready to keep the way against the enemy. Nevertheless there stood two with him, Lartius and Herminius by name, men of noble birth both of them and of great renown in arms. So these three for a while stayed the first onset of the enemy; and the men of Rome meanwhile brake down the bridge. And when there was but a small part remaining, and they that brake it down called to the three that they should come back, Horatius bade Lartius and Herminius return, but he himself remained on the farther side, turning his eyes full of wrath in threatening fashion on the princes of the Etrurians, and crying, "Dare ye now to fight with me? or why are ye thus come at the bidding of your master, King Porsenna, to rob others of the freedom that ye care not to have for yourselves?" For a while they delayed, looking each man to his neighbor, who should first deal with this champion of the Romans. Then, for very shame, they all ran forward, and raising a great shout, threw their javelins at him. These all he took upon his shield, nor stood the less firmly in his place on the bridge, from which when they would have thrust him by force, of a sudden the men of Rome raised a great shout, for the bridge was now altogether broken down, and fell with a great crash into the river. And as the enemy stayed a while for fear, Horatius turned him to the river and said, "O Father Tiber, I beseech thee this day with all reverence that thou kindly receive this soldier and his arms." And as he spake he leapt with all his arms into the river and swam across to his own people, and though many javelins of the enemy fell about him, he was not one whit hurt. Nor did such valor fail to receive due honor from the city. For the citizens set up a statue of Horatius in the market-place; and they gave him of the public land so much as he could plough about in one day. Also there was this honor paid him, that each citizen took somewhat of his own store and gave it to him, for food was scarce in the city by reason of the siege.


Adapted by Alfred J. Church

It came to pass that the AEquians brake the treaty of peace which they had made with Rome, and, taking one Gracchus Cloelius for their leader, marched into the land of Tusculum; and when they had plundered the country thereabouts, and had gathered together much booty, they pitched their camp on Mount AEgidus. To them the Romans sent three ambassadors, who should complain of the wrong done, and seek redress. But when they would have fulfilled their errand, Gracchus the AEquian spake, saying, "If ye have any message from the Senate of Rome, tell it to this oak, for I have other business to do;" for it chanced that there was a great oak that stood hard by, and made a shadow over the general's tent. Then one of the ambassadors, as he turned to depart, made reply, "Yes, let this sacred oak and all the gods that are in heaven hear how ye have wrongfully broken the treaty of peace; and let them that hear help us also in the day of battle, when we shall avenge on you the laws both of gods and of men that ye have set at nought."

When the ambassadors had returned to Rome the Senate commanded that there should be levied two armies; and that Minucius the Consul should march with the one against the AEquians on Mount AEgidus, and that the other should hinder the enemy from their plundering. This levying the tribunes of the Commons sought to hinder; and perchance had done so, but there also came well-nigh to the walls of the city a great host of the Sabines plundering all the country. Thereupon the people willingly offered themselves, and there were levied forthwith two great armies. Nevertheless when the Consul Minucius had marched to Mount AEgidus, and had pitched his camp not far from the AEquians, he did nought for fear of the enemy, but kept himself within his entrenchments. And when the enemy perceived that he was afraid, growing the bolder for his lack of courage, they drew lines about him, keeping him in on every side. Yet before that he was altogether shut up there escaped from his camp five horsemen, that bare tidings to Rome how that the Consul, together with his army, was besieged. The people were sorely dismayed to hear such tidings; nor, when they cast about for help, saw they any man that might be sufficient for such peril, save only Cincinnatus. By common consent, therefore, he was made Dictator for six months, a thing that may well be noted by those who hold that nothing is to be accounted of in comparison of riches, and that no man may win great honor or show forth singular virtue unless he be well furnished with wealth. For here in this great peril of the Roman people there was no hope of safety but in one who was cultivating with his own hand a little plot of scarcely three acres of ground. For when the messengers of the people came to him they found him ploughing, or, as some say, digging a ditch. When they had greeted each the other, the messengers said, "May the Gods prosper this thing to the Roman people and to thee. Put on thy robe and hear the words of the people." Then said Cincinnatus, being not a little astonished, "Is all well?" and at the same time he called to his wife Racilia that she should bring forth his robe from the cottage. So she brought it forth, and the man wiped from him the dust and the sweat, and clad himself in his robe, and stood before the messengers. These said to him, "The people of Rome make thee Dictator, and bid thee come forthwith to the city." And at the same time they told how the Consul and his army were besieged by the AEquians. So Cincinnatus departed to Rome; and when he came to the other side of the Tiber there met him first his three sons, and next many of his kinsfolk and friends, and after them a numerous company of the nobles. These all conducted him to his house, the lictors, four and twenty in number, marching before him. There was also assembled a very great concourse of the people, fearing much how the Dictator might deal with them, for they knew what manner of man he was, and that there was no limit to his power, nor any appeal from him.

