Then away across the bay they rowed southward, while the people lined the cliffs. But the women wept while the men shouted at the starting of that gallant crew.
HOW THE ARGONAUTS WON THE GOLDEN FLEECE
The heroes rowed across the bay, and while they waited there for a southwest wind, they chose themselves a captain from their crew. And some called for the strongest and hugest to be their captain, but more called for Jason, because he was the wisest of them all.
So Jason was chosen captain, and each hero vowed to stand by him faithfully in the adventure of the Golden Fleece.
They sailed onward and northward to Pelion. And their hearts yearned for the dear old mountain, as they thought of the days gone by, of the sports of their boyhood, and their hunting, and their lessons in the cave beneath the cliff. Then at last they said, “Let us land here and climb the dear old hill once more. We are going on a fearful journey. Who knows if we shall see Pelion again? Let us go up to Cheiron our master, and ask his blessing ere we start.”
So the helmsman steered them to the shore, under the crags of Pelion, and they went up through the dark pine-forests toward the Centaur’s cave.
Then, as Cheiron saw them, he leapt up and welcomed them every one, and set a feast of venison before them. And after supper all the heroes clapped their hands and called on Orpheus to sing, but he refused, and said, “How can I, who am the younger, sing before our ancient host?”
So they called on Cheiron to sing. And he sang of heroes who fought with fists and teeth, and how they tore up the pine-trees in their fury, and hurled great crags of stone, while the mountains thundered with the battle, and the land was wasted far and wide.
And the heroes praised his song right heartily, for some of them had helped in that great fight.
Then Orpheus took the lyre and sang of the making of the wondrous world. And as he sang, his voice rose from the cave above the crags, and through the tree-tops. The trees bowed their heads when they heard it, and the forest beasts crept close to listen, and the birds forsook their nests and hovered near. And old Cheiron clapped his hands together and beat his hoofs upon the ground, for wonder at that magic song.
Now the heroes came down to the ship, and Cheiron came down with them, weeping, and kissed them one by one, and promised to them great renown.
And the heroes wept when they left him, till their great hearts could weep no more, for he was kind and just, and wiser than all beasts and men.
Then Cheiron went up to a cliff and prayed for them, that they might come home safe and well, while the heroes rowed away and watched him standing on his cliff above the sea, with his great hands raised toward heaven, and his white locks waving in the wind. They strained their eyes to watch him to the last, for they felt that they should look on him no more.