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STORIES OF OLD GREECE AND ROME by Emily Kip Baker Chapter I In the Beginning In the days of long, long ago when men built altars, and burned sacrifices, and worshiped their gods in temples of pure white marble, Jupiter, the greatest of the gods, sat upon his throne on high Olympus and looked down upon the doings of men. The topmost peak of Mount Olympus was covered with clouds,--so high it was above all the hills of Greece,--and its slopes were thickly wooded. Just how high the mountain really was could only be guessed, for no man had dared to climb even as high as the first cloud line; though the story goes that once upon a time a wandering shepherd, looking for a strayed lamb, had ventured far up the mountain side and had soon lost his way. He groped about blindly, as the mists began to thicken all around him, and the sound of his own footsteps terrified him in the dreadful silence that seemed to be suddenly creeping over him. Then a mighty tempest broke over his head, and the mountain shook to its very base. From the hand of wrathful Jupiter fierce thunderbolts were hurled, while the lightning flashed and gleamed through the darkness of the forest, searching out the guilty mortal who had dared to climb too high. No human eye had ever seen the glories of Olympus, no human foot had ever stepped within its sacred halls, where the ceiling was of gold and the pavement of pearl and the thrones of the gods shone with a thousand glittering jewels. Here "the gods have made, So saith tradition, their eternal seat; The tempest shakes it not, nor is it drenched By showers, and there the snow does never fall. And in the golden light that lies on all Day after day the blessed gods rejoice." --Odyssey, Book VI, line 53. Of the life that was lived among the dwellers on Olympus, not even the poets could claim to know; but sometimes a tired soldier dozing by his camp fire dreamed dreams of this wonderful country where the immortal gods walked by night and day; and sometimes a lonely fisherman, looking across the blue waters of the Mediterranean to the crimsoning sunset, saw visions of youth and beauty and life that lasted for ever and ever and ever. It was long before the memory of man that the gods first came to live on Mount Olympus, and it was still longer ago that all the great powers of the universe fought with each other for the right to rule the world. In this mighty war, which rent the very heavens with the crash of battle, Jupiter at last conquered all his jealous enemies, and made himself ruler of the gods and of the world. On that day he established his dwelling place on Mount Olympus, and set the earth below him for a footstool. From his throne in the high heavens he looked down upon the kingdoms that he had portioned out to each of his brothers; and he saw Neptune, the god of the sea, driving through the waves his chariot drawn by huge, misshapen sea-beasts that beat up the thick white foam until it glistened on the sea-king's beard and on his crown of shells and seaweed. The other kingdom was so far away that even the all-seeing eyes of Jupiter were strained to catch any glimpse of the shapes that moved noiselessly there, for this was the realm of Pluto, god of the underworld, that dread country of darkness and unending gloom, where no ray of sunlight ever came, and where the sad spirits of the dead wept for the lost world of love and light and laughter. Sometimes the great billows of clouds that rolled at the foot of the red-gold throne shut out for a moment all sight of the earth at his feet; but however thickly the mists gathered, Jupiter could always see old Atlas standing on the shore of Africa with the heavens resting on his bent shoulders. This giant had stood so long that forests of huge trees had sprung up around his feet, and they had grown so tall during the ages and ages that had passed, that their topmost branches reached to the giant's waist and almost hid him from the sight of men. No one offered to relieve him of his burden, not even his two brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, to whom had been given the less difficult task of creating man and placing him in the rich gardens of the earth. There was every kind of plant and animal life in the gardens, and all things were very beautiful in this morning of the world--so beautiful that the gods, who must forever dwell in Olympus, felt sad that no eyes like their own could look upon the green meadows and flower-covered hillsides. So they bade Prometheus and Epimetheus fashion a being which should be like and yet unlike themselves. There was nothing but clay out of which to make this new creature called man, but the brothers spent much time over their task, and, when it was finished, Jupiter saw that the work was good, for they had given to man all the qualities that the gods themselves possessed--youth, beauty, health, strength,--everything but immortality. Then Prometheus grew ambitious to add even more to the list of man's blessings; and one day, as he sat brooding by the seashore, he remembered that there was as yet no fire on the earth; for the only flame that burned in all the world was glowing in the sacred halls of Jupiter. For a long time he sat on the seashore, and before night fell he had formed the daring plan of stealing some of the divine fire that burned for always and always on Mount Olympus, and carrying it to the earth that men might revel in its warmth and light. It was a bold thing to dream of doing, but Prometheus forgot the fear of Jupiter's wrath, so determined was he to carry out his plan; and one night, when the gods were in council, seated around the great red-gold throne, he crept softly into the hall, unseen and unheard. The sacred fire was burning brightly on a hearth of polished silver. Some of it Prometheus secreted in a hollow reed and hurried with it back to the earth. Then he waited, with terror at his heart, for he knew that sooner or later the vengeance of Jupiter would search him out, even though he fled to the uttermost parts of the earth. When the council of the gods was over, Jupiter looked down through the clouds and saw a strange light on the earth. For a while he did not realize that it was man, building himself a fire; but when he learned the truth, his wrath became so terrible that even the gods trembled and turned away in fear. In a moment Prometheus was seized and carried off to the Caucasus Mountains, where he was securely chained to a rock, and a hungry vulture was sent to tear out his liver and devour it. At night the vulture, having gorged itself, slept on the rocks above its victim's head; and at night the liver of the wretched Prometheus grew again, only to be torn out and eaten by the vulture as soon as the sun rose. This terrible punishment kept on for years and years; for though Jupiter heard the cries of Prometheus, and many tales were told of his sufferings, the ruler of the gods never forgave the theft of the sacred fire, nor would he set Prometheus free. But the story tells us that at last there came an end to this cruel vengeance, for Hercules, son of Jupiter, went wandering one day among the mountains, found the tortured Prometheus, and broke his chains, after killing the vulture that had been enjoying this hateful feast. Though the gods were rejoiced at his freedom, the name of Prometheus was never spoken on Mount Olympus for fear of Jupiter's all-hearing ears; but on the earth men uttered his name in their prayers and taught their children to honor the Fire-giver as one of the greatest among heroes. Chapter II The Story of Pandora In the early days of man's life on the earth, when everything was beautiful and new, there was no sickness anywhere, nor any pain, nor sorrow. Men lived to be very old and very wise, and everywhere was happiness such as has never been since in all the world. Now Jupiter had not forgotten about the stealing of the sacred fire, and it angered him that man should light his own fires and kindle the cheerful blaze which should by right be glowing only in the halls of Olympus. The suffering of Prometheus had not softened his wrath. He would not be satisfied until punishment was visited upon those who had received the stolen fire. Accordingly he called a council of the gods and spoke to them of his desire. Though none of the deities wished to see misfortune brought upon the race of man, they did not dare to dispute the will of Jupiter. So they agreed to carry out the plan that he unfolded, and before many days had passed they had fashioned, out of the same clay from which man was made, a creature that they called woman. To her each of the gods gave a gift such as softness, or grace, or wonderful fairness; but Jupiter added one other quality, curiosity, and he gave the woman the name of Pandora, which means "the gift of all the gods." Then he bade Mercury, who is the messenger of the gods, take this new soft thing down to the earth and give her to Epimetheus for his wife. Now Epimetheus had mourned apart from his fellows ever since he learned of his brother's dreadful fate; and he sat day and night in the cool silence of the forest, brooding over his sorrow. But one day he saw some one coming toward him, led by the hand of Mercury, and all at once he forgot to be sad; for the sunlight was shining on the woman's golden hair, and her white arm was stretched out to him in greeting. For some time Epimetheus and Pandora lived happily in the gardens of the earth, and every day Epimetheus thanked the gods for their last and best gift to man. He never tired of watching Pandora chasing butterflies through the tall meadow grass, or making cups out of broad leaves, that she and Epimetheus might drink from the clear, cool spring. One day as they were resting under the trees and eating their simple meal of dates and wild honey, they saw a traveler coming toward them. He was walking very slowly and seemed heavily burdened with what appeared to be a large box. While he was yet some distance off, Pandora ran to meet him and asked him to come into the shade and rest. The stranger was old, and the chest that he carried bent his shoulders almost to the ground. He looked hungry and thirsty and tired, so Epimetheus urged him to stop and rest, and offered him some freshly gathered dates. But the traveler--who was none other than Mercury in disguise--replied that he could not tarry with them, for he had a long distance yet to go. He asked them, however, to take care of his great oak chest, for with that burden off his shoulders he could hurry on and reach his journey's end before nightfall. He promised to come back for the chest a few days later. Epimetheus and Pandora were delighted to be of service to a stranger, and promised to guard the chest with great care. The traveler thanked them and turned away; but just as they were saying good-by, he mysteriously disappeared, and whichever way they looked there was no trace of him to be seen. Epimetheus was not at all eager to know what was in the mysterious chest; but as soon as they sat down again under the trees, Pandora began to ask a thousand questions as to who the traveler might be and what the chest contained. Epimetheus begged her not to think any more about it, as nothing could be learned of the old man or his burden; but Pandora refused to be silent, and talked still more of the probable treasure that they were guarding for the stranger. At last Epimetheus got up angrily and walked away, wearied with her insistence. Pandora then went over to the chest, and kneeling down beside it, she examined the exquisitely carved figures that were on all its four sides. Then she studied the fine golden cord that bound the chest. It looked soft enough, and yet it was very strong; for it was made of strands of twisted gold and was tied at the end with a curious knot. There was no lock to be seen, and apparently nothing hindered eager fingers from opening the lid when once the knot was unfastened and the golden cord unwound. Pandora's fingers itched to try her skill on the knot, and she felt sure that if she worked at it long enough, she could finally loosen it. The figures carved on the lid were groups of dancing children, and in the very center was one figure whose face was so strange that Pandora sat for a long time staring at it. Now and then she turned away, and when she looked at the face again, it had a different expression from the one she had seen on it before. She knew that this carved thing was not alive, and yet each time she gazed into the strange eyes of the wooden face they were quite unlike the eyes that had smiled or frowned or mocked at her before. She went to see whether Epimetheus had come back, and finding that he was still away, she returned to the chest again, but would not let herself be tempted into so much as touching the golden cord. As she stood wondering what to do, she thought that she heard some little voices coming from inside the chest, and they seemed to say:-- "Open, Pandora, please, please open and let us out." Pandora looked quickly around to see whether Epimetheus were in sight, then she came a bit nearer to the chest and put one hand on the golden cord. Again she heard the small voices, this time very distinctly, and they said:-- "Open, Pandora, please, please open and let us out." Pandora's heart was now beating fast. What could be in the chest? What poor imprisoned creatures were calling to her, begging her to set them free? She put both hands on the golden cord, then she looked guiltily around; but no one was in sight, no one was watching her except some inquisitive squirrels who were peering down at her from the branches just above her head. Swiftly and deftly she untied the knot, which yielded easily to her eager fingers; but even then she hesitated, fearing the anger of Epimetheus. The little voices cried again:-- "Open, Pandora, please, please open and let us out;" but still she hesitated, not daring to raise the lid. Just then she heard her husband calling to her, and she knew that there would be no chance now to explore the contents of the mysterious chest. She must wait for that pleasure until another time; meanwhile she would take just one peep inside to be sure that the voices were not mocking her. So she raised the lid very gently, but no sooner had she made the smallest opening than out poured a host of tiny creatures like brown-winged moths; and they swarmed all around her, biting and pinching and blistering her soft skin until she cried out in fear and pain. She tried to fight them off, and rushed away to find Epimetheus; but the tormenting little sprites followed her, buzzing about her ears and stinging her again and again. In vain she strove to brush them away, for they clung to her dress, her hair, and her poor swollen skin. When she reached Epimetheus she was crying bitterly, and it did not need any questioning to find out the trouble, for the malicious little creatures were so numerous that hundreds of them encircled Epimetheus, and bit and stung him, just as they had done to Pandora. In the unhappy hour that followed, while husband and wife bound soothing herbs on their bruised skin, Pandora told Epimetheus how her fatal curiosity had led her to open the chest and set free the host of evil things. It was not, however, until later that they realized the extent of Pandora's folly, for the little brown-winged creatures were all the spirits of evil that had never before entered the world. Their names were Sickness and Pain and Sorrow; Envy and Pride and Jealousy; Hunger, Poverty, and Death. All these ills had envious Jupiter put into the oak chest, and bound it with only a golden cord. He knew that sooner or later Pandora would open the chest, and then man's life of untroubled happiness would be forever at an end. Never again could the gardens of the earth be places where man might hope to find peace. Evil things had taken up their dwelling there, and they would stay for always and always and always, as long as the world should last. When Epimetheus and Pandora saw the hateful winged creatures settling down on the leaves and flowers so as to be near at hand to torment them, they wept bitter tears and wished that the gods had never created them. In the midst of her sobbing Pandora had not, however, forgotten about the chest, and she was still wondering what else might be inside it, for she was sure that those mothlike things could never have wholly filled it. Suddenly she heard a wee soft whisper coming from within the chest, and it said: "Open, Pandora, please, please open and let me out." Pandora stared in surprise, for she had thought that all the evil sprites had rushed out in that moment when she raised the lid. Was there, then, another host of tormenting things still there; and if so, should she let them out to add to her misery and pain? Again the little soft voice cried: "Open, Pandora, please, please open and let me out." Pandora now called to Epimetheus, and together they listened to the pleading voice which was so very soft and sweet that they were sure it could not belong to any evil thing. Still Epimetheus was unwilling to risk bringing any more trouble into the world; but in spite of her remorse, Pandora was curious to see what it was that was begging so plaintively for freedom. So with Epimetheus's consent she opened the lid once more, and out fluttered a tiny little creature with beautiful gauzy wings. She flew straight to Pandora, then to Epimetheus, and at her touch all their hurts were healed and all their pain forgotten. The name of this gentle messenger was Hope; and she had been hidden in the chest secretly by one of the pitying gods, who grieved that Jupiter was sending so many ills to fret mankind. The host of evil beings, once set free, could never again be shut up in their narrow prison; but wherever they flew--even to the remotest corner of the earth--Hope followed them and brought healing in her wings; and when the world grew wicked, as it did in the days that came after, so that men neglected the altars of the gods, Hope was still remembered with votive offerings and her shrines kept garlanded with flowers. Chapter III The Deluge The children of Epimetheus and Pandora wandered in the gardens of the earth just as their parents had done; and the generations that followed them lived peacefully and were happy, in spite of the brown-winged sprites that went about doing mischief. Men helped each other to cultivate the fruitful soil, and offered sacrifices to the gods in return for a bountiful harvest. This golden age of the world's history might have lasted forever if men had continued to reverence the gods; but after a time they ceased to offer prayers for health and safety, and boasted proudly of their own strength. They looked no more to high Olympus for help, but each man trusted to his own right arm. Then strife and discord arose, and fierce wars were fought among all the peoples of the earth. Brother killed brother, and fathers strove with their own sons. Every man's hand was against his fellow, and he knew no law but that of his own will. Seldom now were the fires kindled on the neglected altars, and the smell of burnt offerings dear to the gods no longer mingled with the smoke that rose up to the white clouds around Olympus. The sacred vessels moldered in forsaken temples; around the shrines of the gods the snakes crawled lazily; and the bat and owl dwelt undisturbed among the pillars of the temples. For a time the gods sat patient, believing that this state of things could not last; but seeing that mankind was growing worse instead of better, year by year, they determined to put an end to godlessness and to destroy the whole race of man. Then Jupiter called a council of the gods to decide on the most effective way of wiping out every vestige of human life so completely that not one soul would be left to tell to his children the story of those evil days, when men neglected to worship the immortal gods and allowed their temples to decay. The most terrible punishment to visit upon man would be to set the whole world on fire, to make of it one great sacrificial altar on which human victims, and not the garlanded ox, would burn night and day, and from which the smoke would rise up into the heavens so thickly that it would shut out the sight of a blackened and smouldering earth. The one objection to carrying out this plan was the fear lest the flames would leap so high that they would reach even to lofty Olympus, and so endanger the sacred throne of Jupiter. Though the fire might not utterly destroy it, the gods could not bear to think of its burnished red-gold base being touched by any flame from earth's unholy fires. The only other effective method of destruction was water, and this the gods decided to employ. So on a certain day when men were everywhere feasting, and singing songs, and boasting of their victories in battle, Jupiter rent the heavens with a mighty thunderbolt, whose crashing drowned all sounds of merriment, and made men turn pale with fear. The skies opened, and the rain poured down in torrents; the rivers became swollen and flooded their banks; the waves of the sea, rising higher and higher, swept in great fury over the land, washing everything before them like so much chaff. Æolus, god of the storm, opened the cave where he kept the winds securely bound, and let them loose to work havoc on the earth. Soon all the lowland was covered with water; not a dry spot remained anywhere but on the hills, and thither the terrified people rushed in the vain hope that the flood would subside before the mountains were submerged. But the waves rose higher and higher; and the winds, rejoicing in their freedom, beat up the water until it almost touched the clouds. The frail boats to which men had at first desperately clung were shattered to pieces in the fury of the storm, and on the crest of the waves the bodies of the dead were tossed like playthings. Higher and higher rose the water, until at length the mountain tops were covered, and all dry land had disappeared. So were the gods avenged. There was one spot, however, that was not yet hidden under the waters, and this was the top of Mount Parnassus, the highest hill of Greece. To this place of refuge had fled Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha, two virtuous souls who alone, of all the people on the earth, had lived uprightly and worshiped the gods. When Jupiter saw them standing on the top of Mount Parnassus and weeping over the universal destruction, he remembered their piety and decreed that their lives should be spared. So he gave commands that the rains and the floods and the winds should cease, and the dry land appear. Then Æolus brought the winds back from their mad wanderings and bound them again in the cave. Neptune blew upon his conch-shell, and the angry waves returned again to the sea. Little by little the tree-tops showed above the water, and the green earth smiled again under the warm rays of the sun. But it was upon a desolate and unpeopled world that the eyes of Deucalion and Pyrrha rested, and in their utter loneliness they almost wished that they had perished with their friends. They went slowly down the mountain-side, not knowing where to go, being led blindly by the will of the gods to the temple at Delphi--the only building that was not destroyed. To this sacred spot men had been wont to come in the old, god-fearing days to consult the wishes of the gods and to learn their own destinies. Here was the divine oracle that not even the most daring mortal would refuse to obey. When Deucalion and Pyrrha found themselves at the temple of Delphi, they made haste to consult the oracle, for they wished to repeople the land before another morning's sun could look down upon a lifeless earth. To their surprise the oracle returned them this answer:-- "Depart from here with veiled heads and throw your mother's bones behind you." This command seemed impossible to obey; for they could never hope to find any grave, when all landmarks had been washed away; and, even could they do so, it was an unheard-of sacrilege to disturb the bones of the dead. Deucalion sought, therefore, to explain the strange words of the oracle in some other way; and at length he guessed the meaning of the god's answer. It was no human remains that he was commanded to desecrate; the bones referred to were those of Mother Earth. So husband and wife left the temple with veiled heads; and as they went they gathered up the stones at their feet and threw these behind them. All the stones that fell from the hands of Deucalion turned into men, and those that Pyrrha dropped became women. Thus it was that through the kindness and wisdom of the immortals the earth was repeopled with a new race of men that feared evil, and reverenced piety, and walked humbly before the gods. Never again was Jupiter forced to send a deluge on the earth, for men no longer let the altar-fires burn low, nor did they neglect to offer sacrifices because of forgotten prayers. Chapter IV Minerva I Although the brown-winged spirits of evil were kept busy flying up and down the earth, their mischief-making never reached those immortal ones who dwelt above the cloud-wrapped summit of Olympus. It was, therefore, a most unheard-of happening when the Father of the gods complained one day of a terrible pain in his head. Some of the gods were skilled in the art of healing; but no one could relieve Jupiter's suffering, nor tell what might be the cause of his pain. The trouble grew worse and worse until it was too severe for even a god to endure; so Jupiter bade his son Vulcan take an ax and split open his head. Not daring to thwart the divine will, Vulcan tremblingly obeyed; and at the first blow a marvelous thing occurred, for out of Jupiter's head sprang a maiden clad in armor and bearing a spear in her hand. This was Minerva, goddess of wisdom, so called because she came full-grown from the mighty brain of Jupiter. So wise did the Ruler of the gods find this child of his to be, that he kept her constantly near him, and sought her counsel in dealing with the affairs of men, while Juno, his stately wife, stood jealously by, envying the warrior-maiden her place at Jupiter's side. Being born equipped for battle, Minerva delighted in war, and had no feminine shrinking from the noise of clashing steel or the cries of struggling men. No Trojan hero gloried in the war more exultingly than she, as she carried aloft the terrible shield of Jupiter--"the Ægis"--and bore in her hand the mighty spear, "heavy and huge and strong." When armies met in battle, the goddess was never far away from the fighting hosts; and ofttimes a dying soldier, turning his eyes for a last look at his comrades, saw the glint of her spear or the flash of her shield as she led the favored ones on to victory. But the azure-eyed Minerva was not always on the battle-field, for in spite of her warlike appearance she had many very feminine tastes, and among them was a love of weaving. Often would white-armed Juno taunt Minerva with her unwomanly fondness for warfare; but when the goddess took up her weaving, even jealous Juno could not withhold her praise, for the hand that could wield a spear like a man had also the delicate touch of a woman. Now there lived on the earth a maiden named Arachne, who was very proud of her skill in weaving, and boasted that in the whole length and breadth of the land there was no one to equal her in this art. Whenever people spoke with her, she could talk of nothing else but her work; and if a stranger stopped to rest at her door, she would be sure to show him her weaving and to ask him whether in all his wanderings he had seen anything to surpass it. Soon she grew so conceited that she dared to compare herself with the goddess Minerva, and boasted that her own work was as beautiful as anything that hung in the halls of Olympus. Her friends grew frightened at her rash speech, and begged her not to let her foolish pride go too far, lest some whisper of her boasting should reach Minerva's ears. But Arachne only grew bolder, and said openly that she would not be afraid to challenge the goddess to a contest. These words were overheard by Apollo's raven, who flew quickly back to Olympus to tell what he had seen and heard. Minerva had known for some time of Arachne's boasting, but she had not deigned to notice it. Now, however, when she learned that a mortal maiden had dared to claim superiority to a goddess, she grew very angry and determined to punish such presumption. So she cast off her glittering armor and laid aside her long spear, and went down to earth in the disguise of an old woman. She found Arachne seated on the doorstep, weaving; and as she stopped to admire the girl's work, even Minerva was forced to admit that the weaving was beautifully done. Soon Arachne began to boast proudly of her skill and told the pretended old woman that she hoped some day to challenge the goddess Minerva to a contest. The listener seemed shocked at these daring words, and begged the maiden to be more humble and not to presume too far; but Arachne only tossed her head and laughed, saying that she wished the goddess would hear her and accept the challenge. At these bold words Minerva's anger broke out, and throwing off her disguise she commanded the astonished girl to fetch two looms and set them up in the doorway. Then she bade Arachne make good her boast. For hours they worked in silence, each weaving with practiced fingers an exquisite design in the tapestry; and neither one turning her head to watch her rival's progress. When