Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 686 pages of information about Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12).

They rowed away for many a weary day till their water was spent and their food eaten, but at last they saw a long steep island.

“We will land here,” they cried, “and fill our water casks upon the shore.”

But when they came nearer to the island they saw a wondrous sight.  For on the cliffs stood a giant, taller than any mountain pine.

When he saw the Argo and her crew he came toward them, more swiftly than the swiftest horse, and he shouted to them, “You are pirates, you are robbers!  If you land you shall die the death.”

Then the heroes lay on their oars in fear, but Medeia spoke:  “I know this giant.  If strangers land he leaps into his furnace, which flames there among the hills, and when he is red-hot he rushes on them, and burns them in his brazen hands.  But he has but one vein in all his body filled with liquid fire, and this vein is closed with a nail.  I will find out where the nail is placed, and when I have got it into my hands you shall water your ship in peace.”

So they took the witch-maiden and left her alone on the shore.  And she stood there all alone in her beauty till the giant strode back red-hot from head to heel.

When he saw the maiden he stopped.  And she looked boldly up into his face and sang a magic song, and she held up a flash of crystal and said, “I am Medeia, the witch-maiden.  My sister Circe gave me this and said, ’Go, reward Talus, the faithful giant, for his fame is gone out into all lands.’  So come and I will pour this into your veins, that you may live for ever young.”

And he listened to her false words, that simple Talus, and came near.

But Medeia said, “Dip yourself in the sea first and cool yourself, lest you burn my tender hands.  Then show me the nail in your vein, and in that will I pour the liquid from the crystal flask.”

Then that simple Talus dipped himself in the sea, and came and knelt before Medeia and showed the secret nail.

And she drew the nail out gently, but she poured nothing in, and instead the liquid fire streamed forth.

Talus tried to leap up, crying, “You have betrayed me, false witch-maiden.”

But she lifted up her hands before him and sang, till he sank beneath her spell.

And as he sank, the earth groaned beneath his weight and the liquid fire ran from his heel, like a stream of lava, to the sea.

Then Medeia laughed and called to the heroes, “Come and water your ship in peace.”

So they came and found the giant lying dead, and they fell down and kissed Medeia’s feet, and watered their ship, and took sheep and oxen, and so left that inhospitable shore.

At the next island they went ashore and offered sacrifices, and Orpheus purged them from their guilt.

And at last, after many weary days and nights, all worn and tired, the heroes saw once more Pelion and Iolcos by the sea.

They ran the ship ashore, but they had no strength left to haul her up the beach, and they crawled out on the pebbles and wept, till they could weep no more.

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Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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