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Hero Tales

Page: 14

"So when the sun again gilded the crags of Pelion, brave Peleus hid himself among the rocks close by the sea-washed shore, and waited for the coming of the silver-footed lady of the sea. In a little time she rose, beautiful as the star of morning, from the waves. She sat down upon the beach, and dallied with her golden tresses, and sang sweet songs of a happy land in the depths of the sounding sea. Peleus, bearing in mind what I had taught him, arose from his hiding-place, and caught the beauteous creature in his arms. In vain did she struggle to leap into the waves. Seven times she changed her form as he held her: by turns she changed into a fountain of water, into a cloud of mist, into a burning flame, and into a senseless rock. But Peleus held her fast; and she changed then into a tawny lion, and then into a tall tree, and lastly she took her own matchless form again.

"Then Peleus held the lovely Thetis by the hand, and they walked long time together upon the beach, while the birds sang among the trees on Pelion's leafy slopes, and the dolphins sported in the waters at their feet. Thus Peleus wooed the silver-footed lady, and won her love, and she promised to be his bride. Then the immortals were glad; and they fitted up the great cavern on Mount Pelion for a banquet hall, and made therein a wedding feast, such as was never seen before. The vaulted roof of the cavern was decked with gems which shone like the stars of heaven; a thousand torches, held by lovely mountain nymphs, flamed from the niches in the high walls; and upon the floor of polished marble, tables for a thousand guests were ranged.

"When the wedding feast was ready, all those who live on high Olympus, and all the immortals who dwell upon the earth, came to rejoice with King Peleus and his matchless bride; and they brought rich presents for the bridegroom, such as were never given to another man. One gave him a suit of armor, rich and fair, a wonder to behold, which lame Vulcan with rare skill had wrought and fashioned. One bestowed on him the peerless horses, Ballos and Xanthos, and a deftly wrought chariot with trimmings of gold. And I, one of the least of the guests, gave him an ashen spear which I had cut on the mountain top and fashioned with my own hands.

"At the tables sat Zeus, the father of gods and men; and his wife, the white-armed Hera; and smile-loving Aphrodite; and gray-eyed Athena; and all the wisest and the fairest of the immortals. The nymphs of the sea danced in honor of Thetis their sister; and the Muses sang their sweetest songs; and Apollo played upon the lyre. The Fates, too, were there: sad Clotho, twirling her spindle; unloving Lachesis, with wrinkled lips ready to speak the fatal word; and pitiless Atropos, holding in her hand the unsparing shears. And around the table passed the youthful and joy-giving Hebe, pouring out rich draughts of nectar for the guests.


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