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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 39

'And on the Trojan side Hector cried to his captains and said, "Do not let Achilles drive you before him. Even though his hands are as irresistible as fire and his fierceness as terrible as flashing steel, I shall go against him and face him with my spear."'

'But Achilles went on, and captain after captain of the Trojans went down before him. Now amongst the warriors whom he caught sight of in the fight was Polydoros, the brother of Hector and the youngest of all King Priam's sons. Priam forbade him ever to go into the battle because he loved him as he would love a little child. But Polydoros had gone in this day, trusting to his fleetness of foot to escape with his life. Achilles saw him and pursued him and slew him with the spear. Hector saw the death of his brother. Then he could no longer endure to stand aside to order the battle. He came straight up to where Achilles was brandishing his great spear. And when Achilles saw Hector before him he cried out, "Here is the man who most deeply wounded my soul, who slew my dear friend Patroklos. Now shall we two fight each other and Patroklos shall be avenged by me." And he shouted to Hector, "Now Hector, the day of thy triumph and the day of thy life is at its end."'

'But Hector answered him without fear, "Not with words, Achilles, can you affright me. Yet I know that thou art a man of might and a stronger man than I. But the fight between us depends upon the will of the gods. I shall do my best against thee, and my spear before this has been found to have a dangerous edge."'

'He spoke and lifted up his spear and flung it at Achilles. Then the breath of a god turned Hector's spear aside, for it was not appointed that either he or Achilles should be then slain. Achilles darted at Hector to slay him with his spear. But a god hid Hector from Achilles in a thick mist.'

'Then in a rage Achilles drove his chariot into the ranks of the war and many great captains he slew. He came to Skamandros, the river that flows across the plain before the city of Troy. And so many men did he slay in it that the river rose in anger against him for choking its waters with the bodies of men.'

'Then on towards the City, he went like a fire raging through a glen that had been parched with heat. Now on a tower of the walls of Troy, Priam the old King stood, and he saw the Trojans coming in a rout towards the City, and he saw Achilles in his armour blazing like a star—like that star that is seen at harvest time and is called Orion's Dog; the star that is the brightest of all stars, but yet is a sign of evil. And the old man Priam sorrowed greatly as he stood upon the tower and watched Achilles, because he knew in his heart whom this man would slay—Hector, his son, the protector of his City.'



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