Classic Myths

Page: 41

"Do all the flowers have names, too, father?"

"Harold, if you could find a flower that has not been named you would become quite famous. The flower probably would be named after you. Think of that! There is something to work for; and you were wishing only last night that you could be a famous man."

"Where did all the flowers get their names? Did the teachers name them?"

"Oh, I suspect the teachers named some, and many people helped them. I don't believe I ever stopped to think that it is curious that everything on the earth and in the sea and in the sky is named. You are a very thoughtful boy, Harold. Ask all the questions you please."

This praise from his quiet father made Harold happier than anything in the world. He was silent a moment, but then asked:

"Have the stars names, too, father? I mean all of them. I know those large ones have, for you told me."

"Yes, Harold, every star has a name of some kind. Some of them have only a letter or a number. But that answers for a name, you know."

"And all the animals, and all the birds, and all the beetles, and all the--everything! I'll have to go to school just all my life!"

And then Mr. Hadley laughed aloud.

"To-day, father, in the geography class, I learned about many cities, and there are more in the large geography. Do you know how any of the cities got their names?"

"What country were you studying about to-day, Harold?"

"It was about Greece, and some of the cities had such long hard names that I can't remember them. Oh, yes, now I remember Athens. Why, father, you were there once, for I have heard you tell about Greece; and one of the pictures in the parlor is named 'In Athens.' Do tell me something about the place, for I can't make it seem like a real city like New York or Chicago."

"Do you like olives, Harold?"

"Yes, indeed, I do, and you like olive oil. Oh, of course, olives grow in Greece. I couldn't think what made you ask such a queer question. Now tell me about Greece, won't you, please? Is it a beautiful country?"

"Yes, and I'll tell you a tale of the sea, of olives, and of Athens, all in one. You remember that beautiful head of Minerva, which is near my book-shelf, do you not? Minerva has another name. She is often called Athena. She was known to the ancient people of Greece as the goddess of wisdom and learning. Can you remember the name of the king of the sea?"

ATHENA. From a Greek statue.

"Neptune, father. You have his picture, too, haven't you?"

"Yes, Harold, but now you must learn the name by which the Greeks called him. It was Poseidon. The story goes that Athena and Poseidon were each very anxious to name a certain city in Greece.

"Jupiter said that he would let the one who brought the greatest gift to the people have the honor of naming the place. And then such strife began as you can hardly imagine. Poseidon put his wits at work and called together all his friends for counsel. At last his gift was ready for the day on which they were to appear before Jupiter.