Myths That Every Child Should Know A Selection Of The Classic Myths Of All Times For Young People
Page: 134Then Jason laughed a great laugh, like a war horse in his pride: "Good news, good father, both for you and me. For that very end I came into the town."
Then he strode on toward the palace of Pelias, while all the people wondered at his bearing.
And he stood in the doorway and cried, "Come out, come out, Pelias the valiant, and fight for your kingdom like a man."
Pelias came out wondering, and "Who are you, bold youth?" he cried.
"I am Jason, the son of Æson, the heir of all this land."
Then Pelias lifted up his hands and eyes, and wept, or seemed to weep; and blessed the heavens which had brought his nephew to him, never to leave him more. "For," said he, "I have but three daughters, and no son to be my heir. You shall be my heir then, and rule the kingdom after me, and marry whichsoever of my daughters you shall choose; though a sad kingdom you will find it, and whosoever rules it a miserable man. But come in, come in, and feast."
So he drew Jason in, whether he would or not, and spoke to him so lovingly and feasted him so well, that Jason's anger passed; and after supper his three cousins came into the hall, and Jason thought that he should like well enough to have one of them for his wife.
But at last he said to Pelias, "Why do you look so sad, my uncle? And what did you mean just now, when you said that this was a doleful kingdom, and its ruler a miserable man?"
Then Pelias sighed heavily again and again and again, like a man who had to tell some dreadful story and was afraid to begin; but at last:
"For seven long years and more have I never known a quiet night; and no more will he who comes after me, till the golden fleece be brought home."
Then he told Jason the story of Phrixus, and of the golden fleece; and told him, too, which was a lie, that Phrixus's spirit tormented him, calling to him day and night. And his daughters came, and told the same tale (for their father had taught them their parts) and wept, and said, "Oh, who will bring home the golden fleece, that our uncle's spirit may have rest; and that we may have rest also, whom he never lets sleep in peace?"
Jason sat awhile, sad and silent; for he had often heard of that golden fleece; but he looked on it as a thing hopeless and impossible for any mortal man to win it.
But when Pelias saw him silent, he began to talk of other things, and courted Jason more and more, speaking to him as if he was certain to be his heir, and asking his advice about the kingdom; till Jason who was young and simple, could not help saying to himself, "Surely he is not the dark man whom people call him. Yet why did he drive my father out?" And he asked Pelias boldly, "Men say that you are terrible, and a man of blood; but I find you a kind and hospitable man; and as you are to me, so will I be to you. Yet why did you drive my father out?"