the last thread was tied and the work finished, Arachne looked anxiously at the goddess's loom, and one glance was sufficient to assure her of her own failure. Never in all her life had she seen work so faultlessly done, and the beauty of it was like that of visions in a dream. Humiliated at her defeat, and too proud to endure the taunts that she felt awaited her from those who had heard her boast, the unhappy maiden tried to hang herself. But Minerva would not let the world so easily forget how a mortal had dared to challenge a goddess; so when she saw Arachne's body hanging by a rope, she quickly changed her into a spider, and bade her spin and spin as long as she lived. Thus when strangers came from all the country round to see the maiden whose skill in weaving had been noised far and wide, there she hung--an ugly black spider in the midst of her dusty web--a warning to all mortals who presume. II Many, many years had passed since Epimetheus and Pandora wandered in the gardens of the earth; and many, many generations of men had come and gone since the day when Deucalion and Pyrrha looked down from Mount Parnassus upon an unpeopled land. Cities had been built, with marble palaces and costly temples. Towns had sprung up on river-banks and by the sea. Everywhere man was making for himself a home, and journeying into strange and distant lands. The gods, seated in the council-hall of Jupiter, watched the changes taking place upon the earth; and as each new city was built and the flames of its altar-fires rose up toward the white clouds around Olympus, they smiled upon the work of man's hand and made it prosper. Nowhere was the worship of the gods forgotten, but in each undertaking the protection of some deity was sought and a sacrifice offered that success might be assured. Scattered throughout the land, in town or by the wayside, were shrines where the farmer laid his offering of doves in return for a rich harvest, or a soldier hung some trophy of victory upon his safe return from the war or a sailor, starting on some uncertain voyage, burned spices and incense that the gods might grant favoring winds to all those who go down to the sea in ships. But in every city there was one temple more beautiful than the rest, and this was dedicated to that particular deity who had named the city and was its especial protector; and as city after city was built throughout the fair land of Greece, each of the gods wished to have the naming of it that he might thereby receive added worship and honor. There was much jealousy among them on this score, and they watched eagerly each thriving inland town or seaport, knowing that in a few years it would become a great city, building costly temples and erecting statues to the god whom it delighted to honor. So once, when a certain town on the coast of Greece began to grow into a large and prosperous city, there was much dispute in the council hall of Jupiter as to who should have the privilege of naming it. Perhaps the gods were looking far into the future and saw what this city was destined to become; but however that may be, the gods and goddesses argued so fiercely over the matter that Jupiter was obliged to interfere, lest some murmur of this unusual discord should reach the earth. Then one by one the various contestants withdrew until only Neptune and Minerva were left to dispute over their respective rights to the naming of the city. There being no ground for either's claim, Jupiter at length decided to give the much-coveted honor to whichever of these two should present the most useful gift to the people of the city. Neptune then struck the ground with his trident, and where the earth opened there sprang out a horse with snow-white mane and arching neck and a splendid body on which a king might be proud to ride. The gods and goddesses who had assembled to witness the contest were delighted with Neptune's gift, and waited impatiently to see what better thing Minerva would be able to offer. Surprise, amusement, and contempt were written on the faces of the spectators when the goddess stepped forward, holding in her hand an olive branch. But Jupiter, wisest of them all, did not smile, for he was listening while Minerva told of the great value her gift would have for the people of the new city. She described all the uses to which its leaves, its fruit, and even its bark could be put, adding that the olive branch was to be a sign of peace among all nations, and was therefore of more true service to man than a war-horse, which would bring upon him only bloodshed and disaster. To these wise words the gods were forced to agree, so to Minerva was granted the privilege of naming the city; and as she was called Athena, by the Greeks, she named the place Athens, which it is called to this very day. Before many years passed a splendid marble temple was built on the hill just above the city, and this was dedicated to Athena, whose colossal statue, carved by the famous sculptor Phidias, adorned the interior. They called this temple the Parthenon, and from the ruins that still remain we know that the hand of man has never built anything to equal it in beauty. Chapter V Apollo and King Admetus There would have been but little trouble between Jupiter and his stately wife if no one but Minerva ever gave the watchful Juno cause for jealousy; but other goddesses, and even mortal maidens, found favor in the eyes of Jupiter, and for their sake he often left her side. From his throne in the high heavens the ruler of the world saw not only the goddesses, with their glory of immortal youth, but also the daughters of men endowed with that same beauty and grace which the gods themselves had bestowed upon the first woman. Though Juno "of the snow-white arms" alone enjoyed the title of queen of heaven, she knew that she had many rivals for the love of Jupiter; and it was this jealousy of all loveliness in woman that made her ever watchful and revengeful. Perhaps it was the cause, too, of the very changeable temper that her husband accused her of possessing. Whoever won the affections of Jupiter was sure to be persecuted by "cruel Juno's unrelenting hate," as the poet Virgil says; but this did not hinder the ruler of the gods from leaving very often the marble halls of Olympus to wander, in some disguise, about the earth. It was after such an absence that the watchful Juno learned of Jupiter's love for fair-haired Latona, goddess of dark nights. As this new rival was not a mortal maiden who could be punished with death, the wrathful queen was forced to be content with banishing the goddess forever from Olympus, and compelling her to live upon the earth. Not satisfied with this, she decreed that any one who took pity on the unhappy goddess, or gave her any help, would incur the lasting displeasure of Juno. For days and nights Latona wandered, not daring to ask for food or shelter, since all men knew of Juno's decree. She slept at night in some spot where the trees offered protection from wind and rain, and her only food was the scanty store that she could gather by the way--berries, nuts, wild honey, and sometimes bits of bread dropped by children in their play. One day, being very thirsty, she stopped beside a clear pool to drink; but some reapers who were passing by saw her, and hoping to gain favor with Juno they stepped into the pool and stirred up the water into such muddiness that poor Latona could not drink. Angered by such uncalled-for cruelty, the goddess prayed to Jupiter that these wicked men might never leave the spot where they were standing. Jupiter from his throne in the high heavens heard her prayer, and in answer he turned the reapers into ugly green frogs and bade them stay forever in the muddy pool. And ever afterward when men came upon slimy ponds, where rank weeds grew and the water oozed from muddy banks, there they found the blinking frogs--even as Jupiter had willed. After wandering some miles further Latona came at last to the seashore and here she begged Neptune, "the god who shakes the shores," to come to her aid, for she knew that Juno's power did not extend to the ruler of the sea. Seeing her distress, and pitying the poor persecuted goddess, Neptune sent her a dolphin, who took her on his back and swam with her to the floating island of Delos, which the kindly sea-god had caused to appear out of the depth of the ocean. Here Latona landed, and was for a time content; but the rocking of the island soon grew unbearable, and she begged the aid of Neptune a second time. He obligingly chained the island to the bottom of the Ægean Sea, and Latona had no further cause for complaint. On this island were born her two children: Apollo, god of the sun, and Diana, goddess of the moon. When the children were grown, Jupiter took them to Olympus, though not without much protest from the ever-jealous Juno. The young Apollo's beauty and his skill in music gained him great favor among the gods, and found him worshipers in every town and city throughout the land of Greece. So conscious of his power did Apollo become, that he sometimes dared to assert his authority, unmindful of the will of Jupiter; and on one occasion he so angered his divine parent that he was banished to the earth, and made to serve Admetus, king of Thessaly. In spite of his disgrace, Apollo managed to cheer his lonely hours of labor with his music; and as his work was no more difficult than to care for the king's sheep, he had abundant leisure to play upon his lyre while his flocks grazed on the sunny hillsides. As soon as he touched the strings, all the wild things in the forest crept out to hear. The fox came slinking from his hole among the rocks, and the timid deer drew close to the player and stayed beside him, listening. The strains of the wonderful music were carried across the meadows, and the mowers stopped their work, wondering where the player might be. One day they brought word to the king that some god must be among them, for no mortal could produce such music as they had heard. So Admetus sent for the shepherd, and when the youth stood before him, he marveled at his great beauty, and still more at the golden lyre that Apollo held in his hand. Then when the young musician, in obedience to the king's command, began to play, all those who heard him were filled with wonder, and felt sure that a god had come to dwell among them. But Admetus asked no questions, only made the youth his head shepherd and treated him with all kindness. Though a god, and no true shepherd, Apollo served the king faithfully, and when, at last, his time of service was over and Jupiter called him back to Olympus, Apollo, wishing to show some favor in return for the king's kindness, begged for Admetus the gift of immortality. This request the wise Jupiter granted, but only on the condition that when the time came for the king to die, some one could be found to take his place. Apollo agreed to these terms, and Admetus, knowing the conditions on which the gift was made, accepted his immortality gladly. For a time all went well; but the inevitable hour came when the Fates decreed that Admetus's life was ended, and that he must go the way of all mortals unless some one would die in his stead. The king was much beloved by his people; but no one's devotion to his sovereign was great enough to inspire him to make the needed sacrifice. Then Alcestis, the beautiful wife of Admetus, learned of the price that must be paid for her husband's immortality and gladly offered her life in exchange for the king's. So, in all her young grace and beauty, she went down into the dark region of Hades, where no sunlight ever came and where her joyous laughter was forever hushed in the silence that reigns among the dead. Thus Admetus gained immortality; but his happiness was too dearly bought, for as the days went by he mourned more and more for his beautiful young wife, and in his dreams he saw her walking like a shadow among the grim shapes that move noiselessly in the silent halls of death. Bitterly he repented of his selfishness in accepting the sacrifice of her life, and his immortality grew hateful to him since each day only added to his sorrow. So he prayed to Apollo to recall his gift, and to give him back his wife Alcestis. It was not in the power of that god to change a decree of Jupiter's; but the Ruler of all things looked down from heaven, and, seeing the great grief and remorse of Admetus, he withdrew the gift that had cost the king so dear, and sent Hercules to the kingdom of Pluto with commands to let Alcestis go. Very gladly the god carried this message to the gloomy realm of Hades, where amid the myriad shadow-shapes he sought and found Alcestis; and out of the dreadful darkness in which she walked alone, Hercules led her back to earth again. Chapter VI Apollo the Musician I When Apollo left King Admetus and returned to the halls of Olympus, he had not rested there long before he found that there was further service for him to render on the earth. Among the many noted deeds that he performed, the most famous was his slaying of a monstrous serpent called the Python, which was born of the slime that remained on the surface of the earth after the Deluge. Apollo killed the creature with his golden arrows, and then went to the help of Neptune, who, though a powerful deity in his own realm, was often obliged to ask help of the other gods when he wished to accomplish anything on land. Hearing that Neptune wished to build a great wall around the city of Troy, and remembering the aid that the sea-god had given his mother Latona in her great need, Apollo went down to the sea and offered his services to Neptune. Of course no son of Jupiter could be expected to do the work of a slave, but this was not necessary, even in the building of a wall; for Apollo sat down on a grassy bank near by, and, with his lyre in his hand, began to play such exquisite music that the very stones were bewitched, and rising from the ground of their own accord took their places in the wall. Still under the spell of Apollo's music, others followed in quick succession, and the wall rose higher and higher, until before nightfall the whole work was finished. When the last stone had dropped into place, Apollo stopped his playing and returned to the bright halls of Olympus; while Neptune, shaking the salt spray from his shaggy eyebrows, stared hard at the walls that had risen by magic before his wondering eyes. II The story of Arachne's sad fate should have been warning enough to all mortals not to compare themselves with the gods; but such was the pride of a certain youth named Marsyas that he boasted openly of his skill in flute-playing, and dared to proclaim himself the equal of Apollo. Now Marsyas had not always been a musician, for he was by birth a shepherd--some even say a satyr--and had never seen a flute or heard it played until one day, as he sat tending his flock on the bank of a stream, he heard sounds of music coming from some spot near by. He was very curious to see who the musician might be, but he dared not move lest he startle the player and make the beautiful melody cease. So he sat still and waited; and presently there came floating down the stream a flute--something that Marsyas had never seen before. He hurriedly snatched it out of the water, and, no longer hearing the wonderful music, he guessed that it had come from the strange thing he held in his hand. He put the flute to his lips, and lo, the same sweet melody greeted his ears, for the flute was not a common thing such as any man might use--it was a beautiful instrument that belonged to no less a person than Minerva. The goddess had hidden herself on the bank of the stream and had been trying her skill as a flute-player; but chancing to look down into the water, she saw her puffed-out cheeks and distorted features and angrily threw the flute into the stream. Thus it had come into Marsyas's possession; and the shepherd, having found such a treasure, never let it leave his hands. He neglected his work and left his flocks unguarded while he spent all his days in the delight of flute-playing. It was not long before he believed himself to be the greatest musician in all Greece; and then it was only a step further to declare that even Apollo could not equal him in the sweetness of his playing. The god of music allowed this boasting to go for some time unpunished; but at last he grew angry at the presumption of the shepherd boy, and summoned Marsyas to a contest in which the nine Muses were to be judges. Nothing daunted, Marsyas accepted the challenge; and on the morning when the contest took place, a great silence fell over all the earth, as if every living thing had stopped to listen. The playing of Marsyas was wonderfully sweet, and as the soft tones of his flute greeted the listeners' ears they sat as if under a spell until the last sounds died away. Then Apollo took up his golden lyre, and when he struck the first chords, the air was filled with music far sweeter than any melody that had fallen from the lips of Marsyas. The judges, however, found it hard to give a verdict in favor of either musician; so a second time Marsyas began to play, and his music was so strangely wild and sweet that even Apollo listened in delight. But, charmed as he was by the youth's playing, the god of music had no intention of being outdone by a shepherd; so when he took up his golden lyre again, he began to sing, and added the wonder of his voice to the sweetness of his playing. When the singing ended there was no longer any doubt to whom the victory belonged; and Marsyas was forced to admit his defeat. As the price of failure was to be the terrible penalty of being flayed alive, the wretched Marsyas had to submit to this cruel death. Apollo bound him to a tree and slew him with his own hands. III When the news of Marsyas's dreadful fate spread abroad, people were careful for many years not to anger any of the deities by presuming to rival them; but in time the memory of that tragic event faded away, and the horror of it was forgotten. In the halls of King Midas was the noise of great mirth and feasting, and the sound of music filled the spacious room where the king and his court sat at the banquet-table. Beside the king stood Pan, his favorite flute-player, who was no other than the famous sylvan god of shepherds; and as the wine went round and the king grew boastful of his possessions, he exclaimed loudly that not even Apollo himself could produce such exquisite music as fell from the flute of Pan. The guests, remembering the fate of Marsyas, grew pale and begged the king not to let his boast be heard; but Midas laughed scornfully and, raising his drinking cup above his head, called upon Apollo to appear. To the surprise and dismay of all, the god of music suddenly stood before them, beautiful as the dawn and glowing with divine wrath. Though Pan was himself a deity, he had no desire to challenge Apollo, and looked fearfully at the sun-god's angry frown; but the king, drunk with pride, commanded him to play, and bade the god of music surpass the playing if he could. There was, of course, no question as to which was the better musician, and the guests loudly proclaimed Apollo the victor. One story tells that to prove further the superiority of Apollo's playing the company went to the old mountain-god Tmolus, and let him make the final decision. Tmolus had to clear the trees from his ears to listen; and having done this he bent his head, and all his trees leaned with him. He heard with delight both musicians play; and when the last soft notes fell from Apollo's lyre, the mountain-god awarded him the victory. But Midas at the beginning of the contest had demanded the right to decide on the merits of the players, and he would not accept this verdict. In his mad perversity and fondness for his favorite, he cried out that Pan was the better player, and would therefore be awarded the prize. Angered at this unfair decision, Apollo left the banquet-hall, but not before he had assured Midas that the injustice would be punished. These words came true in a most unexpected way, for when the king looked into his mirror the next morning, he found a pair of large fuzzy ass's ears growing in the place of his own natural ones. Horrified at his absurd appearance, Midas did not dare show himself to his people; but sent in haste for a barber, and bade him make a wig large enough to cover the monstrous ears. For many hours the barber was closeted with the king, and when the wig was finished, he was allowed to leave the palace, after having sworn never to reveal the king's misfortune under pain of death. For some time the secret was safely kept; but the poor barber found life unbearable, since he lived in constant fear of letting out the truth about the king's ears in spite of his frantic efforts to be silent. Whenever Midas appeared in the city streets, the barber had to rush home and shut himself up lest he should scream out the story of the wig. One day he thought of a happy solution of his difficulty and one that broke his long seal of silence without endangering his life. He went out into the fields, dug a deep hole, and putting his head down as far as he could he shouted:-- "King Midas has ass's ears, King Midas has ass's ears." Then he went home again, much happier for having told some one of his secret, even though it was only Mother Earth. But the truth once told did not stay hidden even in the earth; for in time the hole was filled again and reeds grew over the spot, and as the wind swayed them back and forth they murmured: "King Midas has ass's ears. King Midas has ass's ears." It was not long before all the people in the countryside had gathered to hear the strange whispering of the reeds, and then the secret could be kept no longer. But though every one knew the truth King Midas continued to wear his wig, and no one ever saw the real size of his ears. Chapter VII The Love of Apollo I Like his father, Jupiter, the young Apollo was not content to stay always in the shining halls of Olympus, but spent many days wandering over the broad lands of Greece in search of adventure, or for the sake of some maiden's love. There were many fair ones among the daughters of men, and they were wont to look with favor upon the beautiful young god who came down from the high heavens to woo them. Each morning as he drove across the sky the fiery horses that were harnessed to the chariot of the sun, some maiden gazed with longing at the splendor above her, and prayed that the radiant Apollo might look kindly upon her. Seldom did these prayers go unanswered; but sometimes the heart of the god was untouched by the devotion so freely offered, and the maiden pined away over her hopeless love. Such a one was Clytie, who worshiped the glorious sun-god, and longed in secret for his love; but in spite of her tears and sighing she met with only coldness in return. Each day she rose before the dawn to greet Apollo as soon as his chariot appeared in the heavens, and all day long she watched him until the last rays of light were lost behind the hills. But the young god felt no sympathy for her sorrow, and the unhappy Clytie grew so pale and sick with longing that Jupiter in pity changed her into a sunflower, that she might always stand watching the course of the sun, and turn her face forever toward him, no matter where his beams might shine. II The great beauty of Apollo usually assured his success whenever he stooped from his high estate to love the maidens of the earth; but once he was repaid for his hard-heartedness to poor Clytie, and failed in his wooing when he sought the love of the beautiful wood-nymph Daphne. He was wandering one day in the forest when he came suddenly upon Daphne as she was gathering flowers, and her beauty and grace so charmed him that he desired her love above everything else in the world. Not wishing to frighten her, he stood still and softly spoke her name. When the nymph heard his voice, she turned quickly and looked at him with the startled eyes of some wild forest-creature. Surprise and fear held her for a moment while Apollo spoke again gently and begged her not to be afraid, for he was no hunter nor even a rude shepherd. But Daphne only shrank away, fearful of his eagerness; and when Apollo grew bolder and ventured to draw near, she turned and fled through the forest. Angered at this rebuff, the god followed her, and though the nymph ran swiftly she could not escape from her pursuer, who was now more than ever determined to win her. In and out among the trees she darted, hoping to bewilder him into giving up the chase; but Apollo kept close behind, and little by little gained on her flying feet. Wearied but unyielding, Daphne now hurried her steps toward the stream at the edge of the forest, where she knew that she would find her father, the river-god Peneus. As she neared the stream she cried aloud to him for help; and just as Apollo had reached her side and his outstretched hand was on her shoulder, a rough bark began to enclose her soft body in its protecting sheath; green branches sprouted from the ends of her uplifted arms; and her floating hair became only waving leaves under the grasp of the god's eager fingers. Apollo stood dismayed at this transformation, and when he saw a laurel tree rooted in the spot where, but a moment ago, had stood a beautiful living maiden, he repented of his folly in having pursued her and sat for many days beside the river, mourning her loss. Thus it was that the laurel became the favorite tree of Apollo; and when the god returned sadly to Olympus, he decreed that whenever poet or musician or any victor in the games was to be crowned with a garland of leaves, those leaves were to be taken from the laurel tree in memory of Daphne. III In one of the flower-filled meadows of sunny Greece, there played all day a golden-haired boy named Phaëton, who was the pride and delight of his mother Clymene, a stately maiden whom Apollo had once wooed and won. The boy was willful and headstrong, but beautiful as a young god; and his mother, in her foolish pride, often reminded him how favored he was above all other children in being the son of Apollo. Each morning she led him to a place where he could see the sun rise, and told him that his father was just then harnessing the fiery steeds to his golden-wheeled car, and would soon be leaving his palace of burnished gold to drive across the heavens, bringing daylight to the darkened earth. She told him of Apollo's great beauty, and of his wonderful music, and of his high position among the gods, because his chariot was nothing less than the glorious sun. Phaëton never tired of hearing these stories, and it was no wonder that he became very proud of his divine parentage, and boasted of it among his playmates. The children only laughed at his wonderful tales, and to convince them he grew more arrogant in his bearing, until they, angered by his continued boasts, bade him give some proof of his claims or else be silent. This Phaëton could not do; so they taunted him with his godlike appearance, and sneered at his pretensions until the boy, roused to action by their repeated insults, ran to his mother, and begged her to tell him whether he might not speak to his wonderful, but unknown father, and obtain from him some proof to silence the children's tongues. Clymene hesitated to send the child on the long necessary journey, but yielding at last to his entreaties, she showed him the way to his father's palace. It was night when Phaëton set out, and he was obliged to travel quickly if he wished to reach his journey's end before the sun-car left the golden portals of the east. The palace of the sun was marvelously wrought, and the light from its golden columns and glittering jeweled towers so dazzled the eyes of Phaëton that he was afraid to draw near. But remembering the taunts of his playmates, he grew bolder, and sought out his father to beg the boon for which he had traveled so far and wearily. When Apollo, from his ivory throne, saw the boy approaching, he welcomed him kindly and called him by the name of son. Hearing this, Phaëton lost all fear, and told his father how the children had refused to believe Clymene's stories, and had taunted him because he could not prove the truth of his mother's claim. The lofty brow of Apollo grew cloudy as he listened to Phaëton's words, and he promised to give the boy the proof he desired by granting him any favor he might ask. Instantly Phaëton demanded that he be allowed that very day to drive the sun-chariot; for when those on the earth saw him in that exalted place, they could no longer refuse to believe that he was indeed the favored child of Apollo. Dismayed at this unexpected request, the sun-god sought to persuade Phaëton to ask some other boon, for he knew that no hand but his own could guide the four winged horses that were harnessed to the golden sun-car. But the boy was determined to carry out his plan; and with all the willfulness of a conceited child, he refused to heed his father's warnings. As Apollo had sworn by the river Styx--the most terrible of all oaths--to grant Phaëton's request whatever it might be, he was obliged to fulfill his promise; and very reluctantly he led the boy to the portals of the palace, where the impatient horses already stood pawing the ground. Phaëton gazed at the sun-car in delight, for it was all of gold--except the spokes of the wheel, which were of silver--and the body of the chariot was studded with chrysolites and diamonds that reflected the sun's dazzling brightness. The impatient boy sprang into the