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Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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weapons, and went boldly up to Hercules, who still lay fast
asleep, little dreaming of the harm which the Pygmies meant to
do him. A body of twenty thousand archers marched in front,
with their little bows all ready, and the arrows on the string.
The same number were ordered to clamber upon Hercules, some
with spades to dig his eyes out, and others with bundles of
hay, and all manner of rubbish with which they intended to plug
up his mouth and nostrils, so that he might perish for lack of
breath. These last, however, could by no means perform their
appointed duty; inasmuch as the enemy's breath rushed out of
his nose in an obstreperous hurricane and whirlwind, which blew
the Pygmies away as fast as they came nigh. It was found
necessary, therefore, to hit upon some other method of carrying
on the war.

After holding a council, the captains ordered their troops to
collect sticks, straws, dry weeds, and whatever combustible
stuff they could find, and make a pile of it, heaping it high
around the head of Hercules. As a great many thousand Pygmies
were employed in this task, they soon brought together several
bushels of inflammatory matter, and raised so tall a heap,
that, mounting on its summit, they were quite upon a level with
the sleeper's face. The archers, meanwhile, were stationed
within bow shot, with orders to let fly at Hercules the instant
that he stirred. Everything being in readiness, a torch was
applied to the pile, which immediately burst into flames, and
soon waxed hot enough to roast the enemy, had he but chosen to
lie still. A Pygmy, you know, though so very small, might set
the world on fire, just as easily as a Giant could; so that
this was certainly the very best way of dealing with their foe,
provided they could have kept him quiet while the conflagration
was going forward.

But no sooner did Hercules begin to be scorched, than up he
started, with his hair in a red blaze.

"What's all this?" he cried, bewildered with sleep, and staring
about him as if he expected to see another Giant.

At that moment the twenty thousand archers twanged their
bowstrings, and the arrows came whizzing, like so many winged
mosquitoes, right into the face of Hercules. But I doubt
whether more than half a dozen of them punctured the skin,
which was remarkably tough, as you know the skin of a hero has
good need to be.

"Villain!" shouted all the Pygmies at once. "You have killed
the Giant Antaeus, our great brother, and the ally of our
nation. We declare bloody war against you, and will slay you on
the spot."

Surprised at the shrill piping of so many little voices,
Hercules, after putting out the conflagration of his hair,
gazed all round about, but could see nothing. At last, however,
looking narrowly on the ground, he espied the innumerable
assemblage of Pygmies at his feet. He stooped down, and taking
up the nearest one between his thumb and finger, set him on the
palm of his left hand, and held him at a proper distance for
examination. It chanced to be the very identical Pygmy who had
spoken from the top of the toadstool, and had offered himself
as a champion to meet Hercules in single combat.

"What in the world, my little fellow," ejaculated Hercules,
"may you be?"

"I am your enemy," answered the valiant Pygmy, in his mightiest
squeak. "You have slain the enormous Antaeus, our brother by
the mother's side, and for ages the faithful ally of our
illustrious nation. We are determined to put you to death; and
for my own part, I challenge you to instant battle, on equal

Hercules was so tickled with the Pygmy's big words and warlike
gestures, that he burst into a great explosion of laughter, and
almost dropped the poor little mite of a creature off the palm
of his hand, through the ecstasy and convulsion of his

"Upon my word," cried he, "I thought I had seen wonders before
to-day--hydras with nine heads, stags with golden horns,
six-legged men, three-headed dogs, giants with furnaces in
their stomachs, and nobody knows what besides. But here, on the
palm of my hand, stands a wonder that outdoes them all! Your
body, my little friend, is about the size of an ordinary man's
finger. Pray, how big may your soul be?"

"As big as your own!" said the Pygmy.

Hercules was touched with the little man's dauntless courage,
and could not help acknowledging such a brotherhood with him as
one hero feels for another.

"My good little people," said he, making a low obeisance to the
grand nation, "not for all the world would I do an intentional
injury to such brave fellows as you! Your hearts seem to me so
exceedingly great, that, upon my honor, I marvel how your small
bodies can contain them. I sue for peace, and, as a condition
of it, will take five strides, and be out of your kingdom at
the sixth. Good-bye. I shall pick my steps carefully, for fear
of treading upon some fifty of you, without knowing it. Ha, ha,
ha! Ho, ho, ho! For once, Hercules acknowledges himself

Some writers say, that Hercules gathered up the whole race of
Pygmies in his lion's skin, and carried them home to Greece,
for the children of King Eurystheus to play with. But this is a
mistake. He left them, one and all, within their own territory,
where, for aught I can tell, their descendants are alive to the
present day, building their little houses, cultivating their
little fields, spanking their little children, waging their
little warfare with the cranes, doing their little business,
whatever it may be, and reading their little histories of
ancient times. In those histories, perhaps, it stands recorded,
that, a great many centuries ago, the valiant Pygmies avenged
the death of the Giant Antaeus by scaring away the mighty


Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix, the three sons of King Agenor, and
their little sister Europa (who was a very beautiful child),
were at play together near the seashore in their father's
kingdom of Phoenicia. They had rambled to some distance from
the palace where their parents dwelt, and were now in a verdant
meadow, on one side of which lay the sea, all sparkling and
dimpling in the sunshine, and murmuring gently against the
beach. The three boys were very happy, gathering flowers, and
twining them into garlands, with which they adorned the little
Europa. Seated on the grass, the child was almost hidden under
an abundance of buds and blossoms, whence her rosy face peeped
merrily out, and, as Cadmus said, was the prettiest of all the

Just then, there came a splendid butterfly, fluttering along
the meadow; and Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix set off in pursuit
of it, crying out that it was a flower with wings. Europa, who
was a little wearied with playing all day long, did not chase
the butterfly with her brothers, but sat still where they had
left her, and closed her eyes. For a while, she listened to the
pleasant murmur of the sea, which was like a voice saying
"Hush!" and bidding her go to sleep. But the pretty child, if
she slept at all, could not have slept more than a moment, when
she heard something trample on the grass, not far from her,
and, peeping out from the heap of flowers, beheld a snow-white

And whence could this bull have com ? Europa and her brothers
had been a long time playing in the meadow, and had seen no
cattle, nor other living thing, either there or on the
neighboring hills.

"Brother Cadmus!" cried Europa, starting up out of the midst of
the roses and lilies. "Phoenix! Cilix! Where are you all? Help!
Help! Come and drive away this bull!"

But her brothers were too far off to hear; especially as the
fright took away Europa's voice, and hindered her from calling
very loudly. So there she stood, with her pretty mouth wide
open, as pale as the white lilies that were twisted among the
other flowers in her garlands.

Nevertheless, it was the suddenness with which she had
perceived the bull, rather than anything frightful in his
appearance, that caused Europa so much alarm. On looking at him
more attentively, she began to see that he was a beautiful
animal, and even fancied a particularly amiable expression in
his face. As for his breath--the breath of cattle, you know, is
always sweet--it was as fragrant as if he had been grazing on
no other food than rosebuds, or at least, the most delicate of
clover blossoms. Never before did a bull have such bright and
tender eyes, and such smooth horns of ivory, as this one. And
the bull ran little races, and capered sportively around the
child; so that she quite forgot how big and strong he was, and,
from the gentleness and playfulness of his actions, soon came
to consider him as innocent a creature as a pet lamb.

Thus, frightened as she at first was, you might by and by have
seen Europa stroking the bull's forehead with her small white
hand, and taking the garlands off her own head to hang them on
his neck and ivory horns. Then she pulled up some blades of
grass, and he ate them out of her hand, not as if he were
hungry, but because he wanted to be friends with the child, and
took pleasure in eating what she had touched. Well, my stars!
was there ever such a gentle, sweet, pretty, and amiable
creature as this bull, and ever such a nice playmate for a
little girl?

When the animal saw (for the bull had so much intelligence that
it is really wonderful to think of), when he saw that Europa
was no longer afraid of him, he grew overjoyed, and could
hardly contain himself for delight. He frisked about the
meadow, now here, now there, making sprightly leaps, with as
little effort as a bird expends in hopping from twig to twig.
Indeed, his motion was as light as if he were flying through
the air, and his hoofs seemed hardly to leave their print in
the grassy soil over which he trod. With his spotless hue, he
resembled a snow drift, wafted along by the wind. Once he
galloped so far away that Europa feared lest she might never
see him again; so, setting up her childish voice, called him

"Come back, pretty creature!" she cried. "Here is a nice clover

And then it was delightful to witness the gratitude of this
amiable bull, and how he was so full of joy and thankfulness
that he capered higher than ever. He came running, and bowed
his head before Europa, as if he knew her to be a king's
daughter, or else recognized the important truth that a little
girl is everybody's queen. And not only did the bull bend his
neck, he absolutely knelt down at her feet, and made such
intelligent nods, and other inviting gestures, that Europa
understood what he meant just as well as if he had put it in so
many words.

"Come, dear child," was what he wanted to say, "let me give you
a ride on my back."

At the first thought of such a thing, Europa drew back. But
then she considered in her wise little head that there could be
no possible harm in taking just one gallop on the back of this
docile and friendly animal, who would certainly set her down
the very instant she desired it. And how it would surprise her
brothers to see her riding across the green meadow! And what
merry times they might have, either taking turns for a gallop,
or clambering on the gentle creature, all four children
together, and careering round the field with shouts of laughter
that would be heard as far off as King Agenor's palace!

"I think I will do it," said the child to herself.

And, indeed, why not? She cast a glance around, and caught a
glimpse of Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix, who were still in
pursuit of the butterfly, almost at the other end of the
meadow. It would be the quickest way of rejoining them, to get
upon the white bull's back. She came a step nearer to him
therefore; and--sociable creature that he was--he showed so
much joy at this mark of her confidence, that the child could
not find in her heart to hesitate any longer. Making one bound
(for this little princess was as active as a squirrel), there
sat Europa on the beautiful bull, holding an ivory horn in each
hand, lest she should fall off.

"Softly, pretty bull, softly!" she said, rather frightened at
what she had done. "Do not gallop too fast."

