At that Pelias praised his wisdom and hastened to send the heralds out, for he said in his heart, “Let all the Princes go with Jason, and, like him, never return, so shall I be lord of the land and the greatest king in Hellas.”
HOW THEY BUILT THE SHIP ARGO
So the heralds went out and cried to all the heroes, “Who dare come to the adventures of the Golden Fleece?”
And Hera stirred the hearts of all the Princes, and they came from all their valleys to the yellow sand of Iolcos by the sea.
All the city came out to meet them, and the men were never tired with looking at their heights and their beauty and the glitter of their arms.
But the women sighed over them and whispered, “Alas, they are all going to their death!”
Then the heroes felled the mountain pines and shaped them with the axe, and Argus the famed shipbuilder taught them to build a galley, the first long ship which ever sailed the seas. They named her Argo, after Argus the shipbuilder, and worked at her all day long.
But Jason went away into a far-off land, till he found Orpheus the prince of minstrels, where he dwelt in his cave.
And he asked him, “Will you leave your mountains, Orpheus, my playfellow in old times, and sail with the heroes to bring home the Golden Fleece? And will you charm for us all men and all monsters with your magic harp and song?”
Then Orpheus sighed, “Have I not had enough of toil and of weary wandering far and wide, since I lived in Cheiron’s cave, above Iolcos by the sea? And now must I go out again, to the ends of all the earth, far away into the misty darkness? But a friend’s demand must be obeyed.”
So Orpheus rose up sighing, and took his harp. He led Jason to the holy oak, and he bade him cut down a bough and sacrifice to Hera. And they took the bough and came to Iolcos, and nailed it to the prow of the ship.
And at last the ship was finished, and they tried to launch her down the beach; but she was too heavy for them to move her, and her keel sank deep into the sand.
Then all the heroes looked at each other blushing, but Jason spoke and said, “Let us ask the magic bough; perhaps it can help us in our need.”
And a voice came from the bough, and Jason heard the words it said, and bade Orpheus play upon the harp, while the heroes waited round, holding the pine-trunk rollers to help the Argo toward the sea.
Then Orpheus took his harp and began his magic song. And the good ship Argo heard him and longed to be away and out at sea, till she stirred in every timber, and heaved from stem to stern, and leapt up from the sand upon the rollers, and plunged onward like a gallant horse till she rushed into the whispering sea.
And they stored her well with food and water, and settled themselves each man to his oar, keeping time to the harp of Orpheus.