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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: 83

Then Orestes made answer, "Thou hast said well, lady, save in one thing only. That this man should be sacrificed in my stead pleaseth me not at all. For I am he that brought this voyage to pass; and this man came with me that he might help me in my troubles. Wherefore it would be a grievous wrong that he should suffer in my stead and I escape. Give then the tablet to him. He shall take it to the city of Argos and thou shalt have what thou wilt. But as for me, let them slay me if they will."

"'Tis well spoken, young man. Thou art come, I know, of a noble stock. The gods grant that my brother—for I have a brother, though he be far hence—may be such as thou. It shall be as thou wilt. This man shall depart with the tablet and thou shalt die."

Then Orestes would know the manner of the death by which he must die. And she told him that she slew not the victims with her own hand, but that there were ministers in the[Pg 146] temple appointed to this office, she preparing them for sacrifice beforehand. Also she said that his body would be burned with fire.

And when Orestes had wished that the hand of his sister might pay due honor to him in his death, she said, "This may not be, for she is far away from this strange land. But yet, seeing that thou art a man of Argos, I myself will adorn thy tomb and pour oil of olives and honey on thy ashes." Then she departed, that she might fetch the tablet from her dwelling, bidding the attendants keep the young men fast, but without bonds.

But when she was gone, Orestes said to Pylades, "Pylades, what thinkest thou? Who is this maiden? She had great knowledge of things in Troy and Argos, and of Calchas the wise soothsayer, and of Achilles and the rest. And she made lamentation over King Agamemnon. She must be of Argos."


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