chariot and seized the reins in his hands, while his father bound on his head the blazing sun rays; but before the journey was begun, Apollo poured over him a cooling essence, that his skin might not be shriveled by the burning heat of the sun, and gave him careful instructions how to handle the restless steeds. Phaëton but half listened to these words, and fretted to be off on his triumphant course; so Apollo ordered the gates to be thrown open, and the sun-car dashed out into the heavens. For a while all went well, for the boy remembered his father's caution about using a whip on the fiery horses; but as the day wore on he became reckless, and forgot everything but his own proud triumph. Faster and faster he drove, flourishing his whip, and never heeding in what direction the maddened horses sped. Soon he lost his way and the chariot came so close to the earth that its fierce heat dried up the rivers and scorched the ground and shriveled up all vegetation, even turning the natives in that part of the country brown,--which color they are still to this very day. Smoke rose up from the charred and blackened earth, and it so clouded the eyes of the now terrified Phaëton that he could not find his way back to the path of the sun and drove wildly far away from the earth. This caused terrible disaster, for under the sudden cold all growing things withered, and the blight of frost settled over all the land. Then a great cry arose from the people of the earth when they saw their country laid waste; and though Jupiter was fast asleep on his golden couch he heard the cry, and started up in surprise. What could be happening on the earth that the sound of human wailing should break in upon the silence of his dreams! One glance was sufficient for him to see the smoke rising from the burnt-up land and to realize the cause of all that useless destruction; for far across the heavens--like a vanishing comet--Phaëton was madly driving the flaming chariot of the sun. Angered at the sight of a mere boy presuming to take upon himself so great a task, Jupiter seized one of his deadliest thunderbolts and hurled it at the unhappy youth, whose scorched body was immediately dashed from its lofty seat and sank into the calm waters of the Eridanus River. Clymene mourned her son's untimely death, and gathered his remains from the river that they might have honorable burial. Phaëton's dearest friend, Cycnus, continued to haunt the river's edge, looking for any relic of his favorite that might chance to rise to the surface of the water. In recognition of this devotion the gods changed him into a swan that might stay forever on the river and plunge his head fearlessly into the clear waters to search for some scattered fragments of his unfortunate friend. Chapter VIII Diana I During the childhood of Apollo and Diana the goddess Latona lived happily on the island of Delos, and forgot all her early misfortunes in the joy of her children. As they grew up she boasted of their strength and beauty to all who came to the shores of Delos, and no village or hamlet--however small--but had heard of Latona's children. When Grecian mothers put their little ones to bed at night, they told wonderful tales of an island far out at sea where a brother and sister lived who were fairer than all the flowers in the meadows; and maidens, sighing for a loveliness greater than their own, wove garlands to adorn the shrines of those two who walked the earth in all their immortal grace. Latona was proud of her children's fame, and boasted of it far and wide. Few mothers cared to dispute her claim, and these spoke only in whispers; but there was one, bolder than the rest, who openly laughed at the goddess's boast and taunted her with having but two such children whom she could praise. This was Niobe, a Grecian princess and the mother of fourteen children,--seven sons and seven daughters,--all of them fair and strong and godlike in spite of their mortal birth. When Niobe learned that the people in her kingdom were loud in their praises of Latona's children, and were neglecting to honor her own splendid sons and daughters, she was very angry and ordered all the statues of Apollo and Diana to be destroyed; for the people, in their devotion to beauty, had set up many in the temples and the market place. Then she bade a messenger go tell the goddess what had been done, and show her in what contempt the mother of fourteen children held her who had but two. When Latona received the message she was so enraged at the insult that her desire for revenge knew no bounds. She called Apollo and Diana to her side and commanded them to go forth and slay the children of Niobe. It was easy for Apollo to accomplish his part of the cruel task, for he met the seven sons of Niobe hunting, and slew them so quickly that not one of the brothers had time to ask what he had done to merit the god's wrath. The daughters of Niobe were in the palace with their mother; but this did not daunt the young Diana, who put seven sharp arrows in her quiver, and, bow in hand, went forth to complete Latona's revenge. She found the maidens seated at Niobe's side, weaving, and one by one the remorseless goddess shot them down in spite of their mother's heart-broken cries for mercy. Finding that her entreaties were in vain, and seeing six of her daughters lying dead beside her, the distracted Niobe sought to shield the remaining one with her own body while she prayed wildly to the gods to spare her this one child. But the gods were deaf to her cries, and Diana, fitting the last arrow to her bow, shot the maiden as she cowered in her mother's arms. Over her fallen body the wretched Niobe wept so long that the gods at last felt pity for her grief, and changed her into stone. This statue was placed by a running stream, and ever afterward the waters were fed by the tears that continued to course down the cheeks of the stone image; and travelers came from foreign lands to gaze on this marvel of a devoted mother who could not cease from mourning for her children even when turned into stone. II Though the goddess Diana spent most of her daylight hours in hunting, it was not often that she exercised her skill to such cruel purpose as was shown in the case of poor Niobe. Wherever the wild deer roamed, and the pathless forest knew no touch of woodman's ax, there Diana, fleet-footed and tireless, followed the chase. As soon as the flaming chariot of the sun threw its first streak of light across the hills, the goddess donned her short tunic, and, armed with her golden bow and quiver, set out with her band of nymphs for the day's hunt. At noontide, wearied with the chase, she sought out some secluded spot where the mountain stream ran clear, and where the foliage hung round her like a curtain. On a certain day, when she and her maidens were enjoying the refreshing coolness of the water, they heard a slight rustle among the trees, and looking around, perceived a young hunter watching them. This was Actæon, who had himself been following the deer since daybreak, and had been drawn to this spot by the noise of running water. As he neared the stream he heard sounds of girlish laughter, and this so roused his curiosity that he hastily put aside the branches to see who the merrymakers might be. Great was his dismay when he recognized Diana and her nymphs; but before he could disappear among the bushes the goddess saw him, and catching up some water in her hand, she threw it into his face, crying: "Go now, if you can, and say that you have seen Diana at her bath." The moment these words were spoken Actæon felt a queer change coming over him, and he stared in horror at his hands and feet, which were becoming hoofs, and at his skin, which was rapidly changing into a deer's hide. Antlers grew out of his head, he dropped on all fours, and found himself turned into a stag. Before he quite realized what had befallen him he heard the baying of hounds, and knew that his only safety was in flight. He dashed off through the bushes, but the dogs were on his track. Before he had gone far the pack had overtaken him, since he knew no lore of the wild things by which they elude their enemies, and were snapping and snarling at his throat. Deprived of his human voice he could not cry for help, and in a moment the hounds had torn him into pieces. So was Diana avenged. III There was another young hunter who encountered Diana and her maidens in the woods, but he met with a kinder fate at the hands of the goddess than did poor Actæon, whose only fault had been a most natural curiosity. The fleet-footed Diana was no more ardent in the chase than was the hunter Orion, who roamed the forest all day with his faithful dog, Sirius. One morning, as he rushed eagerly through the woods in pursuit of a deer, he came suddenly upon the seven Pleiades,--nymphs of Diana,--who were resting after a long and arduous hunt begun at daybreak. Charmed with their beauty, Orion drew nearer, but the maidens, terrified at his outstretched arms, fled away through the forest. Undaunted by the remembrance of Actæon's fate, the hunter pursued the flying nymphs, determined that so much beauty should not escape him. Seeing that he was gaining on them in spite of their swift feet, the maidens called upon Diana for help, and were at once changed into seven white pigeons which flew up into the heavens before Orion's astonished eyes. Sometime later these same Pleiades became seven bright stars, and were set as a constellation in the sky, where they have remained ever since. Orion continued to hunt from early dawn until nightfall without any misfortune overtaking him on account of his impetuous love-making. On the contrary his ardor evidently found favor with the goddess Diana, for one day, when he unexpectedly met her alone in the forest, she smiled graciously upon him and offered to share the day's sport with him. Perhaps it was the beauty of the young hunter as well as his boldness that charmed the goddess; but however that may be, she continued to meet him in the forest, and they hunted together hour after hour until the twilight began to fall. Then Diana knew that she must leave her lover and mount her silver moon-car. When Apollo learned of his sister's affection for the young hunter, he was very angry, for Diana had refused the love of the gods, and had begged of Jupiter the right to live unwed. The sun-god determined therefore to put an end to Orion's wooing. So he waited at the shadowy portals of the west until Diana, her nightly journey over, descended from her silver car and threw the reins on the necks of her wearied steeds. Then Apollo spoke to his sister of her hunting, and praised her skill with the bow. Presently he pointed to a tiny speck that was rising and falling on the crest of the waves a long distance away, and bidding her use this as a target, he challenged her to prove her skill. Diana, suspecting no treachery, fitted an arrow into her bow and let it fly with unerring aim. Great was her distress when she learned what her brother's trickery had led her to do; for it was no floating log or bit of seaweed that her arrow had pierced, but the body of Orion. Apollo had seen the hunter go each morning to the ocean to bathe, and he thought this an easy way to dispose of the unworthy lover. Diana mourned Orion many days; and to keep his memory honored she placed him and his faithful dog, Sirius, in the sky as constellations. Chapter IX The Story of Endymion The chaste Diana was not only a famous huntress, but she was goddess of the moon as well. By day she roamed the forest with her band of nymphs, and by night she sailed in her bright moon-car across the star-strewn sky, and looked down at the sleeping earth lying in the shadow except where her soft light fell. As soon as Apollo had driven his tired, foam-flecked horses within the western gates, and twilight had begun to creep over the hills, Diana mounted her silver car drawn by milk-white steeds, and started on her nightly journey. During the first hours of her ride, the friendly twilight kept a faint glow in the heavens, and the road lay plain before her; but as night came on and the blackness deepened, her horses might have wandered from their accustomed path had not the stars wakened from their day-dreaming and come out in great luminous clusters to light the goddess on her way. Though the journey was always the same, night after night, Diana never wearied of her course or found the sleeping earth less lovely, as it unfolded hour by hour before her eyes. One evening as she looked down upon the quiet scene, she saw the form of a shepherd-boy lying upon a grassy hilltop, where the moonlight shone full upon his upturned face. Diana was not susceptible to love; but when she saw Endymion sleeping, she marveled at his beauty, and felt a strange longing to be near him. So she stepped softly from her silver car and floated down to the earth--to the spot where the unconscious shepherd lay dreaming. There was perfect stillness all around, and no whisper came but the soft murmur from the pine-trees, which sounded like some great creature sighing in its sleep. For some time the goddess watched the youth in silence, then, stooping, she gently kissed him. Endymion half wakened at her touch, and looked sleepily around, bewildered by the radiance that seemed to be enfolding him in its unearthly light. But in a moment the glory had faded away, and there was only the deep blueness of the night all about him; for Diana, frightened at her own boldness, had hurried back to her silver car and had sped away into the darkness. Endymion thought then that he had dreamed a dream of some beautiful form that had lingered by his side, and although he waited patiently and hopefully all through the night, he saw no other vision, and only the dawn came to greet his weary eyes. The next night Diana drove her milk-white horses impatiently and often at random, until the quiet stars, as they watched her restless course, wondered and felt half afraid. When the clouds wrapped her closely in their white embrace, the goddess drove them angrily aside, lest they shut out from her eyes the sight of the sleeping earth. At last she drew near the hillside where Endymion lay, and, on seeing him there, Diana glided again from her silver car and stood beside his unconscious form. At her light touch he stirred, and tried to rouse himself from his heavy slumber; but some spell seemed to bind his eyelids, and through sleep-dimmed eyes he saw the radiance fade away. Night after night he felt the presence of that bright being whom his eyes so longed to behold; but only in his dreams could he see her face or touch her floating garments that passed by him like the rustle of the night wind. Each night Diana left her restless horses to stand unwatched among the shifting clouds, while she lingered on the earth to gaze upon the sleeping shepherd-boy; and as she stood beside him she wished that he might always be as now--ever beautiful, ever young. So to keep him untouched by sickness or sorrow or death she took him to Mount Latmus, where there was a cave dedicated in her honor which no mortal foot had ever profaned. Here she placed Endymion, and caused an eternal sleep to fall upon him, so that his body in all its youth and beauty might never know decay. And every night when her long journey was ended, and the watchful stars had withdrawn their shining, Diana hastened to the lonely cave on Mount Latmus, there to linger beside Endymion sleeping, and touch him with a kiss that could not waken. Chapter X Mercury I Mercury was the son of Jupiter and Maia, goddess of the plains, and from the day of his birth he was a most remarkable infant, even for a god. When scarcely a day old, he sprang from his mother's arms, and ran some distance off to where a tortoise shell was lying on the ground. Picking this up, he bored holes in its side, stretched strings across it, and began to play. Thus it was that the first lyre was made. Proud of this beginning to his day's adventures, Mercury ran away again toward evening, when his mother was asleep, and roamed about the fragrant meadows where Apollo kept his herd of cattle. The pasturage was rich and the oxen were fat, and the mischievous young god--only a day old--decided to have some of them for his dinner. He took fifty of the herd and tied branches of leaves to their feet--so that their hoofs might leave no print on the smooth turf--and drove them to a quiet spot far away from the meadow. Here he killed and ate two of the oxen, and kept the rest in hiding for another day's feast. Then he hurried back to his mother who had not yet wakened. When Apollo found late that evening that fifty of his cattle were gone, he searched but could not find them. As he was about to give them up as lost, he remembered that a son had been lately born to Jupiter, whom that divine ruler had appointed to be the god of thieves. Suspecting that his stolen oxen were in the hands of this master-thief, Apollo hastened to where Maia and the babe were sleeping. Rousing the child angrily, the irate god accused him of the theft; but Mercury protested his innocence, and asked, "How could an infant but a day old ever do such an unheard-of thing?" Apollo was unconvinced, however, by this appearance of candor, and feeling sure of the boy's guilt, dragged him off to Olympus, where Mercury found it impossible to pretend any longer that he knew nothing of the missing oxen. He acknowledged his thieving, showed Apollo the hiding place of the stolen cattle, and in return for those that he had eaten gave the sun-god his wonderful new lyre. This gift so delighted Apollo that he presented the day-old prince of thieves with a magic wand, which, when held between any who were quarreling, would cause all anger and strife to cease. To test the value of the wand Mercury thrust it between two snakes which were struggling over the possession of a wounded bird; and immediately they twined themselves around the staff, and remained coiled together in perfect friendliness. This pleased Mercury so much that he bade them stay there forever as long as the wand should last. There were two other valuable gifts that the gods gave the young Mercury,--a winged cap and a pair of winged sandals,--so that, as the messenger of the gods, he might be fleet of foot on his many errands to and from Olympus. "Hastily beneath his feet he bound The fair ambrosial golden sandals, worn To bear him over ocean like the wind And o'er the boundless land." --BRYANT'S Homer's Odyssey, Book V, line 56. Among the varied duties assigned to Mercury was that of conducting the souls of the dead to Hades; but this did not occupy all the god's time, and he still had many hours in which to go on other missions. In spite of his rather doubtful reputation for honesty, the gods often sought his assistance in their difficulties; and in one very delicate commission he proved himself a competent ally. This was when Jupiter went wooing the maiden Io. The jealous and vengeful Juno was always on the watch whenever her lord took a fancy to go wandering about the earth; so to woo the gentle Io unseen by his wife required some diplomacy on Jupiter's part. Accordingly he spread a thick cloud over the meadow where he was wont to meet the maiden, and trusted that its appearance would not arouse Juno's suspicions. He also took the precaution to visit Io at the time when the watchful queen of heaven was accustomed to sleep; but one day Juno awoke sooner than usual, and finding Jupiter absent, she at once surmised that he was adventuring again in some love-affair. When she looked down at the earth, she saw the thick cloud that hung over the meadow and noticed that it never altered its position, no matter how the winds blew. Feeling sure that this was some trick intended to deceive her, the wrathful goddess glided down to the earth and appeared at the astonished Jupiter's side--but not before he had had time to change Io into a heifer. "Golden-sandaled" Juno walked about the meadow gathering flowers, then she asked her husband why he was lingering there, so far from bright Olympus. Jupiter answered that he was amusing himself by creating a heifer. This explanation did not deceive Juno; but she pretended to be satisfied, and praised the beautiful creature's glossy skin and large soft eyes. Then she demanded it of Jupiter as a gift, and the ruler of the gods, not knowing how to refuse, consented. The triumphant goddess led away the heifer and put her in charge of Argus. Now Argus had a hundred eyes, and though he often went to sleep, some of his eyes always kept awake; so Juno felt sure that no device of Jupiter's could enable Io to escape from the watchful guardian who never wholly slept. Meanwhile Jupiter was in despair over this unhappy ending to his wooing, and sought the help of Mercury, who often lent his ready wits to gods and mortals in distress. Laying aside his cap and sandals and snake-entwined wand, by which he might easily be recognized, Mercury went down to the earth in the disguise of a shepherd. With his pipes in his hand he strolled through the country until he came to the mountain-side, where Argus sat watching the heifer; and when he began to play, the music was so sweet that Argus begged him to stop awhile that he might listen longer to the wonderful playing. The wily god consented, and as he piped on, some of the hundred eyes grew drowsy with sleep, but some of them stayed open and watchful. The droning of the pipes kept on, and to add to the drowsiness of the music, Mercury began to tell stories in a low sing-song tone that cast a kind of spell over the eyes that were still watching. He told of Apollo's affection for the youth Hyacinthus, whom Zephyrus, god of the west wind, also loved; and how, when the sun-god was playing quoits with his friend, Zephyrus in a fit of jealous anger blew aside the missile hurled by Apollo so that it struck Hyacinthus and killed him. But the sun-god would not let the fair youth be forgotten, and changed each drop of his blood into delicate white flowers which were forever to bear his name. Then Mercury told of Æsculapius, son of Apollo and Coronis, who was entrusted to the care of Chiron,--most famous of the Centaurs,--and was also taught by his divine parent the art of healing. In this he became so skillful that he even restored the dead to life, and so incurred the wrath of Jupiter, who, fearing that Æsculapius would receive undue honor, killed him with a thunderbolt. To these stories Mercury added many more that told of the loves of the gods, and at last all the hundred eyes of Argus were closed. Then Mercury, drawing a sharp sword, cut off the great head as it drooped forward, and rolled it down the rocks. When Juno heard of the death of her faithful servant she was terribly angry, and vowed that she would bring punishment on those who had been the cause of his slaying; but before doing this she commemorated the fidelity of Argus by taking his hundred eyes and putting them in the tail of her favorite bird, the peacock. Then she carried out her revenge by sending an enormous gadfly to torment poor Io, who was still in the form of a heifer. From one country to another the unhappy creature wandered; and once, in a desperate effort to escape her tormentor, she plunged into the sea, which was afterwards called Ionian in her honor. Across this she swam and reached the shore of Africa; but even here the gadfly followed her, and the vengeance of Juno never allowed her a moment's rest. Jupiter could do nothing to ease her sufferings by interceding for her to the remorseless queen of heaven; but at last Juno consented to send away the gadfly and to restore Io to her own form if Jupiter would promise never to visit her again. Reluctantly the ruler of the gods agreed to this demand, and Io became once more a beautiful maiden. II When Jupiter went wandering on the earth in search of adventures other than the wooing of some maiden, he often made Mercury his companion, for this slender young god was his favorite among all the dwellers of Olympus. One day both the gods, disguised as travelers, stopped at the hut of an aged couple named Philemon and Baucis; and pretending weariness, they asked to be allowed to rest. The old couple were delighted that strangers had honored their humble roof, and in order to extend the hospitality still further, Philemon decided to kill the one thing he had that could furnish meat for the guests. This was a large fat goose, who had no mind to be killed and eaten, even to supply a meal for gods; so when the old man tried to catch him, he sought refuge between Jupiter's knees. When the ruler of the gods learned that the couple intended to sacrifice their one possession, he was greatly touched by their kindness, but would not allow them to kill the trusting bird that had fled to him for protection. Then the good wife Baucis set before her guests olives, and cornel berries preserved in vinegar, and cheese, with eggs cooked in the ashes. She laid earthen cups and dishes on the table, which she had already rubbed with sweet-smelling herbs, and placed beside them an earthen pitcher full of their best wine. While the simple meal was going on, and the guests were partaking of a dessert of apples and wild honey, Baucis was so fluttered over her duties as hostess that she did not observe the pitcher; but old Philemon looked on in astonishment at the wine which renewed itself in the pitcher as fast as it was poured out. He whispered to his wife to watch this miracle; and when she, too, saw the never-empty pitcher, she was filled with a vague terror, and looked fearfully at the smiling strangers. So Jupiter told the old man and his wife who their guests really were, and bade them ask of him some boon, swearing by the terrible river Styx to grant whatever they might desire. Then Philemon and Baucis begged that they might be allowed to serve the gods as long as they lived; and that when their time of service was over, they might die together. Pleased with the simplicity of this request, Jupiter gladly promised that all should be as they wished; and he transformed their humble cottage into a beautiful temple, where they might worship the gods all their days. And when after years of faithful service Philemon and Baucis died, Jupiter changed them into lordly oaks, which stood before the pillars of the temple as a monument to their fidelity. Chapter XI Venus I Once the stately Juno looked down from high-peaked Olympus and saw Jupiter walking in a meadow with a maiden so exquisitely fair that the flowers at her feet looked dull and faded beside her dazzling whiteness. This was Callisto, so famous for her beauty that suitors came from distant lands to woo her; but she cared nothing for their rich gifts, nor would she listen to any vows of love. Then Jupiter sought her as she wandered alone in the meadow; and the maiden gladly yielded to the great ruler of the gods the love that no mortal man had been able to win. When white-armed Juno learned how many hours Jupiter spent by the side of Callisto, she determined to punish the helpless maiden, and accordingly turned her into a bear. For a long time Jupiter sought her in the familiar meadow, but she never came again to meet him. Then one day he found her in the forest with her little son Arcas--both turned into bears by the jealous hate of Juno. Grieved as he was at this misfortune, the ruler of Olympus could not restore them to their human form; but he took them to the heavens, that they might suffer no further harm, and placed them in the sky as the constellations of the Great and Little Bear. Jupiter often assumed the form of a bird or animal so as to escape Juno's watchful eyes. As a swan he won the love of Leda, and their child was the fair-haired Helen whose beauty cost the men of Troy so dear. As a white bull he wooed the gentle maid Europa, who was frightened at his sudden appearance in the meadow where she was playing; but as soon as she saw how tame the beautiful animal was and how anxious to be petted, she lost all her fear. She made a wreath of flowers to hang about his neck, and grew so accustomed to her new playmate that she got upon his back as he bent his lordly head to receive her garlands. The bull then galloped away toward the sea, and before the terrified girl could realize what had happened he plunged with her into the waves. As soon as they were far from the land, the white bull spoke gently to Europa and told her who he really was and how, for love of her, he had assumed this strange disguise. So the maiden was no longer afraid, but allowed herself to be carried to an unknown land that was afterward called Europe in her honor. It was no wonder that Juno kept watch over the earth as no other goddess needed to do, for she knew that the loveliness that belonged to the daughters of men could easily lure great Jupiter from his golden throne. She was therefore very reasonably angry when she looked one day through the white clouds around Olympus and saw--not on the earth, but in the lap of the ever-tossing sea--the most beautiful being that could exist outside of a dream. So wonderfully fair was this maiden upon whom Juno fixed her resentful gaze, that she seemed too perfect to be made of flesh and blood, and the jealous watcher was almost persuaded that it was no real living thing which rested softly on the crest of the waves, but some creature made from the rainbow colors and white mist of the sea. The ocean rocked her lightly on its breast, and Zephyrus, the west wind, bore her gently toward the shore. The sunlight shone on her rosy flesh, and her