Having got the child on his back, the animal gave a leap into
the air, and came down so like a feather that Europa did not
know when his hoofs touched the ground. He then began a race to
that part of the flowery plain where her three brothers were,
and where they had just caught their splendid butterfly. Europa
screamed with delight; and Phoenix, Cilix, and Cadmus stood
gaping at the spectacle of their sister mounted on a white
bull, not knowing whether to be frightened or to wish the same
good luck for themselves. The gentle and innocent creature (for
who could possibly doubt that he was so?) pranced round among
the children as sportively as a kitten. Europa all the while
looked down upon her brothers, nodding and laughing, but yet
with a sort of stateliness in her rosy little face. As the bull
wheeled about to take another gallop across the meadow, the
child waved her hand, and said, "Good-bye," playfully
pretending that she was now bound on a distant journey, and
might not see her brothers again for nobody could tell how

"Good-bye," shouted Cadmus, Phoenix, and Cilix, all in one

But, together with her enjoyment of the sport, there was still
a little remnant of fear in the child's heart; so that her last
look at the three boys was a troubled one, and made them feel
as if their dear sister were really leaving them forever. And
what do you think the snowy bull did next? Why, he set off, as
swift as the wind, straight down to the seashore, scampered
across the sand, took an airy leap, and plunged right in among
the foaming billows. The white spray rose in a shower over him
and little Europa, and fell spattering down upon the water.

Then what a scream of terror did the poor child send forth! The
three brothers screamed manfully, likewise, and ran to the
shore as fast as their legs would carry them, with Cadmus at
their head. But it was too late. When they reached the margin
of the sand, the treacherous animal was already far away in the
wide blue sea, with only his snowy head and tail emerging, and
poor little Europa between them, stretching out one hand
towards her dear brothers, while she grasped the bull's ivory
horn with the other. And there stood Cadmus, Phoenix, and
Cilix, gazing at this sad spectacle, through their tears, until
they could no longer distinguish the bull's snowy head from the
white-capped billows that seemed to boil up out of the sea's
depths around him. Nothing more was ever seen of the white
bull--nothing more of the beautiful child.

This was a mournful story, as you may well think, for the three
boys to carry home to their parents. King Agenor, their father,
was the ruler of the whole country; but he loved his little
daughter Europa better than his kingdom, or than all his other
children, or than anything else in the world. Therefore, when
Cadmus and his two brothers came crying home, and told him how
that a white bull had carried off their sister, and swam with
her over the sea, the king was quite beside himself with grief
and rage. Although it was now twilight, and fast growing dark,
he bade them set out instantly in search of her.

"Never shall you see my face again," he cried, "unless you
bring me back my little Europa, to gladden me with her smiles
and her pretty ways. Begone, and enter my presence no more,
till you come leading her by the hand."

As King Agenor said this, his eyes flashed fire (for he was a
very passionate king), and he looked so terribly angry that the
poor boys did not even venture to ask for their suppers, but
slunk away out of the palace, and only paused on the steps a
moment to consult whither they should go first. While they were
standing there, all in dismay, their mother, Queen Telephassa
(who happened not to be by when they told the story to the
king), came hurrying after them, and said that she too would go
in quest of her daughter.

"O, no, mother!" cried the boys. "The night is dark, and there
is no knowing what troubles and perils we may meet with."

"Alas! my dear children," answered poor Queen Telephassa;
weeping bitterly, "that is only another reason why I should go
with you. If I should lose you, too, as well as my little
Europa, what would become of me!"

"And let me go likewise!" said their playfellow Thasus, who
came running to join them.

Thasus was the son of a seafaring person in the neighborhood;
he had been brought up with the young princes, and was their
intimate friend, and loved Europa very much; so they consented
that he should accompany them. The whole party, therefore, set
forth together. Cadmus, Phoenix, Cilix, and Thasus clustered
round Queen Telephassa, grasping her skirts, and begging her to
lean upon their shoulders whenever she felt weary. In this
manner they went down the palace steps, and began a journey,
which turned out to be a great deal longer than they dreamed
of. The last that they saw of King Agenor, he came to the door,
with a servant holding a torch beside him, and called after
them into the gathering darkness:

"Remember! Never ascend these steps again without the child!"

"Never!" sobbed Queen Telephassa; and the three brothers and
Thasus answered, "Never! Never! Never! Never!"

And they kept their word. Year after year, King Agenor sat in
the solitude of his beautiful palace, listening in vain for
their returning footsteps, hoping to hear the familiar voice of
the queen, and the cheerful talk of his sons and their
playfellow Thasus, entering the door together, and the sweet,
childish accents of little Europa in the midst of them. But so
long a time went by, that, at last, if they had really come,
the king would not have known that this was the voice of
Telephassa, and these the younger voices that used to make such
joyful echoes, when the children were playing about the palace.
We must now leave King Agenor to sit on his throne, and must go
along with Queen Telephassa, and her four youthful companions.

They went on and on, and traveled a long way, and passed over
mountains and rivers, and sailed over seas. Here, and there,
and everywhere, they made continual inquiry if any person could
tell them what had become of Europa. The rustic people, of whom
they asked this question, paused a little while from their
labors in the field, and looked very much surprised. They
thought it strange to behold a woman in the garb of a queen
(for Telephassa in her haste had forgotten to take off her
crown and her royal robes), roaming about the country, with four
lads around her, on such an errand as this seemed to be. But
nobody could give them any tidings of Europa; nobody had seen a
little girl dressed like a princess, and mounted on a snow-
white bull, which galloped as swiftly as the wind.

I cannot tell you how long Queen Telephassa, and Cadmus,
Phoenix, and Cilix, her three sons, and Thasus, their
playfellow, went wandering along the highways and bypaths, or
through the pathless wildernesses of the earth, in this manner.
But certain it is, that, before they reached any place of rest,
their splendid garments were quite worn out. They all looked
very much travel-stained, and would have had the dust of many
countries on their shoes, if the streams, through which they
waded, had not washed it all away. When they had been gone a
year, Telephassa threw away her crown, because it chafed her

"It has given me many a headache," said the poor queen, "and it
cannot cure my heartache."

As fast as their princely robes got torn and tattered, they
exchanged them for such mean attire as ordinary people wore. By
and by, they come to have a wild and homeless aspect; so that
you would much sooner have taken them for a gypsy family than a
queen and three princes, and a young nobleman, who had once a
palace for a home, and a train of servants to do their bidding.
The four boys grew up to be tall young men, with sunburnt
faces. Each of them girded on a sword, to defend themselves
against the perils of the way. When the husbandmen, at whose
farmhouses they sought hospitality, needed their assistance in
the harvest field, they gave it willingly; and Queen Telephassa
(who had done no work in her palace, save to braid silk threads
with golden ones) came behind them to bind the sheaves. If
payment was offered, they shook their heads, and only asked for
tidings of Europa.

"There are bulls enough in my pasture," the old farmers would
reply; "but I never heard of one like this you tell me of. A
snow-white bull with a little princess on his back! Ho! ho! I
ask your pardon, good folks; but there never such a sight seen

At last, when his upper lip began to have the down on it,
Phoenix grew weary of rambling hither and thither to no
purpose. So one day, when they happened to be passing through a
pleasant and solitary tract of country, he sat himself down on
a heap of moss.

"I can go no farther," said Phoenix. "It is a mere foolish
waste of life, to spend it as we do, always wandering up and
down, and never coming to any home at nightfall. Our sister is
lost, and never will be found. She probably perished in the
sea; or, to whatever shore the white bull may have carried her,
it is now so many years ago, that there would be neither love
nor acquaintance between us, should we meet again. My father
has forbidden us to return to his palace, so I shall build me a
hut of branches, and dwell here."

"Well, son Phoenix," said Telephassa, sorrowfully, "you have
grown to be a man, and must do as you judge best. But, for my
part, I will still go in quest of my poor child."

"And we three will go along with you!" cried Cadmus and Cilix,
and their faithful friend Thasus.

But, before setting out, they all helped Phoenix to build a
habitation. When completed, it was a sweet rural bower, roofed
overhead with an arch of living boughs. Inside there were two
pleasant rooms, one of which had a soft heap of moss for a bed,
while the other was furnished with a rustic seat or two,
curiously fashioned out of the crooked roots of trees. So
comfortable and home-like did it seem, that Telephassa and her
three companions could not help sighing, to think that they
must still roam about the world, instead of spending the
remainder of their lives in some such cheerful abode as they
had here built for Phoenix. But, when they bade him farewell,
Phoenix shed tears, and probably regretted that he was no
longer to keep them company.

However, he had fixed upon an admirable place to dwell in. And
by and by there came other people, who chanced to have no
homes; and, seeing how pleasant a spot it was, they built
themselves huts in the neighborhood of Phoenix's habitation.
Thus, before many years went by, a city had grown up there, in
the center of which was seen a stately palace of marble,
wherein dwelt Phoenix, clothed in a purple robe, and wearing a
golden crown upon his head. For the inhabitants of the new
city, finding that he had royal blood in his veins, had chosen
him to be their king. The very first decree of state which King
Phoenix issued was, that, if a maiden happened to arrive in the
kingdom, mounted on a snow-white bull, and calling herself
Europa, his subjects should treat her with the greatest
kindness and respect, and immediately bring her to the palace.
You may see, by this, that Phoenix's conscience never quite
ceased to trouble him, for giving up the quest of his dear
sister, and sitting himself down to be comfortable, while his
mother and her companions went onward.

But often and often, at the close of a weary day's journey, did
Telephassa and Cadmus, Cilix, and Thasus, remember the pleasant
spot in which they had left Phoenix. It was a sorrowful
prospect for these wanderers, that on the morrow they must
again set forth, and that, after many nightfalls, they would
perhaps be no nearer the close of their toilsome pilgrimage
than now. These thoughts made them all melancholy at times, but
appeared to torment Cilix more than the rest of the party. At
length, one morning, when they were taking their staffs in hand
to set out, he thus addressed them:

"My dear mother, and you, good brother Cadmus, and my friend
Thasus, methinks we are like people in a dream. There is no
substance in the life which we are leading. It is such a dreary
length of time since the white bull carried off my sister
Europa, that I have quite forgotten how she looked, and the
tones of her voice, and, indeed, almost doubt whether such a
little girl ever lived in the world. And whether she once lived
or no, I am convinced that she no longer survives, and that
therefore it is the merest folly to waste our own lives and
happiness in seeking her. Were we to find her, she would now be
a woman grown, and would look upon us all as strangers. So, to
tell you the truth, I have resolved to take up my abode here;
and I entreat you, mother, brother, and friend, to follow my

"Not I, for one," said Telephassa; although the poor queen,
firmly as she spoke, was so travel-worn that she could hardly
put her foot to the ground. "Not I, for one! In the depths of
my heart, little Europa is still the rosy child who ran to
gather flowers so many years ago. She has not grown to
womanhood, nor forgotten me. At noon, at night, journeying
onward, sitting down to rest, her childish voice is always in
my ears, calling, 'Mother! mother!' Stop here who may, there is
no repose for me."

