When the tale was finished the Milesian did not attempt to conceal his strong disapprobation, and told Zopyrus that his most unseasonable love of fighting might be followed by the saddest consequences. After saying this, he turned to the officer and begged him to accept his own personal security for the prisoner. The other, however, refused gravely, saying he might forfeit his own life by doing so, as a law existed in Egypt by which the concealer of a murder was condemned to death. He must, he assured them, take the culprit to Sais and deliver him over to the Nomarch for punishment. “He has murdered an Egyptian,” were his last words, “and must therefore be tried by an Egyptian supreme court. In any other case I should be delighted to render you any service in my power.”
During this conversation Zopyrus had been begging his friends not to take any trouble about him. “By Mithras,” he cried, when Bartja offered to declare himself to the Egyptians as a means of procuring his freedom, “I vow I’ll stab myself without a second thought, if you give yourselves up to those dogs of Egyptians. Why the whole town is talking about the war already, and do you think that if Psamtik knew he’d got such splendid game in his net, he would let you loose? He would keep you as hostages, of course. No, no, my friends. Good-bye; may Auramazda send you his best blessings! and don’t quite forget the jovial Zopyrus, who lived and died for love and war.”
The captain of the band placed himself at the head of his men, gave the order to march, and in a few minutes Zopyrus was out of sight.
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According to the law of Egypt, Zopyrus had deserved death.
As soon as his friends heard this, they resolved to go to Sais and try to rescue him by stratagem. Syloson, who had friends there and could speak the Egyptian language well, offered to help them.
Bartja and Darius disguised themselves so completely by dyeing their hair and eyebrows and wearing broad-brimmed felt-hats,—that they could scarcely recognize each other. Theopompus provided them with ordinary Greek dresses, and, an hour after Zopyrus’ arrest, they met the splendidly-got-up Syloson on the shore of the Nile, entered a boat belonging to him and manned by his slaves, and, after a short sail, favored by the wind, reached Sais,—which lay above the waters of the inundation like an island,—before the burning midsummer sun had reached its noonday height.