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Myths of Greece and Rome Narrated with Special Reference to Literature and Art

Page: 114

Cercyon and Procrustes.

After disposing of another world-renowned robber, Cercyon (The Wrestler), Theseus encountered Procrustes (The Stretcher), a cruel giant, who, under pretext of entertainment, deluded travelers into entering his home, where he had two beds of very different dimensions,—one unusually short, the other unusually long. If the unfortunate traveler were a short man, he was put to bed in the long bedstead, and his limbs were pulled out of joint to make him fit it; but if, on the contrary, he were tall, he was assigned the short bed, and the superfluous length of limb was lopped off under the selfsame pretext. Taking Procrustes quite unawares, Theseus gave him a faint idea of the sufferings he had inflicted upon others by making him try each bed in turn, and then, to avoid his continuing these evil practices, put an end to his wretched existence.

Theseus successfully accomplished a few more exploits of a similar character, and finally reached Athens, where he found that his fame had preceded him.


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