"Nor for me," said Cadmus, "while my dear mother pleases to go

And the faithful Thasus, too, was resolved to bear them
company. They remained with Cilix a few days, however, and
helped him to build a rustic bower, resembling the one which
they had formerly built for Phoenix.

When they were bidding him farewell Cilix burst into tears, and
told his mother that it seemed just as melancholy a dream to
stay there, in solitude, as to go onward. If she really
believed that they would ever find Europa, he was willing to
continue the search with them, even now. But Telephassa bade
him remain there, and be happy, if his own heart would let him.
So the pilgrims took their leave of him, and departed, and were
hardly out of sight before some other wandering people came
along that way, and saw Cilix's habitation, and were greatly
delighted with the appearance of the place. There being
abundance of unoccupied ground in the neighborhood, these
strangers built huts for themselves, and were soon joined by a
multitude of new settlers, who quickly formed a city. In the
middle of it was seen a magnificent palace of colored marble,
on the balcony of which, every noontide, appeared Cilix, in a
long purple robe, and with a jeweled crown upon his head; for
the inhabitants, when they found out that he was a king's son,
had considered him the fittest of all men to be a king himself.

One of the first acts of King Cilix's government was to send
out an expedition, consisting of a grave ambassador, and an
escort of bold and hardy young men, with orders to visit the
principal kingdoms of the earth, and inquire whether a young
maiden had passed through those regions, galloping swiftly on a
white bull. It is, therefore, plain to my mind, that Cilix
secretly blamed himself for giving up the search for Europa, as
long as he was able to put one foot before the other.

As for Telephassa, and Cadmus, and the good Thasus, it grieves
me to think of them, still keeping up that weary pilgrimage.
The two young men did their best for the poor queen, helping
her over the rough places, often carrying her across rivulets
in their faithful arms and seeking to shelter her at nightfall,
even when they themselves lay on the ground. Sad, sad it was to
hear them asking of every passer-by if he had seen Europa, so
long after the white bull had carried her away. But, though the
gray years thrust themselves between, and made the child's
figure dim in their remembrance, neither of these true-hearted
three ever dreamed of giving up the search.

One morning, however, poor Thasus found that he had sprained
his ankle, and could not possibly go a step farther.

"After a few days, to be sure," said he, mournfully, "I might
make shift to hobble along with a stick. But that would only
delay you, and perhaps hinder you from finding dear little
Europa, after all your pains and trouble. Do you go forward,
therefore, my beloved companions, and leave me to follow as I

"Thou hast been a true friend, dear Thasus," said Queen
Telephassa, kissing his forehead. "Being neither my son, nor
the brother of our lost Europa, thou hast shown thyself truer
to me and her than Phoenix and Cilix did, whom we have left
behind us. Without thy loving help, and that of my son Cadmus,
my limbs could not have borne me half so far as this. Now, take
thy rest, and be at peace. For--and it is the first time I have
owned it to myself--I begin to question whether we shall ever
find my beloved daughter in this world."

Saying this, the poor queen shed tears, because it was a
grievous trial to the mother's heart to confess that her hopes
were growing faint. From that day forward, Cadmus noticed that
she never traveled with the same alacrity of spirit that had
heretofore supported her. Her weight was heavier upon his arm.

Before setting out, Cadmus helped Thasus build a bower; while
Telephassa, being too infirm to give any great assistance,
advised them how to fit it up and furnish it, so that it might
be as comfortable as a hut of branches could. Thasus, however,
did not spend all his days in this green bower. For it happened
to him, as to Phoenix and Cilix, that other homeless people
visited the spot, and liked it, and built themselves
habitations in the neighborhood. So here, in the course of a
few years, was another thriving city, with a red freestone
palace in the center of it, where Thasus sat upon a throne,
doing justice to the people, with a purple robe over his
shoulders, a sceptre in his hand, and a crown upon his head.
The inhabitants had made him king, not for the sake of any
royal blood (for none was in his veins), but because Thasus was
an upright, true-hearted, and courageous man, and therefore fit
to rule.

But when the affairs of his kingdom were all settled, King
Thasus laid aside his purple robe and crown, and sceptre, and
bade his worthiest subjects distribute justice to the people in
his stead. Then, grasping the pilgrim's staff that had
supported him so long, he set forth again, hoping still to
discover some hoof-mark of the snow-white bull, some trace of
the vanished child. He returned after a lengthened absence, and
sat down wearily upon his throne. To his latest hour,
nevertheless, King Thasus showed his true-hearted remembrance
of Europa, by ordering that a fire should always be kept
burning in his palace, and a bath steaming hot, and food ready
to be served up, and a bed with snow-white sheets, in case the
maiden should arrive, and require immediate refreshment. And,
though Europa never came, the good Thasus had the blessings of
many a poor traveler, who profited by the food and lodging
which were meant for the little playmate of the king's boyhood.

Telephassa and Cadmus were now pursuing their weary way, with
no companion but each other. The queen leaned heavily upon her
son's arm, and could walk only a few miles a day. But for all
her weakness and weariness, she would not be persuaded to give
up the search. It was enough to bring tears into the eyes of
bearded men to hear the melancholy tone with which she inquired
of every stranger whether he could not tell her any news of the
lost child.

"Have you seen a little girl--no, no, I mean a young maiden of
full growth--passing by this way, mounted on a snow-white bull,
which gallops as swiftly as the wind?"

"We have seen no such wondrous sight," the people would reply;
and very often, taking Cadmus aside, they whispered to him, "Is
this stately and sad-looking woman your mother? Surely she is
not in her right mind; and you ought to take her home, and make
her comfortable, and do your best to get this dream out of her

"It is no dream," said Cadmus. "Everything else is a dream,
save that."

But, one day, Telephassa seemed feebler than usual, and leaned
almost her whole weight on the arm of Cadmus, and walked more
slowly than ever before. At last they reached a solitary spot,
where she told her son that she must needs lie down, and take a
good long rest.

"A good long rest!" she repeated, looking Cadmus tenderly in
the face. "A good long rest, thou dearest one!"

"As long as you please, dear mother," answered Cadmus.

Telephassa bade him sit down on the turf beside her, and then
she took his hand.

"My son," said she, fixing her dim eyes most lovingly upon him,
"this rest that I speak of will be very long indeed! You must
not wait till it is finished. Dear Cadmus, you do not
comprehend me. You must make a grave here, and lay your
mother's weary frame into it. My pilgrimage is over."

Cadmus burst into tears, and, for a long time, refused to
believe that his dear mother was now to be taken from him. But
Telephassa reasoned with him, and kissed him, and at length
made him discern that it was better for her spirit to pass away
out of the toil, the weariness, and grief, and disappointment
which had burdened her on earth, ever since the child was lost.
He therefore repressed his sorrow, and listened to her last

"Dearest Cadmus," said she, "thou hast been the truest son that
ever mother had, and faithful to the very last. Who else would
have borne with my infirmities as thou hast! It is owing to thy
care, thou tenderest child, that my grave was not dug long
years ago, in some valley, or on some hillside, that lies far,
far behind us. It is enough. Thou shalt wander no more on this
hopeless search. But, when thou hast laid thy mother in the
earth, then go, my son, to Delphi, and inquire of the oracle
what thou shalt do next."

"O mother, mother," cried Cadmus, "couldst thou but have seen
my sister before this hour!"

"It matters little now," answered Telephassa, and there was a
smile upon her face. "I go now to the better world, and, sooner
or later, shall find my daughter there."

I will not sadden you, my little hearers, with telling how
Telephassa died and was buried, but will only say, that her
dying smile grew brighter, instead of vanishing from her dead
face; so that Cadmus left convinced that, at her very first
step into the better world, she had caught Europa in her arms.
He planted some flowers on his mother's grave, and left them to
grow there, and make the place beautiful, when he should be far

After performing this last sorrowful duty, he set forth alone,
and took the road towards the famous oracle of Delphi, as
Telephassa had advised him. On his way thither, he still
inquired of most people whom he met whether they had seen
Europa; for, to say the truth, Cadmus had grown so accustomed
to ask the question, that it came to his lips as readily as a
remark about the weather. He received various answers. Some
told him one thing, and some another. Among the rest, a mariner
affirmed, that, many years before, in a distant country, he had
heard a rumor about a white bull, which came swimming across
the sea with a child on his back, dressed up in flowers that
were blighted by the sea water. He did not know what had become
of the child or the bull; and Cadmus suspected, indeed, by a
queer twinkle in the mariner's eyes, that he was putting a joke
upon him, and had never really heard anything about the matter.

Poor Cadmus found it more wearisome to travel alone than to
bear all his dear mother's weight, while she had kept him
company. His heart, you will understand, was now so heavy that
it seemed impossible, sometimes, to carry it any farther. But
his limbs were strong and active, and well accustomed to
exercise. He walked swiftly along, thinking of King Agenor and
Queen Telephassa, and his brothers, and the friendly Thasus,
all of whom he had left behind him, at one point of his
pilgrimage or another, and never expected to see them any more.
Full of these remembrances, he came within sight of a lofty
mountain, which the people thereabouts told him was called
Parnassus. On the slope of Mount Parnassus was the famous
Delphi, whither Cadmus was going.

This Delphi was supposed to be the very midmost spot of the
whole world. The place of the oracle was a certain cavity in
the mountain side, over which, when Cadmus came thither, he
found a rude bower of branches. It reminded him of those which
he had helped to build for Phoenix and Cilix, and afterwards
for Thasus. In later times, when multitudes of people came from
great distances to put questions to the oracle, a spacious
temple of marble was erected over the spot. But in the days of
Cadmus, as I have told you, there was only this rustic bower,
with its abundance of green foliage, and a tuft of shrubbery,
that ran wild over the mysterious hole in the hillside.

When Cadmus had thrust a passage through the tangled boughs,
and made his way into the bower, he did not at first discern
the half-hidden cavity. But soon he felt a cold stream of air
rushing out of it, with so much force that it shook the
ringlets on his cheek. Pulling away the shrubbery which
clustered over the hole, he bent forward, and spoke in a
distinct but reverential tone, as if addressing some unseen
personage inside of the mountain.

"Sacred oracle of Delphi," said he, "whither shall I go next in
quest of my dear sister Europa?"

There was at first a deep silence, and then a rushing sound, or
a noise like a long sigh, proceeding out of the interior of the
earth. This cavity, you must know, was looked upon as a sort of
fountain of truth, which sometimes gushed out in audible words;
although, for the most part, these words were such a riddle
that they might just as well have staid at the bottom of the
hole. But Cadmus was more fortunate than many others who went
to Delphi in search of truth. By and by, the rushing noise
began to sound like articulate language. It repeated, over and
over again, the following sentence, which, after all, was so
like the vague whistle of a blast of air, that Cadmus really
did not quite know whether it meant anything or not:

"Seek her no more! Seek her no more! Seek her no more!"