The next day before dawn the Dictator came into the market-place, and appointed one Lucius Tarquinius to be Master of the Horse. This Tarquinius was held by common consent to excel all other men in exercises of war; only, though, being a noble by birth, he should have been among the horsemen, he had served, for lack of means, as a foot soldier. This done he called an assembly of the people and commanded that all the shops in the city should be shut; that no man should concern himself with any private business, but all that were of an age to go to the war should be present before sunset in the Field of Mars, each man having with him provisions of cooked food for five days, and twelve stakes. As for them that were past the age, they should prepare the food while the young men made ready their arms and sought for the stakes. These last they took as they found them, no man hindering them; and when the time appointed by the Dictator was come, all were assembled, ready, as occasion might serve, either to march or to give battle. Forthwith they set out, the Dictator leading the foot soldiers by their legions, and Tarquinius the horsemen, and each bidding them that followed make all haste. "We must needs come," they said, "to our journey's end while it is yet night. Remember that the Consul and his army have been besieged now for three days, and that no man knows what a day or a night may bring forth." The soldiers themselves also were zealous to obey, crying out to the standard-bearers that they should quicken their steps, and to their fellows that they should not lag behind. Thus they came at midnight to Mount AEgidus, and when they perceived that the enemy was at hand they halted the standards. Then the Dictator rode forward to see, so far as the darkness would suffer him, how great was the camp of the AEquians and after what fashion it was pitched. This done he commanded that the baggage should be gathered together into a heap, and that the soldiers should stand every man in his own place. After this he compassed about the whole army of the enemy with his own army, and commanded that at a set signal every man should shout, and when they had shouted should dig a trench and set up therein the stakes. This the soldiers did, and the noise of the shouting passed over the camp of the enemy and came into the city, causing therein great joy, even as it caused great fear in the camp. For the Romans cried, "These be our countrymen, and they bring us help." Then said the Consul, "We must make no delay. By that shout is signified, not that they are come only, but that they are already dealing with the enemy. Doubtless the camp of the AEquians is even now assailed from without. Take ye your arms and follow me." So the legion went forth, it being yet night, to the battle, and as they went they shouted, that the Dictator might be aware. Now the AEquians had set themselves to hinder the making of a ditch and rampart which should shut them in; but when the Romans from the camp fell upon them, fearing lest these should make their way through the midst of their camp, they left them that were with Cincinnatus to finish their entrenching, and fought with the Consul. And when it was now light, lo! they were already shut in, and the Romans, having finished their entrenching, began to trouble them. And when the AEquians perceived that the battle was now on either side of them, they could withstand no longer, but sent ambassadors praying for peace, and saying, "Ye have prevailed; slay us not, but rather permit us to depart, leaving our arms behind us." Then said the Dictator, "I care not to have the blood of the AEquians. Ye may depart, but ye shall depart passing under the yoke, that ye may thus acknowledge to all men that ye are indeed vanquished." Now the yoke is thus made. There are set up in the ground two spears, and over them is bound by ropes a third spear. So the AEquians passed under the yoke.

