The Story of the Greeks
Page: 86This proposal was received with joy, although the Spartans numbered three thousand, and the Theban exiles only twelve. The chances were of course against them; but the men were so anxious to free their city, that they resolved to make the attempt.
They therefore set out from Athens with weapons and hunting dogs, as if bent upon a day's sport in the country.[Pg 193] Thus armed, they secretly entered the house of Cha´ron, one of their friends in Thebes. Here they exchanged their hunting garments for women's robes; for, hearing that the Spartan general and his officers were feasting, they had resolved to pretend that they were dancing girls, in order to gain an entrance into the banquet hall, and kill the men while they were drinking.
They had just finished dressing, when a knock was heard at the door, and a Spartan soldier came in and gravely informed Charon that the commander wished to see him.
For a moment Pelopidas and his companions fancied that their plans were discovered, and that Charon had betrayed them. He read this suspicion in their frightened faces, and, before leaving the house with the soldier, he placed his only son, a mere infant, in the arms of Pelopidas, saying, "There, keep him; and if you find that I have betrayed you, avenge yourselves by killing my only child, my dearest treasure."
After speaking thus, Charon went out, and soon came back to report that all was well.