The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children
Page: 30Then the ram flew on with Phrixus to the north-east across the sea which we call the Black Sea now; but the Hellens call it Euxine. And at last, they say, he stopped at Colchis, on the steep Circassian coast; and there Phrixus married Chalciope, the daughter of Aietes the king; and offered the ram in sacrifice; and Aietes nailed the ram’s fleece to a beech, in the grove of Ares the war-God.
And after awhile Phrixus died, and was buried, but his spirit had no rest; for he was buried far from his native land, and the pleasant hills of Hellas. So he came in dreams to the heroes of the Minuai, and called sadly by their beds, ‘Come and set my spirit free, that I may go home to my fathers and to my kinsfolk, and the pleasant Minuan land.’
And they asked, ‘How shall we set your spirit free?’
He came thus, and called to them often; but when they woke they looked at each other, and said, ‘Who dare sail to Colchis, or bring home the golden fleece?’ And in all the country none was brave enough to try it; for the man and the time were not come.
Phrixus had a cousin called Æson, who was king in Iolcos by the sea. There he ruled over the rich Minuan heroes, as Athamas his uncle ruled in Boeotia; and, like Athamas, he was an unhappy man. For he had a step-brother named Pelias, of whom some said that he was a nymph’s son, and there were dark and sad tales about his birth. When he was a babe he was cast out on the mountains, and a wild mare came by and kicked him. But a shepherd passing found the baby, with its face all blackened by the blow; and took him home, and called him Pelias, because his face was bruised and black. And he grew up fierce and lawless, and did many a fearful deed; and at last he drove out Æson his step-brother, and then his own brother Neleus, and took the kingdom to himself, and ruled over the rich Minuan heroes, in Iolcos by the sea.
And Æson, when he was driven out, went sadly away out of the town, leading his little son by the hand; and he said to himself, ‘I must hide the child in the mountains; or Pelias will surely kill him, because he is the heir.’
So he went up from the sea across the valley, through the vineyards and the olive groves, and across the torrent of Anauros, toward Pelion the ancient mountain, whose brows are white with snow.