In the camp of the enemy there was found abundance of spoil. This the Dictator gave wholly to his own soldiers. "Ye were well-nigh a spoil to the enemy," said he to the army of the Consul, "therefore ye shall have no share in the spoiling of them. As for thee, Minucius, be thou a lieutenant only till thou hast learnt how to bear thyself as a consul." Meanwhile at Rome there was held a meeting of the Senate, at which it was commanded that Cincinnatus should enter the city in triumph, his soldiers following him in order of march. Before his chariot there were led the generals of the enemy; also the standards were carried in the front; and after these came the army, every man laden with spoil. That day there was great rejoicing in the city, every man setting forth a banquet before his doors in the street.

After this, Virginius, that had borne false witness against Caeso, was found guilty of perjury, and went into exile. And when Cincinnatus saw that justice had been done to this evil-doer, he resigned his dictatorship, having held it for sixteen days only.


Adapted by Alfred J. Church

It was agreed between the nobles and the commons that, to make an end of disputing about the laws, ambassadors should be sent into Greece, and especially to Athens (which city and its lawgiver, Solon, were held in high repute in those days), to learn what manner of laws and customs they had, and to bring back a report of them. And when the ambassadors had brought back their report, it seemed good to the people that in the following year there should be appointed neither consuls nor any other magistrate, but decemvirs only; that is to say, ten men, who should set in order the laws of Rome. Thus it came to pass in the ninety and first year from the driving out of the kings, that decemvirs were appointed in the stead of consuls, Appius Claudius being the chief of the ten.

For a while these pleased the people well, doing justice equally between man and man. And the custom was that each day one of the ten sat as judge with the twelve lictors about him, the nine others sitting with one minister only. Also they busied themselves with the ordering of the laws; and at last set forth ten tables on which these were written. At the same time they called the people together to an assembly, and spake to them thus: "The Gods grant that this undertaking may turn to the credit of the state, and of you, and of your children. Go, therefore, and read these laws which we have set forth; for though we have done what ten men could do to provide laws that should be just to all, whether they be high or low, yet the understandings of many men may yet change many things for the better. Consider therefore all these matters in your own minds, and debate them among yourselves. For we will that the Roman people should be bound by such laws only as they shall have agreed together to establish."

The ten tables were therefore set forth, and when these had been sufficiently considered, and such corrections made therein as seemed good, a regular assembly of the people was called, and the laws were duly established. But now there was spread abroad a report that two tables were yet wanting, and that when these should have been added the whole would be complete; and thence there arose a desire that the Ten should be appointed to hold office a second year. This indeed was done; but Appius Claudius so ordered matters that there were elected together with him none of the chief men of the state, but only such as were of an inferior condition and fortune.

After this the Ten began more and more to set aside all law and right. Thus whereas at the first one only on each day was followed by the twelve lictors, each of the Ten came daily into the market-place so attended, and whereas before the lictors carried bundles of rods only, now there was bound up with the rods an axe; whereby was signified the power of life and death. Their actions also agreed with this show, for they and their ministers plundered the goods and chattels of the people. Some also they scourged, and some they beheaded. And when they had so put a man to death, they would divide his substance among those that waited upon them to do their pleasure.

Among their misdeeds two were especially notable. There was a certain Sicinius in the host, a man of singular strength and courage, who took it ill that the Ten should thus set themselves above all law, and was wont to say to his comrades that the commons should depart from the city as they had done in time past, or should at the least make them tribunes to be their champions as of old. This Sicinius the Ten sent on before the army, there being then war with the Sabines, to search out a place for a camp; and with him they sent certain others, bidding them slay him when they should have come to some convenient place. This they did, but not without suffering much loss; for the man fought for his life and defended himself, slaying many of his enemies. Then they that escaped ran into the camp, saying that Sicinius had fallen into an ambuscade, and had died along with certain others of the soldiers. At the first, indeed, this story was believed; but afterward, when, by permission of the Ten, there went some to bury the dead, they found that none of the dead bodies had been spoiled, and that Sicinius lay with his arms in the midst, the others having their faces toward him; also that there was no dead body of an enemy in the place, nor any track as of them that had gone from the place; for which reasons they brought back tidings that Sicinius had certainly been slain by his own comrades. At this there was great wrath in the camp; and the soldiers were ready to carry the body of Sicinius to Rome, but that the Ten made a military funeral for him at the public cost. So they buried Sicinius with great lamentation; but the Ten were thereafter in very ill repute among the soldiers.