long hair lay out upon the waves, glistening like spun gold. The sky above her was not more soft or deep than the blueness of her eyes, and the smile upon her perfect lips was of a subtle sweetness more alluring than the breath of spring. As she lay pillowed in the arms of the slow-swinging sea, the west wind bore her to the island of Cyprus; and when her foot touched the warm sand, the goddess rose from the waves, which were so loth to yield her to the waiting earth, and stepped lightly upon the shore. She flung the wet ringlets from her forehead, shook the foam from her breast and shoulders--white as the purest marble--and stood upright in the warm sunshine--the most perfect thing that the wondering old earth had ever looked upon. This was Venus, goddess of love and beauty, born of the foam of the sea, and destined to be the most far-famed of all the dwellers in Olympus. It was not long before others than the watchful Juno had seen this vision of loveliness, and she was eagerly welcomed by the gods as soon as she appeared among them. The beauty and grace of the new goddess so charmed them that all were eager to yield her homage, and she was immediately sought in marriage--even Jupiter himself becoming an enamored suitor. But "laughter-loving" Venus refused to be wed, and would not listen to any wooing. Then the ruler of the gods, finding his proffered love scorned by the proud goddess, determined to punish her by compelling her to marry Vulcan, the ugliest and most ill-favored of deities; and as Jupiter's word was law in all the universe, Venus was obliged to obey. But though married, she was by no means a devoted or faithful wife, and she caused poor Vulcan many unhappy moments; for he saw how his misshapen form repelled her, and he knew that she would soon seek for happiness elsewhere. The first to win the love of "golden" Venus was Mars, the handsome god of war, who, though delighted at being honored as the chosen one of beauty, was careful that the goddess's preference should not be known. When he and Venus met in some lover's bower, they placed Alectryon--the attendant of Mars--on guard, so that no one, not even prying Juno, would come upon them unawares. Things went on happily for some time; but one day Alectryon fell asleep at his post, and slept so soundly that he did not see Apollo, in his golden chariot, driving close to the trysting place of the lovers. When the sun-god realized what was happening, he went straightway to Vulcan and told him how much his wife was enjoying the society of Mars. Vulcan, angry and ashamed, set to work to forge a net of linked steel; and when it was finished, he hurried with it to the spot where Venus and the god of war were still conversing together. Stepping up softly behind them, Vulcan drew the net over their heads, and thus held them fast. Then he hastened back to Olympus, where he told his story and bade all the gods go look upon the ridiculous and humiliating plight of the imprisoned lovers. When the captured pair were at last set free, Mars rushed off to find Alectryon and to learn why they had not been warned of Apollo's approach. Finding his sentinel peacefully sleeping, unmindful of the disaster that had occurred through his neglect of duty, Mars was so enraged that he changed Alectryon into a cock, and commanded him to rise early every morning and crow to announce the coming of the sun. II The next fancy of Venus was for Adonis, a handsome young hunter, who was so fearless in his pursuit of game that the goddess often felt anxious for his safety. She urged him to give up the chase and spend all his day with her; but however much Adonis enjoyed the society of Venus, he also loved to roam the forests, and no entreaties could induce him to give up his favorite sport. One day Adonis was following a wild boar, and believing that the creature was wounded, he boldly drew near, when the boar turned suddenly upon him and drove his long tusks into the youth's side. As he lay dying in the forest, Venus heard of the tragic ending of the day's hunt and hurried to save him. So careless was she of her own hurt that she rushed heedlessly through the rough briers, which tore her soft skin and scattered drops of blood on the white wood flowers. When she reached Adonis, he was already past her help and could not respond to her caresses. Holding his lifeless body in her arms, Venus wept and mourned for her beloved; and her tears, as they fell upon the sympathizing earth, were changed into anemones. Then to hide from her eyes the painful sight of the young hunter's mangled body, the kindly earth again took pity on her grief and turned the drops of blood that came from Adonis's side into red roses. Still the goddess would not be comforted, but sat mourning alone with her dead. Then Mercury came to lead the soul of Adonis to gloomy Hades; and when the messenger of the gods had departed with his slight burden, Venus went back to Olympus, and throwing herself on the ground before Jupiter's throne, she besought him to give Adonis back to her, or else to allow her to stay with him in Hades. Since the world could not well spare the goddess of beauty, Jupiter refused to let her go to the sunless realm of Pluto; but neither would that dread ruler consent to give up Adonis to her longing arms. Then the gods, touched by the depth of Venus's grief, interceded in her behalf, and reluctantly Pluto agreed to allow Adonis to spend six months with the goddess in the warmth and joy of the sunlight if for the rest of the year he would be content to dwell in Hades. III Another of the fortunate ones who gained the love of Venus was Anchises, prince of Troy; but though the goddess lavished much affection upon him, she was rather ashamed of her attachment, for Anchises was of only mortal birth. She therefore bade him to keep the matter secret, and for a time Anchises obeyed; but being proud of his relation to the goddess he forgot her instructions, and boasted of his good fortune. This so angered the willful Venus that she never bestowed her favors on him again; but transferred all her affection to her son Æneas, who fared better at her hands than his father Anchises. In the many adventures that befell this famous hero, Venus was always a ready protectress, and whenever Æneas was involved in some apparently hopeless situation, his goddess mother would immediately hide him in a thick mist which was sure to baffle his enemies. Sometimes, as in the Trojan war, she wrapped him in her shining robe and bore him from the battle-field; and if the hero was constantly in tears, as the poet Virgil says, it was certainly not the fault of Venus. As to the ultimate fate of Anchises, some authorities say that the offended goddess borrowed one of Jupiter's thunderbolts and disposed of her talkative lover in this fashion; but the most probable story is that he lived to see Æneas become a famous prince of Troy, and was himself carried from the ruins of that burning city on the shoulders of his devoted son. Chapter XII The Story of Cupid and Psyche Cupid, god of love, was the son of Mars and Venus; and though he was always the happiest of children, his mother was distressed because he never grew up, but remained year after year a chubby, dimpled child. When she consulted Themis, the goddess of Justice, to find out why Cupid was never any older, she was told that "Love cannot grow without Passion." This explanation was at first very mystifying; but later, when Anteros was born, Venus understood the meaning of the strange words. Cupid then developed into a tall slender youth who did not revert to his childish form except in his brother's absence, when he again became a rosy, mischievous child. Though grown larger in stature, the god of love still kept his gauzy wings, and always carried a bow and a quiver full of arrows. No mortal ever saw him, though many knew when he had come and gone; but should any one be touched by a shaft sent carelessly from Cupid's golden bow, he was henceforth a slave to the slender winged god who bore lightly in his hand so much of human happiness and misery. There was once a king who had three daughters whose beauty was famed far and wide; but the loveliness of the youngest was so great that people called her the goddess of Beauty and worshiped her with offerings of flowers. The maiden, Psyche, was troubled over all this adoration, and begged her followers to cease from their mad worship; for she knew that Venus would be sure to punish the one who usurped her title and received the homage due only to an immortal. The people continued, however, to call Psyche the goddess of beauty; and when Venus saw her own temple forsaken and her shrines ungarlanded, she was so incensed at the insult that she vowed to punish poor Psyche, who had been a most unwilling object of all this mistaken devotion. The goddess summoned her son Cupid to her presence and bade him go slay the maiden who had presumed to be her rival in beauty. Believing that his mother's anger was justified, Cupid was quite willing to kill the offending mortal with one of his poisoned arrows; and accordingly he went in search of Psyche, whom he found asleep in one of the rooms of her father's palace. It was night, and the moonlight shone through the open window, falling softly upon the couch where the maiden, unconscious of her doom, lay sleeping. One bright beam had lightly touched her forehead just as Cupid entered, and he saw with delight the loveliness that his mother had been eager to destroy. As he leaned nearer to the sleeping maiden one of his own arrows grazed his side, and all unknowingly he was wounded. Not wishing to harm the beauty that he was now beginning to love, Cupid softly left the room and went back to Olympus. When Venus found that her rival was not dead, and that Cupid refused to hurt a thing so fair, she began to persecute poor Psyche until life grew unbearable for the helpless maiden, and she determined to kill herself. So she stole secretly from the palace and climbed up a high mountain, where there was a ledge of rock overhanging a steep cliff. It was rather fearful to look down into the valley from the rocky ledge, and for a moment Psyche's heart failed her; but then she remembered the daily annoyances that Venus inflicted upon her, and she remembered also the words of the oracle which said that her future husband was to be "no mortal, but a monster whom neither gods nor men can resist." So, summoning all her courage, she threw herself over the cliff, expecting to be dashed to pieces upon the rocks below. But Cupid had been watching over her, ever since she began her weary journey up the mountain; and when he realized what she meant to do, he commanded Zephyrus to keep very near and to catch her lightly when she fell. So it was not upon the cruel rocks that Psyche's soft body lay, but in the friendly arms of the west wind who bore her to a distant island, where Cupid had already made preparations for her coming. On the thick grass in the midst of a beautiful garden, Zephyrus laid his slight burden; and when Psyche opened her eyes, she found herself unhurt, though bewildered by her strange journey through the air and by its unexpected ending. She rose from the grass and began to wander about the garden, wondering where she might be and what land lay beyond the blue water whose waves rolled lazily upon the beach that stretched away for miles at the foot of the garden. Then she strolled further inland among the flowers, and soon came to a beautiful palace whose doors were opened wide as if to welcome her. Timidly she entered the stately hall, and saw before her a richly-laden table and a chair placed in readiness for the coming guest. Soon she heard voices speaking to her gently, and they bade her eat and drink, for the feast was spread in her honor. Seeing no one, but reassured by the kindly voices, she ate of the food so generously provided. Then she went again into the garden, but left it soon and hurried down to the sea; for when evening came on, she began to be lonely, and the silence of the garden grew oppressive. On the beach she heard the sound of lapping water and felt herself a part of the life that beats forever in the restless changing sea. At night she sought the palace where the unseen servitors again ministered to her wants; and in the darkness, Cupid came to woo her. He did not reveal his name, but he told how he had rescued her from death and brought her to this island, that she might never again be persecuted by jealous Venus. Everything that she wished for would be hers for the mere asking, and the invisible attendants would always be on hand to do her bidding. He himself would ever be her loyal lover; and would come each night to cheer her solitude. The only thing that he asked in return was that she should never seek to know his name or try to see his face. Psyche listened to the words of Cupid, and was won by the soft pleading of his voice. She was content to stay on the unknown island, and to be with her unseen lover, whose name and face must remain forever a mystery. Many happy weeks passed, and Psyche never wished to leave her new home, for though she was often lonely as she walked each day in the rose-garden, she forgot the long hours of solitude when Cupid came at night to gladden her with his love and to tell her of his wanderings. As time went on Psyche began to wonder how things were faring at her father's palace; and she wished very much to see her sisters who must have long since believed her dead. Cupid had told her she might ask for anything that she wished save the two forbidden things, so she summoned the west wind and bade him bring her sisters to her. Zephyrus gladly obeyed, and soon Psyche saw her two sisters standing beside her, more astonished than she to find themselves there. For hours they talked together, and Psyche told them of her adventure on the mountain and how she had been rescued by the friendly west wind. She told them of her mysterious lover, of his riches and his great kindness, and regretted that she could not describe his appearance; but, she explained, this was impossible since she herself had never seen him. As the sisters listened to Psyche's story, their hearts were filled with bitter envy that she should be thus favored above all other maidens; and they planned to rob her of her happiness. They reminded her of the words of the oracle that she should marry a monster; and under the pretense of a loving interest in her welfare, they urged her to break her promise to her lover and to find out whether he was in truth a monster that was only waiting his time to devour her. Psyche at first scorned these malicious suggestions, but by and by they began to make an impression on her troubled mind, and she found herself ready to listen and to believe. Finally she agreed to carry out the plan that her sisters arranged, which was to secrete a sharp knife in her room and use it to kill the monster as he slept. When Zephyrus had taken the sisters back to their own home, and Psyche was once more alone, she felt ashamed of the promise that she had made them; but at the same time she could not forget the words of the oracle nor cast off the suspicions that now filled her mind. She was anxious, too, to see her lover's face and to be able to confront her sisters with the truth when they should taunt her again. So that night when Cupid was fast asleep, she rose softly, and by the light of a tiny lamp which she noiselessly lit, she groped for the knife with which she intended to slay the creature who--her sisters assured her--was so frightful that he dared not show his face. Cautiously she stepped to Cupid's side, and held over him the flickering lamp; but how astonished she was to behold--not an ugly monster as she had expected--but a slender youth whose beauty was so great that she felt her heart beat fast with joy. Breathless she gazed at the unconscious form, and dared not move for fear of waking him; but as she bent adoringly over him a drop of oil fell from her lamp on Cupid's shoulder, and he awoke. For a moment he stared with startled eyes at the knife and the lamp held in her trembling hands; then he understood the meaning of it all, and his beautiful face grew sad. In a voice full of pity he spoke to the now remorseful Psyche, and told her that, as she had broken her promise, he must go away from her and never come again. In vain Psyche wept and begged him to forgive her rash deed, confessing that it was her sisters who had tempted her to betray her trust. But Cupid gently freed himself from her clinging arms, and spreading his gauzy wings flew out into the night. Psyche, still weeping, went down into the garden, hoping that Love might relent and return in spite of his parting words; but as the hours passed she was still waiting alone, and when the morning came it found her fast asleep, lying wet-eyed among the dew-laden flowers. When at last Psyche awoke, it was midday; and looking around she found to her surprise that she was in a deep valley with mountains on all sides, and that the palace with its rose-garden had vanished. All day she wandered in the valley, meeting no one who might direct her to her home; and when at length she came to a stately marble temple, she was glad to enter it and rest. Though she did not know to whom the temple was dedicated, Psyche prayed to the gods for help; and Ceres, at whose altar she was kneeling, heard her, and in pity answered her prayers. She told the disheartened maiden that her lover was no other than Cupid, the god of Love, "whom neither gods nor man can resist," and that if she wished to gain favor in the eyes of his mother,--and thereby win her lover back,--she would do well to seek the temple of Venus and offer her services to the offended goddess. Psyche listened to these friendly words, and thanked Ceres for taking pity on her suffering. When she left the temple she walked many miles through the valley, until she came to a shrine on which were hung flowers, fruit, and jewels, which the suppliants of Venus had brought as votive offerings. Before this shrine Psyche knelt very humbly, and implored the goddess of Beauty to accept her service and set her some task by which she could prove her fidelity. Venus was still angry at the memory of Psyche's former honors, and she was not to be placated by any prayers, however sincere. She accepted the maiden's service, but determined to torment her by setting impossible tasks. She brought Psyche into a granary, where there were thousands of different kinds of seeds all thrown in bewildering and unsorted heaps. Pointing to these, the goddess bade her separate them all, and pile them together so that by nightfall each seed should be in its proper place. Poor Psyche was in despair at ever being able to tell one kind of seed from another; but Cupid, hearing her sighs, sent an army of ants who worked silently and swiftly at the enormous heap of seeds, and before twilight came the work was done. When Venus saw this almost impossible task accomplished, she knew that Psyche had never done the work unaided; so reproving her angrily for her incompetence, she gave the maiden another commission, which was to gather some golden fleece from the sheep that were browsing in a meadow not far from Venus's shrine. Next morning Psyche set about her task, but as she neared the river that must be crossed before she could reach the meadow, the kindly reeds on the water's edge spoke to her, and warned her of the danger of her undertaking. They told her that the rams in the flock were so fierce that they would surely destroy her if she ventured at this hour among them; but that if she waited until noontide, when they grew drowsy and lay down on the grass beside the river, then she could cross in safety, and gather the bits of golden fleece which she would find caught on the bushes. Psyche listened gratefully to this advice; and when the sun was high overhead, and the panting sheep were gathered by the river, lulled to sleep by the drowsy murmur of the reeds, she crossed the water fearlessly, and gathered an armful of golden fleece from the bushes among which the flock had wandered. That night she delivered her precious burden to Venus, who again reproved her angrily, knowing well that it was through Cupid's intervention that she had escaped the dangerous rams. Then the goddess gave her a third errand, and bade her go down to gruesome Hades to beg of Proserpina, Pluto's queen, a box of her magic ointment, which could restore all fading beauty to its former perfection. In the early morning Psyche set out on her journey, fearful of the dangers that lurked by the way, but eager to gain the favor of her hard-hearted mistress, so that she might thereby win her lover back. When she had walked many hours, not knowing where to find the entrance to remote and unsought Hades, a voice whispered softly in her ear, telling her of a certain cave through which she might enter the dreaded region of the dead. Then the voice directed her how to go unharmed past Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and how to persuade Charon, the silent ferryman, to row her across the black and swiftly-flowing river. Encouraged by this timely help, Psyche was able to secure the desired box, and to come safely out of that dark country from which only the gods are privileged to return. As she trod wearily up the valley back to the shrine of Venus, it occurred to her to take a little of the magic ointment for herself, for she knew that these days of waiting and working had dimmed the beauty that once charmed Cupid's eyes. So she opened the box and out sprang the invincible Spirit of Sleep, who seized upon poor unresisting Psyche and laid her, apparently lifeless, by the roadside. But Cupid was watching over his beloved through all the stages of her journey; and when he saw her unconscious on the ground, he flew quickly to her assistance, and fought with the masterful Spirit of Sleep until he conquered it, and compelled it to return to the box from which it had been set free. Then he roused Psyche from her sudden sleep and told her that her troubles were at an end, for henceforth he would always stay beside her. Together they went up to bright Olympus and stood before Jupiter's throne, where Cupid besought the gods to look with favor upon their love and to grant to Psyche the gift of immortal life. To this great Jupiter gladly consented; and Venus, who was now ready to forgive her one-time rival, welcomed her as the fitting wife of Cupid,--for Psyche is but another name for Soul, and the Soul, to find its true happiness, must dwell forever with Love. Chapter XIII Famous Lovers I. Echo and Narcissus Echo was a wood-nymph and a follower of Diana; and she had the one fault of wanting to talk all the time, especially if she found some one who was willing to listen. One day Juno went down in great haste to the earth, suspecting that Jupiter was spending too much time in the society of the nymphs; but before she had gone very far into the forest she met Echo and stopped to speak to her. Now Echo knew that the ruler of the gods was happily engaged with the nymphs, and would not be pleased at his wife's sudden appearance; so she began to talk rapidly to Juno, and to tell her such entertaining stories that the unsuspicious goddess waited to listen. While Echo was thus keeping the jealous queen from seeking for her husband, Jupiter--warned of her coming--left the nymphs and returned in haste to Olympus. When, later on, Juno learned that Echo had intentionally kept her listening so that Jupiter could make his retreat unseen, she was so angry with the officious nymph that she forbade her ever to speak again, except to repeat the last word of any conversation she might hear. Thus she could never more tell beguiling stories, or interfere in behalf of Jupiter. At first Echo was very miserable over this misfortune; but in spite of it she managed to spend her time happily in the forest, and to hunt with the other nymphs of Diana. One evening as she stopped at a brookside to drink, she met a handsome youth named Narcissus, and at once fell in love with him; but unfortunately she could not tell him of her affection except by languishing looks and sighs. Narcissus was not at all pleased by her evident interest in him, for many maidens had loved him, and he had turned coldly from their advances, preferring to roam the forest alone. Sometime later Narcissus was hunting with a companion, and, having rushed away in pursuit of a stag, he found that his friend was no longer in sight. He called to him, but no one answered except the devoted Echo who was always dogging his footsteps. When Narcissus called "Are you here?" Echo replied, "Here." "Come!" cried the youth, and Echo answered, "Come." Then she appeared before the young hunter and mutely begged for his love; but Narcissus scornfully turned from her, exclaiming, "You shall never have me." "Have me," cried the unhappy maiden; but her frank offer was repulsed, and the hard-hearted youth turned away. Echo made no further attempt to win his love, but went into the mountains to live out her sad life alone. No one ever saw her again, and in time she pined away and died; but her voice remained to whisper among the hills, and to give back the last word to any one who sought to call her. As for Narcissus, his scorn of love brought its just punishment, for Venus decreed that he should suffer even as poor Echo had done. One day when he was hunting in a remote part of the forest, he came upon a beautiful deep pool in which all objects were reflected as clearly as in a mirror. No wild things had ever come to drink of the cool stream; no feet of beasts had ever trampled the grass on its margin or muddied its pure waters; not even a floating leaf had ruffled its calm surface. When Narcissus knelt on the lush grass at the pool's edge and looked down into the clear water, he was surprised to see a beautiful face gazing up at him from the depth of the pool. He leaned nearer, and the face did not withdraw, but seemed to approach his own. Then he put out his arms to the water-nymph who, he believed, was returning his advances, and he was delighted to see two white arms stretched out as if to clasp him in their embrace. But as soon as he attempted to grasp them, there was only the cool water in his hands, and the nymph had vanished. When the surface of the pool had grown clear again, and Narcissus leaned anxiously over it to see what had become of this baffling maiden, there she was still, gazing at him with her beautiful eyes. Again and again Narcissus strove to embrace her, but she eluded his eager arms, and each time he clasped only the unsubstantial water. Maddened by these repeated defeats, he spoke reproachfully to the water-nymph, and asked her why she thus tormented him; but though the lovely mouth so near his own seemed to move as if framing words, no answer came to his appeal. Each day Narcissus sought the forest pool, and each day he found the nymph ready to return his smiles and fond looks, but always escaping from his touch. By and by he spent all his time beside her, and cared for nothing else than to gaze beseechingly into the lovely eyes that looked into his own with the same fever of longing. Absorbed in the adoration of this strange being who seemed so responsive to his passion and yet so unwilling to allow him near, he forgot to eat or sleep, and became only a wan shadow of his former self. The nymph, too, was pining away with hopeless love, for her face grew pale and thin, and the deep-shadowed eyes were full of sadness. Sometimes Narcissus slept from sheer exhaustion; but when the moonlight fell on the calm water, he would wake with a start and look anxiously to see whether the nymph was sharing his weary vigil. And always he found her waiting there in the cool depths of the pool. Finally he grew so sick with longing that he died of his hopeless love without ever knowing that it was no water-nymph whom he adored, but only his own reflection. The gods, believing that such devotion should not go unrecognized, changed him into a white flower which bears his name; and this is usually found blooming beside some clear lake or tiny crystal pool. II. Pyramus and Thisbe In far-off Babylon there dwelt a youth and maiden whose families lived in adjoining houses with a party-wall between the two estates. As the heads of these households were sworn enemies, in spite of their proximity, the wall was made so high that no one could climb over it, much less see what was on the other side. The maiden Thisbe, as she walked in her garden, often wondered who it was whose feet she could hear pacing up and down along the wall; and one day she was delighted to find a small crack in the masonry which enabled her to peep into the adjoining garden. About this time young Pyramus was planning some way to scale the wall, when he, too, discovered the same chink; and when he peered cautiously through it, he found to his great joy that there was a sweet-faced maiden standing near, who hastened to assure him that she did not share in the family feud. This acquaintance soon ripened into friendship, and Pyramus and Thisbe spent many hours standing patiently by the chink in the wall, which was the only way in which they could exchange confidences. Soon they grew dissatisfied with this meager allowance of space in which to see each other, for by this time they had become so much in love that the tender whispers breathed through the broken wall only made them long to be together without this cruel barrier between them. So they planned to steal away