Books > Old Books >The Elson Readers Book Six (1910)


Page 245

STORIES OF GREECE AND ROME
THE STORY OF ACHILLES

has passed since I came to Troy-would that I had died before! Never have I heard from your lips one bitter word. Therefore I weep for you; no one is left to be my friend in all the broad streets of Troy. All shun and hate me now."
And all the people wailed bitterly.
Then Priam spoke: "Go, my people, gather wood for the burning, and fear not any attack by the Greeks, for Achilles promised that he would stop the war until the twelfth day should come:"
So for nine days the people gathered wood, and on the tenth they laid Hector upon the pile, and lighted a fire beneath it. When the body was burned, his comrades gathered the bones and laid them in a chest of gold; and this they covered with purple robes and put into a great coffin, and upon it they laid stones many and great. , Over all they raised a mighty mound; and all the while the watchers watched, lest the Greeks should arise and slay them. Last of all a great feast was held in the palace of King Priam:
So they buried Hector, the tamer of horses.
But for Achilles the day of doom was not far distant, for it was decreed that he, too, should perish when Hector fell. Thetis, his mother, hearing it prophesied when he was born that his life would be short and glorious, nevertheless wished for him a long life, even if it were not heroic. So she took the babe to the river Styx and dipped him in its waters. For the water of this river made the body of him who was bathed in it proof against all wounds. But when Thetis dipped Achilles in the river, she held him by the heel, which alone remained untouched by the magic water.
Therefore, his heel was not proof against wounds.
When Achilles strove in his valor to break through the gates of Troy, Paris aimed at him a fateful arrow which struck him in the heel, for the archer-god, Apollo, guided

travel books:
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