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The History Of Herodotus Volume 1 of 2

Page: 14

36. During this time there was produced in the Mysian Olympos a boar of monstrous size. This, coming down from the mountain aforesaid, ravaged the fields of the Mysians, and although the Mysians went out against it often, yet they could do it no hurt, but rather received hurt themselves from it; so at length messengers came from the Mysians to Croesus and said: "O king, there has appeared in our land a boar of monstrous size, which lays waste our fields; and we, desiring eagerly to take it, are not able: now therefore we ask of thee to send with us thy son and also a chosen band of young men with dogs, that we may destroy it out of our land." Thus they made request, and Croesus calling to mind the words of the dream spoke to them as follows: "As touching my son, make no further mention of him in this matter; for I will not send him with you, seeing that he is newly married and is concerned now with the affairs of his marriage: but I will send with you chosen men of the Lydians and the whole number of my hunting dogs, and I will give command to those who go, to be as zealous as may be in helping you to destroy the wild beast out of your land."

37. Thus he made reply, and while the Mysians were being contented with this answer, there came in also the son of Croesus, having heard of the request made by the Mysians: and when Croesus said that he would not send his son with them, the young man spoke as follows: "My father, in times past the fairest and most noble part was allotted to us, to go out continually to wars and to the chase and so have good repute; but now thou hast debarred me from both of these, although thou hast not observed in me any cowardly or faint-hearted spirit. And now with what face must I appear when I go to and from the market-place of the city? What kind of a man shall I be esteemed by the citizens, and what kind of a man shall I be esteemed by my newly-married wife? With what kind of a husband will she think that she is mated? Therefore either let me go to the hunt, or persuade me by reason that these things are better for me done as now they are."

38. And Croesus made answer thus: "My son, not because I have observed in thee any spirit of cowardice or any other ungracious thing, do I act thus; but a vision of a dream came and stood by me in my sleep and told me that thou shouldest be short-lived, and that thou shouldest perish by a spear-point of iron. With thought of this vision therefore I both urged on this marriage for thee, and I refuse now to send thee upon the matter which is being taken in hand, having a care of thee that I may steal thee from thy fate at least for the period of my own life, if by any means possible for me to do so. For thou art, as it chances, my only son: the other I do not reckon as one, seeing that he is deficient in hearing."


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