Again, there was a certain centurion, Lucius Virginius by name, an upright man and of good credit both at home and abroad. This Virginius had a daughter, Virginia, a very fair and virtuous maiden, whom he had espoused to a certain Icilius that had once been a tribune of the commons. On this maiden Appius Claudius, the chief of the Ten, sought to lay hands, and for this end gave commandment to one Marcus Claudius, who was one of the clients of his house, that he should claim the girl for a slave. On the morrow therefore, as Virginia passed across the market-place, being on her way to school (for the schools in those days were held in the market-place), this Claudius seized her, affirming that she was born of a woman that was a slave, and was therefore by right a slave herself. The maiden standing still for fear, the nurse that attended her set up a great cry and called the citizens to help. Straightway there was a great concourse, for many knew the maiden's father Virginius, and Icilius to whom she was betrothed. Then said Claudius, seeing that he could not take her by force, "There is no need of tumult or of gathering a crowd. I would proceed by law, not by force." Thereupon he summoned the girl before the judge. When they came to the judgment-seat of Appius the man told a tale that had already been agreed upon between the two. "This girl," he said, "was born in my house, and was thence secretly taken to the house of Virginius, and passed off on the man as his daughter. Of this I will bring proof sufficient, such as will convince Virginius himself, who doubtless has received the chief wrong in this matter. But in the meanwhile it is reasonable that the slave should remain in the house of her master." To this the friends of the girl made answer, "Virginius is absent on the service of the state, and will be here within the space of two days, if tidings of this matter be sent to him. Now it is manifestly wrong that judgment concerning a man's children should be given while he is himself absent. Let the cause, therefore, be postponed till he come. Meanwhile let the maiden have her freedom, according to the law which Appius and his fellows have themselves established."

Appius gave sentence in these words: "That I am a favorer of freedom is manifest from this law of which ye make mention. Yet this law must be observed in all cases and without respect of persons; and as to this girl, there is none but her father only to whom her owner may yield the custody of her. Let her father therefore be sent for; but in the meanwhile Claudius must have custody of her, as is his right, only giving security that he will produce her on the morrow."

At this decree, so manifestly unrighteous was it, there was much murmuring, yet none dared to oppose it, till Numitorius, the girl's uncle, and Icilius came forth from the crowd. The lictor cried, "Sentence has been given," and bade Icilius give place. Then Icilius turned to Appius, saying, "Appius, thou must drive me hence with the sword before thou canst have thy will in this matter. This maiden is my espoused wife; and verily, though thou call hither all thy lictors and the lictors of thy colleagues, she shall not remain in any house save the house of her father."

To this Appius, seeing that the multitude was greatly moved and were ready to break forth into open violence, made this reply: "Icilius cares not for Virginia, but being a lover of sedition and tumult, seeks an occasion for strife. Such occasion I will not give him to-day. But that he may know that I yield not to his insolence, but have regard to the rights of a father, I pronounce no sentence. I ask of Marcus Claudius that he will concede something of his right, and suffer surety to be given for the girl against the morrow. But if on the morrow the father be not present here, then I tell Icilius and his fellows that he who is the author of this law will not fail to execute it. Neither will I call in the lictors of my colleague to put down them that raise a tumult. For this my own lictors shall suffice."