"What, then, shall I do?" asked Cadmus.

For, ever since he was a child, you know, it had been the great
object of his life to find his sister. From the very hour that
he left following the butterfly in the meadow, near his
father's palace, he had done his best to follow Europa, over
land and sea. And now, if he must give up the search, he seemed
to have no more business in the world.

But again the sighing gust of air grew into something like a
hoarse voice.

"Follow the cow!" it said. "Follow the cow! Follow the cow!"

And when these words had been repeated until Cadmus was tired
of hearing them (especially as he could not imagine what cow it
was, or why he was to follow her), the gusty hole gave vent to
another sentence.

"Where the stray cow lies down, there is your home."

These words were pronounced but a single time, and died away
into a whisper before Cadmus was fully satisfied that he had
caught the meaning. He put other questions, but received no
answer; only the gust of wind sighed continually out of the
cavity, and blew the withered leaves rustling along the ground
before it.

"Did there really come any words out of the hole?" thought
Cadmus; "or have I been dreaming all this while?"

He turned away from the oracle, and thought himself no wiser
than when he came thither. Caring little what might happen to
him, he took the first path that offered itself, and went along
at a sluggish pace; for, having no object in view, nor any
reason to go one way more than another, it would certainly have
been foolish to make haste. Whenever he met anybody, the old
question was at his tongue's end.

"Have you seen a beautiful maiden, dressed like a king's
daughter, and mounted on a snow-white bull, that gallops as
swiftly as the wind?"

But, remembering what the oracle had said, he only half uttered
the words, and then mumbled the rest indistinctly; and from his
confusion, people must have imagined that this handsome young
man had lost his wits.

I know not how far Cadmus had gone, nor could he himself have
told you, when at no great distance before him, he beheld a
brindled cow. She was lying down by the wayside, and quietly
chewing her cud; nor did she take any notice of the young man
until he had approached pretty nigh. Then, getting leisurely
upon her feet, and giving her head a gentle toss, she began to
move along at a moderate pace, often pausing just long enough
to crop a mouthful of grass. Cadmus loitered behind, whistling
idly to himself, and scarcely noticing the cow; until the
thought occurred to him, whether this could possibly be the
animal which, according to the oracle's response, was to serve
him for a guide. But he smiled at himself for fancying such a
thing. He could not seriously think that this was the cow,
because she went along so quietly, behaving just like any other
cow. Evidently she neither knew nor cared so much as a wisp of
hay about Cadmus, and was only thinking how to get her living
along the wayside, where the herbage was green and fresh.
Perhaps she was going home to be milked.

"Cow, cow, cow!" cried Cadmus. "Hey, Brindle, hey! Stop, my
good cow!"

He wanted to come up with the cow, so as to examine her, and
see if she would appear to know him, or whether there were any
peculiarities to distinguish her from a thousand other cows,
whose only business is to fill the milk-pail, and sometimes
kick it over. But still the brindled cow trudged on, whisking
her tail to keep the flies away, and taking as little notice of
Cadmus as she well could. If he walked slowly, so did the cow,
and seized the opportunity to graze. If he quickened his pace,
the cow went just so much the faster; and once, when Cadmus
tried to catch her by running, she threw out her heels, stuck
her tail straight on end, and set off at a gallop, looking as
queerly as cows generally do, while putting themselves to their

When Cadmus saw that it was impossible to come up with her, he
walked on moderately, as before. The cow, too, went leisurely
on, without looking behind. Wherever the grass was greenest,
there she nibbled a mouthful or two. Where a brook glistened
brightly across the path, there the cow drank, and breathed a
comfortable sigh, and drank again. and trudged onward at the
pace that best suited herself and Cadmus.

"I do believe," thought Cadmus, "that this may be the cow that
was foretold me. If it be the one, I suppose she will lie down
somewhere hereabouts."

Whether it were the oracular cow or some other one, it did not
seem reasonable that she should travel a great way farther. So,
whenever they reached a particularly pleasant spot on a breezy
hillside, or in a sheltered vale, or flowery meadow, on the
shore of a calm lake, or along the bank of a clear stream,
Cadmus looked eagerly around to see if the situation would suit
him for a home. But still, whether he liked the place or no,
the brindled cow never offered to lie down. On she went at the
quiet pace of a cow going homeward to the barn yard; and, every
moment, Cadmus expected to see a milkmaid approaching with a
pail, or a herdsman running to head the stray animal, and turn
her back towards the pasture. But no milkmaid came; no herdsman
drove her back; and Cadmus followed the stray Brindle till he
was almost ready to drop down with fatigue.

"O brindled cow," cried he, in a tone of despair, "do you never
mean to stop?"

He had now grown too intent on following her to think of
lagging behind, however long the way, and whatever might be his
fatigue. Indeed, it seemed as if there were something about the
animal that bewitched people. Several persons who happened to
see the brindled cow, and Cadmus following behind, began to
trudge after her, precisely as he did. Cadmus was glad of
somebody to converse with, and therefore talked very freely to
these good people. He told them all his adventures, and how he
had left King Agenor in his palace, and Phoenix at one place,
and Cilix at another, and Thasus at a third, and his dear
mother, Queen Telephassa, under a flowery sod; so that now he
was quite alone, both friendless and homeless. He mentioned,
likewise, that the oracle had bidden him be guided by a cow,
and inquired of the strangers whether they supposed that this
brindled animal could be the one.

"Why, 'tis a very wonderful affair," answered one of his new
companions. "I am pretty well acquainted with the ways of
cattle, and I never knew a cow, of her own accord, to go so far
without stopping. If my legs will let me, I'll never leave
following the beast till she lies down."

"Nor I!" said a second.

"Nor I!" cried a third. "If she goes a hundred miles farther, I
am determined to see the end of it."

The secret of it was, you must know, that the cow was an
enchanted cow, and that, without their being conscious of it,
she threw some of her enchantment over everybody that took so
much as half a dozen steps behind her. They could not possibly
help following her, though all the time they fancied themselves
doing it of their own accord. The cow was by no means very nice
in choosing her path; so that sometimes they had to scramble
over rocks, or wade through mud and mire, and all in a terribly
bedraggled condition, and tired to death, and very hungry, into
the bargain. What a weary business it was!

But still they kept trudging stoutly forward, and talking as
they went. The strangers grew very fond of Cadmus, and resolved
never to leave him, but to help him build a city wherever the
cow might lie down. In the center of it there should be a noble
palace, in which Cadmus might dwell, and be their king, with a
throne, a crown, a sceptre, a purple robe, and everything else
that a king ought to have; for in him there was the royal
blood, and the royal heart, and the head that knew how to rule.

While they were talking of these schemes, and beguiling the
tediousness of the way with laying out the plan of the new
city, one of the company happened to look at the cow.

"Joy! joy!" cried he, clapping his hands. "Brindle is going to
lie down."

They all looked; and, sure enough, the cow had stopped, and was
staring leisurely about her, as other cows do when on the point
of lying down. And slowly, slowly did she recline herself on
the soft grass, first bending her forelegs, and then crouching
her hind ones. When Cadmus and his companions came up with her,
there was the brindled cow taking her ease, chewing her cud,
and looking them quietly in the face; as if this was just the
spot she had been seeking for, and as if it were all a matter
of course.

"This, then," said Cadmus, gazing around him, "this is to be my

It was a fertile and lovely plain, with great trees flinging
their sun-speckled shadows over it, and hills fencing it in
from the rough weather At no great distance, they beheld a
river gleaming in the sunshine. A home feeling stole into the
heart of poor Cadmus. He was very glad to know that here he
might awake in the morning without the necessity of putting on
his dusty sandals to travel farther and farther. The days and
the years would pass over him, and find him still in this
pleasant spot. If he could have had his brothers with him, and
his friend Thasus, and could have seen his dear mother under a
roof of his own, he might here have been happy after all their
disappointments. Some day or other, too, his sister Europa
might have come quietly to the door of his home, and smiled
round upon the familiar faces. But, indeed, since there was no
hope of regaining the friends of his boyhood, or ever seeing
his dear sister again, Cadmus resolved to make himself happy
with these new companions, who had grown so fond of him while
following the cow.

"Yes, my friends," said he to them, "this is to be our home.
Here we will build our habitations. The brindled cow, which has
led us hither, will supply us with milk. We will cultivate the
neighboring soil. and lead an innocent and happy life."

His companions joyfully assented to this plan; and, in the
first place, being very hungry and thirsty, they looked about
them for the means of providing a comfortable meal. Not far off
they saw a tuft of trees, which appeared as if there might be a
spring of water beneath them. They went thither to fetch some,
leaving Cadmus stretched on the ground along with the brindled
cow; for, now that he had found a place of rest, it seemed as
if all the weariness of his pilgrimage, ever since he left King
Agenor's palace, had fallen upon him at once. But his new
friends had not long been gone, when he was suddenly startled
by cries, shouts, and screams, and the noise of a terrible
struggle, and in the midst of it all, a most awful hissing,
which went right through his ears like a rough saw.

Running towards the tuft of trees, he beheld the head and fiery
eyes of an immense serpent or dragon, with the widest jaws that
ever a dragon had, and a vast many rows of horribly sharp
teeth. Before Cadmus could reach the spot, this pitiless
reptile had killed his poor companions, and was busily
devouring them, making but a mouthful of each man.

It appears that the fountain of water was enchanted, and that
the dragon had been set to guard it, so that no mortal might
ever quench his thirst there. As the neighboring inhabitants
carefully avoided the spot, it was now a long time (not less
than a hundred years or thereabouts) since the monster had
broken his fast; and, as was natural enough, his appetite had
grown to be enormous, and was not half satisfied by the poor
people whom he had just eaten up. When he caught sight of
Cadmus, therefore, he set up another abominable hiss, and flung
back his immense jaws, until his mouth looked like a great red
cavern, at the farther end of which were seen the legs of his
last victim, whom he had hardly had time to swallow.

But Cadmus was so enraged at the destruction of his friends
that he cared neither for the size of the dragon's jaws nor for
his hundreds of sharp teeth. Drawing his sword, he rushed at
the monster, and flung himself right into his cavernous mouth.
This bold method of attacking him took the dragon by surprise;
for, in fact, Cadmus had leaped so far down into his throat,
that the rows of terrible teeth could not close upon him, nor
do him the least harm in the world. Thus, though the struggle
was a tremendous one, and though the dragon shattered the tuft
of trees into small splinters by the lashing of his tail, yet,
as Cadmus was all the while slashing and stabbing at his very
vitals, it was not long before the scaly wretch bethought
himself of slipping away. He had not gone his length, however,
when the brave Cadmus gave him a sword thrust that finished the
battle; and creeping out of the gateway of the creature's jaws,
there he beheld him still wriggling his vast bulk, although
there was no longer life enough in him to harm a little child.