from their watchful parents on a certain night, and meet just outside the city walls at Ninus's tomb, where a great white mulberry tree would hide them in its protecting shadow. Accordingly, at the appointed hour, the trembling Thisbe wrapped herself closely in her veil and crept out of the house. Finding that she had come first to the trysting-place, she waited under the mulberry tree, and idly watched the moonlight shining on a broad pool that lay close to Ninus's tomb. Suddenly a lioness stole out of the bushes, her mouth bloody with the recent gorging of oxen, and slunk down to the pool to drink. Thisbe, terrified at the sight of the creature's dripping jaws, fled into a near-by cave for refuge; but in her fright she let fall her silken veil, and it dropped on the ground near the tree. The lioness having drunk her fill walked over to the tree and sniffed curiously at the bit of silk, then worried at it with her bloody teeth, as a dog plays with a rag. Just as the lioness departed, Pyramus came hurrying to the trysting-place, and seeing Thisbe's torn and blood-stained veil and the print of the lioness's feet on the ground, he was beside himself with remorse and horror. Being certain that his beloved had been torn to pieces by some wild beast, he cursed his own carelessness in letting her come first to a spot so full of dangers. Then he drew his sword, exclaiming that he no longer wished to live now that Thisbe was dead. He called upon the mulberry tree to bear witness to his oath of undying devotion, and then fell heroically upon his sword, uttering the name of Thisbe with his last breath. As his blood gushed out upon the ground at the foot of the tree, the earth absorbed it so quickly that the white fruit of the tree turned a deep purple, and its juice became like drops of crimson blood. All this time Thisbe was hiding safely in the cave, and when she at length ventured out, she gazed fearfully around to be sure that no lioness was lying in wait to devour her. When she reached the spot where she hoped to meet her lover, what was her terror and dismay to find him stretched dead upon the ground with her veil held close to his parted lips. Realizing what had happened, and that it was too late now to convince him of his terrible mistake, Thisbe knelt down beside him and vainly strove to bring him back to life. Finding this useless, she seized Pyramus's sword and plunged it into her heart determined to die with him. As she sank forward on her lover's lifeless body, she prayed the gods to have pity on her great love and to allow her to be buried in the same tomb with her beloved Pyramus. The gods heard her dying prayer and answered it by making the hard hearts of the parents relent so far that they consented to bury the lovers together. A costly tomb was erected over them as a fitting monument to these two unfortunates whom life so cruelly divided. III. Hero and Leander In the town of Sestus on the Hellespont lived a beautiful maiden named Hero, who was a priestess in the temple of Venus. Most of her time was spent in the service of the goddess; but when these hours of attendance were over, and she was free to leave the temple, Hero was glad to seek her own dwelling-place, which was a lonely tower on the cliffs overlooking the sea. Here the maiden loved to sit, watching the white-winged gulls as they skimmed over the waves, or listening to the breakers as they dashed angrily against the rocks at the foot of her tower. The beauty of Hero was famed throughout the country-side; and many a youth sought the temple of Venus at festival time under the pretext of honoring the goddess, but really to gaze upon the lovely young priestess. Among those most eager to see the maiden was Leander, a youth who lived in a town just across the Hellespont and within sight of Hero's tower. When he joined the solemn procession that came to do homage to Venus, he saw the beautiful priestess and determined to win her in spite of the many restrictions that forbade even an acquaintance with one dedicated to the temple. Ignoring the thought of the inevitable punishment that would be meted out to him if his rash presumption were known, Leander managed to find an opportunity to speak with Hero and to tell her of his love. At first she would not listen to his pleading; but at last she was won by the sincerity of his words, and consented to disregard her sacred vows by receiving him in her tower. Leander did not dare to visit her until nightfall; and as he would have to swim across the Hellespont in the darkness, Hero promised to put a light in her tower so that he might have some beacon to guide him as he breasted the uncertain sea. When night came and Leander stood impatiently on the shore, waiting for the promised signal, suddenly a torch blazed in the distance, and he knew that Hero was awaiting him in her lonely tower. He plunged fearlessly into the waves; and though the current was swift, he struck out boldly and was carried out of its dangerous grip. Now and then he looked up to where the light was still burning, and his heart beat fast with hope when he saw it grow larger and brighter as he neared the land. At last he reached the rocks at the foot of the tower and was soon standing beside the trembling Hero, who had feared each moment to see him sink beneath the waves. The lovers were so happy in being together that each night Leander swam across the treacherous sea, and Hero placed her torch in the tower to light him on his perilous journey. All summer they lived in this idyllic happiness, but when winter came with its storms and its icy hand, Hero feared for her lover's safety and begged him not to venture into the sea. Leander laughed however at her fears and continued to brave the narrow stretch of water that lay between his home and Hero's tower. The wind often beat him out of his path, and the icy water numbed his limbs; but he kept bravely on, with his eyes fixed on the welcoming light. One morning a fierce storm broke over the sea, and increased in fury through the day, so that by night the waves were lashing themselves madly against the rocks, and the wind beat the sea-gulls back to land. Hero dreaded the approach of that hour when Leander would start on his nightly journey, for she knew that he would not hesitate to risk his life in the maddened sea for the sake of being beside her. When the time came for her to light the torch, she did so reluctantly, hoping that Leander would not come. On the opposite shore stood the impatient lover, waiting for the accustomed signal, and when it blazed out into the night, he plunged boldly into the waves. But now the sea was too strong even for his experienced arms, and the huge waves tossed him about as though he were so much foam. The wind and rain beat upon his defenseless body, and the cold sea gripped him in its deadly embrace. He struggled bravely to make some headway, and called upon the gods for help; but his cries were drowned in the howling of the storm. His strength began to fail as he fought desperately with the current,--grown terrible in its swiftness,--but now and then he lifted his head weakly above the waves to see whether Hero's torch was still burning. Just as he was making a last heroic effort to reach the land, a sudden gust of wind blew out the light; and seeing this, Leander with a despairing cry, gave up his unequal battle and sank down into the sea. The next morning when Hero, anxious and fearful, stood on the rocks at the foot of the tower, she saw Leander's body, which had been tossed there in wanton cruelty by the waves. Unable to endure this sight, and not wishing to live any longer now that her lover had perished, Hero threw herself into the sea; and when the tardy fishermen came to launch their boats on the furious waves, they found the white-robed body of the young priestess lying dead beside her faithful Leander. IV. Pygmalion and Galatea Pygmalion, king of Cyprus, was a sworn bachelor, and had shunned the society of women for many years. He was also a famous sculptor, and spent all his leisure hours carving wonderful things out of marble and ivory. Though he would not deign to admire any living woman, he had lofty ideals of feminine beauty, and loved to carve statues whose perfection of form and exquisite grace surpassed any charms that could be claimed for a flesh-and-blood maiden. Once Pygmalion made a beautiful ivory statue that was such a marvel of loveliness that even the sculptor himself became enamored of it, and lavished upon it a devotion that was hardly consistent with his supposed indifference to love. This perfect creation he called Galatea, and he treated her with all the extravagant fondness that a lover bestows upon his mistress. He brought her presents of quaint seashells and delicately perfumed flowers, beads, pearls, and the rarest of jewels, and even gayly colored birds. Sometimes he hung a string of precious stones about her neck, and draped her white body in softest silks, treating her in every way as a maiden reluctant to be wooed. When the festival of Venus was being celebrated, Pygmalion joined in the procession and placed a rich offering on the goddess's shrine. As he did so he looked up toward high Olympus and prayed Venus to grant him a wife like his peerless Galatea. The goddess heard his prayer, and as the patroness of all true lovers, she inclined with favor to his wish; so when Pygmalion returned to his home and hastened into the presence of his adored statue, he was bewildered at the change that seemed to be coming over it. A beam of sunset light that was streaming in through the open window had touched the ivory coldness of the statue and warmed it with a rosy glow that made it look wonderfully soft and yielding. But this was not all, for as the astonished sculptor stood wondering at this unexpected answer to his prayer, the beautiful face of Galatea turned toward him, and the perfect lips parted as if to speak. Breathlessly Pygmalion watched the statue gradually warming into life, and when he was at last assured that it was no longer a piece of unresponsive ivory, but a breathing, blushing maiden, he knelt adoringly at her feet and besought her to be his queen. Chapter XIV The Story of Orpheus and Eurydice The deeds of the immortal gods were told and sung at every fireside in Greece; and among these hero-tales there was none more popular than the story of how Apollo built for Neptune the famous wall of Troy. Many musicians would have been glad to perform a similar service for the mere fame that it would bring them, but they feared that the attempt to imitate Apollo would only result in failure and ridicule. So no mortal ever presumed to say that he could make rocks and stones obedient to the spell of his music. There was, however, one musician, Amphion, king of Thebes, who was anxious to prove that his playing was equal to Apollo's, but knowing how unwise it was to vie with an immortal, he determined not to test his skill publicly, but to carry out his cherished plan at night, when men were dreaming in their beds. He was eager to build a high wall around Thebes, and to build it as Apollo did the wall of Troy; so when the sun set, and darkness crept over the earth, Amphion stood just outside the city gates and began to play on his lyre. Immediately the stones rose from the ground and moved rhythmically into their places in the wall, which soon rose strong and high--a firmer defense than any that could be built by men's hands. Another famous musician was Arion, who won not only praise for his great skill in playing, but also much wealth. Whenever a contest was held in which a prize of money was given, Arion was usually a competitor; and, as his music was really finer than that of most players, he easily won the reward. Once he was returning from a festival in Sicily whither many musicians had gone on account of the rich prize; and as he had come off victor, he was leaving the foreign shores well-laden with gold. Unfortunately he happened to embark on a ship owned by pirates who had heard of his great wealth, and were plotting to seize whatever part of it he had on board. As the easiest way to do this was to kill him, the pirates began to bind him with ropes that he might not be able to struggle when thrown over-board. Arion calmly accepted his fate, but begged the brutal crew to allow him to play once upon his lyre before going to his death. To this the pirates consented, and when the wonderful music filled the air, a school of dolphins swam toward the ship and kept close beside it, charmed by Arion's playing. Feeling sure that there was some magic in the music, the pirates hastened to throw the player and his lyre into the sea without waiting to bind him; but Arion did not drown as they had expected, for a friendly dolphin caught him on its back and swam with him to the shore, where he landed in safety. When in the course of time Arion died, the gods placed him, together with his lyre and the kindly dolphin, in the sky as constellations. The most famous of all musicians, except the one who played in the shining halls of Olympus, was Orpheus, son of Apollo and of the muse Calliope. When he was a mere child, his father gave him a lyre and taught him to play upon it; but Orpheus needed very little instruction, for as soon as he laid his hand upon the strings the wild beasts crept out of their lairs to crouch beside him; the trees on the mountain-side moved nearer so that they might listen; and the flowers sprang up in clusters all around him, unwilling to remain any longer asleep in the earth. When Orpheus sought in marriage the golden-haired Eurydice, there were other suitors for her hand, but though they brought rich gifts, gathered out of many lands, they could not win the maiden's love, and she turned from them to bestow her hand upon Orpheus who had no way to woo her but with his music. On the wedding day there was the usual mirth and feasting, but one event occurred that cast a gloom over the happiness of the newly-married pair. When Hymen, god of marriage, came with his torch to bless the nuptial feast, the light that should have burned clear and pure began to smoke ominously, as if predicting future disaster. This evil omen was fulfilled all too soon, for one day when Eurydice was walking in the meadow, she met the youth Aristæus, who was so charmed with her beauty that he insisted upon staying beside her to pour his ardent speeches into her unwilling ears. To escape from these troublesome attentions, Eurydice started to run away, and as she ran she stepped on a poisonous snake, which quickly turned and bit her. She had barely time to reach her home before the poison had done its work, and Orpheus heard the sad story from her dying lips. As soon as Mercury had led away the soul of Eurydice, the bereaved husband hastened to the shining halls of Olympus, and throwing himself down before Jupiter's golden throne, he implored that great ruler of gods and men to give him back his wife. There was always pity in the hearts of the gods for those who die in flowering time, so Jupiter gave permission to Orpheus to go down into Hades, and beg of Pluto the boon he craved. It was a steep and perilous journey to the kingdom of the dead, and the road was one that no mortal foot had ever trod; but through his love for Eurydice Orpheus forgot the dangers of the way, and when he spoke her name, the terrors of the darkness vanished. In his hand he held his lyre, and when he arrived at the gate of Hades, where the fierce three-headed dog Cerberus refused to let him pass, Orpheus stood still in the uncertain darkness and began to play. And as he played the snarling of the dog ceased and the noise of its harsh breathing grew faint. Then Orpheus went on his way undisturbed, but still he played softly on his lyre, and the sounds floated far into the dismal interior of Hades, where the souls of the condemned labor forever at their tasks. Tantalus heard the music, and ceased to strive for a drop of the forbidden water; Ixion rested a moment beside his ever-revolving wheel; and Sisyphus stood listening, while the rock which he must roll through all eternity fell from his wearied arms. The daughters of Danaüs laid down their urns beside the sieve into which they were forever pouring water, and as the mournful wailing of Orpheus's lyre told the story of his lost love, they wept then for a sorrow not their own. So plaintive, indeed, was the music, that all the shadowy forms that flitted endlessly by shed tears of sympathy for the player's grief, and even the cheeks of the Furies were wet. When Orpheus came before the throne of Pluto, that relentless monarch repulsed him angrily as he attempted to plead his cause, and commanded him to depart. Then the son of Apollo began to play upon his lyre, and through his music he told the story of his loss, and besought the ruler of these myriad souls to give him the single one he craved. So wonderfully did Orpheus play that the hard heart of Pluto was touched with pity, and he consented to restore Eurydice to her husband on condition that as they went out together from the loathed country of the dead he should not once turn his head to look upon her. To this strange decree Orpheus gladly promised obedience; so Eurydice was summoned from among the million shadow-shapes that throng the silent halls of death. Pluto told her the condition on which her freedom was to be won, and then bade her follow her husband. During all the wearisome journey back to earth, Orpheus never forgot the promise he had made, though he often longed to give just a hurried glance at the face of Eurydice to see whether it had lost its sadness. As they neared the spot where the first faint glimmerings of light filtered down into the impenetrable darkness, Orpheus thought he heard his wife calling, and he looked quickly around to find whether she was still following him. At that moment the slight form close behind him began to fade away, and a mournful voice--seemingly far in the distance--called to him a sad farewell. He knew that no second chance would be given him to win his wife from Pluto's hold, even if he could again charm the three-headed Cerberus or persuade Charon, the grim ferryman, to take him across the river. So he went forlornly back to earth and lived in a forest cave far from the companionship of men. At first there was only his lyre to share his solitude, but soon the forest creatures came to live beside him, and often sat listening to his music, looking exceedingly wise and sorrowful. Even in his sleepless hours, when he fancied he heard Eurydice calling, he was never quite alone, for the bat and owl and the things that love the darkness flitted about him, and he saw the glow-worms creep toward him out of the night-cold grass. One day a party of Bacchantes found him seated outside the cave, playing the mournful music that told of his lost love, and they bade him change the sad notes to something gay so that they might dance. But Orpheus was too wrapped up in his sorrow to play any strain of cheerful music, and he refused to do as they asked. The Bacchantes were half maddened by their festival days of drinking, and this refusal so enraged them that they fell upon the luckless musician and tore him to pieces. Then they threw his mangled body into the river, and as the head of Orpheus drifted down the stream, his lips murmured again and again "Eurydice," until the hills echoed the beloved name, and the rocks and trees and rivers repeated it in mournful chorus. Later on, the Muses gathered up his remains to give them honorable burial; and it is said that over Orpheus's grave the nightingale sings more sweetly than in any other spot in Greece. Chapter XV Mars and Vulcan I The three children of Jupiter and Juno were Hebe, Mars, and Vulcan. Hebe, goddess of youth, was cupbearer at the feasts of Olympus and poured from golden flagons the sparkling, ruby-tinted nectar. Many times were the brimming cups emptied and filled again, for the gods loved long draughts of the life-giving nectar that kept off all sickness and decay. No wine of earth's yielding ever appeared at these royal banquets, nor were there seen here the heaped-up platters of food such as mortals crave; for the gods ate only of the divine ambrosia which insured to them eternal youth and beauty. For so long a time had fair-haired Hebe served at the feasts of Olympus that the gods never thought that she could be deprived of her office; but once, as she was handing Jupiter a well-filled cup, she stumbled and fell, and the ruler of gods and men was so angry that he vowed that she should never again be cupbearer. Since no one among the gods was willing to fill this humble position, Jupiter was obliged to seek over the earth for some mortal to take the place of poor disgraced Hebe. To make the journey as speedily as possible he assumed the form of an eagle, and spent many days soaring over the land before he found the youth whose slender grace made him feel assured that its possessor would be able to serve the gods less awkwardly than Hebe. On the sunny slopes of Mount Ida he saw a group of youths playing games, and among them was one whom Jupiter determined to bear away at once to Olympus. This was Ganymede, a prince of Troy; and the fact that he was no common mortal, but a king's son, did not deter Jupiter from swooping down upon the astonished youth, and carrying him aloft on his wings. Whether Ganymede was happy in Olympus we do not know; but the story goes that he remained forever at Jupiter's side, and the city of Troy never saw him again, nor did the king his father ever know the reason for his strange disappearance. II Mars was the god of war; and though he was the least loved of all the deities in Olympus, he was the one most feared by the people of every land. As he was always a hater of peace, and would stir up strife among men for the mere delight of fighting and bloodshed, the poet Homer calls him "the slayer of men, one steeped in blood, the destroyer of walled towns." His shrines were never wreathed with flowers, nor were children often found among the people grouped about his altars. Instead of the yearling ox with gilded horns, men sacrificed a savage bull to the god who took no pleasure in the tame shedding of blood. Sometimes Bellona, goddess of war, accompanied Mars in his chariot to watch over his safety; and since she was equally eager to urge men on to bloody fighting, their appearance together on the battle-field brought terror to the bravest heart. Seldom were prayers addressed to these two deities, except those of vengeance upon enemies; and there was little hope of peace for the nation when men thronged the temples where Mars and Bellona were jointly worshiped. The fiercest passions were kindled at their shrines, and their altars were the only ones that were ever defiled by human sacrifices. Though so fierce in warfare, Mars was as susceptible to love as were all the immortals; for he was not only the chosen one of golden-haired Venus, but was also the devoted lover of the vestal Rhea Silvia. This maiden, being dedicated to the goddess Vesta, did not dare to listen to any words of love until her time of service in the temple was over; for the penalty of breaking her solemn vows would be the terrible one of being buried alive. But Mars was not to be denied; so at last the vestal yielded, but kept her marriage secret and continued to live in the temple until the birth of her twin sons Romulus and Remus. When her parents learned that she had failed to keep the sacred promise made at the altar fire of Vesta, they demanded that she should suffer the prescribed punishment. She was therefore taken at night into an underground room of the temple and inclosed in the wall which had been built to allow for just such a tragic event. As her children were declared outcasts, they were taken into the forest and left to perish by the teeth of wild beasts. Romulus and Remus did not die, however; for a she-wolf carried them to her lair and reared them with her own cubs. Later on they were found by a kindly shepherd who took care of them until they grew to manhood. Then they left him, and went out into the world to seek adventures, which soon ended in Romulus killing his brother Remus and himself becoming the founder of Rome. When this new city was well established, Mars was made its patron deity and protector; and before an army set out on any military campaign the leader would first go into the temple where the sacred shield--the Ancile--hung; and touching it fearfully would pray, "Oh, Mars, watch over us." This shield was carefully guarded in Rome, for upon it depended the safety of the city. It was a special token sent by the god of war to show that the people of Rome were under his protection; for once when a plague was raging among them and the dead were numbered by thousands, the Romans fled to the temple of Mars and begged him to help them. As they were praying, a shield fell from the skies into their midst, and a voice told them that as long as this--the sacred Ancile--was with them, no harm could come to Rome. That day the plague ceased, and ever afterward the shield was jealously guarded. To insure its safety, eleven other shields were made so like the Ancile that no one but the Salii, the priests of the temple, knew which it was. These were carried in the streets during the festivals in honor of Mars which were held in March--the month that bears his name; and as the priests bore aloft the shields they sang war-songs and performed rude war dances. Sometimes the shields were displayed on the broad grounds where the soldiers and youths of the city held their exercises. This place was dedicated to the god of war, and was called the Campus Martius, or Field of Mars. During the war between the gods and giants, Mars was so eager to prove his skill in warfare that he engaged in a fierce battle with Otus and Ephialtes. These two giants were only nine years old; but they were already of immense size, as they increased in height at the rate of nine inches every month. The young giants were very proud of having conquered the god of war, and carried him off the battle-field in triumph. They bound Mars with iron chains, and kept a careful guard over him so that none of the gods could set him free. Whenever Mars attempted to escape at night, believing that the giants were asleep, the rattle of the chains woke his guardians, and all hope of rescuing him was over. In this disgraceful bondage the unhappy Mars lingered for fifteen months until Mercury, the prince of thieves, unfastened the chains and restored the god to freedom. When Cadmus went on his search for his sister Europa, whom Jupiter, in the form of a white bull, had carried off to a distant land, the devoted brother was at last bidden to give up his hopeless quest, to settle in the country, later called Bœotia, and to found a city there. Cadmus was glad to rest after his long march, and he sent some of his men in search of a spring. When they did not come back, he sent others to look for them, and when these did not return, he went himself to see what had caused all this delay. He carried his sword in his hand, and also a long spear, for he guessed that some disaster had overtaken his men. He wandered some time before he discovered any trace of them, and then at the edge of a forest he came upon the lifeless body of one of those who had first set out to find the spring. As he went farther into the forest he found others of his men, all of them lifeless, and soon he came to a large cave, at the entrance of which bubbled a fountain of purest water. Not knowing that this was a grove sacred to Mars, and a fountain that had never been polluted by mortal touch, Cadmus stooped to drink, when suddenly, out of the deep shadows of the cave, rushed a huge dragon with crested head and glittering scales and a triple tongue vibrating between triple rows of teeth. This monster, twisting his body into a huge coil, darted toward Cadmus with gleaming fangs; but the young prince dealt his assailant a terrific blow that pierced the dragon in a vital spot, and it rolled over dead upon the floor of the cave. Then Cadmus heard a voice telling him to take out the dragon's teeth and to sow them in the ground where he wished to build his future city of Thebes. As soon as the teeth were sown, a crop of giants in glittering armor sprang up out of the ground, and when they were about to turn their spears upon Cadmus, he again heard the voice--this time bidding him throw a stone into the midst of the armed men. This caused a terrific battle to begin among the giants themselves, and soon they were all killed except five who laid down their weapons and offered their services to Cadmus. As a punishment for the desecration of his grove and the slaying of its sacred guardian, Mars compelled Cadmus to serve him for eight years. At the end of this time the prince was made ruler of the new city of Thebes, and Mars so far forgave the sacrilege of his grove as to give Cadmus his daughter Harmonia in marriage. The career of the new king was very prosperous at first, and Cadmus was supposed to have contributed a great boon to his people by the invention of the alphabet. Later on he incurred the wrath of the gods by forgetting to offer them suitable sacrifices, and both he and his wife Harmonia were changed into serpents. Just above the city of Athens was a hill called the Areopagus (from the Greek word meaning Mars Hill), which received its name from a famous trial that took place there. Neptune's son had carried off the daughter of Mars; and when the god of