<<<
>>>

Anabasis

Page: 98

"'When the North wind doth blow Home to Hellas we will go (1).' (1) Whether this was a local saying or a proverb I cannot say. The words have a poetical ring about them: "When Borrhas blows, fair voyages to Hellas."

"He would be a clever fellow who could befool you into embarking with a south wind blowing. That sounds all very well, you think, only I may get you on board during a calm. Granted, but I shall be on board my one ship, and you on board another hundred at least, and how am I to constrain you to voyage with me against your will, or by what cajolery shall I carry you off? But I will imagine you so far befooled and bewitched by me, that I have got you to the Phasis; we proceed to disembark on dry land. At last it will come out, that wherever you are, you are not in Hellas, and the inventor of the trick will be one sole man, and you who have been caught by it will number something like ten thousand with swords in your hands. I do not know how a man could better ensure his own punishment than by embarking on such a policy with regards to himself and you.

"Nay, these tales are the invention of silly fellows who are jealous of the honour you bestow on me. A most uncalled-for jealousy! Do I hinder any of them from speaking any word of import in his power? of striking a blow in your behalf and his own, if that is his choice? or, finally, of keeping his eyes and ears open to secure your safety? What is it? In your choice of leaders do I stand in the way of any one, is that it? Let him step forward, I yield him place; he shall be your general; only he must prove that he has your good at heart.

"For myself, I have done; but for yourselves, if any of you conceive either that he himself could be the victim of a fraud, or that he could victimise any one else in such a thing as this, let him open his lips and explain to us how. Take your time, but when you have sifted the matter to your hearts' content, do not go away without suffering me to tell you of something which I see looming. If it should burst upon us and prove in fact anything like what it gives signs of being now, it is time for us to take counsel for ourselves and see that we do not prove ourselves to be the worst and basest of men in the sight of gods and men, be they friends or be they foes." The words moved the curiosity of the soldiers. They marvelled what this matter might be, and bade him explain. Thereupon he began again: "You will not have forgotten certain places in the hills—barbaric fastnesses, but friendly to the Cerasuntines—from which people used to come down and sell us large cattle and other things which they possessed, and if I mistake not, some of you went to the nearest of these places and made purchases in the market and came back again. Clearetus the captain learnt of this place, that it was but a little one and unguarded. Why should it be guarded since it was friendly? so the folk thought. Thus he stole upon it in the dead of night, and meant to sack it without saying a word to any of us. His design was, if he took the place, not to return again to the army, but to mount a vessel which, with his messmates on board her, was sailing past at the time, and stowing away what he had seized, to set sail and begone beyond the Euxine. All this had been agreed upon and arranged with his comrades on board the vessel, as I now discover. Accordingly, he summoned to his side all whom he could persuade, and set off at their head against the little place. But dawn overtook him on his march. The men collected out of their strongholds, and whether from a distance or close quarters, made such a fight that they killed Clearetus and a good many of the rest, and only a few of them got safe back to Cerasus.


<<<
>>>