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The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum

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saw Medea's dragon car. Down flew the dragons, and Medea came
from the car and stood between Jason and the princess. Angrily
she spoke to him. "I have made the kingdom ready for your
return," she said, "but if you would go there you must first let
me deal in my own way with this pretty maiden." And so fiercely
did Medea look upon her that Glance shrank back and clung to
Jason for protection. "O, Jason," she cried, " thou didst say
that I am such a one as thou didst dream of when in the forest
with Chiron, before the adventure of the Golden Fleece drew thee
away from the Grecian lands. Oh, save me now from the power of
her who comes in the dragon car." And Jason said: "I said all
that thou hast said, and I will protect thee, O Glauce."

And then Medea thought of the king's house she had left for
Jason, and of the brother whom she had let be slain, and of the
plot she had carried out to bring Jason back to Iolcus, and a
great fury came over her. In her hand she took foam from the jaws
of the dragons, and she cast the foam upon Glauce, and the
princess fell back into the arms of Jason with the dragon foam
burning into her.

Then, seeing in his eyes that he had forgotten all that he owed
to her the winning of the Golden Fleece, and the safety of Argo,
and the destruction of the power of King Pelias seeing in his
eyes that Jason had forgotten all this, Medea went into her
dragon-borne car and spoke the words that made the scaly dragons
bear her aloft. She flew from Corinth, leaving Jason in King
Creon's garden with Glauce dying in his arms. He lifted her up
and laid her upon a bed, but even as her friends came around her
the daughter of King Creon died.

And Jason? For long he stayed in Corinth, a famous man indeed,
but one sorrowful and alone. But again there grew in him the
desire to rule and to have possessions. He called around him
again the men whose home was in Iolcus--those who had followed
him as bright-eyed youths when he first proclaimed his purpose of
winning the Fleece of Gold. He called them around him, and he led
them on board the Argo. Once more they lifted sails, and once
more they took the Argo into the open sea.

Toward Iolcus they sailed; their passage was fortunate, and in a
short time they brought the Argo safely into the harbor of
Pagasae. Oh, happy were the crowds that came thronging to see the
ship that had the famous Fleece of Gold upon her masthead, and
green and sweet smelling were the garlands that the people
brought to wreathe the heads of Jason and his companions! Jason
looked upon the throngs, and he thought that much had gone from
him, but he thought that whatever else had gone something
remained to him--to be a king and a great ruler over a people.

And so Jason came back to Iolcus. The Argo he made a blazing pile
of in sacrifice to Poseidon, the god of the sea. The Golden
Fleece he hung in the temple of the gods. Then he took up the
rule of the kingdom that Cretheus had founded, and he became the
greatest of the kings of Greece.

And to Iolcus there came, year after year, young men who would
look upon the gleaming thing that was hung there in the temple of
the gods. And as they looked upon it, young man after young man,
the thought would come to each that he would make himself strong
enough and heroic enough to win for his country something as
precious as Jason's GOLDEN FLEECE. And for all their lives they
kept in mind the words that Jason had inscribed upon a pillar
that was placed beside the Fleece of Gold--the words that Triton
spoke to the Argonauts when they were fain to win their way out
of the inland sea:--

THAT IS THE OUTLET TO THE SEA, WHERE THE DEEP WATER LIES UNMOVED
AND DARK; ON EACH SIDE ROLL WHITE BREAKERS WITH SHINING CRESTS;
AND THE WAY BETWEEN FOR YOUR PASSAGE OUT IS NARROW. BUT GO IN
JOY, AND AS FOR LABOR LET THERE BE NO GRIEVING THAT LIMBS IN
YOUTHFUL VIGOR SHOULD STILL TOIL.

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