war learned of the abduction, he hurried after the daring youth and killed him. Then Neptune demanded that Mars should be punished for his deed of blood; and to decide the matter, both were summoned to appear before a court of justice, which was held on the hill above Athens. As it was the custom for all important cases to be tried at night, so that the judges might not be prejudiced by the favorable appearance of either party, the court assembled in the darkness, and Mars told the story of his daughter's capture and his own subsequent revenge. In spite of Neptune's objections to what he considered an unfair verdict, the judges decided in favor of Mars, and he was therefore acquitted. The hill was afterwards called by his name, and the judges of the principal court of justice were always termed areopagitæ. III Vulcan, god of fire and the forge, was not often seen in the halls of Olympus, for he knew that the gods despised him for his ungainly appearance, and he preferred to stay in his own sooty workshop. He had also no desire for the society of his divine parents, since his mother had never shown anything but indifference toward him, and his father had been the cause of his deformity. Jupiter was once so angry with Juno for interfering in his love affairs that he fastened her to the end of a strong chain, and hung her out of heaven. Vulcan, seeing his mother in this sad plight, dragged at the chain and finally succeeded in drawing Juno into safety. Full of wrath at this defiance of his wishes, Jupiter kicked his son out of heaven; and as the distance of the fall was so great, it was a whole day and night before Vulcan reached the earth. Had he been a mortal, there would have been nothing left to tell the story of his meteorlike descent; but being a god, he still lived and had only a slight deformity and lameness as the result of his fall. When he learned that Juno was so unconcerned over his fate that she had never even inquired whether he was badly hurt, he would not go back to Olympus, but shut himself up in the heart of Mount Etna, where he established a mighty forge that poured out fire and smoke for many years after. Vulcan did not forget about his mother's heartless indifference; but none of the gods suspected him of harboring any revenge, until one day a beautiful golden throne arrived in Olympus as a present to Juno from her son. The goddess admired the exquisite designs carved on its polished surface, and seated herself in it proudly. Now Vulcan had contrived to hide some springs in the interior of the throne, and these were so skillfully arranged that the moment a person was seated, the entire structure quickly contracted and held the occupant prisoner. So in a moment proud Juno found herself securely caught, and no assistance that the gods could render her was of the least avail. Then Jupiter sent Mercury to the grimy abode of Vulcan to beg politely that the god of fire would honor, with his presence, the feast that was that day to be held in Olympus; but Vulcan was not to be moved by any flattery, for he well knew why he was so much desired at this particular time. So Mercury returned alone to Olympus, and Jupiter was obliged to think of some other device for luring Vulcan from his forge. This time he sent Bacchus, god of wine; and when the scowling deity of Etna saw Bacchus's jolly red face and heard his hearty laugh, he welcomed the jovial visitor and drank freely of the wine that Bacchus poured. The roisterous god of revels, who dearly loved to see good wine flowing, beguiled Vulcan into taking draught after draught of the choice vintage that he had purposely brought, until the sullen master of the forge was unable to tell what was happening, and allowed himself to be led unresistingly to Olympus. Once there the gods persuaded him to release the repentant Juno, and to allow himself to be reinstated in Jupiter's favor. Though Vulcan grudgingly complied with these requests, he would not consent to live in Olympus, but returned to his workshop in Mount Etna. There he made many things out of gold and precious stones and gave them to the gods as an evidence that he no longer bore them any ill will. Their golden thrones were made by Vulcan's crafty hands, and the wonderful palaces, with all their costly furnishings, were the best result of his skill. He also forged Jupiter's thunderbolts and fashioned the weapons that the gods used in battle. He made Apollo's marvelous sun-chariot, and even deigned to use his skill in shaping the arrows that Cupid used in his golden bow. When Jupiter decreed that laughter-loving Venus should wed his misshapen son, Vulcan took his reluctant wife to the smoky workshop in Mount Etna, and for a while Venus was amused at the unusual sights and sounds that greeted her in her new home; but she soon wearied of the dirt and darkness, and left the society of her surly husband to return to Olympus, where there was plenty to delight her pleasure-loving soul. Chapter XVI The Story of Proserpina When Jupiter made himself ruler of the world, he imprisoned some of the warring giants under Mount Etna in Sicily, much to the disgust of Pluto, who was always fearing that when the giants got restless and turned over and over underground (thus causing earthquakes), they would some day make such a large crack in the earth that daylight would be let into Hades. So Pluto often went up out of his sunless land to look carefully over the island, and to be sure that no new fissure was being made in the earth's surface. One day, as he was driving his four coal-black horses through the vale of Enna, he saw a group of maidens gathering violets on the hillside; and among them was one so exquisitely fair that Pluto determined to take her for his wife. This was Proserpina, daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, a maiden who had ever shunned the thought of marriage and preferred to spend her life playing games, and dancing in the beautiful plain of Enna, where there is never any frost or snow, but springtime lasts through all the year. Pluto had often tried to gain a wife by gentle means, but no one would consent to share his grewsome home; so, knowing that this maiden he desired would never listen to soft words of love, he determined to take her by force. Driving his fiery horses at full speed, he rushed toward the group of laughing girls, who scattered and fled at his approach. Proserpina alone stood still, and stared, frightened and wondering, at the grim figure confronting her, while the flowers she had gathered dropped from her trembling hands. In a moment Pluto had seized her in his strong arms; and, trampling all her violets under his ruthless feet, he sprang into the chariot and urged his horses to their full speed, hoping to reach Hades before the maiden's cries brought Ceres to the rescue. As he neared the Cyane River the waters, wishing to befriend Proserpina, began to rise higher and higher, and with tossing waves opposed the madly-rushing steeds. Fearing to risk the chariot in the angry waters, Pluto struck the ground with his terrible two-pronged fork, and a great chasm opened before him, into which the ruler of Hades hurriedly plunged. Then the earth closed again over him and the captured maiden. During the dreadful moments when Proserpina felt herself held a prisoner in the arms of this bold wooer, she called wildly to her mother for help; but soon she realized that her cries would never reach Ceres's ears, and that she must find some other way to let the goddess know of her unhappy fate. So she summoned enough strength to struggle in her captor's embrace until she freed one arm from his hold, and with it loosened her girdle, which she flung into the Cyane River just before the yawning earth hid her so completely that no traces were left to tell where she had gone. When Ceres came that evening into the vale of Enna and found that her daughter was not playing as usual with the other maidens, she questioned them, and learned their tearful story of the chariot with its four black horses and terrible driver. Just what had become of Proserpina no one could tell her; so the distracted mother began her search, not knowing whether she might at any moment come upon her daughter's body mangled by the chariot wheels. For days and days she wandered, never stopping to rest except for a few hours at night when it was too dark for her to see her way. Rosy-fingered Aurora, when she left her soft couch to open the gates of the morning, and Hesperus, when he led out the stars at evening, saw her still searching for the lost Proserpina. Sometimes she was so weary that she sank down by the roadside and let the night-dew drench her aching limbs. Sometimes she rested under the trees when a storm broke over her head; but even here the rain beat down upon her, and the wind blew its cold breath in her face. Kindly people gave her food whenever she stopped to ask for it, and though none knew that she was a goddess, they sympathized with her grief when she told them that she was seeking her lost child. Only once did she meet with unkindness. She was sitting at a cottage door eating gruel from a bowl, and a lad--Stellio by name--laughed insolently at her enjoyment of the meal. To punish him for his rudeness the goddess threw some of the gruel in his face, and immediately he was changed into a lizard. One day Ceres found herself near the city of Eleusis, and to avoid being recognized as a goddess, she disguised herself as an old beggar woman. She sat for a long time on a stone by the roadside, mourning her lost Proserpina, until a little girl came by, driving some goats. Seeing the old woman's tearful face, the child stopped to ask her her trouble, but before Ceres could answer, the girl's father joined her and together they begged the stranger to come to their cottage and rest. The goddess yielded at last to their kindly insistence, and as she walked beside the old man, whose name was Celeus, he told her that at home he had a sick boy who had lately grown so ill that to-day they believed he would surely die. Ceres listened to his pathetic story, and for a moment forgot her own grief. Seeing a chance to return the old man's kindness, she followed him into the cottage; but first stopped by the meadow to gather a handful of poppies. When the parents led her to the sick child's bedside, she stooped and kissed the pale little face and immediately it became rosy with health. The boy sprang up well and strong again, to the great astonishment of his delighted family. As they sat at the simple evening meal, the goddess put some poppy-juice in the glass of milk set out for the boy; and that night, when he was in a heavy sleep, she rubbed his body with oil, murmured over him a solemn charm, and was about to lay him on the red-hot ashes in the fire--that his mortal parts might be consumed and he himself be made immortal--when his mother chanced to enter the room, and springing forward with a cry of horror, snatched the boy from the fire. Before the excited mother could vent her wrath on the old woman, Ceres assumed her goddess form and quietly reproved the intruder; for her interference had not averted a harm, but had prevented a great gift from being conferred upon the unconscious child. When Ceres left the cottage of Celeus, she continued her wanderings over the earth, and finally returned, discouraged and heartbroken, to Sicily. Chancing to be near the river Cyane, she went down to the water's edge to drink, and happily discovered the girdle that Proserpina had dropped there in her flight. This made her hopeful of finding further traces of her lost daughter, so she lingered by the river bank, eagerly scanning the overflowing stream. As she stood there holding the recovered girdle in her hand, she heard a low murmuring sound as if some one were speaking in whispers. The goddess listened, wondering from what place the voice came; and soon she found that the soft tones proceeded from a fountain which was so close to her that its lightly-tossed spray fell on her hand. The murmur was often indistinct, but Ceres understood enough to realize that the words were addressed to her, and that the fountain was trying to tell her how Pluto had come up from Hades and carried off Proserpina to be his wife. While the goddess was musing over this painful revelation, the fountain went on to say that it had not always been a stream in sunny Sicily, but was once a maiden named Arethusa and a native of the country of Elis. As a follower of Diana she had roamed the wooded hills; and one day, being wearied from the chase, she sought refreshment in the forest stream. The drooping willows hung protectingly over the water, and here the nymph bathed fearlessly, believing herself alone. But Alpheus, the river-god, heard the splashing of the water, and rose from his grassy bed to see who was disturbing his noon-day rest. At the sight of Arethusa he was so delighted that he ventured to approach her; but she fled terrified through the forest, calling on Diana for help. The goddess, hearing her cries, changed her into a fountain; and to further baffle the pursuing Alpheus, she wrapped it in a thick mist. As the river-god could no longer see the nymph, he was about to give up the chase, when Zephyrus maliciously blew away the cloud, and Alpheus saw the bubbling fountain. Suspecting that this was Arethusa, the god changed himself into a rushing torrent, and was preparing to mingle his impetuous waves with the waters of the fountain, when the nymph again called on Diana to protect her. The goddess came to her rescue by opening a crevice in the earth, and here the shivering waters of the fountain found a speedy refuge. To keep far out of the reach of Alpheus it continued to flow underground for many miles, and even crept beneath the sea until it reached Sicily, where Diana again cleft the earth and allowed the fountain to come up into the sunlight. During her journey through the dark underworld, Arethusa said that she had seen Proserpina sitting, tearful and sad, on a throne beside the grim ruler of the dead. When she heard this story, Ceres was no longer in doubt where her lost daughter could be found; but the knowledge gave her little comfort, for she was aware how useless it would be to ask Pluto to give up the wife he had so daringly won. Seeing no hope of regaining her child, Ceres retired to a cave in the hills, and paid no heed to the waiting earth that had suffered so long from her neglect. There was drought in the land, and the crops were failing for want of water. The fruit trees were drying up, and the flowers were withering on the parched hillsides. Everything cried out for the protecting care of Ceres; but the goddess stayed her hand, and in the solitude of the cave mourned unceasingly for Proserpina. Famine spread over the land, but the people, in spite of their dire need of food, burned sacrifices of sheep and oxen on the altars of Ceres, while they importuned her with their prayers. Jupiter heard their cries and besought the goddess to take the earth again under her wise care; but Ceres refused to listen, for she was indifferent now to the welfare of men, and no longer delighted in the ripening harvest. When sickness and death followed hard upon the famine, Jupiter saw that he must save the sorely-stricken land, so he promised the goddess that her daughter should be restored to her if she had eaten nothing during all her sojourn in Pluto's realm. Mercury was sent to lead Proserpina out of Hades; but when he reached there, he found that Pluto had already given his wife some pomegranate seeds, hoping that she would thereby stay forever in his keeping. Dismayed at this unexpected downfall of her hopes, Ceres was about to shut herself up again in the cave, when Jupiter, in behalf of the suffering earth, made a compromise with Pluto whereby Proserpina was to spend half her time with her mother in the land of sunshine and flowers, and the rest with her husband in cold and cheerless Hades. Each spring Mercury was sent to lead Proserpina up from the underworld lest her eyes, grown accustomed only to shadows, should be dazzled by the blinding sunlight, and she herself should lose the way. All things awaited her coming; and as soon as her foot touched the winter-saddened earth the flowers bloomed to delight her eyes, the grass sprang up to carpet her way with greenness, the birds sang to cheer her long-depressed spirit, and above her the sun shone brilliantly in the blue Sicilian sky. Ceres no longer mourned, nor did she again suffer a great famine to afflict the land. The patient old earth smiled again on Proserpina's return, for then her mother gave the blighted vegetation a redoubled care. But her happiness did not make the goddess forget the kindly old man who had given her food and shelter at Eleusis, for she returned there and taught the boy Triptolemus all the secrets of agriculture. She also gave him her chariot, and bade him journey everywhere, teaching the people how to plow and sow and reap, and care for their harvests. Triptolemus carried out all her instructions; and as he traveled over the country he was eagerly welcomed alike by prince and peasant until he came to Scythia, where the cruel King Lyncus would have killed him, in a fit of jealous wrath, had not Ceres interfered with timely aid and changed the treacherous monarch into a lynx. Chapter XVII Pluto and the Underworld In the beginning of the world, before the gods came to dwell in Olympus, all the universe was in the hands of the Titans; and among these the greatest was Saturn,--or Cronos,--who wedded his sister Rhea (also called Cybele) and became the father of three sons and three daughters, Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Ceres, Vesta, and Juno. For many ages Saturn and Rhea, having subdued all the opposing Titans, ruled over heaven and earth; but when the cruelty of Saturn drove his children into rebellion, there arose a mighty war in the universe, in which the sons and daughters of Saturn leagued against their father, who had called upon the other Titans for aid. After years of combat the six brothers and sisters, helped by the Cyclops, defeated the allied Titans and imprisoned them in the black abyss of Tartarus--all except a few who had not joined in the war against the children of Saturn. Among those who were wise enough to accept the new sovereignty were Mnemosyne (Memory) and Themis, goddess of justice. Those descendants of the Titans who refused to acknowledge the supremacy of Jupiter were consigned to the center of Mount Etna, and were the giants who constantly turned over and over, making Pluto fear for the safety of his realm. A few of the giants were spared: Atlas, whose punishment was to hold the heavens on his shoulders, and Prometheus and Epimetheus who had espoused the cause of Jupiter and so escaped the fate of the conquered Titans. When the children of Saturn found themselves masters of the world, they agreed to accept Jupiter as their ruler, on condition that the two other brothers be given a share in the universe. So a division was made whereby Pluto became king of the underworld--or Hades; Neptune took the dominion of the sea; and Jupiter, having married his sister, Juno, established his dwelling in Olympus as lord of heaven and earth. The kingdom of Pluto was dreaded by all mortals, and its ruler inspired men with great fear. Though Pluto was known to visit the earth from time to time, no one wished to see his face, and each man dreaded the moment when he should be obliged to appear before the grim monarch of Hades, and be assigned a place among the innumerable dead. No temples were dedicated to Pluto, though altars were sometimes erected on which men burned sacrifices to this inexorable god while petitioning him to be merciful to the souls of the departed. The festivals held in his honor were celebrated only once in a hundred years, and on these occasions none but black animals were killed for the sacrifice. The underworld, over which Pluto reigned, was deep in the heart of the earth; but there were several entrances to it, one being near Lake Avernus, where the mist rising from the waters was so foul that no bird could fly over it. The lake itself was in an extinct volcano near Vesuvius. It was very deep, and was surrounded by high banks covered with a thick forest. The first descent into Hades could be easily accomplished (facilis descensus Averno, says the poet Virgil); but no mortal was daring enough to venture far into the black depths, lest he should never again see the light of day. At the portals of Hades sits the fierce three-headed dog Cerberus, who keeps all living things from entering the gate, and allows no spirit that has once been admitted to pass out again. From here a long dark pathway leads deeper into Hades, and is finally lost in the rivers that flow around Pluto's throne. The waters of the river Cocytus are salt, as they are made of the tears that stream forever from the eyes of those unhappy souls who are condemned to labor in Tartarus--that part of Hades that is the exclusive abode of the wicked. The Phlegethon River, which is always on fire, separates Tartarus from the rest of Hades, and wretched indeed is the soul that is forced to cross its seething waters. On the banks of the Acheron, a black and turbid river, stand the souls who come fresh from the sunlit earth; for all must pass this river and be brought before the judgment-throne of Pluto. There is no bridge over the murky stream, and the current is so swift that the boldest swimmer would not trust himself to its treacherous waters. The only way to cross is by the leaky, worm-eaten boat rowed by Charon, an aged ferryman who has plied his oar ever since the day that the curse of death first came upon the earth. No spirit is allowed to enter the leaky craft until he has first paid Charon the fee of a small coin called the obolus. (During the funeral services, before the body is committed for burial, this coin is laid on the tongue of the dead, that the soul may have no trouble in passing to the throne of Pluto.) If any spirits cannot furnish the necessary money, they are ruthlessly pushed aside by the mercenary boatman and are required to wait a hundred years. At the end of this time Charon grudgingly ferries them over the river free of charge. As the unstable boat can hold but few, there is always an eager group of spirits on the further bank, clamoring to be taken across the river; but Charon is never in a hurry, and repulses, sometimes with his oar, the pitiful crowd that waits his grim pleasure. There is also in Hades the river Styx, by whose sacred waters the gods swear the most terrible of all oaths, and on the other side of Pluto's throne is the softly flowing Lethe, of which only those souls can drink who are to spend endless days of happiness in the Elysian Fields. As soon as those blessed spirits have tasted of the waters of Lethe, all regrets for friends that mourn completely vanish, and the joy and grief, and pleasure and pain of the soul's life on earth are forgotten. In the Elysian Fields there is no darkness such as fills the rest of Hades with its thick gloom; but a soft light spreads over the meadows where the spirits of the thrice-blessed wander. There are willows here, and stately silver poplars, and the "meads of Asphodel" breathe out a faint perfume from their pale flowers. "There do men lead easiest lives. No snow, no bitter cold, no beating rains are there." --BRYANT'S Odyssey, Book IV, line 722. The sighs and groans that rise by night and day from the black abyss of Tartarus do not reach the ears of those who dwell at peace in the Elysian Fields, and the sight of its painful torments is hid forever from their eyes. Beside Pluto's throne sit the three Fates (also called Parcæ), those deathless sisters who hold the threads of life and death in their hands. Clotho, the youngest, spins the thread; Lachesis, the second, twines into it the joys and sorrows, hopes and fears that make up human experience; and Atropos, the eldest sister, sits by with huge shears in her hand, waiting for the time when she may cut the slender thread. Pluto and his queen Proserpina are seated side by side on a sable throne, ruling over the myriad souls that compose the vast kingdom of the dead. Perched on the back of the throne is the blinking owl, who loves this eternal darkness, and the black-winged raven that was once a bird of snowy plumage and the favorite messenger of Apollo. The raven fell from his high estate on account of some unwelcome tidings that he once brought to Apollo when that god was an ardent lover of the fair-haired Coronis. Believing that no one could supplant him in the maiden's affections, Apollo was happy in the thought of being beloved by so beautiful a mortal; but one day his snow-white raven flew in haste to Olympus to tell him that the maiden was listening to the wooing of another lover. Enraged at this duplicity, Apollo seized his bow and shot the faithless Coronis; but the moment that he saw her lying dead, he repented of his rash deed and vainly sought to restore her to life. Though skilled in the art of healing, Apollo could not save the maiden; and in his frenzied grief he cursed the unfortunate raven that had brought the evil tidings, and banished it forever from his sight. "Then he turned upon the Raven, 'Wanton babbler! see thy fate! Messenger of mine no longer, Go to Hades with thy prate! 