But Theseus was ready for him. With the iron club which he had taken from Club-carrier in the forest he met the blow midway, and the robber’s weapon was knocked out of his hands and sent spinning away over the edge of the cliff. Then Sciron, black with rage, tried to grapple with him; but Theseus was too quick for that. He dropped his club and seized Sciron by the throat; he pushed him back against the ledge on which he had been sitting; he threw him sprawling upon the sharp rocks, and held him there, hanging half way over the cliff.
“Enough! enough!” cried the robber. “Let me up, and you may pass on your way.”
“It is not enough,” said Theseus; and he drew his sword and sat down by the side of the spring. “You must wash my feet now. Come, set to work!”
Then Sciron, white with fear, washed his feet.
“And now,” said Theseus, when the task was ended, “as you have done unto others, so will I do unto you.”
There was a scream in mid air which the mountain eagles answered from above; there was a great splashing in the water below, and the turtle fled in terror from its lurking place. Then the sea cried out: “I will have naught to do with so vile a wretch!” and a great wave cast the body of Sciron out upon the shore. But it had no sooner touched the ground than the land cried out: “I will have naught to do with so vile a wretch!” and there was a sudden earthquake, and the body of Sciron was thrown back into the sea. Then the sea waxed furious, a raging storm arose, the waters were lashed into foam, and the waves with one mighty effort threw the detested body high into the air; and there it would have hung unto this day had not the air itself disdained to give it lodging and changed it into a huge black rock. And this rock, which men say is the body of Sciron, may still be seen, grim, ugly, and desolate; and one third of it lies in the sea, one third is embedded in the sandy shore, and one third is exposed to the air.
IV. WRESTLER AND WRONG-DOER.
Keeping the sea always in view, Theseus went onward a long day’s journey to the north and east; and he left the rugged mountains behind and came down into the valleys and into a pleasant plain where there were sheep and cattle pasturing and where there were many fields of ripening grain. The fame of his deeds had gone before him, and men and women came crowding to the roadside to see the hero who had slain Club-carrier and Pine-bender and grim old Sciron of the cliff.
“Now we shall live in peace,” they cried; “for the robbers who devoured our flocks and our children are no more.”
Then Theseus passed through the old town of Megara, and followed the shore of the bay towards the sacred city of Eleusis.
“Do not go into Eleusis, but take the road which leads round it through the hills,” whispered a poor man who was carrying a sheep to market.