Greatly did Hector rejoice at his brother’s word. His spear grasped by the middle, he went through the Trojan ranks and bid the warriors hold back.
But as he went, the Greeks shot arrows at brave Hector and cast stones.
“Hold! hold! ye Greeks,” called Agamemnon. “Hector of the glancing helm hath somewhat to say to us.”
In silence, then, the two armies stood, while Hector told them the words of Paris his brother.
When they had heard him, Menelaus spoke:
“Many ills have ye endured,” he said, “for my sake and because of the sins of Paris. Yet now, I think, the end of this long war hath come. Let us fight, then, and death and fate shall decide which of us shall die. Let us offer sacrifice now to Zeus, and call hither Priam, King of Troy. I fear for the faith of his sons, Paris and Hector, but Priam is an old man and will not break faith.”
Then were the Greeks and the Trojans glad. They came down from their chariots, and took off their arms, and laid them on the ground, while heralds went to tell Priam and to fetch lambs and a ram for the sacrifice.
While they went, Hera sent to Troy Iris, her messenger, in the guise of the fairest daughter of Priam.
To the hall where Helen sat came lovely Iris. And there she found Helen, fairest of women, her white arms swiftly moving back and forward as she wove a great purple web of double wool, and wrought thereon pictures of many battles of the Greeks and the men of Troy.
“Come hither, dear lady,” said Iris, “and see a wondrous thing. For they that so fiercely fought with each other, now sit in silence. The battle is stayed; they lean upon their shields, and their tall spears are thrust in the earth by their sides. But for thee are Menelaus and Paris now going to fight, and thou shalt be the wife of the conqueror.”
So spake lovely Iris, and into the sleeping heart of Helen there came remembrance, and a hungry longing for her old home, and for Menelaus, and her father and mother, and for little Hermione, her child.
The tears rolled down her cheeks, but quickly she hid her face with a veil of fair linen, and hastened out, with her two handmaidens, to the place where the two armies lay.
At the Scaean gates sat Priam and other old warriors.
As Helen, in her fair white robes, drew near, the old men marveled at her loveliness.
“Small wonder is it,” said they, “that Trojans and Greeks should suffer hardships and lay down their lives for one so beautiful. Yet well would it be for her to sail away upon the Greek ships rather than stay here to bring trouble upon us now, and upon our children hereafter.”
Then Priam called to Helen:
“Come hither, dear child, and sit beside me, that thou may’st see the man who once was thy husband, and thy kinsmen, and thy friends. No blame do I give to thee for all our woes, but only to the gods who have chosen thee to be the cause of all this bloodshed.”