'Weary Pluto with thy tattle! Hither, monster, come not back; And--to match thy disposition-- Henceforth be thy plumage black.'" --SAXE. Near Pluto's throne are seated the three judges of Hades (Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Æacus) who question all souls that are brought across the river. When they have learned every detail of the newcomer's past life, they deliver the cowering spirit into the hands of Themis, the blindfolded goddess of justice, who weighs impartially the good and bad deeds in her unerring scales. If the good outweighs the evil, the soul is led gently to the Elysian Fields; but if the bad overbalances the good, then the wretched spirit is driven to Tartarus, there to suffer for all its wrongdoings in the fires that burn forever and ever behind the brazen gates. To these gates the guilty one is urged by the three Furies, whose snaky hair shakes hideously as they ply their lashes to goad the shrinking soul to its place of torment. Sometimes they are joined by Nemesis, goddess of revenge, who hurries the doomed spirit over the fiery waters of the Phlegethon with her merciless whip, and sees that it follows no path but the one leading to the brazen gates of Tartarus. As soon as the gates close on the newly-admitted soul, there is a renewed clamor of voices, while heart-breaking sighs and groans mingle with the curses of those who in their misery dare to defy the gods. And beneath all the awful sounds that greet the listener's ears, there is an undertone of pitiful wailing like the sea's "melancholy, long-withdrawing roar" that seems to come from millions of throats too feeble to utter a loud cry. The deepest sighs proceed from the Danaïdes,--the beautiful daughters of Danaüs, king of Argos,--who must forever strive to fill a bottomless cask with water. They form a sad procession as, with their urns on their arms, they go down to the stream to begin their hopeless task, and then climb wearily up the steep bank to pour the water into the ever-empty cask. If they pause a moment, exhausted with fatigue, the whips of some avenging attendants of Pluto lash them again into action. Their punishment is severe, but the crime for which they are suffering was a dreadful one. The fifty daughters of Danaüs were once pledged in marriage to the fifty sons of Ægyptus, brother of Danaüs; but when the wedding was being celebrated, their father remembered the words of an ancient prophecy that said that he would die by the hand of his son-in-law. Fearing for his life, he confided to his daughters what the oracle had foretold, and gave them each a dagger, bidding them slay their husbands. On the evening of the wedding, when the sons of Ægyptus were heavy with wine, the new-made wives stole in upon them and killed them as they slept. Danaüs then believed himself safe, until he learned that one of his daughters had spared her husband out of love for him. This son-in-law was eager to avenge his brothers' murder, and having sought out the wicked Danaüs, fulfilled the prophecy by killing the king with the very dagger intended for his own death. The gods punished the cruel daughters--except Hypermnestra, who had saved her husband--by condemning them to labor in Tartarus at their impossible task. Near the Danaïdes stands Tantalus, the father of Niobe, who on earth was a most inhuman and brutal king. He ill-treated his subjects, defied the gods, and dared to make his own will the religion of his kingdom. He boasted that the gods were not so omniscient as people were led to believe; and insulted the immortals by offering them at a banquet the flesh of his own son Pelops, believing that they would never learn the truth of this loathsome feast. But the gods were not deceived, and left the meal untouched,--all except poor Ceres, who, still mourning over her daughter's detention in Hades, did not realize what was happening and bit off some of the lad's shoulder. When the gods restored Pelops to life, Ceres was very sorry for her carelessness and gave him a shoulder of ivory. The inhuman Tantalus was condemned to the torments of Tartarus, where he stands up to his chin in a clear stream. Though frenzied with thirst he can never drink of the water, for whenever he bends his head the stream recedes from his parched lips. Above him hangs a branch of delicious fruit; but when, tormented with hunger, he strives to grasp it, the branch eludes his eager fingers. Thus he stays, always "tantalized" by the sight of food and drink he never can secure. Not far from Tantalus is Salmoneus, also a king, who dared to challenge the gods by impersonating Jupiter. He made a huge bridge of brass, and drove heavily over it while he threw lighted torches among the people who were waiting below, hoping thus to frighten them into believing that he was the very ruler of the heavens who hurls the mighty thunderbolts. This insult to his divinity so angered Jupiter that he seized a real thunderbolt and soon dispatched the arrogant king. When Salmoneus came before the throne of Pluto, his fate was quickly decided, and he was driven to terrible Tartarus, where he sits under a huge rock that threatens every moment to fall and crush him beneath its weight. Another unhappy king is Sisyphus, who, when ruler of Corinth, became a famous robber, and in the pride of his great wealth dared to set the gods at naught. Therefore he was consigned to Tartarus, and his punishment is to roll an immense stone to the top of a steep hill. As soon as he reaches the summit, the rock slips from his aching arms and tumbles to the foot of the hill, and he must at once start on the hopeless task of pushing it up the long ascent again. "With many a weary step, and many a groan, Up the high hill he heaves a huge round stone." --HOMER--Pope's translation. Beyond Sisyphus lies Tityus, a giant whose huge body covers nine acres of ground. He was condemned to the blackness of Tartarus because he dared to affront a goddess with his addresses, and so was doomed to suffer, like Prometheus, by being chained to a rock, while a vulture tears at his liver. Near him is Ixion, who was promised the hand of a certain maiden in marriage, on condition that he would give her father a large sum of money. Ixion agreed, but when the maiden became his wife, he refused to give the stipulated sum, in spite of her father's clamorous demands. At length, wearied by the old man's insistence, Ixion slew him; but the deed did not go unpunished, for the gods summoned him to appear before them and answer for his cruelty. Ixion pleaded his cause so well that Jupiter was about to dismiss him, when he saw the presumptuous mortal making love to Juno. This offense could not be overlooked, so Ixion was sent to Tartarus, where he was bound to an ever-revolving wheel of fire. If any one could follow the course of the gentle Lethe River, it would lead beyond the sunless realm of Pluto to a quiet and far-distant valley, where, in a soundless cave, live Somnus, the god of sleep, and his twin brother Mors, god of death. "Here the sun, whether rising or in his mid course, or setting, can never come; and fogs, mingled with the dimness, form a strange twilight. No wakeful bird calls forth the morn, nor do watchful dogs disturb the brooding silence. No sound of wild beast or cattle, nor any noise of creaking bough, nor human voice, breaks in upon the perfect stillness, where mute Rest has her abode. Before the cave bloom abundant poppies and other sleep-producing herbs, which Night gathers, that she may distil their juice and scatter slumbers on the darkened earth. Within the cave is no door that could creak on rusty hinges, and no porter stands at the entrance of that inner room where, on a downy couch made of black ebony and draped with sable curtains, over which black plumes wave, lies Somnus, the god of sleep,--Sleep, the repose of all things, gentlest of the deities from whom all care flies, the peace of mind who can sooth the hearts of men wearied with the toils of the day, and can refit them for labor." Near Somnus sits Morpheus, one of his many sons, who watches over his slumbers and sees that no one shall break in upon his sleep. This god holds a vase in one hand, and with the other he shakes the nodding poppies that bring drowsiness and sleep. Sometimes he assumes varied forms in which he appears to men at night, and always he flies through the darkness with wings that make no noise. Around the couch of Somnus hover shadowy forms, the Dreams, which are as numerous as the forest leaves or the sands upon the seashore. In a distant corner of the room lurk the horrid Nightmares, which creep out of the cave to visit sleeping mortals, but are never led to earth by Mercury, as are the welcomed Dreams. Two gates lead out of the valley of sleep, one of horn and one of ivory. "Of dreams, O stranger, some are meaningless And idle, and can never be fulfilled. Two portals are there for their shadowy shapes, Of ivory one, and one of horn. The dreams That come through the carved ivory deceive With promises that never are made good; But those which pass the doors of polished horn, And are beheld of men, are ever true." --BRYANT'S Homer's Odyssey, Book XIX, line 679. "Sunt geminæ Somni portæ, quarumaltera fertur Cornea, qua veris facilis datur exitus Umbris; Altera candenti perfecta nitens elephanto, Sed falsa ad cælum mittunt insomnia Manes."--VIRGIL, Æneid, Book VI, line 893. Mors, god of death, occupies one of the rooms in the cave of sleep. He is a fearful-looking deity, cadaverous as a skeleton, and wrapped in a winding sheet. He holds an hourglass in one hand, and a sharp scythe in the other; and stands watching the sand run out of his glass that he may know when a human life is nearing its end. Then, as the last grains fall, he glides from the valley of sleep and stalks silently and unseen upon the earth, where he cuts down the unhappy mortal, who cannot even hear the rustle of his garments as he approaches. It is nothing to him whether the life he takes belongs to childhood or youth, for he mows them down as relentlessly as he does tottering old age. And to the rich he is as unsparing as to the poor. "Pallida Mors æquo pulsat pede pauperum tabernas regumque turres."--HORACE, Carminum, Book I, § IV, line 13. The divinities who dwelt in the Cave of Sleep were distrusted by the ancients, and Mors was held in universal dread. No homage was ever offered to him, and no temples were dedicated in his honor; though sacrifices were sometimes made to ward off his dreaded coming. He was never represented in art except in a pleasing aspect, for although they believed him to have in reality the fearful appearance that tradition ascribed to him, yet the beauty-loving Greeks refused to have this kind of horror embodied in marble. So when Death appears in sculpture, it is usually with his brother Sleep, and both are represented as sleeping youths, whose heads are crowned with poppies or amaranths, and who hold inverted torches in their listless hands. Chapter XVIII Neptune and the Sea-Gods I In the days when the Titans ruled the universe, Oceanus, with his wife Tethys, controlled all the lakes, rivers, and seas; but when the Titans were overthrown, Neptune took possession of this great kingdom, and old Oceanus reluctantly gave up his dominion over the waters of the earth. Though anxious to assert his supreme authority, Neptune allowed some of the descendants of the Titans to keep their small kingdoms, on condition that they own allegiance to him as their ruler. Among these was Nereus, son of Oceanus, who was celebrated for his vast knowledge, his gift of prophecy, and his love of truth and justice. He and his wife Doris (also a child of Oceanus) had fifty daughters called Nereids, and they were so beautiful that Neptune chose one of them, named Amphitrite, for his wife. There were two others of the Nereids who became famous: Galatea, beloved by the Cyclops Polyphemus, and Thetis, the mother of Achilles; but none of them equaled Amphitrite in beauty. When Neptune first went wooing the Nereid, she was frightened by his formidable appearance, for he drove in a chariot drawn by huge sea-horses with brazen hoofs and golden manes; and the god himself carried his terrible trident, or three-pronged spear, with which he shatters rocks, and commands the storms, and shakes the shores of earth. None knew better than Amphitrite the extent of Neptune's power, for she had often watched him, when a storm was at its height, raise his all-compelling trident, and immediately the waves would cease raging and there would be a great calm. Sometimes she saw a ship, doomed by the sea-god to disaster, gliding confidently in quiet waters, when all at once a fierce storm would break over its head; and the hapless sailors, as they breasted the angry waves, would pray vainly to Neptune for the help that would never come. Many a good ship had nearly gained her port when "He spake and round about him called the clouds And roused the ocean--wielding in his hand The trident--summoned all the hurricanes Of all the winds, and covered earth and sky At once with mists, while from above the night Fell suddenly." Odyssey, Book V, line 348, Bryant's trans. When Amphitrite saw this imposing-looking god driving toward her, she was frightened by so much splendor, though she could not help admiring Neptune himself with his sea-green beard, and his long flowing hair crowned with shells and seaweed. Since the enamored god could never come near enough to plead his suit, he sent one of his dolphins to do the wooing; and this was so successful that the fair Nereid was persuaded to become Neptune's wife, and share his golden throne in the heart of the sea. To reward the dolphin for its skill in having won for him his much-desired bride, Neptune placed it in the sky, where it forms a well-known constellation. Though Neptune had undisputed control over all the waters of the earth, and over all that moves through the paths of the sea, he once aspired to greater power, and even plotted to dethrone Jupiter. But the ruler of gods and men discovered his wicked plans, and to punish him deprived him of his kingdom for some years, during which time he was obliged to submit to the humiliation of serving Laomedon, king of Troy. It was while he was in service here that he sought Apollo's help in building the wall of Troy, whose stones fell into place under the spell of the sun-god's music. Laomedon had promised Neptune a large reward if the wall was built within a certain time; but when it was finished, he refused to pay the sum agreed upon. Though angered at this treachery, Neptune had to endure the king's injustice until his years of service were over; but as soon as he was restored to his former power, he created a terrible sea-monster, which spread terror and death over all the land. Not knowing how to meet this calamity, the Trojans consulted an oracle, and were advised to sacrifice to the monster a beautiful maiden each year; and so prevent the wrath of Neptune from overwhelming the whole country in disaster. Reluctantly the sorrowing people prepared to obey the oracle; and a victim was chosen by lot, and led by the priest to a large rock on the seashore, where she was securely chained. Then the hideous sea-beast glided out of its cave in the slimy rocks and devoured her. Each year this terrible ceremony was repeated, and at last the lot fell upon Hesione, the king's only daughter. Laomedon tried in vain to save her, but the lot was cast, and nothing could avert the appointed sacrifice. In despair, the wretched father saw the fatal hour approaching; and when the day drew near when Hesione was to be led down to the sea, he forgot his avarice and proclaimed throughout the land that a great reward would be given to any one who could slay the monster. Hercules appeared just in time to save the doomed maiden, and killed the monster with his oaken club as it was dragging Hesione into its cave. The king was overjoyed at his daughter's rescue, and told Hercules that he might claim the reward; but even when he saw the hero come with the beast's head as a proof that he had slain it, he refused to part with his much-loved gold. So Hercules returned home, but he did not forget Laomedon's perfidy; and when later on he came again to Troy, he killed the king and took his children captive to Greece. Neptune, like all the immortals, loved more than once; and among those who shared his affections was a maiden named Theophane, who had so many suitors that it kept the jealous sea-god in constant fear lest she should prefer some earthly lover. So he took her to the island of Crumissa, and there changed her into a sheep, while he carried on his wooing in the form of a ram. The offspring of this marriage was the famous golden-fleeced ram, whose pelt was the object of that ill-fated expedition made by Jason and his fellow Argonauts. Neptune also loved the goddess Ceres, and followed her during the long time that she spent in search of her daughter Proserpina. Ceres was angered by the sea-god's persistent wooing, and hoping to escape from him, she took the form of a mare; but Neptune was not so easily discouraged, for he changed himself into a horse and contentedly trotted after her. The child of this strange pair was Arion, a wonderful winged steed that had the power of speech, and was of such incredible swiftness that nothing could ever equal it in speed. The most famous children of Neptune and Amphitrite were Triton and Proteus. Triton was his father's trumpeter, and at Neptune's command he blew upon his conch-shell to calm the restless sea. His body was half man and half fish, and he gave the name of Tritons to all his male descendants, who, with the Nereids and Oceanides (daughters of Oceanus), followed the chariot of Neptune when he went abroad to view his kingdom. Proteus had charge of the great flock of sea-calves which fed on the soft seaweed and basked in the warm sands near his cave. He was celebrated for his wisdom and for the truth of the answers that he gave to those fortunate enough to make him speak. Homer calls him "the Ancient of the Deep whose words are ever true"; but his knowledge was not easy to obtain, for he had the extraordinary power of assuming any shape he pleased, and only those mortals gained his advice who persistently clung to him through his many bewildering changes. "When the climbing sun has reached The middle heaven, the Ancient of the Deep, Who ne'er deceives, emerges from the waves, And, covered with the dark scum of the sea, Walks forth, and in a cavern vault lies down. The sea-calves from the hoary ocean throng, Rank with the bitter odor of the brine, And slumber near him. Then ye must exert Your utmost strength to hold him there, although He strive and struggle to escape your hands; For he will try all stratagems, and take The form of every reptile on the earth, And turn to water and to raging flame. But hold him fast, until the aged seer Is wearied out in spite of all his wiles, Then question him." --BRYANT'S Homer's Odyssey, Book IV, line 518. II Aristæus was the son of Apollo, and the water-nymph, Cyrene. Beside tending his flocks and herds, he took care of the olive trees and vineyards, and was a famous keeper of bees. He was very proud of his hives, and the swarm of bees increased each year under the guidance of his skillful hands; but one day he found hundreds of the bees lying lifeless beside the hives, and on the morrow there were still more among the dead. Not knowing how to account for this disaster, Aristæus hurried to his mother to ask her help in saving the few bees that remained. Cyrene lived under a mountain stream; and, hearing that her son wished to speak to her, she commanded the river to divide and form a wall on either side, so that Aristæus might walk in dry places. When the youth told her of the tragedy befalling his hives, she could not help him, but bade him go to old Proteus, for he alone could tell what the trouble was and find a remedy. She warned Aristæus of the difficulty in holding the Ancient of the Deep when he tried to bewilder and terrify the stranger by rapidly assuming different forms; and she bade him remember that he must keep the sea-god fast bound if he would receive the wished-for answers. Then she led him to the cave of Proteus and hid him there, exhorting him to be bold and fearless. At noon the Wizard of the Deep came up out of the sea, followed by his herd of sea-calves; and while they lay stretched out on the warm sands, the god sought the retreat of his cave and soon was in a deep slumber. When Aristæus saw Proteus fast asleep, he stepped cautiously up to him and bound him with strong fetters. The god woke with a start, and tried to shake himself free of his chains; but on finding that he was a prisoner, he resorted to all the trickery that he could command. He became a fire, a flood, a wild beast, a horrible serpent, and many other forms calculated to terrify the beholder. But Aristæus was not afraid, and soon the old wizard realized that he must submit; so he assumed his own shape, and asked the youth what it was that he wished to know. The son of Cyrene told him of the death of his bees, and begged for some remedy. Then Proteus reminded him of how he had been the real cause of Eurydice's death, by making her flee from him in such haste that she did not see the snake at her feet. The wood-nymphs, who were Eurydice's companions, had therefore wished to punish Aristæus, and had sent this destruction to his hives. It was necessary to appease the wrath of the nymphs; and to do this Proteus bade the youth build four altars, and sacrifice on them four bulls and four cows of perfect form and size. This burnt-offering was to placate the nymphs, and when it was made, he must pay funeral honors to Orpheus and Eurydice to pacify their anger against him. At the end of nine days he was to return to the grove where he had made the sacrifices. Aristæus thanked the Ancient of the Deep for his wise words, and after releasing him from the fetters, hurried away to do as Proteus had advised. The sacrifices were made, and suitable honors paid to the dead; and then, after waiting impatiently for nine days, Aristæus went back to the grove. To his great joy he found that a swarm of bees had taken possession of the carcasses, and that he was now the owner of a much larger number than he had ever had before. III One of the many sea-gods who ruled under Neptune was Glaucus, who was once a poor fisherman, and earned his living by selling the fish that he caught each day. One morning he had an extra large haul; and when he threw the fish on the ground beside him, he noticed that they were eagerly nibbling the grass that grew very thickly in the spot where he had flung his net. As he stood watching them, the fish suddenly leaped up from the ground; and having flopped back into the water, swam away. Curious to see whether it was the grass that gave them this extraordinary power, Glaucus chewed a bit of it himself, and immediately he felt an irresistible desire to plunge into the sea. Fearlessly he dived beneath the waves, and soon found no difficulty in keeping under water, for the ocean seemed now to be his native element. He saw his beard turning a lovely sea-green; and he found that his hair, grown suddenly long and green, was trailing out behind him. His arms were azure-colored, and his legs became a fish's tail; but he felt no regrets over losing his human form, and stayed contentedly in the ocean. In time Neptune made him one of the lesser gods, and took him into the friendly fraternity of the sea. As Glaucus was swimming one day near the shore, he saw a beautiful maiden named Scylla; and fell so much in love with her that he forgot he was half fish, and begged her to be his wife. Scylla stared at his green hair and blue skin, but this did not frighten her, nor did she wonder at his fish's tail; for she had often played with the sea-nymphs, and was accustomed to their strange appearance. Glaucus felt encouraged by her behavior, and begged her to listen to the story of his life. He told her how he had suffered a sea change, and now occupied the lofty position of a god. The maiden was interested in this recital, but she had no desire to marry a merman, even if he were a god; so when Glaucus ventured to come nearer to her, she turned and fled. Discouraged but still determined, the young god sought the aid of the enchantress Circe, and begged her to give him some love-potion by which he might win the unwilling Scylla. Circe was so well pleased with the handsome sea-god that she urged him to accept her love, and forget the maiden who scorned him; but Glaucus would not yield to the persuasions of the enchantress, and kept pleading for the desired love-potion. Seeing that she could not gain his affections, Circe determined that at least no one else should enjoy his love; so she refused to make the potion, and sent Glaucus angrily away. When she saw him go sorrowfully from her palace, she mixed a magic liquid, brewed from poisonous plants and deadly weeds, and this she poured over the waters where Scylla was wont to bathe. The maiden, suspecting no treachery, sought the ocean at her accustomed hour, and as soon as the poisoned waves touched her body she became a horrible monster with six heads--each having three rows of sharp teeth. She saw all around her serpents and barking dogs that were part of her own body, which had suddenly become rooted to the spot where she stood. She never regained her human form, but stayed in this place forever to terrify all mariners, and to devour the hapless sailors that came within her reach. Opposite her was the den of Charybdis, who three times a day swallowed the waters of the sea, and three times threw them up again. On the rock above the den was an immense fir-tree, and all ships that passed that way watched eagerly for this signal of danger, and prayed that they might safely steer between the double horrors of Scylla and Charybdis. "There Scylla dwells, And fills the air with fearful yells; her voice The cry of whelps just littered, but herself A frightful prodigy--a sight which none Would care to look on, though he were a god. Twelve feet are hers, all shapeless, six long necks, A hideous head on each, and triple rows Of teeth, close set and many, threatening death. And forth from the dark gulf her heads are thrust, To look abroad upon the rocks for prey,-- .... No mariner can boast That he has passed by Scylla with a crew Unharmed." --BRYANT'S Homer's Odyssey, Book XII, line 100. IV Two other minor deities of the sea were Leucothea and Palæmon. They were not born of the ocean-nymphs or any water-god, but were once mortals, named Ino and Melicertes. Ino was the wife of King Athamas, whom cruel Juno goaded into madness; and through fear of him Ino fled from the palace with her little son, Melicertes, in her arms. She hoped to reach some place of safety; but imagining herself pursued, in her frenzy she plunged from a cliff's edge into the sea. Neither she nor her son perished, however, for the gods, in pity for her sufferings, changed them both into ocean deities under the names of Leucothea and Palæmon. They were widely worshiped by all who had business in great waters, and their protection was invoked against the danger of shipwreck. A famous altar to Palæmon was built on the shores of Corinth, and in his honor were instituted the celebrated Isthmian games. V Neptune was not only willing to befriend a goddess in distress, as he did when he raised the island out of the sea for Latona, but was equally ready to assist mortals--especially in their love affairs. Once he lent his chariot to a youth named Idas when he wished to elope with the maiden Marpessa, whose father had refused to allow the lovers to wed. They were overjoyed at Neptune's kindly offer of assistance; and on the day arranged for their flight, the happy pair mounted the chariot, and the swift steeds carried them far out of reach of Marpessa's angry father. When he discovered that his daughter had eloped with her lover, he started in pursuit; but finding it impossible to overtake Neptune's splendid horses, he flew into such a rage that he flung himself into a river and drowned. (The river was afterwards called by his name--Evenus.) Knowing themselves out of reach of the irate father, the lovers continued their journey very happily, and believed that no misfortune could overtake them, when suddenly Apollo appeared before them, and, declaring himself in love with Marpessa, offered to fight Idas then and there for the possession of the maiden. Poor Idas felt that his chances for happiness were indeed ended, for how could a mortal contend with an omnipotent god? Suddenly a thunderbolt fell from the blue sky, and a voice declared that Marpessa herself should choose between her two suitors. The maiden looked at the glorious sun-god, and her heart beat fast at the thought of being loved by one so beautiful and young; but when she turned to Idas, she remembered that he was a mortal like herself, who would grow old as she grew old, and would, therefore, not cast her aside when her youthful charm was gone, as Apollo would be sure to do as soon as her beauty waned. So she held out her hand to Idas, and refused the sun-god's love. This choice was approved by Jupiter, and the lovers, happy once more, urged Neptune's swift horses over the mirror-like sea, which the kindly god had made calm as a forest pool on the softest summer day. In time they reached a pleasant land far from their native country, and here they lived happily ever afterward. The chariot, no longer needed, was sent back to Neptune with many thanks for his timely aid; and each year Idas and Marpessa burned as sacrifices to their protector a white bull, a white ram, and a white boar, which was the kind of offering most pleasing to Neptune. Chapter XIX Bacchus Among all the maidens whom Jupiter honored with his love, none was more beautiful than Semele, daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. Cadmus was the brother of Europa, whom Jupiter, in the form of a white bull, carried on his back across the sea. The maiden's three brothers had been with her in the meadow, and had witnessed her strange departure, but knowing that it would be useless to attempt to catch the fleet animal, they hurried to their father, Agenor, and told him of the manner in which his favorite daughter had been spirited away. The old man was frenzied with grief, and bade his three sons to go in search of Europa and not return until they had found her. The youths set out, accompanied by their mother, Telephassa, and spent many weary days in a fruitless search for the stolen maiden. At last Phœnix refused to go any farther, and, not daring to return to his father, he remained in a land that was afterwards called in his honor--Phœnicia. Cilix, the second brother, grew weary of the hopeless quest and settled in a country named from him--Cilicia; and finally Telephassa, exhausted by fatigue and grief, died, and Cadmus was left to continue the search alone. He kept doggedly on for many days, and when he reached the town of Delphi, he consulted the oracle, hoping to find some clew to help him. To his surprise the oracle gave this ambiguous answer: "Follow the cow and settle where she rests." Cadmus left the temple, and before he had journeyed far he saw a cow walking leisurely in front of him. Judging this to be the animal intended to guide him, he followed her, and on the way was joined by a curious crowd who were eager to see where the absurd procession would finally stop. Some hoped that by accompanying the hero on his march they might meet with new adventures. The cow at last lay down in Bœotia, and here Cadmus founded the city of Thebes. To reward Cadmus for his loving search for Europa, Jupiter gave him in marriage the fair Harmonia, daughter of Mars and Venus. The child of this union was Semele, whom Jupiter wooed in the disguise of a mortal; but such was the maiden's pride that she would not listen to his pleading until he told her who he really was. Then her love was easily won, for no pride could be above yielding to the ruler of Olympus. Jupiter was very happy in the society of Semele, and went down to earth many times to visit her, but it was inevitable that Juno should notice his frequent absences, and should set about finding out where the charm lay that lured him so often to the earth. When she discovered her beautiful rival, she decided upon an ingenious method of punishing her, and accordingly took the form of Semele's old nurse, Beroë. By feigning a loving solicitude for her charge's welfare, she soon won the confidence of the unsuspecting maiden, and listened with well-concealed anger while Semele talked of her lover and showed her pride in having won the affections of the greatest of gods. The nurse was evidently delighted at Semele's happiness, but seemed worried over the new suitor's identity, and now and then expressed a doubt as to whether he really was the great Jupiter. On questioning the maiden more closely, she assumed a virtuous indignation when Semele admitted that her lover always visited her in the disguise of a mortal, and that she had only his word as proof of his divinity. Hearing this, the old woman urged Semele to make sure that it was no impostor who was playing on her credulity, and pricked the girl's pride by asking her why it was that Jupiter--if it were indeed he--should not honor her as he did the stately Juno by appearing before her in all his splendid majesty. Then the pretended nurse described the glory of Jupiter as it was seen by the dwellers in Olympus, and finally so worked upon Semele's pride and curiosity that the unsuspicious maiden promised to put her lover to the test. So when Jupiter came again, she begged