But do not you suppose that it made Cadmus sorrowful to think
of the melancholy fate which had befallen those poor, friendly
people, who had followed the cow along with him? It seemed as
if he were doomed to lose everybody whom he loved, or to see
them perish in one way or another. And here he was, after all
his toils and troubles, in a solitary place, with not a single
human being to help him build a hut.

"What shall I do?" cried he aloud. "It were better for me to
have been devoured by the dragon, as my poor companions were."

"Cadmus," said a voice but whether it came from above or below
him, or whether it spoke within his own breast, the young man
could not tell--"Cadmus, pluck out the dragon's teeth, and
plant them in the earth."

This was a strange thing to do; nor was it very easy, I should
imagine, to dig out all those deep-rooted fangs from the dead
dragon's jaws. But Cadmus toiled and tugged, and after pounding
the monstrous head almost to pieces with a great stone, he at
last collected as many teeth as might have filled a bushel or
two. The next thing was to plant them. This, likewise, was a
tedious piece of work, especially as Cadmus was already
exhausted with killing the dragon and knocking his head to
pieces, and had nothing to dig the earth with, that I know of,
unless it were his sword blade. Finally, however, a
sufficiently large tract oś ground was turned up, and sown with
this new kind of seed; although half of the dragon's teeth
still remained to be planted some other day.

Cadmus, quite out of breath, stood leaning upon his sword, and
wondering what was to happen next. He had waited but a few
moments, when he began to see a sight, which was as great a
marvel as the most marvelous thing I ever told you about.

The sun was shining slantwise over the field, and showed all
the moist, dark soil just like any other newly-planted piece of
ground. All at once, Cadmus fancied he saw something glisten
very brightly, first at one spot, then at another, and then at
a hundred and a thousand spots together. Soon he perceived them
to be the steel heads of spears, sprouting up everywhere like
so many stalks of grain, and continually growing taller and
taller. Next appeared a vast number of bright sword blades,
thrusting themselves up in the same way. A moment afterwards,
the whole surface of the ground was broken by a multitude of
polished brass helmets, coming up like a crop of enormous
beans. So rapidly did they grow, that Cadmus now discerned the
fierce countenance of a man beneath every one. In short, before
he had time to think what a wonderful affair it was, he beheld
an abundant harvest of what looked like human beings, armed
with helmets and breastplates, shields, swords, and spears; and
before they were well out of the earth, they brandished their
weapons, and clashed them one against another, seeming to
think, little while as they had yet lived, that they had wasted
too much of life without a battle. Every tooth of the dragon
had produced one of these sons of deadly mischief.

Up sprouted also a great many trumpeters; and with the first
breath that they drew, they put their brazen trumpets to their
lips, and sounded a tremendous and ear-shattering blast, so
that the whole space, just now so quiet and solitary,
reverberated with the clash and clang of arms, the bray of
warlike music, and the shouts of angry men. So enraged did they
all look, that Cadmus fully expected them to put the whole
world to the sword. How fortunate would it be for a great
conqueror, if he could get a bushel of the dragon's teeth to

"Cadmus," said the same voice which he had before heard, "throw
a stone into the midst of the armed men."

So Cadmus seized a large stone, and flinging it into the middle
of the earth army, saw it strike the breastplate of a gigantic
and fierce-looking warrior. Immediately on feeling the blow, he
seemed to take it for granted that somebody had struck him;
and, uplifting his weapon, he smote his next neighbor a blow
that cleft his helmet asunder, and stretched him on the ground.
In an instant, those nearest the fallen warrior began to strike
at one another with their swords, and stab with their spears.
The confusion spread wider and wider. Each man smote down his
brother, and was himself smitten down before he had time to
exult in his victory. The trumpeters, all the while, blew their
blasts shriller and shriller; each soldier shouted a battle
cry, and often fell with it on his lips. It was the strangest
spectacle of causeless wrath, and of mischief for no good end,
that had ever been witnessed; but, after all, it was neither
more foolish nor more wicked than a thousand battles that have
since been fought, in which men have slain their brothers with
just as little reason as these children of the dragon's teeth.
It ought to be considered, too, that the dragon people were
made for nothing else; whereas other mortals were born to love
and help one another.

Well, this memorable battle continued to rage until the ground
was strewn with helmeted heads that had been cut off. Of all
the thousands that began the fight, there were only five left
standing. These now rushed from different parts of the field,
and, meeting in the middle of it, clashed their swords, and
struck at each other's hearts as fiercely as ever.

"Cadmus," said the voice again, "bid those five warriors
sheathe their swords. They will help you to build the city."

Without hesitating an instant, Cadmus stepped forward, with the
aspect of a king and a leader, and extending his drawn sword
amongst them, spoke to the warriors in a stern and commanding

"Sheathe your weapons!" said he.

And forthwith, feeling themselves bound to obey him, the five
remaining sons of the dragon's teeth made him a military salute
with their swords, returned them to the scabbards, and stood
before Cadmus in a rank, eyeing him as soldiers eye their
captain, while awaiting the word of command.

These five men had probably sprung from the biggest of the
dragon's teeth, and were the boldest and strongest of the whole
army. They were almost giants indeed, and had good need to be
so, else they never could have lived through so terrible a
fight. They still had a very furious look, and, if Cadmus
happened to glance aside, would glare at one another, with fire
flashing out of their eyes. It was strange, too, to observe how
the earth, out of which they had so lately grown, was
incrusted, here and there, on their bright breastplates, and
even, begrimed their faces; just as you may have seen it
clinging to beets and carrots, when pulled out of their native
soil. Cadmus hardly knew whether to consider them as men, or
some odd kind of vegetable; although, on the whole, he
concluded that there was human nature in them, because they
were so fond of trumpets and weapons, and so ready to shed

They looked him earnestly in the face, waiting for his next
order, and evidently desiring no other employment than to
follow him from one battlefield to another, all over the wide
world. But Cadmus was wiser than these earth-born creatures,
with the dragon's fierceness in them, and knew better how to
use their strength and hardihood.

"Come!" said he. "You are sturdy fellows. Make yourselves
useful! Quarry some stones with those great swords of yours,
and help me to build a city."

The five soldiers grumbled a little, and muttered that it was
their business to overthrow cities, not to build them up. But
Cadmus looked at them with a stern eye, and spoke to them in a
tone of authority, so that they knew him for their master, and
never again thought of disobeying his commands. They set to
work in good earnest, and toiled so diligently, that, in a very
short time, a city began to make its appearance. At first, to
be sure, the workmen showed a quarrelsome disposition. Like
savage beasts, they would doubtless have done one another a
mischief, if Cadmus had not kept watch over them, and quelled
the fierce old serpent that lurked in their hearts, when he saw
it gleaming out of their wild eyes. But, in course of time,
they got accustomed to honest labor, and had sense enough to
feel that there was more true enjoyment in living at peace, and
doing good to one's neighbor, than in striking at him with a
two-edged sword. It may not be too much to hope that the rest
of mankind will by and by grow as wise and peaceable as these
five earth-begrimed warriors, who sprang from the dragon's

And now the city was built, and there was a home in it for each
of the workmen. But the palace of Cadmus was not yet erected,
because they had left it till the last, meaning to introduce
all the new improvements of architecture, and make it very
commodious, as well as stately and beautiful. After finishing
the rest of their labors, they all went to bed betimes, in
order to rise in the gray of the morning, and get at least the
foundation of the edifice laid before nightfall. But, when
Cadmus arose, and took his way towards the site where the
palace was to be built, followed by his five sturdy workmen
marching all in a row, what do you think he saw?

What should it be but the most magnificent palace that had ever
been seen in the world. It was built of marble and other
beautiful kinds of stone, and rose high into the air, with a
splendid dome and a portico along the front, and carved
pillars, and everything else that befitted the habitation of a
mighty king. It had grown up out of the earth in almost as
short a time as it had taken the armed host to spring from the
dragon's teeth; and what made the matter more strange, no seed
of this stately edifice ever had been planted.

When the five workmen beheld the dome, with the morning
sunshine making it look golden and glorious, they gave a great

"Long live King Cadmus," they cried, "in his beautiful palace."

And the new king, with his five faithful followers at his
heels, shouldering their pickaxes and marching in a rank (for
they still had a soldier-like sort of behavior, as their nature
was), ascended the palace steps. Halting at the entrance, they
gazed through a long vista of lofty pillars, that were ranged
from end to end of a great hall. At the farther extremity of
this hall, approaching slowly towards him, Cadmus beheld a
female figure, wonderfully beautiful, and adorned with a royal
robe, and a crown of diamonds over her golden ringlets, and the
richest necklace that ever a queen wore. His heart thrilled
with delight. He fancied it his long-lost sister Europa, now
grown to womanhood, coming to make him happy, and to repay him
with her sweet sisterly affection, for all those weary
wonderings in quest of her since he left King Agenor's
palace--for the tears that he had shed, on parting with
Phoenix, and Cilix, and Thasus--for the heart-breakings that
had made the whole world seem dismal to him over his dear
mother's grave.

But, as Cadmus advanced to meet the beautiful stranger, he saw
that her features were unknown to him, although, in the little
time that it required to tread along the hall, he had already
felt a sympathy betwixt himself and her.

"No, Cadmus," said the same voice that had spoken to him in the
field of the armed men, "this is not that dear sister Europa
whom you have sought so faithfully all over the wide world.
This is Harmonia, a daughter of the sky, who is given you
instead of sister, and brothers, and friend, and mother. You
will find all those dear ones in her alone."

So King Cadmus dwelt in the palace, with his new friend
Harmonia, and found a great deal of comfort in his magnificent
abode, but would doubtless have found as much, if not more, in
the humblest cottage by the wayside. Before many years went by,
there was a group of rosy little children (but how they came
thither has always been a mystery to me) sporting in the great
hall, and on the marble steps of the palace, and running
joyfully to meet King Cadmus when affairs of state left him at
leisure to play with them. They called him father, and Queen
Harmonia mother. The five old soldiers of the dragon's teeth
grew very fond of these small urchins, and were never weary of
showing them how to shoulder sticks, flourish wooden swords,
and march in military order, blowing a penny trumpet, or
beating an abominable rub-a-dub upon a little drum.

