But Theseus wept, “Shall I leave you, O my mother?”
She answered, “Weep not for me.” Then she kissed Theseus and wept over him, and went into the temple, and Theseus saw her no more.
HOW THESEUS SLEW THE CLUB-BEARER AND THE PINE-BENDER
So Theseus stood there alone, with his mind full of many hopes. And first he thought of going down to the harbor and hiring a swift ship and sailing across the bay to Athens. But even that seemed too slow for him, and he longed for wings to fly across the sea and find his father.
After a while his heart began to fail him, and he sighed and said within himself, “What if my father have other sons around him, whom he loves? What if he will not receive me? He has forgotten me ever since I was born. Why should he welcome me now?”
Then he thought a long while sadly, but at last he cried aloud, “Yes, I will make him love me. I will win honor, and do such deeds that AEgeus shall be proud of me though he had fifty other sons.”
“I will go by land and into the mountains, and so round to Athens. Perhaps there I may hear of brave adventures, and do something which shall win my father’s love.”
So Theseus went by land and away into the mountains, with his father’s sword upon his thigh. And he went up into the gloomy glens, up and up, till the lowland grew blue beneath his feet, and the clouds drove damp about his head. But he went up and up, ever toiling on through bog and brake, till he came to a pile of stones.
On the stones a man was sitting wrapped in a cloak of bear-skin. When he saw Theseus, he rose, and laughed till the glens rattled.
“Who art thou, fair fly, who hast walked into the spider’s web?”
Theseus walked on steadily, and made no answer, but he thought, “Is this some robber? Has an adventure come to me already?”
But the strange man laughed louder than ever and said, “Bold fly, know thou not these glens are the web from which no fly ever finds his way out again, and I am the spider who eats the flies? Come hither and let me feast upon you. It is of no use to run away, for these glens in the mountain make so cunning a web, that through it no man can find his way home.”
Still Theseus came steadily on, and he asked, “And what is your name, bold spider, and where are your spider’s fangs?”
The strange man laughed again. “Men call me the Club-bearer, and here is my spider’s fang,” and he lifted off from the stones at his side a mighty club of bronze. “With this I pound all proud flies,” he said. “So give me up that gay sword of yours, and your mantle, and your golden sandals, lest I pound you and by ill-luck you die!”
But Theseus wrapped his mantle round his left arm quickly, in hard folds, and drew his sword, and rushed upon the Club-bearer, and the Club-bearer rushed on him.