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Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria

Page: 23

The Murder of Setapo.—Evelyn Paul.


After this the lovers embarked on a new series of adventures even more thrilling than those which had gone before. The Temple of Venus (Ishtar), situated on an island of the Euphrates, was their first destination after escaping from the captivity of Soracchus. Here Sinonis' wound was healed, and afterward they sought refuge with a cottager, whose daughter consented to dispose of some trinkets belonging to Sinonis. In doing so the girl was mistaken for Sinonis, and news that Sinonis had been seen in the neighbourhood was sent at once to Garmus. While selling the trinkets the cottage girl had become so alarmed by the suspicious questions and manner of the purchasers that she hurried[Pg 59] home with all possible speed. On her way back her curiosity was excited by sounds of a great disturbance issuing from a house hard by, and on entering she was appalled to discover a man in the very act of taking his life after murdering his mistress. Terrified and sprinkled with blood she sped back to her father's house. On hearing the girl's story, Sinonis realised that the safety of herself and Rhodanes lay only in flight. They prepared at once to go, but before starting Rhodanes kissed the peasant girl. Sinonis, discovering what he had done by the blood on his lips, became furious with jealousy. In a transport of rage she tried to stab the girl, and on being prevented rushed to the house of Setapo, a wealthy Babylonian of evil repute. Setapo welcomed her only too cordially. At first Sinonis pretended to meet his mood, but as time went by she relented of her treatment of Rhodanes and began to cast about for some means of escape. As the evening wore on she plied Setapo with wine until he was intoxicated, then during the night she murdered him, and in the first early dawn left the house. The slaves of Setapo pursued and overtook her, however, and committed her to custody to answer for her crime.

All Babylon rejoiced with its king over the news of Sinonis' discovery. So great was Garmus' delight that he commanded that all the prisoners throughout his dominions should be released, and in this general boon Sinonis shared. Meanwhile the dog of Rhodanes had scented out the house in which the peasant girl had witnessed the suicide of the lover who had murdered his mistress, and while the animal was devouring the remains of the woman the father of Sinonis arrived at the same house. Thinking the[Pg 60] mutilated body was that of his daughter he buried it, and on the tomb he placed the inscription: "Here lies the beautiful Sinonis." Some days later Rhodanes passed that way, and on reading the inscription added to it, "And also the beautiful Rhodanes." In his grief he would have stabbed himself had not the peasant girl who had been the cause of Sinonis' jealousy prevented him by telling him who in reality was buried there.


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