But King Cadmus, lest there should be too much of the dragon's
tooth in his children's disposition, used to find time from his
kingly duties to teach them their A B C--which he invented for
their benefit, and for which many little people, I am afraid,
are not half so grateful to him as they ought to be.


Some of you have heard, no doubt, of the wise King Ulysses, and
how he went to the siege of Troy, and how, after that famous
city was taken and burned, he spent ten long years in trying to
get back again to his own little kingdom of Ithaca. At one time
in the course of this weary voyage, he arrived at an island
that looked very green and pleasant, but the name of which was
unknown to him. For, only a little while before he came
thither, he had met with a terrible hurricane, or rather a
great many hurricanes at once, which drove his fleet of vessels
into a strange part of the sea, where neither himself nor any
of his mariners had ever sailed. This misfortune was entirely
owing to the foolish curiosity of his shipmates, who, while
Ulysses lay asleep, had untied some very bulky leathern bags,
in which they supposed a valuable treasure to be concealed. But
in each of these stout bags, King Aeolus, the ruler of the
winds, had tied up a tempest, and had given it to Ulysses to
keep in order that he might be sure of a favorable passage
homeward to Ithaca; and when the strings were loosened, forth
rushed the whistling blasts, like air out of a blown bladder,
whitening the sea with foam, and scattering the vessels nobody
could tell whither.

Immediately after escaping from this peril, a still greater one
had befallen him. Scudding before the hurricane, he reached a
place, which, as he afterwards found, was called Laestrygonia,
where some monstrous giants had eaten up many of his
companions, and had sunk every one of his vessels, except that
in which he himself sailed, by flinging great masses of rock at
them, from the cliffs along the shore. After going through such
troubles as these, you cannot wonder that King Ulysses was glad
to moor his tempest-beaten bark in a quiet cove of the green
island, which I began with telling you about. But he had
encountered so many dangers from giants, and one-eyed Cyclops,
and monsters of the sea and land, that he could not help
dreading some mischief, even in this pleasant and seemingly
solitary spot. For two days, therefore, the poor weather-worn
voyagers kept quiet, and either staid on board of their vessel,
or merely crept along under the cliffs that bordered the shore;
and to keep themselves alive, they dug shellfish out of the
sand, and sought for any little rill of fresh water that might
be running towards the sea.

Before the two days were spent, they grew very weary of this
kind of life; for the followers of King Ulysses, as you will
find it important to remember, were terrible gormandizers, and
pretty sure to grumble if they missed their regulars meals, and
their irregular ones besides. Their stock of provisions was
quite exhausted, and even the shellfish began to get scarce, so
that they had now to choose between starving to death or
venturing into the interior of the island, where perhaps some
huge three-headed dragon, or other horrible monster, had his
den. Such misshapen creatures were very numerous in those days;
and nobody ever expected to make a voyage, or take a journey,
without running more or less risk of being devoured by them.

But King Ulysses was a bold man as well as a prudent one; and
on the third morning he determined to discover what sort of a
place the island was, and whether it were possible to obtain a
supply of food for the hungry mouths of his companions. So,
taking a spear in his hand, he clambered to the summit of a
cliff, and gazed round about him. At a distance, towards the
center of the island, he beheld the stately towers of what
seemed to be a palace, built of snow-white marble, and rising
in the midst of a grove of lofty trees. The thick branches of
these trees stretched across the front of the edifice, and more
than half concealed it, although, from the portion which he
saw, Ulysses judged it to be spacious and exceedingly
beautiful, and probably the residence of some great nobleman or
prince. A blue smoke went curling up from the chimney, and was
almost the pleasantest part of the spectacle to Ulysses. For,
from the abundance of this smoke, it was reasonable to conclude
that there was a good fire in the kitchen, and that, at
dinner-time, a plentiful banquet would be served up to the
inhabitants of the palace, and to whatever guests might happen
to drop in.

With so agreeable a prospect before him, Ulysses fancied that
he could not do better than go straight to the palace gate, and
tell the master of it that there was a crew of poor shipwrecked
mariners, not far off, who had eaten nothing for a day or two,
save a few clams and oysters, and would therefore be thankful
for a little food. And the prince or nobleman must be a very
stingy curmudgeon, to be sure, if, at least, when his own
dinner was over, he would not bid them welcome to the broken
victuals from the table.

Pleasing himself with this idea, King Ulysses had made a few
steps in the direction of the palace, when there was a great
twittering and chirping from the branch of a neighboring tree.
A moment afterwards, a bird came flying towards him, and
hovered in the air, so as almost to brush his face with its
wings. It was a very pretty little bird, with purple wings and
body, and yellow legs, and a circle of golden feathers round
its neck, and on its head a golden tuft, which looked like a
king's crown in miniature. Ulysses tried to catch the bird. But
it fluttered nimbly out of his reach, still chirping in a
piteous tone, as if it could have told a lamentable story, had
it only been gifted with human language. And when he attempted
to drive it away, the bird flew no farther than the bough of
the next tree, and again came fluttering about his head, with
its doleful chirp, as soon as he showed a purpose of going

"Have you anything to tell me, little bird?" asked Ulysses.

And he was ready to listen attentively to whatever the bird
might communicate; for, at the siege of Troy, and elsewhere, he
had known such odd things to happen, that he would not have
considered it much out of the common run had this little
feathered creature talked as plainly as himself.

"Peep!" said the bird, "peep, peep, pe--weep!" And nothing else
would it say, but only, "Peep, peep, pe--weep!" in a melancholy
cadence, and over and over and over again. As often as Ulysses
moved forward, however, the bird showed the greatest alarm, and
did its best to drive him back, with the anxious flutter of its
purple wings. Its unaccountable behavior made him conclude, at
last, that the bird knew of some danger that awaited him, and
which must needs be very terrible, beyond all question, since
it moved even a little fowl to feel compassion for a human
being. So he resolved, for the present, to return to the
vessel, and tell his companions what he had seen.

This appeared to satisfy the bird. As soon as Ulysses turned
back, it ran up the trunk of a tree, and began to pick insects
out of the bark with its long, sharp bill; for it was a kind of
woodpecker, you must know, and had to get its living in the
same manner as other birds of that species. But every little
while, as it pecked at the bark of the tree, the purple bird
bethought itself of some secret sorrow, and repeated its
plaintive note of "Peep, peep, pe--weep!"

On his way to the shore, Ulysses had the good luck to kill a
large stag by thrusting his spear into his back. Taking it on
his shoulders (for he was a remarkably strong man), he lugged
it along with him, and flung it down before his hungry
companions. I have already hinted to you what gormandizers some
of the comrades of King Ulysses were. From what is related of
them, I reckon that their favorite diet was pork, and that they
had lived upon it until a good part of their physical substance
was swine's flesh, and their tempers and dispositions were very
much akin to the hog. A dish of venison, however, was no
unacceptable meal to them, especially after feeding so long on
oysters and clams. So, beholding the dead stag, they felt of
its ribs, in a knowing way, and lost no time in kindling a fire
of driftwood, to cook it. The rest of the day was spent in
feasting; and if these enormous eaters got up from table at
sunset, it was only because they could not scrape another
morsel off the poor animal's bones.

The next morning, their appetites were as sharp as ever. They
looked at Ulysses, as if they expected him to clamber up the
cliff again, and come back with another fat deer upon his
shoulders. Instead of setting out, however, he summoned the
whole crew together, and told them it was in vain to hope that
he could kill a stag every day for their dinner, and therefore
it was advisable to think of some other mode of satisfying
their hunger.

"Now," said he, "when I was on the cliff, yesterday, I
discovered that this island is inhabited. At a considerable
distance from the shore stood a marble palace, which appeared
to be very spacious, and had a great deal of smoke curling out
of one of its chimneys."

"Aha!" muttered some of his companions, smacking their lips.
"That smoke must have come from the kitchen fire. There was a
good dinner on the spit; and no doubt there will be as good a
one to-day."

"But," continued the wise Ulysses, "you must remember, my good
friends, our misadventure in the cavern of one-eyed Polyphemus,
the Cyclops! Instead of his ordinary milk diet, did he not eat
up two of our comrades for his supper, and a couple more for
breakfast, and two at his supper again? Methinks I see him yet,
the hideous monster, scanning us with that great red eye, in
the middle of his forehead, to single out the fattest. And
then, again, only a few days ago, did we not fall into the
hands of the king of the Laestrygons, and those other horrible
giants, his subjects, who devoured a great many more of us than
are now left? To tell you the truth, if we go to yonder palace,
there can be no question that we shall make our appearance at
the dinner table; but whether seated as guests, or served up as
food, is a point to be seriously considered."

"Either way," murmured some of the hungriest of the crew; "it
will be better than starvation; particularly if one could be
sure of being well fattened beforehand, and daintily cooked

"That is a matter of taste," said King Ulysses, "and, for my
own part, neither the most careful fattening nor the daintiest
of cookery would reconcile me to being dished at last. My
proposal is, therefore, that we divide ourselves into two equal
parties, and ascertain, by drawing lots, which of the two shall
go to the palace, and beg for food and assistance. If these can
be obtained, all is well. If not, and if the inhabitants prove
as inhospitable as Polyphemus, or the Laestrygons, then there
will but half of us perish, and the remainder may set sail and

As nobody objected to this scheme, Ulysses proceeded to count
the whole band, and found that there were forty-six men,
including himself. He then numbered off twenty-two of them, and
put Eurylochus (who was one of his chief officers, and second
only to himself in sagacity) at their head. Ulysses took
command of the remaining twenty-two men, in person. Then,
taking off his helmet, he put two shells into it, on one of
which was written, "Go," and on the other "Stay." Another
person now held the helmet, while Ulysses and Eurylochus drew
out each a shell; and the word "Go" was found written on that
which Eurylochus had drawn. In this manner, it was decided that
Ulysses and his twenty-two men were to remain at the seaside
until the other party should have found out what sort of
treatment they might expect at the mysterious palace. As there
was no help for it, Eurylochus immediately set forth at the
head of his twenty-two followers, who went off in a very
melancholy state of mind, leaving their friends in hardly
better spirits than themselves.

No sooner had they clambered up the cliff, than they discerned
the tall marble towers of the palace, ascending, as white as
snow, out of the lovely green shadow of the trees which
surrounded it. A gush of smoke came from a chimney in the rear
of the edifice. This vapor rose high in the air, and, meeting
with a breeze, was wafted seaward, and made to pass over the
heads of the hungry mariners. When people's appetites are keen,
they have a very quick scent for anything savory in the wind.

"That smoke comes from the kitchen!" cried one of them, turning
up his nose as high as he could, and snuffing eagerly. "And, as
sure as I'm a half-starved vagabond, I smell roast meat in it."

