The two were brought up at once and questioned separately: “Did they know of any other road than the one visible?” The first said no; and in spite of all sorts of terrors applied to extract a better answer—“no,” he persisted. When nothing could be got out of him, he was killed before the eyes of his fellow. This latter then explained: “Yonder man said, he did not know, because he has got a daughter married to a husband in those parts. I can take you,” he added, “by a good road, practicable even for beasts.” And when asked whether there was any point on it difficult to pass, he replied that there was a col which it would be impossible to pass unless it were occupied in advance.
Then it was resolved to summon the officers of the light infantry and some of those of the heavy infantry, and to acquaint them with the state of affairs, and ask them whether any of them were minded to distinguish themselves, and would step forward as volunteers on an expedition. Two or three heavy infantry soldiers stepped forward at once—two Arcadians, Aristonymus of Methydrium, and Agasias of Stymphalus—and in emulation of these, a third, also an Arcadian, Callimachus from Parrhasia, who said he was ready to go, and would get volunteers from the whole army to join him. “I know,” he added, “there 27 will be no lack of youngsters to follow where I lead.” After that they asked, “Were there any captains of light infantry willing to accompany the expedition?” Aristeas, a Chian, who on several occasions proved his usefulness to the army on such service, volunteered.
It was already late afternoon, when they ordered the storming party to 1 take a snatch of food and set off; then they bound the guide and handed him over to them. The agreement was, that if they succeeded in taking the summit they were to guard the position that night, and at daybreak to give a signal by bugle. At this signal the party on the summit were to attack the enemy in occupation of the visible pass, while the generals with the main body would bring up their succours; making their way up with what speed they might. With this understanding, off they set, two thousand strong; and there was a heavy downpour of rain, but Xenophon, with his rearguard, began advancing to the visible pass, so that the enemy might fix his attention on this road, and the party creeping round might, as much as possible, elude observation. Now when the rearguard, so advancing, had reached a ravine which they must cross in order to strike up the steep, at that instant the barbarians began rolling down great boulders, each a wagon load, some larger, some smaller; against the rocks they crashed and splintered flying like slingstones in every direction—so that it was absolutely out of the question even to approach the entrance of the pass. Some of the officers finding themselves baulked at this point, kept trying other ways, nor did they desist till darkness set in; and then, when they thought they would not be seen retiring, they returned to supper. Some of them who had been on duty in the rearguard had had no breakfast (it so happened). However, the enemy never ceased rolling down their stones all through the night, as was easy to infer from the booming sound.