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

Page: 72

To this the Prince Hæmon made answer:

"What thou sayest, my father, I do not judge. Yet bethink thee, that I see and hear on thy behalf what is hidden from thee. For common men cannot abide thy look if they say that which pleaseth thee not. Yet do I hear it in secret. Know then that all the city mourneth for this maiden, saying that she dieth wrongfully for a very noble deed, in that she buried her brother. And 'tis well, my father, not to be wholly set on thy thoughts, but to listen to the counsels of others."

"Nay," said the king; "shall I be taught by such an one as thou?"

"I pray thee regard my words, if they be well, and not my years."

"Can it be well to honor them that transgress? And hath not this woman transgressed?"

"The people of this city judge not so."

"The people, sayest thou? Is it for them to rule, or for me?"

"No city is the possession of one man only."

So the two answered one the other, and their anger waxed hot. And at the last the king cried:

"Bring this accursed woman and slay her before his eyes."

And the prince answered:

"That thou shalt never do. And know this also, that thou shalt never see my face again."

So he went away in a rage; and the old men would have appeased the king's wrath, but he would not hearken to them, but said that the two maidens should die.

"Wilt thou then slay them both?" said the old men.

"'Tis well said," the king made answer. "Her that meddled not with the matter, I harm not."