"Pig, roast pig!" said another. "Ah, the dainty little porker.
My mouth waters for him."

"Let us make haste," cried the others, "or we shall be too late
for the good cheer! "

But scarcely had they made half a dozen steps from the edge of
the cliff, when a bird came fluttering to meet them. It was the
same pretty little bird, with the purple wings and body, the
yellow legs, the golden collar round its neck, and the
crown-like tuft upon its head, whose behavior had so much
surprised Ulysses. It hovered about Eurylochus, and almost
brushed his face with its wings.

"Peep, peep, pe--weep!" chirped the bird.

So plaintively intelligent was the sound, that it seemed as if
the little creature were going to break its heart with some
mighty secret that it had to tell, and only this one poor note
to tell it with.

"My pretty bird," said Eurylochus--for he was a wary person,
and let no token of harm escape his notice--"my pretty bird,
who sent you hither? And what is the message which you bring?"

"Peep, peep, pe--weep! " replied the bird, very sorrowfully.

Then it flew towards the edge of the cliff, and looked around
at them, as if exceedingly anxious that they should return
whence they came. Eurylochus and a few of the others were
inclined to turn back. They could not help suspecting that the
purple bird must be aware of something mischievous that would
befall them at the palace, and the knowledge of which affected
its airy spirit with a human sympathy and sorrow. But the rest
of the voyagers, snuffing up the smoke from the palace kitchen,
ridiculed the idea of returning to the vessel. One of them
(more brutal than his fellows, and the most notorious
gormandizer in the crew) said such a cruel and wicked thing,
that I wonder the mere thought did not turn him into a wild
beast, in shape, as he already was in his nature.

"This troublesome and impertinent little fowl," said he, "would
make a delicate titbit to begin dinner with. Just one plump
morsel, melting away between the teeth. If he comes within my
reach, I'll catch him, and give him to the palace cook to be
roasted on a skewer."

The words were hardly out of his mouth, before the purple bird
flew away, crying, "Peep, peep, pe--weep," more dolorously than

"That bird," remarked Eurylochus, "knows more than we do about
what awaits us at the palace."

"Come on, then," cried his comrades, "and we'll soon know as
much as he does."

The party, accordingly, went onward through the green and
pleasant wood. Every little while they caught new glimpses of
the marble palace, which looked more and more beautiful the
nearer they approached it. They soon entered a broad pathway,
which seemed to be very neatly kept, and which went winding
along, with streaks of sunshine falling across it and specks of
light quivering among the deepest shadows that fell from the
lofty trees. It was bordered, too, with a great many
sweet-smelling flowers, such as the mariners had never seen
before. So rich and beautiful they were, that, if the shrubs
grew wild here, and were native in the soil, then this island
was surely the flower garden of the whole earth; or, if
transplanted from some other clime, it must have been from the
Happy Islands that lay towards the golden sunset.

"There has been a great deal of pains foolishly wasted on these
flowers," observed one of the company; and I tell you what he
said, that you may keep in mind what gormandizers they were.
"For my part, if I were the owner of the palace, I would bid my
gardener cultivate nothing but savory pot herbs to make a
stuffing for roast meat, or to flavor a stew with."

" Well said!" cried the others. "But I'll warrant you there's a
kitchen garden in the rear of the palace."

At one place they came to a crystal spring, and paused to drink
at it for want of liquor which they liked better. Looking into
its bosom, they beheld their own faces dimly reflected, but so
extravagantly distorted by the gush and motion of the water,
that each one of them appeared to be laughing at himself and
all his companions. So ridiculous were these images of
themselves, indeed, that they did really laugh aloud, and could
hardly be grave again as soon as they wished. And after they
had drank, they grew still merrier than before.

"It has a twang of the wine cask in it," said one, smacking his

"Make haste!" cried his fellows: "we'll find the wine cask
itself at the palace, and that will be better than a hundred
crystal fountains."

Then they quickened their pace, and capered for joy at the
thought of the savory banquet at which they hoped to be guests.
But Eurylochus told them that he felt as if he were walking in
a dream.

"If I am really awake," continued he, "then, in my opinion, we
are on the point of meeting with some stranger adventure than
any that befell us in the cave of Polyphemus, or among the
gigantic man-eating Laestrygons, or in the windy palace of King
Aeolus, which stands on a brazen-walled island. This kind of
dreamy feeling always comes over me before any wonderful
occurrence. If you take my advice, you will turn back."

"No, no," answered his comrades, snuffing the air, in which the
scent from the palace kitchen was now very perceptible. "We
would not turn back, though we were certain that the king of
the Laestrygons, as big as a mountain, would sit at the head of
the table, and huge Polyphemus, the one-eyed Cyclops, at its

At length they came within full sight of the palace, which
proved to be very large and lofty, with a great number of airy
pinnacles upon its roof. Though it was midday, and the sun
shone brightly over the marble front, yet its snowy whiteness,
and its fantastic style of architecture, made it look unreal,
like the frost work on a window pane, or like the shapes of
castles which one sees among the clouds by moonlight. But, just
then, a puff of wind brought down the smoke of the kitchen
chimney among them, and caused each man to smell the odor of
the dish that he liked best; and, after scenting it, they
thought everything else moonshine, and nothing real save this
palace, and save the banquet that was evidently ready to be
served up in it.

So they hastened their steps towards the portal, but had not
got half way across the wide lawn, when a pack of lions,
tigers, and wolves came bounding to meet them. The terrified
mariners started back, expecting no better fate than to be torn
to pieces and devoured. To their surprise and joy, however,
these wild beasts merely capered around them, wagging their
tails, offering their heads to be stroked and patted, and
behaving just like so many well-bred house dogs, when they wish
to express their delight at meeting their master, or their
master's friends. The biggest lion licked the feet of
Eurylochus; and every other lion, and every wolf and tiger,
singled out one of his two and twenty followers, whom the beast
fondled as if he loved him better than a beef bone.

But, for all that, Eurylochus imagined that he saw something
fierce and savage in their eyes; nor would he have been
surprised, at any moment, to feel the big lion's terrible
claws, or to see each of the tigers make a deadly spring,
or each wolf leap at the throat of the man whom he had fondled.
Their mildness seemed unreal, and a mere freak; but their
savage nature was as true as their teeth and claws.

Nevertheless, the men went safely across the lawn with the wild
beasts frisking about them, and doing no manner of harm;
although, as they mounted the steps of the palace, you might
possibly have heard a low growl, particularly from the wolves;
as if they thought it a pity, after all, to let the strangers
pass without so much as tasting what they were made of.

Eurylochus and his followers now passed under a lofty portal,
and looked through the open doorway into the interior of the
palace. The first thing that they saw was a spacious hall, and
a fountain in the middle of it, gushing up towards the ceiling
out of a marble basin, and falling back into it with a
continual plash. The water of this fountain, as it spouted
upward, was constantly taking new shapes, not very distinctly,
but plainly enough for a nimble fancy to recognize what they
were. Now it was the shape of a man in a long robe, the fleecy
whiteness of which was made out of the fountain's spray; now it
was a lion, or a tiger, or a wolf, or an ass, or, as often as
anything else, a hog, wallowing in the marble basin as if it
were his sty. It was either magic or some very curious
machinery that caused the gushing waterspout to assume all
these forms. But, before the strangers had time to look closely
at this wonderful sight, their attention was drawn off by a
very sweet and agreeable sound. A woman's voice was singing
melodiously in another room of the palace, and with her voice
was mingled the noise of a loom, at which she was probably
seated, weaving a rich texture of cloth, and intertwining the
high and low sweetness of her voice into a rich tissue of

By and by, the song came to an end; and then, all at once,
there were several feminine voices, talking airily and
cheerfully, with now and then a merry burst of laughter, such
as you may always hear when three or four young women sit at
work together.

"What a sweet song that was!" exclaimed one of the voyagers.

"Too sweet, indeed," answered Eurylochus, shaking his head.
"Yet it was not so sweet as the song of the Sirens, those
bird-like damsels who wanted to tempt us on the rocks, so that
our vessel might be wrecked, and our bones left whitening along
the shore."

"But just listen to the pleasant voices of those maidens, and
that buzz of the loom, as the shuttle passes to and fro," said
another comrade. "What a domestic, household, home-like sound
it is! Ah, before that weary siege of Troy, I used to hear the
buzzing loom and the women's voices under my own roof. Shall I
never hear them again? nor taste those nice little savory
dishes which my dearest wife knew how to serve up?"

"Tush! we shall fare better here," said another. "But how
innocently those women are babbling together, without guessing
that we overhear them! And mark that richest voice of all, so
pleasant and so familiar, but which yet seems to have the
authority of a mistress among them. Let us show ourselves at
once. What harm can the lady of the palace and her maidens do
to mariners and warriors like us?"

"Remember," said Eurylochus, "that it was a young maiden who
beguiled three of our friends into the palace of the king of
the Laestrygons, who ate up one of them in the twinkling of an

No warning or persuasion, however, had any effect on his
companions. They went up to a pair of folding doors at the
farther end of the hall, and throwing them wide open, passed
into the next room. Eurylochus, meanwhile, had stepped behind a
pillar. In the short moment while the folding doors opened and
closed again, he caught a glimpse of a very beautiful woman
rising from the loom, and coming to meet the poor
weather-beaten wanderers, with a hospitable smile, and her hand
stretched out in welcome. There were four other young women,
who joined their hands and danced merrily forward, making
gestures of obeisance to the strangers. They were only less
beautiful than the lady who seemed to be their mistress. Yet
Eurylochus fancied that one of them had sea-green hair, and
that the close-fitting bodice of a second looked like the bark
of a tree, and that both the others had something odd in their
aspect, although he could not quite determine what it was, in
the little while that he had to examine them.

The folding doors swung quickly back, and left him standing
behind the pillar, in the solitude of the outer hall. There
Eurylochus waited until he was quite weary, and listened
eagerly to every sound, but without hearing anything that could
help him to guess what had become of his friends. Footsteps, it
is true, seemed to be passing and repassing, in other parts of
the palace. Then there was a clatter of silver dishes, or
golden ones, which made him imagine a rich feast in a splendid
banqueting hall. But by and by he heard a tremendous grunting
and squealing, and then a sudden scampering, like that of
small, hard hoofs over a marble floor, while the voices of the
mistress and her four handmaidens were screaming all together,
in tones of anger and derision. Eurylochus could not conceive
what had happened, unless a drove of swine had broken into the
palace, attracted by the smell of the feast. Chancing to cast
his eyes at the fountain, he saw that it did not shift its
shape, as formerly, nor looked either like a long-robed man, or
a lion, a tiger, a wolf, or an ass. It looked like nothing but
a hog, which lay wallowing in the marble basin, and filled it
from brim to brim.

