For the houses and the trees were all altered, and all the faces they saw were strange, so that their joy was swallowed up in sorrow.
The people crowded round and asked them, “Who are you, that you sit weeping here?”
“We are the sons of your princes, who sailed in search of the Golden Fleece, and we have brought it home. Give us news of our fathers and mothers, if any of them be left alive on earth.”
Then there was shouting and laughing and weeping, and all the kings came to the shore, and they led away the heroes to their homes, and bewailed the valiant dead.
And Jason went up with Medeia to the palace of his uncle Pelias. And when he came in, Pelias and AEson, Jason’s father, sat by the fire, two old men, whose heads shook together as they tried to warm themselves before the fire.
Jason fell down at his father’s knee and wept and said, “I am your own son Jason, and I have brought home the Golden Fleece and a Princess of the Sun’s race for my bride.”
Then his father clung to him like a child, and wept, and would not let him go, and cried, “Promise never to leave me till I die.”
And Jason turned to his uncle Pelias, “Now give me up the kingdom and fulfil your promise, as I have fulfilled mine.” And his uncle gave him his kingdom.
So Jason stayed at Iolcos by the sea.
ADAPTED BY MARY MACGREGOR
HOW THESEUS LIFTED THE STONE
Once upon a time there was a Princess called Aithra. She had one fair son named Theseus, the bravest lad in all the land. And Aithra never smiled but when she looked at him, for her husband had forgotten her, and lived far away.
Aithra used to go up to the temple of the gods, and sit there all day, looking out across the bay, over the purple peaks of the mountains to the Attic shore beyond.
When Theseus was full fifteen years old, she took him up with her to the temple, and into the thickets which grew in the temple yard. She led him to a tall plane-tree, and there she sighed and said, “Theseus, my son, go into that thicket and you will find at the plane-tree foot a great flat stone. Lift it, and bring me what lies underneath.”
Then Theseus pushed his way in through the thick bushes, and searching among their roots he found a great flat stone, all overgrown with ivy and moss.
He tried to lift it, but he could not. And he tried till the sweat ran down his brow from the heat, and the tears from his eyes for shame, but all was of no avail. And at last he came back to his mother and said, “I have found the stone, but I cannot lift it, nor do I think that any man could, in all the land.”
Then she sighed and said, “The day may come when you will be a stronger man than lives in all the land.” And she took him by the hand and went into the temple and prayed, and came down again with Theseus to her home.