Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

them on to noble deeds. Led by them, I slew the Gorgon; and not without them do I come hither, to slay this monster with that same Gorgon's head. Yet hide your eyes when I leave you, lest the sight of it freeze you too

to stone."

5

But the maiden answered nothing, for she could not believe his words. And then, suddenly looking up, she pointed to the sea, and shrieked :

"There he comes, with the sunrise, as they promised. I must die now. How shall I endure it? Oh, go! Is it 10 not dreadful enough to be torn piecemeal without having you to look on?" And she tried to thrust him away.

But he said, "I go; yet promise me one thing ere I go, that if I slay this beast you will be my wife, and come back with me to my kingdom, for I am a king's heir. 15 Promise me, and seal it with a kiss."

Then she lifted up her face, and kissed him; and Perseus laughed for joy, and flew upward, while Andromeda crouched trembling on the rock, waiting for what might befall.

20

On came the great sea monster, coasting along like a huge black ship, lazily breasting the ripple, and stopping at times by creek or headland, to watch for the laughter of girls drying their freshly washed clothes on the sea sands, or cattle pawing on the sand hills, or boys bathing 25 on the beach. His great sides were fringed with clustering shells and seaweeds, and the water gurgled in and

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

out of his wide jaws, as he rolled along, dripping and glistening, in the beams of the morning sun.

At last he saw Andromeda, and shot forward to take his prey, while the waves foamed white behind him, and before him the fish fled leaping. Then down from the 5 height of the air fell Perseus, like a shooting star; down to the crests of the waves, while Andromeda hid her face as he shouted; and then there was silence for a while. At last she looked up trembling, and saw Perseus springing toward her; and instead of the monster a long black 10 rock, with the sea rippling quietly round it.

Who then so proud as Perseus, as he leapt back to the rock, and lifted his fair Andromeda in his arms, and flew with her to the cliff-top, as a falcon carries a dove? Who so proud as Perseus, and who so joyful as all the 15 Æthiop people? For they had stood watching the monster from the cliffs, wailing for the maiden's fate. And already a messenger had gone to the king and the queen, where they sat in sackcloth and ashes on the ground, in the innermost palace chambers, awaiting their daughter's 20 end. And they came, and all the city with them, to see the wonder, with songs and with dances, with cymbals and harps, and received their daughter back again, as one alive from the dead.

- CHARLES KINGSLEY: The Greek Heroes.

bar ba'ri ans, people of an uncivilized race; in dig na'tion, anger at what is unjust; hy'a cinth, a flower; vic'tim, in its original mean

ing, a person or animal that was to be killed as an offering to the gods; a tone', to make up for; heir, one who is to receive the property of another at his death; fal'con, hawk.

1. Describe Andromeda. 2. Tell in your own words how Perseus found her. 3. Whom else that you have read about did Athene help? 4. Why was the maiden chained to the rock? 5. Tell the story of her rescue by Perseus.

Sentence Study. — Condense the following sentences as much as possible:

1. Perseus saw a figure, which proved to be that of a young girl, chained to a rock.

2. He strove to loosen her chains and set her free, and he finally succeeded in doing so.

3. The young girl was Andromeda, a beautiful maiden, and a princess who had been devoted as a victim to the sea gods.

4. She was overcome with fear and continually cast her eyes toward the sea, watching for the approach of the monster.

5. Perseus attacked the monster and finally succeeded in destroying him.

6. He carried Andromeda, who was filled with joy over her release from her terrible fate, to the top of a great cliff.

8

JASON AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE

[Jason, the next of these famous heroes, was of mortal birth, but he had been given in childhood to Cheiron, the Centaur, half man, half horse, who had taught him much of the wisdom of the gods. When he came to manhood, his uncle, who feared that he would claim the kingship, sent him also on a perilous adventure to find the famous golden fleece.

[ocr errors]

Long years before a huge golden ram had carried away on his back a young Grecian prince, Phrixus by name, and taken him to Colchis in the far East. In that distant land the youth had lived and died; but men said that his spirit had not found rest, nor ever would, until the fleece of the golden ram was brought back to Greece.

Many heroes were tempted to undertake the adventure, but the way was long and perilous, and the wonderful fleece was guarded by a dragon so terrible that no mortal man dared approach it. It is no wonder that it still hung in the gloomy woods of Colchis. But nothing daunted, Jason gathered about him a band of young heroes, built the ship Argo, and set out on his dangerous voyage into unknown lands and seas.]

AND what happened next, my children, whether it be true or not, stands written in ancient songs, which you shall read for yourselves some day. They tell how the heroes waited for the southwest wind, and chose themselves a captain from their crew and how all called for 5 Hercules, because he was the strongest and most huge; but Hercules refused, and called for Jason because he was the wisest of them all. So Jason was chosen captain and Orpheus, the sweet musician, heaped a pile of wood, and slew a bull, and offered it to the gods, and called all the ic heroes to stand round, each man's head crowned with olive, and to strike their swords into the bull. Then he filled a golden goblet with the bull's blood, and with wheaten flour, and honey, and wine, and the bitter salt sea water, and bade the heroes taste. So each tasted the 15 goblet, and passed it round, and vowed an awful vow and

« ZurückWeiter »