But we must leave the prudent Eurylochus waiting in the outer
hall, and follow his friends into the inner secrecy of the
palace. As soon as the beautiful woman saw them, she arose from
the loom, as I have told you, and came forward, smiling, and
stretching out her hand. She took the hand of the foremost
among them, and bade him and the whole party welcome.

"You have been long expected, my good friends," said she. "I
and my maidens are well acquainted with you, although you do
not appear to recognize us. Look at this piece of tapestry, and
judge if your faces must not have been familiar to us."

So the voyagers examined the web of cloth which the beautiful
woman had been weaving in her loom; and, to their vast
astonishment, they saw their own figures perfectly represented
in different colored threads. It was a life-like picture of
their recent adventures, showing them in the cave of
Polyphemus, and how they had put out his one great moony eye;
while in another part of the tapestry they were untying the
leathern bags, puffed out with contrary winds; and farther on,
they beheld themselves scampering away from the gigantic king
of the Laestrygons, who had caught one of them by the leg.
Lastly, there they were, sitting on the desolate shore of this
very island, hungry and downcast, and looking ruefully at the
bare bones of the stag which they devoured yesterday. This was
as far as the work had yet proceeded; but when the beautiful
woman should again sit down at her loom, she would probably
make a picture of what had since happened to the strangers, and
of what was now going to happen.

"You see," she said, "that I know all about your troubles; and
you cannot doubt that I desire to make you happy for as long a
time as you may remain with me. For this purpose, my honored
guests, I have ordered a banquet to be prepared. Fish, fowl,
and flesh, roasted, and in luscious stews, and seasoned, I
trust, to all your tastes, are ready to be served up. If your
appetites tell you it is dinner time, then come with me to the
festal saloon."

At this kind invitation, the hungry mariners were quite
overjoyed; and one of them, taking upon himself to be
spokesman, assured their hospitable hostess that any hour of
the day was dinner time with them, whenever they could get
flesh to put in the pot, and fire to boil it with. So the
beautiful woman led the way; and the four maidens (one of them
had sea-green hair, another a bodice of oak bark, a third
sprinkled a shower of water drops from her fingers' ends, and
the fourth had some other oddity, which I have forgotten), all
these followed behind, and hurried the guests along, until they
entered a magnificent saloon. It was built in a perfect oval,
and lighted from a crystal dome above. Around the walls were
ranged two and twenty thrones, overhung by canopies of crimson
and gold, and provided with the softest of cushions, which were
tasselled and fringed with gold cord. Each of the strangers was
invited to sit down; and there they were, two and twenty storm-
beaten mariners, in worn and tattered garb, sitting on two and
twenty cushioned and canopied thrones, so rich and gorgeous
that the proudest monarch had nothing more splendid in his
stateliest hall.

Then you might have seen the guests nodding, winking with one
eye, and leaning from one throne to another, to communicate
their satisfaction in hoarse whispers.

"Our good hostess has made kings of us all," said one. "Ha! do
you smell the feast? I'll engage it will be fit to set before
two and twenty kings."

"I hope," said another, "it will be, mainly, good substantial
joints, sirloins, spareribs, and hinder quarters, without too
many kickshaws. If I thought the good lady would not take it
amiss, I should call for a fat slice of fried bacon to begin

Ah, the gluttons and gormandizers! You see how it was with
them. In the loftiest seats of dignity, on royal thrones, they
could think of nothing but their greedy appetite, which was the
portion of their nature that they shared with wolves and swine;
so that they resembled those vilest of animals far more than
they did kings--if, indeed, kings were what they ought to be.

But the beautiful woman now clapped her hands; and immediately
there entered a train of two and twenty serving man, bringing
dishes of the richest food, all hot from the kitchen fire, and
sending up such a steam that it hung like a cloud below the
crystal dome of the saloon. An equal number of attendants
brought great flagons of wine, of various kinds, some of which
sparkled as it was poured out, and went bubbling down the
throat; while, of other sorts, the purple liquor was so clear
that you could see the wrought figures at the bottom of the
goblet. While the servants supplied the two and twenty guests
with food and drink, the hostess and her four maidens went from
one throne to another, exhorting them to eat their fill, and to
quaff wine abundantly, and thus to recompense them- selves, at
this one banquet, for the many days when they had gone without
a dinner. But whenever the mariners were not looking at them
(which was pretty often, as they looked chiefly into the basins
and platters), the beautiful woman and her damsels turned
aside, and laughed. Even the servants, as they knelt down to
present the dishes, might be seen to grin and sneer, while the
guests were helping themselves to the offered dainties.

And, once in a while, the strangers seemed to taste something
that they did not like.

"Here is an odd kind of spice in this dish," said one. "I can't
say it quite suits my palate. Down it goes, however."

"Send a good draught of wine down your throat," said his
comrade on the next throne. "That is the stuff to make this
sort of cookery relish well. Though I must needs say, the wine
has a queer taste too. But the more I drink of it, the better I
like the flavor."

Whatever little fault they might find with the dishes, they sat
at dinner a prodigiously long while; and it would really have
made you ashamed to see how they swilled down the liquor and
gobbled up the food. They sat on golden thrones, to be sure;
but they behaved like pigs in a sty; and, if they had had their
wits about them, they might have guessed that this was the
opinion of their beautiful hostess and her maidens. It brings a
blush into my face to reckon up, in my own mind, what mountains
of meat and pudding, and what gallons of wine, these two and
twenty guzzlers and gormandizers ate and drank. They forgot all
about their homes, and their wives and children, and all about
Ulysses, and everything else, except this banquet, at which
they wanted to keep feasting forever. But at length they began
to give over, from mere incapacity to hold any more.

"That last bit of fat is too much for me," said one.

"And I have not room for another morsel," said his next
neighbor, heaving a sigh. "What a pity! My appetite is as sharp
as ever."

In short, they all left off eating, and leaned back on their
thrones, with such a stupid and helpless aspect as made them
ridiculous to behold. When their hostess saw this, she laughed
aloud; so did her four damsels; so did the two and twenty
serving men that bore the dishes, and their two and twenty
fellows that poured out the wine. And the louder they all
laughed, the more stupid and helpless did the two and twenty
gormandizers look. Then the beautiful woman took her stand in
the middle of the saloon, and stretching out a slender rod (it
had been all the while in her hand, although they never noticed
it till this moment), she turned it from one guest to another,
until each had felt it pointed at himself. Beautiful as her
face was, and though there was a smile on it, it looked just as
wicked and mischievous as the ugliest serpent that ever was
seen; and fat-witted as the voyagers had made themselves, they
began to suspect that they had fallen into the power of an
evil-minded enchantress.

"Wretches," cried she, "you have abused a lady's hospitality;
and in this princely saloon your behavior has been suited to a
hog-pen. You are already swine in everything but the human
form, which you disgrace, and which I myself should be ashamed
to keep a moment longer, were you to share it with me. But it
will require only the slightest exercise of magic to make the
exterior conform to the hoggish disposition. Assume your proper
shapes, gormandizers, and begone to the sty!"

Uttering these last words, she waved her wand; and stamping her
foot imperiously, each of the guests was struck aghast at
beholding, instead of his comrades in human shape, one and
twenty hogs sitting on the same number of golden thrones. Each
man (as he still supposed himself to be) essayed to give a cry
of surprise, but found that he could merely grunt, and that, in
a word, he was just such another beast as his companions. It
looked so intolerably absurd to see hogs on cushioned thrones,
that they made haste to wallow down upon all fours, like other
swine. They tried to groan and beg for mercy, but forthwith
emitted the most awful grunting and squealing that ever came
out of swinish throats. They would have wrung their hands in
despair, but, attempting to do so, grew all the more desperate
for seeing themselves squatted on their hams, and pawing the
air with their fore trotters. Dear me! what pendulous ears they
had! what little red eyes, half buried in fat! and what long
snouts, instead of Grecian noses!

But brutes as they certainly were, they yet had enough of human
nature in them to be shocked at their own hideousness; and
still intending to groan, they uttered a viler grunt and squeal
than before. So harsh and ear-piercing it was, that you would
have fancied a butcher was sticking his knife into each of
their throats, or, at the very least, that somebody was pulling
every hog by his funny little twist of a tail.

"Begone to your sty!" cried the enchantress, giving them some
smart strokes with her wand; and then she turned to the serving
men--"Drive out these swine, and throw down some acorns for
them to eat."

The door of the saloon being flung open, the drove of hogs ran
in all directions save the right one, in accordance with their
hoggish perversity, but were finally driven into the back yard
of the palace. It was a sight to bring tears into one's eyes
(and I hope none of you will be cruel enough to laugh at it),
to see the poor creatures go snuffing along, picking up here a
cabbage leaf and there a turnip top, and rooting their noses in
the earth for whatever they could find. In their sty, moreover,
they behaved more piggishly than the pigs that had been born
so; for they bit and snorted at one another, put their feet in
the trough, and gobbled up their victuals in a ridiculous
hurry; and, when there was nothing more to be had, they made a
great pile of themselves among some unclean straw, and fell
fast asleep. If they had any human reason left, it was just
enough to keep them wondering when they should be slaughtered,
and what quality of bacon they should make.

Meantime, as I told you before, Eurylochus had waited, and
waited, and waited, in the entrance hall of the palace, without
being able to comprehend what had befallen his friends. At
last, when the swinish uproar resounded through the palace, and
when he saw the image of a hog in the marble basin, he thought
it best to hasten back to the vessel, and inform the wise
Ulysses of these marvelous occurrences. So he ran as fast as he
could down the steps, and never stopped to draw breath till he
reached the shore.

"Why do you come alone?" asked King Ulysses, as soon as he saw
him. "Where are your two and twenty comrades?"

At these questions, Eurylochus burst into tears.

"Alas!" he cried, "I greatly fear that we shall never see one
of their faces again."

Then he told Ulysses all that had happened, as far as he knew
it, and added that he suspected the beautiful woman to be a
vile enchantress, and the marble palace, magnificent as it
looked, to be only a dismal cavern in reality. As for his
companions, he could not imagine what had become of them,
unless they had been given to the swine to be devoured alive.
At this intelligence, all the voyagers were greatly affrighted.
But Ulysses lost no time in girding on his sword, and hanging
his bow and quiver over his shoulders, and. taking a spear in
his right hand. When his followers saw their wise leader making
these preparations, they inquired whither he was going, and
earnestly besought him not to leave them.

"You are our king," cried they; "and what is more, you are the

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