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The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tales of Troy

Page: 44

'So Andromache spoke and all the women of Troy joined in her grief and wept for great Hector who had protected their city.'N

ow that Hector was dead, King Priam, his father, had only one thought in his mind, and that was to get his body from Achilles and bring it into the City so that it might be treated with the honour befitting the man who had been the guardian of Troy. And while he sat in his grief, thinking of his noble son lying so far from those who would have wept over him, behold! there appeared before him Iris, the messenger of Zeus, the greatest of the Gods. Iris said to him, "King, thou mayst ransom from Achilles the body of Hector, thy noble son. Go thou thyself to the hut of Achilles and bring with thee great gifts to offer him. Take with thee a wagon that thou mayst bring back in it the body, and let only one old henchman go with thee to drive the mules."'

'Then Priam, when he heard this, arose and went into his treasure chamber and took out of his chests twelve beautiful robes; twelve bright-coloured cloaks; twelve soft coverlets and ten talents of gold; he took, too, four cauldrons and two tripods and a wonderful goblet that the men of Thrace had given him when they had come on an embassy to his city. Then he called upon his sons and he bade them make ready the wagon and load it with the treasures he had brought out of his treasure-chamber.'

'When the wagon was loaded and the mules were yoked under it, and when Priam and his henchman had mounted the seats, Hekabe, the queen, Priam's wife and the mother of Hector, came with wine and with a golden cup that they might pour out an offering to the gods before they went on their journey; that they might know whether the gods indeed favoured it, or whether Priam himself was not going into danger. King Priam took the cup from his wife and he poured out wine from it, and looking towards heaven he prayed, "O Father Zeus, grant that I may find welcome under Achilles' roof, and send, if thou wilt, a bird of omen, so that seeing it with mine own eyes I may go on my way trusting that no harm will befall me."'

'He prayed, and straightway a great eagle was seen with wide wings spread out above the City, and when they saw the eagle, the hearts of the people were glad for they knew that their King would come back safely and with the body of Prince Hector who had guarded Troy.'

'Now Priam and his henchman drove across the plain of Troy and came to the river that flowed across and there they let their mules drink. They were greatly troubled, for dark night was coming down and they knew not the way to the hut of Achilles. They were in fear too that some company of armed men would come upon them and slay them for the sake of the treasures they had in the wagon.'


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