Classic Myths

Page: 31

"Aeneas, swimming in the water, saw around him his trusty sailors clinging, like himself, to broken planks and pieces of timber. All about them floated concave shields, outspread mantles, and overturned helmets. Treasures, too, in the shape of precious home gifts, and robes covered with jewels, drifted past them.

"But the only thing anyone wanted then was life, and it seemed as if the winds and waters were ready and able to destroy every man of them.

"Aeneas called to Neptune, king of the seas, and Neptune heard him and came riding up out of the bottom of the ocean.

"He held his golden-maned horses firmly in check, while his voice roared over the waters, asking:

"'What is this, you winds, that you dare to trouble earth and sky without leave from me? Who let you free from your rock prison?'

"The waves were afraid and quieted down. The clouds scattered like naughty children caught in mischief. The winds flew home and, hurrying back into their cave, blew the door tight-shut with a bang. Then everybody waited to see what King Neptune would do.

"He ordered some of his ocean train to pry the three ships off the rocks, but they could not, and he had to help them with his trident, or three-pointed spear. Then King Neptune opened the quicksands and the other three ships sailed out on the water again.

"Neptune knew Aeneas was a brave man and always quick to answer a call for help, so the boat of Aeneas had been taken care of first, and he and his men were put back safely into it.

A GREEK COIN. Made about 510 B.C. representing <strong><a href=Neptune, or Poseidon, as the Greeks called him">

"King Neptune, seeing everything was quiet again, showed Aeneas a beautiful harbor where he and his sailors could rest. The brazen-hoofed steeds that drew Neptune's chariot were tossing their heads and growing restive. So Neptune called his followers, and in a flash they all disappeared into the depths of the sea.

"Jupiter, ruler of the sky, praised Neptune for his skill in checking the furious winds and maddened waves, and Pluto, ruler of the center of the earth, said he was proud to call him brother."

"Well, that must have made King Aeolus ashamed of himself. Don't you think so, mother?"



Once a poor peasant named Gordius thought he would give himself and his family a holiday in the city. He had no horses, but his yoke of oxen could draw the heavy wagon very well. He fastened them to his cart and, putting in his wife and boy, climbed in himself.

When near the city, the capital of Phrygia, he thought it would look better for him to walk and drive his oxen. This he did. As he approached the city he heard a great noise in the marketplace. He hurried his oxen to find out what it was all about. He had to jump into his wagon to avoid the crowd that was following him, and so drove to a great oak in the public square.