Old Greek Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Old Greek Stories.

In a little while the soil in the furrows began to stir.  Then, at every place that a tooth had been dropped, something bright grew up.  It was a brass helmet.  The helmets pushed their way up, and soon the faces of men were seen underneath, then their shoulders, then their arms, then their bodies; and then, before Cadmus could think, a thousand warriors leaped out of the furrows and shook off the black earth which was clinging to them.  Every man was clothed in a suit of brass armor; and every one had a long spear in his right hand and a shield in his left.

Cadmus was frightened when he saw the strange crop which had grown up from the dragon’s teeth.  The men looked so fierce that he feared they would kill him if they saw him.  He hid himself behind his plow and then began to throw stones at them.  The warriors did not know where the stones came from, but each thought that his neighbor had struck him.  Soon they began to fight among themselves.  Man after man was killed, and in a little while only five were left alive.  Then Cadmus ran towards them and called out: 

“Hold!  Stop fighting!  You are my men, and must come with me.  We will build a city here.”

The men obeyed him.  They followed Cadmus to the top of the hill; and they were such good workmen that in a few days they had built a house on the spot where the cow had lain down.

After that they built other houses, and people came to live in them.  They called the town Cadmeia, after Cadmus who was its first king.  But when the place had grown to be a large city, it was known by the name of Thebes.

Cadmus was a wise king.  The Mighty Folk who lived with Jupiter amid the clouds were well pleased with him and helped him in more ways than one.  After a while he married Harmonia, the beautiful daughter of Mars.  All the Mighty Ones were at the wedding; and Athena gave the bride a wonderful necklace about which you may learn something more at another time.

But the greatest thing that Cadmus did is yet to be told.  He was the first schoolmaster of the Greeks, and taught them the letters which were used in his own country across the sea.  They called the first of these letters alpha and the second beta, and that is why men speak of the alphabet to this day.  And when the Greeks had learned the alphabet from Cadmus, they soon began to read and write, and to make beautiful and useful books.

As for the maiden Europa, she was carried safe over the sea to a distant shore.  She may have been happy in the new, strange land to which she was taken—­I cannot tell; but she never heard of friends or home again.  Whether it was really Jupiter in the form of a bull that carried her away, nobody knows.  It all happened so long ago that there may have been some mistake about the story; and I should not think it strange if it were a sea robber who stole her from her home, and a swift ship with white sails that bore her away.  Of one thing I am very sure:  she was loved so well by all who knew her that the great unknown country to which she was taken has been called after her name ever since—­Europe.

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Project Gutenberg
Old Greek Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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