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The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children

Page: 5

Farley Court,
Advent, 1855.

CONTENTS

STORY I.—PERSEUS

page

Part I.

How Perseus and his Mother came to Seriphos

1

II.

How Perseus vowed a rash Vow

8

III.

How Perseus slew the Gorgon

23

IV.

How Perseus came to the Æthiops

36

V.

How Perseus came home again

53

STORY II.—THE ARGONAUTS

Part I.

How the Centaur trained the Heroes on Pelion

60

II.

How Jason lost his Sandal in Anauros

73

III.

How they built the ship ‘Argo’ in Iolcos

87

III.

How the Argonauts sailed to Colchis

93

IV.

How the Argonauts were driven into the Unknown Sea

127

V.

What was the end of the Heroes

161

STORY III.—THESEUS

Part I.

How Theseus lifted the Stone

165

II.

How Theseus slew the Devourers of Men

172

III.

How Theseus slew the Minotaur

206

IV.

How Theseus fell by his Pride

214

[I owe an apology to the few scholars who may happen to read this hasty jeu d’esprit, for the inconsistent method in which I have spelt Greek names. The rule which I have tried to follow has been this: when the word has been hopelessly Latinised, as ‘Phœbus’ has been, I have left it as it usually stands; but in other cases I have tried to keep the plain Greek spelling, except when it would have seemed pedantic, or when, as in the word ‘Tiphus,’ I should have given an altogether wrong notion of the sound of the word. It has been a choice of difficulties, which has been forced on me by our strange habit of introducing boys to the Greek [myths], not in their original shape, but in a Roman disguise.]

p. 1STORY I.—PERSEUS

PART I
HOW PERSEUS AND HIS MOTHER CAME TO SERIPHOS

Once upon a time there were two princes who were twins. Their names were Acrisius and Prœtus, and they lived in the pleasant vale of Argos, far away in Hellas. They had fruitful meadows and vineyards, sheep and oxen, great herds of horses feeding down in Lerna Fen, and all that men could need to make them blest: and yet they were wretched, because they were jealous of each other. From the moment they were born they began to quarrel; and when they grew up each tried to take away the other’s share of the kingdom, and keep all for himself. So first Acrisius drove out Prœtus; and he went across the seas, and brought home a foreign princess for his wife, and foreign warriors to help him, who were called Cyclopes; and drove out Acrisius in his turn; and then they fought a long while up and down the land, till the quarrel was settled, and Acrisius took Argos and one half the land, and Prœtus took Tiryns and the other half. And Prœtus and his Cyclopes built around Tiryns great walls of unhewn stone, which are standing to this day.

But there came a prophet to that hard-hearted Acrisius and prophesied against him, and said, ‘Because you have risen up against your own blood, your own blood shall rise up against you; because you have sinned against your kindred, by your kindred you shall be punished. Your daughter Danae shall bear a son, and by that son’s hands you shall die. So the Gods have ordained, and it will surely come to pass.’

And at that Acrisius was very much afraid; but he did not mend his ways. He had been cruel to his own family, and, instead of repenting and being kind to them, he went on to be more cruel than ever: for he shut up his fair daughter Danae in a cavern underground, lined with brass, that no one might come near her. So he fancied himself more cunning than the Gods: but you will see presently whether he was able to escape them.

Now it came to pass that in time Danae bore a son; so beautiful a babe that any but King Acrisius would have had pity on it. But he had no pity; for he took Danae and her babe down to the seashore, and put them into a great chest and thrust them out to sea, for the winds and the waves to carry them whithersoever they would.


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