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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 42

'So he said and he put on his helmet again and went to order his men. And his wife went towards the house, looking back at him often and letting her tears fall down. Thou knowst from Menelaus' story what triumphs Hector had thereafter—how he drove the Greeks back to their ships and affrighted them with his thousand watch-fires upon the plain; how he drove back the host that Agamemnon led when Diomedes and Odysseus and Machaon the healer were wounded; how he broke through the wall that the Greeks had builded and brought fire to their ships, and how he slew Patroklos in the armour of Achilles.'


K

ing Priam on his tower saw Achilles come raging across the plain and he cried out to Hector, "Hector, beloved son, do not await this man's onset but come within the City's walls. Come within that thou mayst live and be a protection to the men and women of Troy. And come within that thou mayst save thy father who must perish if thou art slain."'

'But Hector would not come within the walls of the City. He stood holding his shield against a jutting tower in the wall. And all around him were the Trojans, who came pouring in through the gate without waiting to speak to each other to ask who were yet living and who were slain. And as he stood there he was saying in his heart, "The fault is mine that the Trojans have been defeated upon the plain. I kept them from entering the City last night against the counsel of a wise man, for in my pride I thought it would be easy to drive Achilles and the Greeks back again and defeat them utterly and destroy their hopes of return. Now are the Trojans defeated and dishonoured and many have lost their lives through my pride. Now the women of Troy will say, 'Hector, by trusting to his own might, has brought destruction upon the whole host and our husbands and sons and brothers have perished because of him.' Rather than hear them say this I shall face Achilles and slay him and save the City, or, if it must be, perish by his spear."'

'When Achilles came near him Hector spoke to him and said "My heart bids me stand against thee although thou art a mightier man than I. But before we go into battle let us take pledges, one from the other, with the gods to witness, that, if I should slay thee, I shall strip thee of thine armour but I shall not carry thy body into the City but shall give it to thine own friends to treat with all honour, and that, if thou should slay me, thou shalt give my body to my friends."'

'But Achilles said, "Between me and thee there can be no pledges. Fight, and fight with all thy soldiership, for now I shall strive to make thee pay for all the sorrow thou hast brought to me because of the slaying of Patroklos, my friend."'


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