Old Greek Stories eBook

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

“What’s this?” he cried.  “Who says that Atalanta shall not go to the hunt?  You are afraid that she’ll be braver than you—­that is all.  Pretty heroes you are!  Let all such cowards go home at once.”

But nobody went, and it was settled then and there that the maiden should have her own way.  And yet the brothers of Queen Althea kept on muttering and complaining.

For nine days the heroes and huntsmen feasted in the halls of King OEneus, and early on the tenth they set out for the forest.  Soon the great beast was found, and he came charging out upon his foes.  The heroes hid behind the trees or climbed up among the branches, for they had not expected to see so terrible a creature.  He stood in the middle of a little open space, tearing up the ground with his tusks.  The white foam rolled from his mouth, his eyes glistened red like fire, and he grunted so fiercely that the woods and hills echoed with fearful sounds.

[Illustration:  You ought to have seen the tall huntress maiden then]

Then one of the bravest of the men threw his spear.  But that only made the beast fiercer than ever; he charged upon the warrior, caught him before he could save himself, and tore him in pieces with his tusks.  Another man ventured too far from his hiding-place and was also overtaken and killed.  One of the oldest and noblest of the heroes leveled his spear and threw it with all his force; but it only grazed the boar’s tough skin and glanced upward and pierced the heart of a warrior on the other side.  The boar was getting the best of the fight.

Atalanta now ran forward and threw her spear.  It struck the boar in the back, and a great stream of blood gushed out.  A warrior let fly an arrow which put out one of the beast’s eyes.  Then Meleager rushed up and pierced his heart with his spear.  The boar could no longer stand up; but he fought fiercely for some moments, and then rolled over, dead.

The heroes then cut off the beast’s head.  It was as much as six of them could carry.  Then they took the skin from his great body and offered it to Meleager as a prize, because he had given the death wound to the wild boar.  But Meleager said: 

“It belongs to Atalanta, because it was she who gave him the very first wound.”  And he gave it to her as the prize of honor.

You ought to have seen the tall huntress maiden then, as she stood among the trees with the boar’s skin thrown over her left shoulder and reaching down to her feet.  She had never looked so much like the queen of the woods.  But the rude brothers of Queen Althea were vexed to think that a maiden should win the prize, and they began to make trouble.  One of them snatched Atalanta’s spear from her hand, and dragged the prize from her shoulders, and the other pushed her rudely and bade her go back to Arcadia and live again with the she-bears on the mountain

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