All day long the army of the Persians was kept at bay. But when the sun went down, there was not one Spartan left alive. Where they had stood there was only a heap of the slain, all bristled over with spears and arrows.
Twenty thousand Persian soldiers had fallen before that handful of men. And Greece was saved.
Thousands of years have passed since then; but men still like to tell the story of Leonidas and the brave three hundred who died for their country’s sake.
There once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name was Soc’ra-tes. Young men from all parts of the land went to him to learn wisdom from him; and he said so many pleasant things, and said them in so delightful a way, that no one ever grew tired of listening to him.
One summer he built himself a house, but it was so small that his neighbors wondered how he could be content with it.
“What is the reason,” said they, “that you, who are so great a man, should build such a little box as this for your dwelling house?”
“Indeed, there may be little reason,” said he; “but, small as the place is, I shall think myself happy if I can fill even it with true friends.”
Gen’ghis Khan was a great king and war-rior.
He led his army into China and Persia, and he con-quered many lands. In every country, men told about his daring deeds; and they said that since Alexander the Great there had been no king like him.
One morning when he was home from the wars, he rode out into the woods to have a day’s sport. Many of his friends were with him. They rode out gayly, carrying their bows and arrows. Behind them came the servants with the hounds.
It was a merry hunting party. The woods rang with their shouts and laughter. They expected to carry much game home in the evening.
On the king’s wrist sat his favorite hawk; for in those days hawks were trained to hunt. At a word from their masters they would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey. If they chanced to see a deer or a rabbit, they would swoop down upon it swift as any arrow.
All day long Gen-ghis Khan and his huntsmen rode through the woods. But they did not find as much game as they expected.
Toward evening they started for home. The king had often ridden through the woods, and he knew all the paths. So while the rest of the party took the nearest way, he went by a longer road through a valley between two mountains.
The day had been warm, and the king was very thirsty. His pet hawk had left his wrist and flown away. It would be sure to find its way home.
The king rode slowly along. He had once seen a spring of clear water near this path-way. If he could only find it now! But the hot days of summer had dried up all the moun-tain brooks.