The Story of the Greeks
Page: 112As all the central part of Asia now acknowledged his rule, he next went down into India, where he found King Po´rus, the bravest adversary he had ever met. This king, whose realm was in the northwestern part of India, came against Alexander with a very large army. In the ranks were many elephants, trained to crush the enemy beneath their huge feet, and bearing on their broad backs wooden turrets filled with brave fighting men and good archers.
In spite of these elephants, which at first awakened great fear in the Greek soldiers, the Macedonian phalanx won the victory as usual, and Porus was made prisoner. He was led into the presence of Alexander, who haughtily asked him how he expected to be treated. "Like a king!" was the proud reply.
This answer so pleased Alexander, that he not only set Porus free, but even allowed him to keep his kingdom, after he had sworn to be the faithful subject of his conqueror.
Alexander, having thus won the help and affection of Porus, made war against several other Indian kings, and continued his advance toward the south. In one of these battles he lost his faithful steed Bucephalus, which had borne him safely through many a fight.
Alexander felt this loss deeply, and not only had a monument built over his remains, but also founded a city near by, which was called Bu-ceph´a-la.[Pg 251]
Upon reaching the Hyph´a-sis River, Alexander would have liked to cross it, and continue his conquests; but his soldiers now refused to go any farther. They were tired of fighting and danger, and were longing to go back to Macedon.
Although he was unwilling to do so, Alexander was therefore obliged to stop in his conquests; but, instead of going home as he had come, he now built a fleet, and sailed down the In´dus River to the sea.
Now, the Greeks had no maps such as we have; and their knowledge of geography was very small. When Alexander came to the sea, however, he thought it must be the same as that into which the Euphrates flowed.
To find out if this was true, he bade his admiral, Ne-ar´chus, sail along the coast and explore it, while the army went homeward on foot. Alexander himself staid with the army, and led the soldiers along a new way, which was very wearisome and dangerous.
The Macedonians had to pass through large wastes of burning sand, where they suffered a great deal. They were cheered and encouraged, however, by the example of Alexander, who nobly shared their hardships, and always went ahead of them on foot, carrying his own armor.
Once, when they were panting with thirst, some of his men found a little water, which they brought him. Rather than indulge in anything which all could not share with him, Alexander poured the water out upon[Pg 252] the sand, saying he would refresh himself only when his men could do so too.