Classic Myths

Page: 46

"One leaf, one life!" said Aeneas. "I see your meaning, O Sibyl, and go about my work. My ship shall sail to-day. Each day shall bring me nearer my journey's end, and when I reach my home the leaves on my forest trees shall teach me your lesson over again. I will rise early each day and be the first in all things. Even the winds shall not be quicker than I am in the work it is my duty to do. Farewell."

Here is another story which is told of the Sibyl. It shows that she could write on something beside leaves.

She appeared one day at the king's palace gate with a heavy burden on her back. The keeper let her in.

With a guard on either side the Sibyl was shown into the presence of the king.

The burden proved to be nine large books closely written. She offered them for sale at an enormous price. The king refused to pay it. The Sibyl only smiled and threw three of the books into the open fire. The king had wished to own those three, for he knew that future events were written in them.

"I have now six books and the price is the same as for the nine. Does the king want them?" The king hesitated. While he was thinking what to do, the little old woman threw three more into the fire.

"I have now three books and the price is the same as for the nine. Does the king want them?" And the king said, "Yes," without a minute's waiting, and took the books.

The little old woman vanished. Her thousand years were nearly gone, but her voice was still heard when people visited her cave.

The king searched the three books and found that all things concerning his city, Rome, were foretold in them for hundreds of years. Perhaps many wars and troubles would have been saved if he had bought all the books instead of only three.

It is usually best to decide a matter quickly when one knows that nothing can be gained by waiting.



Once upon a time the earth was so very young and the people upon it so pure and good that they could hear the morning stars as they sang together. It was during the Golden Age, as it is now called, that one morning in the early springtime a little group of girls were playing together and gathering wild flowers.

One of these girls was named Proserpina. She was the merriest of them all, though her dress was of the plainest brown. Her little feet danced everywhere and her little fingers seemed to touch the flowers as lightly as the butterfly that flitted by her.

Carelessly she danced close to a great opening in the ground. Looking down she saw a yellow daffodil growing on the edge. Leaning over to pick it, she felt herself caught by her dress, and the next minute found herself sailing far down into the earth through the great crevice. She was in a chariot drawn by black horses, which were driven by a driver who seemed to be both deaf and dumb. He neither answered when she pleaded with him to take her back, nor even seemed to hear her.