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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 34

'Then Hector bade his charioteer drive his horses through the gate and into the press of battle. He drew near to Patroklos, and Patroklos, leaping down from his chariot, seized a great stone and flung it at Hector's charioteer. It struck him on the brow and hurled him from the chariot.'

'Hector too leaped from the chariot and took his sword in hand. Their men joined Patroklos and joined Hector and the battle began beside the body of Hector's charioteer. Three times did Patroklos rush against the ranks of the Trojans and nine warriors did he slay at each onset. But the doom of Patroklos was nigh. A warrior smote him in the back and struck the helmet from his head. With its high horse-hair crest it rolled beneath the hooves of the horses. Who was it smote Prince Patroklos then? Men said it was the god Apollo who would not have the sacred City of Troy taken until the time the gods had willed it to fall.'

'The spear fell from his hands, the great shield that Achilles had given him dropped on the ground, and all in amaze Patroklos stood. He gave ground and retreated towards his comrades.B

ut Hector did not heed what the dying Patroklos said. He took from his body the armour of Achilles that had been a gift from the gods. The body too he would have brought within the City that his triumph might be greater, but now Aias came to where Patroklos had fallen and over the body he placed his great shield. The fight went on and Hector, withdrawing himself to the plain, put upon himself the armour he had stripped off the body of Patroklos. The armour fitted every limb and joint and as he put it on more courage and strength than ever yet he had felt came into the soul of Hector.'

'And the immortal steeds that Patroklos had driven, having galloped from the battle, stood apart and would not move for all that their charioteer would do. They stood apart with their heads bowed, and tears flowed from their eyes down on the ground. And Zeus, the greatest of the gods, saw them and had pity upon them and spoke to himself saying, "Ah, immortal steeds, why did I give ye to king Peleus, whose generations die while ye remain young and undying? Was it that ye should know the sorrows that befall mortal men? Pitiful, indeed, is the lot of all men upon the earth. Even Hector now, who boasteth in the armour that the gods once gave, will shortly go down to his death and the City he defendeth will be burned with fire."'


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