So much time being thus gained, it seemed good to the friends of the maiden that the son of Numitorius and the brother of Icilius, young men both of them and active, should hasten with all speed to the camp, and bring Virginius thence as quickly as might be. So the two set out, and putting their horses to their full speed, carried tidings of the matter to the father. As for Appius, he sat awhile on the judgment-seat, waiting for other business to be brought before him, for he would not have it seem that he had come for this cause only; but finding that there was none, and indeed the people were wholly intent on the matter of Virginia, he departed to his own house. Thence he sent an epistle to his colleagues that were at the camp, saying, "Grant no leave of absence to Virginius, but keep him in safe custody with you." But this availed nothing, for already, before ever the epistle was brought to the camp, at the very first watch of the night, Virginius had set forth.

When Virginius was come to the city, it being then early dawn, he put on mean apparel, as was the custom with such as were in danger of life or liberty, and carried about his daughter, who was clad in like manner, praying all that he met to help and succor him. "Remember," said he, "that day by day I stand fighting for you and for your children against your enemies. But what shall this profit you or me if this city being safe, nevertheless our children stand in peril of slavery and shame?" Icilius spake in like manner, and the women (for a company of matrons followed Virginia) wept silently, stirring greatly the hearts of all that looked upon them. But Appius, so set was his heart on evil, heeded none of these things; but so soon as he had sat him down on the seat of judgment, and he that claimed the girl had said a few words complaining that right had not been done to him, he gave his sentence, suffering not Virginius to speak. What pretense of reason he gave can scarce be imagined, but the sentence (for this only is certain) was that the girl should be in the custody of Claudius till the matter should be decided by law. But when Claudius came to take the maiden, her friends and all the women that bare her company thrust him back. Then said Appius, "I have sure proof, and this not from the violence only of Icilius, but from what is told to me of gatherings by night in the city, that there is a purpose in certain men to stir up sedition. Knowing this I have come hither with armed men; not to trouble quiet citizens, but to punish such as would break the peace of the state. Such as be wise, therefore, will keep themselves quiet. Lictor, remove this crowd, and make room for the master that he may take his slave." These words he thundered forth in great anger; and the people, when they heard them, fell back in fear, so that the maiden stood without defense. Then Virginius, seeing that there were none to help him, said to Appius, "I pray thee, Appius, if I have said aught that was harsh to thee, that thou wilt pardon it, knowing how a father must needs suffer in such a case. But now suffer me to inquire somewhat of this woman that is the girl's nurse, that I may know what is the truth of the matter. For if I have been deceived in the matter, and am not in truth father to the girl, I shall be more content." Then, Appius giving permission, he led his daughter and her nurse a little space aside, to the shops that are by the temple of Cloacina, and snatching a knife from a butcher's, said, "My daughter, there is but this one way that I can make thee free," and he drave the knife into her breast. Then he looked back to the judgment-seat and cried, "With this blood, Appius, I devote thee and thy life to perdition." There went up a great cry from all that stood there when they saw so dreadful a deed, and Appius commanded that they should seize him. But no man laid hands on him, for he made a way for himself with the knife that he carried in his hand, and they that followed defended him, till he came to the gate of the city. Then Icilius and Numitorius took up the dead body of the maiden and showed it to the people, saying much of the wickedness of him who had driven a father to do such a deed, and much also of the liberty which had been taken from them, and which, if they would only use this occasion, they might now recover. As for Appius, he cried out to his lictors that they should lay hands on Icilius, and when the crowd suffered not the lictors to approach, would himself have made a way to him, by the help of the young nobles that stood by him. But now the crowd had leaders, themselves also nobles, Valerius and Horatius. These said, "If Appius would deal with Icilius according to law we will be securities for him; if he mean to use violence, we are ready to meet him." And when the lictor would have laid hands on these two the multitude brake his rods to pieces. Then Appius would have spoken to the people, but they clamored against him, so that at last, losing all courage and fearing for his life, he covered his head and fled secretly to his own house.

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