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while. An ancient forest had been growing and decaying around his feet; and oak trees, six or seven centuries old, had sprung from the acorn, and forced themselves between his toes.


as sum'ing, taking; trans for ma'tions, changes of form; bur'nished, polished; vis'age, face; dis con'so late, sad.

1. Describe the Old Man of the Sea. 2. What remarkable power had he? 3. Trace Hercules' route on your maps-from Italy, across the sea, through Africa, to the Atlas Mountains. What "great ocean" did he come to? 4. Describe the appearance of the huge giant, Atlas.

Oral Composition. - Describe in your own words the various ransformations of the Old Man of the Sea.



THE giant now looked down from the far height of his great eyes, and perceiving Hercules, roared out, in a voice that resembled thunder: "Who are you, down at my feet there? And whence do you come, in that little cup?" "I am Hercules!" thundered back the hero, in a 5 voice pretty nearly as loud as the giant's own. "And I am seeking for the garden of the Hesperides!"

"Ho! ho! ho!" roared the giant, in a fit of immense laughter. "That is a wise adventure, truly!"

"And why not?" cried Hercules, getting a little angry at the giant's mirth. "Do you think I am afraid of the dragon with a hundred heads?"

Just at this time, while they were talking together, 5 some black clouds gathered about the giant's middle, and burst into a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning, so that Hercules found it impossible to distinguish a word. Only the giant's immeasurable legs were to be seen, standing up into the darkness of the tempest; and, now and 10 then, a momentary glimpse of his whole figure, mantled in a volume of mist. He seemed to be speaking most of the time, but his big, deep, rough voice chimed in with the echoes of the thunderclaps, and rolled away over the hills, like them.


15 At last, the storm swept over, as suddenly as it had And there again was the clear sky, and the weary giant holding it up, and the pleasant sunshine beaming over his vast height. So far above the shower had been his head, that not a hair of it was moistened by the rain20 drops!

When the giant could see Hercules still standing on the seashore, he roared out to him anew. "I am Atlas, the mightiest giant in the world! And I hold the sky upon my head!"

25 "So I see," answered Hercules. "But can you show me the way to the garden of the Hesperides?"

"What do you want there?" asked the giant.

"I want three of the golden apples," shouted Hercules, "for my cousin, the king."

"There is nobody but myself," quoth the giant, "that can go to the garden of the Hesperides and gather the golden apples. If it were not for this little business of 5 holding up the sky, I would make half a dozen steps across the sea, and get them for you."

"You are very kind," replied Hercules. "And cannot you rest the sky upon a mountain ?”

"None of them are quite high enough," said Atlas, 10 shaking his head. "But if you were to take your stand on the summit of that nearest one, your head would be pretty nearly on a level with mine. You seem to be a fellow of some strength. What if you should take my burden on your shoulders while I do your errand for you?" 15 Hercules, as you must remember, was a remarkably strong man; and though it certainly requires a great deal of muscular power to uphold the sky, yet, if any mortal could be supposed capable of such an exploit, he was the one. Nevertheless, it seemed so difficult an undertaking 20 that, for the first time in his life, he hesitated.

"Is the sky very heavy?" he inquired.

"Why, not particularly so, at first," answered the giant, shrugging his shoulders. "But it gets to be a little burdensome after a thousand years!"

"And how long a time," asked the hero, "will it take you to get the golden apples?"


"Oh, that will be done in a few moments," cried Atlas. "I shall take ten or fifteen miles at a stride, and be at the garden and back before your shoulders begin to ache."


5 Well, then," answered Hercules, "I will climb the mountain behind you there, and relieve you of your


The truth is, Hercules had a kind heart of his own, and considered that he should be doing the giant a favor by 10 allowing him this opportunity for a ramble. And, besides, he thought it would be still more for his own glory, if he could boast of upholding the sky, than merely to do so ordinary a thing as to conquer a dragon with a hundred heads. Accordingly, without more words, the sky was 15 shifted from the shoulders of Atlas, and placed upon those of Hercules.

When this was safely accomplished, the first thing that the giant did was to stretch himself; and you may imagine what a prodigious spectacle he was then. Next, 20 he slowly lifted one of his feet out of the forest that had grown up around it; then the other. Then, all at once, he began to caper, and leap, and dance, for joy at his freedom; flinging himself nobody knows how high into the air, and floundering down again with a shock that 25 made the earth tremble. Then he laughed - Ho! ho! ho! with a thunderous roar that was echoed from the mountains, far and near, as if they and the giant had

been so many rejoicing brothers. When his joy had a little subsided, he stepped into the sea; ten miles at the first stride, which brought him mid-leg deep; and ten miles at the second, when the water came just above his knees; and ten miles more at the third, by which he was 5 immersed nearly to his waist. This was the greatest depth of the sea.

Hercules watched the giant, as he still went onward; for it was really a wonderful sight, this immense human form, more than thirty miles off, half hidden in the ocean, 10 but with his upper half as tall, and misty, and blue, as a distant mountain. At last the gigantic shape faded entirely out of view. And now Hercules began to consider what he should do, in case Atlas should be drowned in the sea, or if he were to be stung to death by the 15 dragon with the hundred heads, which guarded the golden apples of the Hesperides. If any such misfortune were to happen, how could he ever get rid of the sky? And, by the bye, its weight began already to be a little troublesome to his head and shoulders.


"I really pity the poor giant," thought Hercules. it wearies me so much in ten minutes, how must it have wearied him in a thousand years ! "

I know not how long it was before, to his unspeakable joy, he beheld the huge shape of the giant, like a cloud, on 25 the far-off edge of the sea. At his nearer approach, Atlas held up his hand, in which Hercules could perceive three


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