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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: 82

To her Orestes answered, "What meanest thou, lady, by lamenting in this fashion over us? I hold it folly in him who must die that he should bemoan himself. Pity us not; we know what manner of sacrifices ye have in this land."

"Tell me now, which of ye two is called Pylades?"

"Not I, but this my companion."

"Of what city in the land of Greece are ye? And are ye brothers born of one mother?"

[Pg 144] "Brothers we are, but in friendship, not in blood."

"And what is thy name?"

"That I tell thee not. Thou hast power over my body, but not over my name."

"Wilt thou not tell me thy country?"

And when he told her that his country was Argos, she asked him many things, as about Troy, and Helen, and Calchas the prophet, and Ulysses; and at last she said, "And Achilles, son of Thetis of the sea, is he yet alive?"

"He is dead and his marriage that was made at Aulis is of no effect."

"A false marriage it was, as some know full well."

"Who art thou that inquirest thus about matters in Greece?"

"I am of the land of Greece and was brought thence yet being a child. But there was a certain Agamemnon, son of Atreus; what of him?"

"I know not. Lady, leave all talk of him."

"Say not so; but do me a pleasure and tell me."

"He is dead."

"Woe is me! How died he?"

"What meaneth thy sorrow? Art thou of his kindred?"

"'Tis a pity to think how great he was, and now he hath perished."

"He was slain in a most miserable fashion by a woman, but ask no more."

"Only this one thing. Is his wife yet alive?"

"Nay; for the son whom she bare slew her, taking vengeance for his father."

"A dreadful deed, but righteous withal."

"Righteous indeed he is, but the gods love him not."

"And did the king leave any other child behind him?"

"One daughter, Electra by name."

"And is his son yet alive?"

[Pg 145] "He is alive, but no man more miserable."

Now when Iphigenia heard that he was alive and knew that she had been deceived by the dreams which she had dreamt, she conceived a thought in her heart and said to Orestes, "Hearken now, for I have somewhat to say to thee that shall bring profit both to thee and to me. Wilt thou, if I save thee from this death, carry tidings of me to Argos to my friends and bear a tablet from me to them? For such a tablet I have with me, which one who was brought captive to this place wrote for me, pitying me, for he knew that I caused not his death, but the law of the goddess in this place. Nor have I yet found a man who should carry this thing to Argos. But thou, I judge, art of noble birth and knowest the city and those with whom I would have communication. Take then this tablet and thy life as a reward, and let this man be sacrificed to the goddess."


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