Myths That Every Child Should Know eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 383 pages of information about Myths That Every Child Should Know.

And as he ended he hurled another mighty rock, which almost lighted on the rudder’s end, yet missed it as if by a hair’s breadth.  So Ulysses and his comrades escaped, and came to the island of the wild goats, where they found their comrades, who indeed had waited long for them, in sore fear lest they had perished.  Then Ulysses divided among his company all the sheep which they had taken from the Cyclops.  And all, with one consent, gave him for his share the great ram which had carried him out of the cave, and he sacrificed it to Zeus.  And all that day they feasted right merrily on the flesh of sheep and on sweet wine, and when the night was come, they lay down upon the shore and slept.

CHAPTER X

THE ARGONAUTS

I

How the Centaur Trained the Heroes on Pelion

I have told you of a hero who fought with wild beasts and with wild men; but now I have a tale of heroes who sailed away into a distant land to win themselves renown forever, in the adventure of the Golden Fleece.

Whither they sailed, my children, I cannot clearly tell.  It all happened long ago; so long that it has all grown dim, like a dream which you dreamed last year.  And why they went, I cannot tell; some say that it was to win gold.  It may be so; but the noblest deeds which have been done on earth, have not been done for gold.  It was not for the sake of gold that the Lord came down and died, and the Apostles went out to preach the good news in all lands.  The Spartans looked for no reward in money when they fought and died at Thermopylae; and Socrates the wise asked no pay from his countrymen, but lived poor and barefoot all his days, only caring to make men good.  And there are heroes in our days also, who do noble deeds, but not for gold.  Our discoverers did not go to make themselves rich, when they sailed out one after another into the dreary frozen seas; nor did the ladies, who went out last year, to drudge in the hospitals of the East, making themselves poor, that they might be rich in noble works.  And young men, too, whom you know, children, and some of them of your own kin, did they say to themselves, “How much money shall I earn?” when they went out to the war, leaving wealth, and comfort, and a pleasant home, and all that money can give, to face hunger and thirst, and wounds and death, that they might fight for their country and their Queen?  No, children, there is a better thing on earth than wealth, a better thing than life itself; and that is, to have done something before you die, for which good men may honour you, and God your Father smile upon your work.

Therefore we will believe—­why should we not—­of these same Argonauts of old, that they, too, were noble men, who planned and did a noble deed; and that therefore their fame has lived, and been told in story and in song, mixed up, no doubt, with dreams and fables, yet true and right at heart.  So we will honour these old Argonauts, and listen to their story as it stands; and we will try to be like them, each of us in our place; for each of us has a Golden Fleece to seek, and a wild sea to sail over, ere we reach it, and dragons to fight ere it be ours.

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Myths That Every Child Should Know from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.