It was but a little after this that Pyramus came hurrying to the meeting-place, breathless with eagerness to find Thisbe and tell her what had delayed him. He found no Thisbe there. For a moment he was confounded. Then he looked about for some signs of her, some footprint by the pool. There was the trail of a wild beast in the grass, and near by a woman’s veil, torn and stained with blood; he caught it up and knew it for Thisbe’s.
So she had come at the appointed hour, true to her word; she had waited there for him alone and defenseless, and she had fallen a prey to some beast from the jungle! As these thoughts rushed upon the young man’s mind, he could endure no more.
“Was it to meet me, Thisbe, that you came to such a death!” cried he. “And I followed all too late. But I will atone. Even now I come lagging, but by no will of mine!”
So saying, the poor youth drew his sword and fell upon it, there at the foot of that mulberry-tree which he had named as the trysting-place, and his life-blood ran about the roots.
During these very moments, Thisbe, hearing no sound and a little reassured, had stolen from her hiding-place and was come to the edge of the grove. She saw that the lioness had left the spring, and, eager to show her lover that she had dared all things to keep faith, she came slowly, little by little, back to the mulberry-tree.
She found Pyramus there, according to his promise. His own sword was in his heart, the empty scabbard by his side, and in his hand he held her veil still clasped. Thisbe saw these things as in a dream, and suddenly the truth awoke her. She saw the piteous mischance of all; and when the dying Pyramus opened his eyes and fixed them upon her, her heart broke. With the same sword she stabbed herself, and the lovers died together.
There the parents found them, after a weary search, and they were buried together in the same tomb. But the berries of the mulberry-tree turned red that day, and red they have remained ever since.
STORIES OF THE TROJAN WAR
THE APPLE OF DISCORD
By Josephine Preston Peabody
There was once a war so great that the sound of it has come ringing down the centuries from singer to singer, and will never die.
The rivalries of men and gods brought about many calamities, but none so heavy as this; and it would never have come to pass, they say, if it had not been for jealousy among the immortals,—all because of a golden apple! But Destiny has nurtured ominous plants from little seeds; and this is how one evil grew great enough to overshadow heaven and earth.
The sea-nymph Thetis (whom Zeus himself had once desired for his wife) was given in marriage to a mortal, Peleus, and there was a great wedding-feast in heaven. Thither all the immortals were bidden, save one, Eris, the goddess of Discord, ever an unwelcome guest. But she came unbidden. While the wedding-guests sat at feast, she broke in upon their mirth, flung among them a golden apple, and departed with looks that boded ill. Some one picked up the strange missile and read its inscription, “For the Fairest;” and at once discussion arose among the goddesses. They were all eager to claim the prize, but only three persisted.