him to grant her a favor, and the ruler of the gods, not knowing of Juno's wiles, readily promised to grant any request Semele might make. To further bind himself, he swore by the river Styx--the most terrible of all oaths. Then the maiden bade him return to Olympus, clothe himself in all his regal apparel--omitting no part of his terrible splendor, not even the dreaded thunderbolts--and having done this, return to her, that she might know he was indeed the awful Thunderer. Jupiter was dismayed at this request, for he knew that no mortal could endure the greatness of his glory. He begged Semele to ask another boon; but the maiden was obstinate, and insisted upon her request being granted. Sorrowfully Jupiter returned to Olympus, and after robing himself in his fearful majesty, he dimmed the radiance wherever he could, wrapped about him the mildest lightning, and took in his hand the feeblest thunderbolt. "To keep his promise he ascends, and shrouds His awful brow in whirlwinds and in clouds; Whilst all around, in terrible array, His thunders rattle, and his lightnings play. Thus dreadfully adorned with horror bright The illustrous god, descending from his height, Came rushing on her in a storm of light." --ADDISON'S Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book III, line 302. But in spite of his attempt to lessen his splendor, even this mild glory so overwhelmed poor Semele that when Jupiter appeared before her, she dropped dead at his feet. In trying vainly to bring her back to life, Jupiter did not notice what havoc the lightning, that played about his head, was making in the palace. In a short time the whole place was reduced to ashes, and in the smouldering ruins the body of Semele was consumed. The only person who escaped uninjured was the infant son of Jupiter and Semele, the golden-haired Bacchus. Having rescued his son from the burning palace, Jupiter first intrusted him to his aunt Ino, who cared for him as tenderly as if he were her own child. But the jealous hatred of Juno was not satisfied with the death of Semele, and she tried to extend her vengeance to Bacchus by sending the fury Tisiphone to goad Athamas, the husband of Ino, into madness. As king of Thebes, Athamas had always been a kind ruler, but when the frenzy, inspired by cruel Juno, took possession of him, he imagined that his wife and children were wild beasts, and attempted to kill them. He did succeed in slaying Learchus, but Ino and her other son, Melicertes, escaped from his murderous fury, and afterwards became deities of the ocean. Not daring to leave the infant Bacchus in such a household, and fearing the further persecutions of Juno, Jupiter took the boy to Mount Nysa, where the nymphs--the Nysiades--guarded him faithfully. During his youth, Bacchus was made god of wine and revels, and was intrusted to the tutorship of Silenus, one of the most famous of the satyrs. This jovial old man had a bald head, pointed ears, a fat red face, and a body that was half man and half goat. As he carried a wine bag with him wherever he went, he was generally tipsy, and would have broken his neck long before reaching old age if he had tried to walk unsupported; but some of Bacchus's chosen band of followers always held him up on either side; or, when they themselves were unsteady, set him on an ass's back. Thus protected, he roamed about with Bacchus, and taught him all the craft of wine-growing and the making of choicest wine. The young god soon became a master of revels, and had a large train of followers composed of men and women, nymphs, fauns, and satyrs. They were usually crowned with ivy leaves, and were always drinking wine, eating grapes, singing, and dancing. The most unruly among them were the Bacchantes, who, though women, were often so crazed with wine and the excitement of their dancing that they committed such inhuman crimes as tearing the musician Orpheus to pieces. Wherever Bacchus traveled--and it was far and wide--he taught the people the art of cultivating grapes and making wine. He was always welcomed, and when they knew he was approaching, men, women, and children flocked to meet him and his merry company. Juno tried hard to check his triumphant progress, but she did not dare take his life for fear of Jupiter's wrath; so she afflicted him with a kind of madness that drove him forth a wanderer alone over the earth. He had many adventures during this unhappy period, and finally landed in Phrygia, where the goddess Rhea cured him and taught him her religious rites. After this he wandered in Asia and India, teaching the people the wonderful new art of making wine. When he returned to Greece, he was welcomed everywhere, until he reached his native city of Thebes, where his cousin Pentheus was king. When Pentheus heard that the people were flocking out of the gates to meet Bacchus and his revelers, he tried to stop the excited crowds and force them to return. In vain he pleaded, commanded, threatened. Men and women, and even children, were eager to join in the revels, and would not turn back. Then Pentheus sent some of his servants to seize Bacchus and bring him a prisoner to the city. Soon the messengers returned, but they had not succeeded in getting near the god--so great was the crowd that pressed eagerly around him. They had, however, captured one of his followers; and when they dragged their prisoner before the king, he stood in the presence of the angry monarch without any sign of fear in his calm face. Pentheus commanded the man to tell what sort of revelry and rites were performed under the leadership of Bacchus; and threatened to put him instantly to death if he did not tell the truth. The prisoner smiled at the king's anger, and seemed quite undisturbed by the threats against his life. He refused to tell anything of the ceremonies attending the worship of Bacchus, but began calmly to relate his own story. He said that his name was Acetes of Mæonia, and that he was a poor fisherman by birth, but had himself learned the pilot's art of steering by the stars. He had thus become master of a cruising vessel; and once, when he was near the island of Dia, he sent some of his men to shore for fresh water. They soon returned, bringing with them a youth whom they had found asleep in the forest, and had captured, hoping to obtain a large ransom for him, as the lad was surely some king's son--so haughty and regal was his bearing. When Acetes saw the youth, he begged his men not to force him on board the ship, for the pilot felt convinced that it was no mere mortal who stood so proudly before them. But the sailors would not listen to his advice, and thrust the youth roughly on board. Then Acetes refused to steer the ship; but the men only laughed and declared that they could pilot the craft as well as he. An angry discussion took place on the decks, and soon the quarreling grew so loud that the captured youth, who had been gazing listlessly over the sea, turned to the wrangling crew and asked in what direction the ship was sailing. "We will steer wherever you wish to go," replied one of the men with a wink at his companions. "Then sail back to Naxos, for that is my home," said the youth. The sailors promised to do so, but turned the ship toward Egypt, where they hoped to sell their prize for a large sum in gold. Acetes made several brave attempts to get possession of the helm and steer for Naxos, but the sailors struck him down, and threatened to throw him overboard if he interfered in their plans. Soon the lad seemed to notice that the familiar shores were receding, and anxiously inquired if they were really sailing toward Naxos. He begged them not to ill-treat a friendless boy; but to let him return home in safety. Then the crew, weary of their pretense, told him brutally that he was being taken to Egypt to be sold as a slave; and that he could try his pretty speeches on his future master. The youth did not reply to these taunts, but looked calmly at the jeering sailors, and raised his hand above his head. Immediately the ship stopped as if it had been suddenly rooted to the sea; and though the men pulled frantically at the oars, not an inch could the vessel move. Then, as in a dream, they saw ivy twining rapidly about the sails, and wrapping the oars in its strong tendrils. A vine with its heavy clusters of grapes clung to the mast and the sides of the ship. There was the delicious smell of crushed fruit in the air, and the fragrance of new-made wine. The sailors stared at the transformed ship and at the captured youth, who now shook off his mask of simplicity and appeared before them in all his godlike beauty--for it was no other than the divine Bacchus whom they had derided and had hoped to sell as a slave. The sound of flutes was heard all around him, and the shrill notes of the pipes. At the feet of Bacchus crouched tigers, lynxes, and panthers, and the god himself bore in his hand a staff wreathed with ivy. Then terror seized the trembling sailors, and they sprang madly over the side of the ship; but as soon as they touched the water they were changed into dolphins. Only Acetes was left standing on the deck before the smiling Bacchus, who bade him have no fear, but take the helm and steer straight for Naxos. The pilot gladly obeyed, and soon reached the desired port, where he left his ship and became a follower of the god of wine. When Acetes finished this remarkable story, King Pentheus swore that not a word of it was true, and ordered his prisoner to be taken away at once and executed. The soldiers threw Acetes into a dungeon; but while the preparations for his execution were being made, his chains suddenly dropped off and his prison doors flew open. When the jailers came to lead him to his death, he was nowhere to be found. Meanwhile the king had learned that the people were thronging around Bacchus on the Cithæron mountain, just outside the city, and were eagerly joining in all the joyous rites that attended the worship of the god of wine. The shouts of the Bacchanals filled the air, and in spite of his anger against them, Pentheus was curious to see what these ceremonies were that occasioned such roisterous mirth. So he disguised himself as a beggar, and joined the shouting crowd that surrounded Bacchus and his followers. The noisiest of the revelers were the Bacchantes, who danced and sang in a very frenzy of excitement as they tossed their ivy wreaths into the air and poured the red wine recklessly upon the ground. When this group, flushed with wine and half clad, whirled madly toward him, the king was astonished to see among them his own mother Agave. As he leaned nearer to the shouting dancers, wondering how his mother came to join in such orgies, she suddenly saw him, and pointing a finger at his shrinking figure cried:-- "There is the monster who prowls in our woods. Come on, sisters. I will be the first to strike the wild boar." Blinded by the madness that Bacchus had purposely inspired, she rushed upon the terrified king, followed by the crowd of half-crazed Bacchantes. In vain did Pentheus cry out that he was her son. Agave and her companions trampled him down in their fierce onslaught, and in a moment tore him to pieces. Thus was the worship of Bacchus established in Greece. The spot that the god of wine loved best was the island of Naxos; and here he spent much of his time when he was not wandering over the earth to teach the art of making wine. One day Bacchus was walking on the seashore with his ivy-crowned company, who followed him singing and dancing to the music of their shrill pipes. As they neared a spot where the rocks rise like a cliff above the water's edge, they discovered a maiden sitting on the white sand. This was Ariadne, who had been deserted by her lover, Theseus, and left to pine away alone on the island. For days Ariadne had sat looking mournfully out over the sea; and now when Bacchus, with his joyous group of revelers, suddenly broke in upon the silence of her solitude, she was frightened by the sight of so many strangers. Bacchus soothed her fears, and in a short time so won the maiden's confidence that he persuaded her to become his wife. Ariadne was quite content to stay on the island with such a merry company, and if she ever felt any regret over the faithless Theseus, it was soon forgotten in the joy of the wedding celebrations, which lasted for several days. As a marriage gift, Bacchus placed on Ariadne's white forehead a crown adorned with seven glittering stars; but wonderful as it was, it did not eclipse the beauty of the wearer. The happiness of the newly-wedded pair did not last long, however, for in a few months Ariadne sickened and died. After her death Bacchus left the island, and did not return there for many years; but before he set sail he took Ariadne's crown and threw it up into the sky, where it forms a brilliant constellation known as Corona. One day Silenus fell asleep in the forest, and his companions, believing him safe for a while, went away and left him propped up against a tree with his wine-bag at his side. Here he was found by some peasants, who were subjects of Midas, king of Lydia. The rustics watched the sleeping Silenus for a long time, wondering who he might be. At length the old man woke up, and after rubbing his eyes, asked the staring peasants where he was. As he received no answer to his question, Silenus motioned to the rustics to help him up, and then started to hunt for Bacchus and his lost companions. Seeing him unable to walk the men led him to the court of King Midas who, as soon as he saw the wanderer's jolly red face and his body--half goat and half man--knew at once that it was Silenus, the tutor of Bacchus. This Midas was the same king who had challenged Apollo to compete in the musical contest with Pan; and, because of his unfair decision, had been cursed with ass's ears by the offended god. The fact that Silenus had ears unlike the average mortal may have made King Midas feel a bit more sympathy for the old man's distress; but whatever the reason might be, he entertained Silenus royally for ten days, and then led him back to his pupil, who had been wondering at his long absence. Delighted to have Silenus returned to him unharmed, Bacchus promised to give the king any reward he might name; and Midas, being very avaricious, asked the god to grant that all that he touched should turn into gold. Bacchus had hoped that Midas would desire a better gift than this; but having made a promise, the god was ready to fulfill it, and he therefore assured the king that his wish was granted. Midas, overjoyed at his good fortune, hastened back to his palace, and on the way he hesitatingly tried his new power. He touched some leaves that hung from the trees near by, and immediately they became golden. He took up a stone from the roadway, and it turned into gold in his hand. He plucked an apple, and in a moment it looked like one of the golden fruit from the garden of the Hesperides. Midas was almost beside himself with joy; and as soon as he reached his palace he began at once to turn all its furnishings into gold. He was so delighted with his wonderful gift that he felt no desire to eat or drink or rest; but at last he grew a little weary of turning things into gold, and, being hungry, sat down at his well-filled table. He took great pleasure in seeing the cloth and the cups and the plates change as everything else had done at his touch; but to his great amazement and horror, he also found that the bread he took in his hand, the food that touched his lips, turned into hard, unyielding gold. He tried to drink from the shining cups, but the wine in his mouth became melted gold. Then Midas knew the real meaning of his magic touch, and realized sorrowfully that until it was taken away, he would slowly starve in the midst of his great wealth. Already he hated his gift, and longed for some way to divest himself of his ill-fated power. He cried aloud to Bacchus for help, but no answer came to his prayers. Again he besought the god, and this time acknowledged his avarice, and lamented the greed that had led him to ask for the gift of the golden touch. Bacchus heard his prayers, and, believing him truly repentant, commanded him to go to the river Pactolus, trace the stream to its source, and plunge his head and body into the purifying water. In this way he could cleanse himself of his fault and its punishment. Midas did as he was instructed, and came away from the river a wiser and happier, though a poorer man. If at any time he was ever tempted to regret his lost gift, he had only to look into the river at the glittering golden sand on the bed of the stream; for where the king had stood, the sand was changed into gold, and so it has remained to this very day. Chapter XX Pan and the Nymphs Pan, the god of woods and fields, god of the flocks and herds, and patron deity of all shepherds, was said to be the son of Mercury. It is apparently not known who his mother was, but she must have had some sylvan blood in her veins, for the youthful Pan showed every evidence of having been born of woodland creatures, as he had the pointed ears of the fauns, and the horns and goat's legs of the satyrs. The story goes that his mother--whichever nymph it was of the many reputed to have borne him--was disgusted with his absurd appearance, and refused to own him for her child; but Mercury was delighted with his son's grotesque figure, and took him to Olympus to amuse the gods. Pan's favorite dwelling place was Arcadia; and here he wandered over the hills and among the rocks, or roamed through the fertile valleys. He delighted in hunting, and amused himself with various pastimes--his especial pleasure being to lead in the dances with the nymphs. He was devoted to music, and was usually seen playing on the syrinx,--or shepherd's pipes,--which he himself invented and named from a nymph whom he unsuccessfully wooed. The maiden Syrinx was a follower of Diana; and one day, as she was returning from the chase, she met Pan, who immediately fell in love with her beauty, and begged her to be his wife. The nymph had always scorned to listen to any lover, and Pan's appearance did not tend to soften her objections; so while he was praising her many charms and pleading for her love, she turned and ran away. The woodland god was not to be put off so lightly, however; and he promptly gave chase to the fleeing maiden, who, finding that her pursuer was gaining on her, called wildly on the river-nymphs for help. She had by this time reached the water's edge; and just as Pan's arms were about to enfold her, the kindly nymphs changed her into a cluster of reeds. The god was much chagrined at the failure of his hopes; but since he could not have the living maiden, he determined to take whatever remained of the beautiful thing that had charmed him. So he gathered a bunch of the reeds, and after cutting them into unequal lengths, bound them together into a sort of shepherd's pipes. When he put the reeds to his lips, they gave forth the softest and most plaintive tones, and Pan called them the syrinx in honor of the nymph. Before inventing this new instrument, Pan had played upon the flute, and it was his skill in this direction that made King Midas dare to affront Apollo by declaring Pan to be the better musician. The god of woods and fields was not, however, a frequenter of palaces, but made his home in grottoes and piped to the murmuring trees. He loved to prowl by night in lonesome places, and lurk among the shadows where some belated traveler, startled by the weird hoot of an owl, would see his grotesque form and rush away, filled with that unreasoning terror called a "panic." Pan's partners in the sylvan dance were the wood-nymphs, who always welcomed him and his followers. When his days were spent among the mountain solitudes, the Oreads, or mountain nymphs, danced with him in the moonlight; and when he preferred to live in the valleys, the Dryads, or nymphs of vegetation, joined in the revels led by Pan and his company of fauns and satyrs. The Naides, the beautiful water-nymphs who dwelt in the clear depths of the fountains, did not come out of their quiet haunts to take part in the merriment; nor did the shy Hamadryads leave the safe shelter of their trees to mingle in the joyous dance. Among these latter nymphs each had her particular tree, and lived and died with the one intrusted to her care. It was held, therefore, to be an act of wanton cruelty to destroy or even mar a tree, lest the Hamadryad who inhabited it should be hurt and possibly killed. It was unwise to break off a flower recklessly, or to pull it rudely from the earth, for in this humble form might be lodged the spirit of some woodland creature. Such a sad mistake did Dryope once make, and suffered for her carelessness by being changed from a mortal into a Hamadryad. Dryope was a beautiful young princess, the wife of Andræmon, and the mother of a golden-haired boy. Every day she carried her child to a small lake near the palace, and let him gather the gayly-colored flowers that grew on the water's edge. One day, as she wandered by the lake, Dryope saw a lotus blossom and pointed it out to her little son, who immediately tried to pluck it. As it was much beyond his reach, his mother leaned over the water and broke it off the stem. To her surprise, she saw drops of blood slowly oozing from the stem; and as the boy eagerly grasped the lovely flower in his chubby hand, a crimson stream trickled through his clasped fingers. He dropped the blossom with a frightened cry, and ran screaming to the palace, while Dryope stood looking down, bewildered, at the bleeding flower. Just then she heard a voice telling her that she had killed the nymph Lotis, who, to escape from the arms of the hateful god Priapus, had taken the form of a lotus. When Dryope realized the dreadful thing that she had unknowingly done, she turned pale with fright, and would have hurried away from the unlucky spot; but when she tried to turn from the sight of the dying flower, she found that she could not move. Her feet seemed rooted to the ground; and, as she looked down, she was horrified to see that a rough bark was beginning to inclose her limbs. With dreadful rapidity it spread upward, and soon encircled her whole body, while her arms changed into twisted branches and her hands into green leaves. In vain she called to her husband and her friends for help. When they arrived, there was nothing left of the fair Dryope but her tear-stained face, which was covered all too soon by the cruel bark. Just before she disappeared completely from their sight, she begged that her little son might be taught to play beneath her branches; and when, in all the after days, the boy sat willingly beside the tree and listened to the soft rustling of its leaves, the passers-by would say: "Dryope is whispering to her child." The danger of recklessly destroying any tree is shown by the story of Erysichthon, who dared to defy the goddess Ceres, and so received a fitting punishment. There was a certain grove of trees sacred to Ceres, and among them was a lofty oak on which votive tablets were often hung, and around which the nymphs and Dryads danced hand in hand. Erysichthon ordered his servants to cut down this venerable oak; and when they hesitated, telling him that it was a tree beloved by Ceres and should not suffer such a sacrilege, he seized the ax himself and made a deep gash in the trunk. To the great horror of those who stood by, blood began to flow from the wound; and as Erysichthon was about to deal the tree another blow, one of his servants caught at his arm, imploring him not to touch the oak again, for the blood showed that a Hamadryad was being wounded. Maddened at this interference, and determined to carry out his brutal will, Erysichthon declared that he would cut down the tree if by so doing he killed a dozen Dryads. He lifted his ax for a mighty stroke, and as the servant again sought to stay his arm, he turned fiercely and killed the man with one swift blow. Then he proceeded to fell the tree, and soon it was lying, bruised and bleeding, on the ground. The nymphs rushed to Ceres, and begged her to punish this wicked violation of her grove. The goddess promised that Erysichthon's deed should not go unpunished, and sent an Oread to the remote part of Scythia, where the ice lies thick on the dreary soil and the land is always desolate. "Here dwell drowsy Cold and Paleness and Shuddering and dreadful Famine." When the Oread drew near this barren country, she saw far off the gaunt form of Famine pulling up with her teeth and claws the scant bits of vegetation that could be found here and there in the frozen earth. The nymph did not want to linger near the dreadful form of Famine, lest the hag should reach out her lean finger and touch the maiden's robes; so she hurriedly delivered the message of Ceres, and sped quickly back to her own fair land of Thessaly. Not daring to disobey the goddess's command, Famine left her dreary country and sought out the home of Erysichthon. She found him asleep; and as he slept she enfolded him with her wings, and breathed into his nostrils her deadly breath. Then she returned to her frantic digging in the unyielding soil. When Erysichthon awoke, he was at once consumed with a fierce desire for food; but, however much he ate, the terrible craving never ceased. All day long he devoured things greedily, but at night his hunger was still unsatisfied. His servants piled up food in enormous quantities before him, but the gnawing pangs of hunger never left him. He spent all his wealth in a vain attempt to buy enough food to appease the insatiable monster within him; but, though he at last sold all that he had, even to his house and his clothing, it was not enough to buy him the food he craved. There was nothing left him now but his daughter; and frenzied by his hunger, he offered to sell her to a slave-dealer. The girl pitied her father's sufferings and would have done anything to help him; but she resented his baseness in selling her, for she came of a noble race. While her purchaser was disputing with her father over the price, the maiden, who was standing on the seashore, a short distance away from her new master, implored Neptune to save her from the disgrace of being sold as a slave. The kindly sea-god heard her cry, and changed her into an old fisherwoman. When the bargain between Erysichthon and the dealer was settled, the man looked around for his new purchase, but she was nowhere to be seen. The only person on the seashore, beside the brutal bargainers, was an old woman who sat mending her net. The irate owner searched in vain for his slave and even asked the fisherwoman if she had seen a weeping maiden. Unable to find the girl, he at last went away, concluding that Erysichthon's daughter had tried to escape and so had been drowned in the sea. The maiden was rejoiced at her deliverance; but her cruel father, on seeing her regain her own form, decided that this was an easy way of making the money he desperately needed. So he sold his daughter again and again, and each time she sought the help of Neptune, who obligingly turned her into many different shapes. At last even this device failed to bring to Erysichthon enough money to meet the ever increasing demands of his hunger. In despair over the lack of food he began to eat his own flesh; and in a short time he had devoured so much of his body that death came to end his torment. So was Ceres avenged. The Hamadryads were seldom seen by men, but people knew them to be both gentle and beautiful. That they could repay a kindness is well shown by the story of Rhœcus, who gained the love of one of the shyest of these nymphs. One day the youth happened to see an oak-tree bent so far down by the wind that some of its branches were already broken. He propped up the tree, and gently bound up the broken limbs; then as he turned to go, he heard a soft voice calling him. It was the Hamadryad who had expected to die with her stricken tree, and was now so grateful to Rhœcus that she bade him ask of her any reward he wished. The youth boldly asked for her love, and the nymph reluctantly yielded to his wish, promising to meet him at the oak-tree each day just before sunset. To keep him mindful of the hour set for the tryst, she told him that she would send him a messenger--a bee--which would also guide him to the spot where she was waiting. Rhœcus was very happy with the Hamadryad; and never failed to follow the flight of the bee that came each day at sunset to lead him to the trysting-place. One morning, however, he began to play at dice with his friends, and the game continued through the long summer afternoon. As it drew toward sunset, Rhœcus forgot that it was his hour to meet the Dryad, and continued his game, even though he noticed vaguely that a bee was buzzing near him. Soon the bee came close to his face, and buzzed so persistently that Rhœcus brushed it angrily away. Each time he tried to shake it off it came buzzing back, and at last he struck at it so viciously that it fell to the ground. Then in a flash Rhœcus remembered his promise to the Dryad, and throwing away his dice, he hurried to the trysting-place. He called to the nymph and begged her to come to him once more; but no sweet face appeared though a voice spoke from the heart of the oak-tree bidding him a sad farewell. Rhœcus had already repented bitterly of his forgetfulness; but nothing could restore him to favor. He sat all night beside the oak-tree, but the Dryad never came to him again.

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