“On returning to the house the stranger’s orders were: ’Accompany me to Phanes’ bark, and cease not to call me by the Athenian’s name.’ ’But the boatmen will betray you,’ I said. ‘Then go alone to them,’ he answered, ‘and command them to receive me as their master, Phanes.’ Then I prayed him to allow me to take the dress of the fugitive and become a prey to the pursuers; but he would by no means allow this, and said my gait and carriage would betray me. There alas! he spoke truly, for only the free man can walk erect; the neck of the slave is bent; the schools in which the noble and the freeborn learn grace and beauty of movement are not for him. And so it must remain, the children must be even as the fathers; can the unclean onion-root produce a rose, or the unsightly radish a hyacinth? Constant bondage bows the neck of the slave, but the consciousness of freedom gives dignity to the stature.”
“But what has become of my son?” interrupted Croesus.
“He would not accept my poor offer, and took his seat in the bark, sending a thousand greetings unto thee, O king! I cried after him, ‘Farewell Phanes! I wish thee a prosperous journey, Phanes!’ At that moment a cloud crossed the moon; and from out the thick darkness I heard screams, and cries for help; they did not, however, last long, a shrill whistle followed, then all was silent; and the measured strokes of oars were the only sounds that fell on my ear. I was on the point of returning to relate what I had seen, when the boatman Sebek swam up once more and told as follows: The Egyptians had caused a leak to be made in Phanes’ boat, and at a short distance from land it had filled and began to sink. On the boatmen crying for help, the royal bark, which was following, had come up and taken the supposed Phanes on board, but had prevented the rowers from leaving their benches. They all went down with the leaking boat, the daring Sebek alone excepted. Gyges is on board the royal boat; Phanes has escaped, for that whistle must have been intended for the soldiers in ambush at the garden-gate. I searched the bushes, the soldiers were gone, and I could hear the sound of their voices and weapons on their way back to Sais.”
The guests listened with eager attention to this tale. At its close a mingled feeling of relief and anxiety was felt by all; relief that their favorite companion had escaped so fearful a danger, anxiety for the brave young Lydian who had risked his life to save him. They praised his generosity, congratulated Croesus on possessing such a son, and finally agreed in the conclusion, that, when the crown-prince discovered the error into which his emissaries had fallen, he must certainly release Gyges, and even make him compensation for what he had suffered at their hands.
The friendship already shown by Amasis, and the fear in which he evidently stood of the Persian power, were the thoughts which had power to calm Croesus, who soon left, in order to pass the night at the house of Theopompus, the Milesian merchant. At parting, Aristomachus said: “Salute Gyges in my name; tell him I ask his forgiveness, and hope one day either to enjoy his friendship, or, if that cannot be, to meet him as a fair foe on the field of battle.”