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Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica

Page: 134

(ll. 110-121) 'Friends, even if I alone had suffered great wrong from the Frogs, assuredly this is a first essay at mischief for you all. And now I am pitiable, for I have lost three sons. First the abhorred ferret seized and killed one of them, catching him outside the hole; then ruthless men dragged another to his doom when by unheard-of arts they had contrived a wooden snare, a destroyer of Mice, which they call a trap. There was a third whom I and his dear mother loved well, and him Puff-jaw has carried out into the deep and drowned. Come, then, and let us arm ourselves and go out against them when we have arrayed ourselves in rich-wrought arms.'

(ll. 122-131) With such words he persuaded them all to gird themselves. And Ares who has charge of war equipped them. First they fastened on greaves and covered their shins with green bean-pods broken into two parts which they had gnawed out, standing over them all night. Their breast plates were of skin stretched on reeds, skilfully made from a ferret they had flayed. For shields each had the centre-piece of a lamp, and their spears were long needles all of bronze, the work of Ares, and the helmets upon their temples were pea-nut shells.

(ll. 132-138) So the Mice armed themselves. But when the Frogs were aware of it, they rose up out of the water and coming together to one place gathered a council of grievous war. And while they were asking whence the quarrel arose, and what the cause of this anger, a herald drew near bearing a wand in his paws, Pot-visitor the son of great-hearted Cheese-carver. He brought the grim message of war, speaking thus:

(ll. 139-143) 'Frogs, the Mice have sent me with their threats against you, and bid you arm yourselves for war and battle; for they have seen Crumb-snatcher in the water whom your king Puff-jaw slew. Fight, then, as many of you as are warriors among the Frogs.'

(ll. 144-146) With these words he explained the matter. So when this blameless speech came to their ears, the proud Frogs were disturbed in their hearts and began to blame Puff-jaw. But he rose up and said:

(ll. 147-159) 'Friends, I killed no Mouse, nor did I see one perishing. Surely he was drowned while playing by the lake and imitating the swimming of the Frogs, and now these wretches blame me who am guiltless. Come then; let us take counsel how we may utterly destroy the wily Mice. Moreover, I will tell you what I think to be the best. Let us all gird on our armour and take our stand on the very brink of the lake, where the ground breaks down sheer: then when they come out and charge upon us, let each seize by the crest the Mouse who attacks him, and cast them with their helmets into the lake; for so we shall drown these dry-hobs 3602 in the water, and merrily set up here a trophy of victory over the slaughtered Mice.'


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