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So saying, he turned his horses and drove back in silence to the town. And the Greeks sat silent with sorrow, and longed for Hercules and his strength; for there was no facing the thousands of the Colchians, and the fearful chance of war.
- CHARLES KINGSLEY: The Greek Heroes.
car'cass, the dead body of an animal; ap peased', soothed; di'a dem, crown; rav'age, lay waste; worst'ed, beaten; corpses, dead bodies of human beings.
1. What was the golden fleece? Where was it? 2. Why were the Greek heroes so determined to get it back? 3. Describe the taking of the vow. 4. Find the Caucasus Mountains on your maps. Why are they called the "end of all the earth"? Why the "father of the rivers of the East"? 5. Trace the route of the Argo on your maps. Why did the Greeks fear the Black Sea? 6. What is a proverb? What is meant when we say the name Argo has become a proverb among men? 7. Who was Hera? Why is she called the awful goddess? 8. Describe Æetes.
Written Composition. Write the following proverbs from dicta
1. It's an ill wind that blows nobody good.
2. Where there's a will there's a way.
3. Time and tide wait for no man.
4. God helps those that help themselves.
What other proverbs do you know? Make a list of five or six
JASON AND THE GOLDEN FLEECE (Continued)
BUT Chalciope, Phrixus's widow, went weeping to the town; and she whispered to Medea her sister, "Why should all these brave men die? Why does not my father give them up the fleece, that my husband's spirit may have 5 rest?" And Medea's heart pitied the heroes, and Jason most of all; and she answered, "Our father is stern and terrible, and who can win the golden fleece?" But Chalciope said, "These men are not like our men; there is nothing which they cannot dare and do." And Medea 10 thought of Jason and his brave countenance, and said, "If there were one among them who knew no fear, I could show him how to win the fleece."
So in the dusk of evening they went down to the riverside, Chalciope and Medea, the witch maiden, and 15 Argus, Phrixus's son. And Argus the boy crept forward, among the beds of reeds, till he came where the heroes were sleeping, on the thwarts of the ship, beneath the bank, while Jason kept watch on the shore, and leaned upon his lance, full of thought. And the boy came to 20 Jason, and said, "I am the son of Phrixus, your cousin; and Chalciope my mother waits for you, to talk about the golden fleece."
Then Jason went boldly with the boy, and found the
two princesses standing; and when Chalciope saw him, she wept, and took his hands, and cried, "O cousin of my beloved, go home before you die!"
"It would be base to go home now, fair princess, and to have sailed all these seas in vain." Then both the 5 princesses besought him; but Jason said, "It is too late."
"But you know not," said Medea, "what he must do who would win the fleece. He must tame the two brazenfooted bulls, who breathe devouring flame; and with them 10 he must plow ere nightfall four acres in the field of the war god; and he must sow them with serpents' teeth, of which each tooth springs up into an armed man. Then he must fight with all those warriors; and little will it profit him to conquer them; for the fleece is guarded by a 15 serpent, more huge than any mountain pine; and over his body you must step, if you would reach the golden fleece." Then Jason laughed bitterly. "Unjustly is that fleece kept here, and by an unjust and lawless king; and unjustly shall I die in my youth, for I will attempt it ere 20 another sun be set."
Then Medea trembled, and said, "No mortal man can reach that fleece, unless I guide him through. For round it, beyond the river, is a wall full nine ells high, with lofty towers and mighty gates of threefold brass; and 25 over the gates the wall is arched, with golden battlements above. And over the gateway sits Brimo, the wild witch
huntress of the woods, brandishing a pine torch in her hands, while her mad hounds howl around. No man dare meet her or look on her, but only I, her priestess, and she watches far and wide lest any stranger should come
"No wall so high but that it may be climbed at last, and no wood so thick but that it may be crawled through; no serpent so wary but that he may be charmed, or witch queen so fierce but spells may soothe her; and I may yet 10 win the golden fleece, if a wise maiden help bold men."
And he looked at Medea cunningly, and held her with his glittering eye, till she blushed and trembled, and said, "Who can face the fire of the bulls' breath, and fight ten thousand armed men?"
"He whom you help," said Jason, flattering her, "for your fame is spread over all the earth. Are you not the queen of all enchantresses, wiser even than your sister Circe, in her fairy island in the West?"
"Would that I were with my sister Circe in her fairy 20 island in the West, far away from sore temptation and thoughts which tear the heart! But if it must be so— for why should you die?-I have an ointment here. Anoint yourself with that, and you shall have in you seven men's strength; and anoint your shield with it, 25 and neither fire nor sword can harm you. But what you begin you must end before sunset, for its virtue lasts only one day. And anoint your helmet with it before you sow
the serpents' teeth; and when the sons of earth spring up, cast your helmet among their ranks, and the deadly crop of the war god's field will mow itself, and perish."
Then Jason fell on his knees before her, and thanked her, and kissed her hands; and she gave him the vase of 5 ointment, and fled trembling through the reeds. And Jason told his comrades what had happened, and showed them the box of ointment; and all rejoiced.
And at sunrise Jason went and bathed, and anointed himself from head to foot, and his shield, and his helmet, 10 and his weapons, and bade his comrades try the spell. So they tried to bend his lance, but it stood like an iron bar; and they hewed at it with their swords, but the blades flew to splinters. Then they hurled their lances at his shield, but the spear points turned like lead; and 15 one tried to throw him, but he never stirred a foot; and another struck him with his fist, a blow which would have killed an ox; but Jason only smiled, and the heroes danced about him with delight; and he leapt, and ran, and shouted, in the joy of that enormous strength, till 20 the sun rose, and it was time to claim Æetes' promise.
So he sent up messengers to tell Eetes that he was ready for the fight; and they went up among the marble walls, and beneath the roofs of gold, and stood in Æetes' hall, while he grew pale with rage.
"Fulfill your promise to us, child of the blazing sun. Give us the serpents' teeth, and let loose the fiery bulls;