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Myths and Legends of All Nations Famous Stories from the Greek, German, English, Spanish, Scandinavian, Danish, French, Russian, Bohemian, Italian and other sources

Page: 38

So Jason dwelt in the cave, with this four-footed Chiron from the time that he was an infant only a few months old, until he had grown to the full height of a man. He became a very good harper, I suppose, and skilful in the use of weapons and tolerably acquainted with herbs and other doctor's stuff, and above all, an admirable horseman; for, in teaching young people to ride, the good Chiron must have been without a rival among schoolmasters. At length, being now a tall and athletic youth, Jason resolved to seek his fortune in the world without asking Chiron's advice or telling him anything about the matter. This was very unwise, to be sure; and I hope none of you, my little hearers, will ever follow Jason's example. But, you are to understand, he had heard how that he himself was a prince royal, and how his father, King Æson, had been deprived of the kingdom of Iolchos by a certain Pelias, who would also have killed Jason had he not been hidden in the Centaur's cave. And being come to the strength of a man, Jason determined to set all this business to rights and to punish the wicked Pelias for wronging his dear father, and to cast him down from the throne and seat himself there instead.

With this intention he took a spear in each hand and threw a leopard's skin over his shoulders to keep off the rain, and set forth on his travels, with his long yellow ringlets waving in[Pg 69] the wind. The part of his dress on which he most prided himself was a pair of sandals that had been his father's. They were handsomely embroidered and were tied upon his feet with strings of gold. But his whole attire was such as people did not very often see; and as he passed along, the women and children ran to the doors and windows, wondering whither this beautiful youth was journeying, with his leopard's skin and his golden-tied sandals, and what heroic deeds he meant to perform, with a spear in his right hand and another in his left.

I know not how far Jason had traveled when he came to a turbulent river, which rushed right across his pathway with specks of white foam along its black eddies, hurrying tumultuously onward and roaring angrily as it went. Though not a very broad river in the dry seasons of the year, it was now swollen by heavy rains and by the melting of the snow on the sides of Mount Olympus; and it thundered so loudly and looked so wild and dangerous that Jason, bold as he was, thought it prudent to pause upon the brink. The bed of the stream seemed to be strewn with sharp and rugged rocks, some of which thrust themselves above the water. By and by an uprooted tree, with shattered branches, came drifting along the current and got entangled among the rocks. Now and then a drowned sheep and once the carcass of a cow floated past.


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