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The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my Children

Page: 52

So both the bulls were tamed and yoked; and Jason bound them to the plough, and goaded them onward with his lance till he had ploughed the sacred field.

And all the Minuai shouted; but Aietes bit his lips with rage, for the half of Jason’s work was over, and the sun was yet high in heaven.

Then he took the serpents’ teeth and sowed them, and waited what would befall. But Medeia looked at him and at his helmet, lest he should forget the lesson she had taught.

And every furrow heaved and bubbled, and out of every clod arose a man. Out of the earth they rose by thousands, each clad from head to foot in steel, and drew their swords and rushed on Jason, where he stood in the midst alone.

Then the Minuai grew pale with fear for him; but Aietes laughed a bitter laugh. ‘See! if I had not warriors enough already round me, I could call them out of the bosom of the earth.’

But Jason snatched off his helmet, and hurled it into the thickest of the throng. And blind madness came upon them, suspicion, hate, and fear; and one cried to his fellow, ‘Thou didst strike me!’ and another, ‘Thou art Jason; thou shalt die!’ So fury seized those earth-born phantoms, and each turned his hand against the rest; and they fought and were never weary, till they all lay dead upon the ground. Then the magic furrows opened, and the kind earth took them home into her breast and the grass grew up all green again above them, and Jason’s work was done.

Then the Minuai rose and shouted, till Prometheus heard them from his crag. And Jason cried, ‘Lead me to the fleece this moment, before the sun goes down.’

But Aietes thought, ‘He has conquered the bulls, and sown and reaped the deadly crop. Who is this who is proof against all magic? He may kill the serpent yet.’ So he delayed, and sat taking counsel with his princes till the sun went down and all was dark. Then he bade a herald cry, ‘Every man to his home for to-night. To-morrow we will meet these heroes, and speak about the golden fleece.’

Then he turned and looked at Medeia. ‘This is your doing, false witch-maid! You have helped these yellow-haired strangers, and brought shame upon your father and yourself!’

Medeia shrank and trembled, and her face grew pale with fear; and Aietes knew that she was guilty, and whispered, ‘If they win the fleece, you die!’

But the Minuai marched toward their ship, growling like lions cheated of their prey; for they saw that Aietes meant to mock them, and to cheat them out of all their toil. And Oileus said, ‘Let us go to the grove together, and take the fleece by force.’


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