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rode on till he got to Colchis, and there he sacrificed the ram, and nailed the golden fleece to an oak.
A long while after there was another king in Thessaly, called Pelias, who had a brother called Æson; and Æson had a son called Jason, who was young and a brave warrior, and lived with his father outside the city. Now it had been foretold to King Pelias that a man who should come to him with only one shoe was to take away his kingdom. And it happened that King Pelias gave a feast, and invited Jason to come to it. But Jason had to pass a stream on his way to the city, where there was no bridge; there had been a great storm in the night, and heavy rain, and the stream was very full and strong, and one of Jason's shoes came untied, and the stream washed it away, so that he arrived at the king's palace with only one shoe. When King Pelias saw this he was frightened, and ordered Jason to leave the country and not to come back again till he could bring him the golden fleece.
Jason was not afraid, and he asked many brave warriors to go with him; for before he could get the golden fleece he would have to fight with wild beasts and fierce men. Then he built a great ship for himself and his companions, and the goddess Minerva, who was fond of him, helped him, and gave him the mast, and the mast told him what he was to do whenever he asked it.
The ship's name was Argo, and all those who sailed in it were called Argonauts. Among the Argonauts was Hercules, and two brothers who had wings and could fly through the air, and Pollux, a hero who was so strong that he knocked down everybody who boxed with him.
The Argonauts first came to a country the king of which was called Amykus; whenever strangers came there he made them box with him, and killed them, for he was very
strong. But Pollux threw him down and killed him because of his cruelty.
As soon as the wind was fair the heroes embarked again in the ship Argo, to sail to Colchis. In the middle of the sea they had to cross floated two huge rocks, as the icebergs float in the seas where it is always winter. Now when these rocks knocked together they crushed everything between them to pieces, and when a fish swimming in the water, or a bird flying in the air, passed between them, they killed it, and when a ship sailed through, they crushed it to pieces and killed all the people on board. These rocks had been put there by Jupiter, so that nobody might get to Colchis.
When they came to the rocks they found them floating far asunder, but already beginning to come nearer to each other. The Argonauts sailed right on towards the middle, and when they were close to the rocks, one of the heroes stood in front of the ship, with a dove in his hand, and let her fly. Now when anything living went between the rocks they struck together and then flew wide asunder. But the dove flew fast, and Minerva helped her, because she was a good and kind dove, and she was snow-white, and when the rocks closed, they only pulled out the feather of her tail, which soon grew again. And the rocks flew apart, and the heroes rowed with might and main and got safely through, and the rocks only knocked off a little bit of the ship's stern; the dove alighted on the ship, and was not angry with the Argonauts; and afterwards Minerva took her and set her in the sky, where she may still be seen as a living constellation.
After the Argonauts had passed safely through the rocks they got into the river Phasis, which flows through Colchis. Some of them stayed in the ship, but Jason and Pollux
and many other heroes, went to the city where the king lived. The king's name was Etes, and he had a daughter, called Medea. Now Etes did not like to lose the fleece, but he could not refuse it to Jason, because it was fated that he must give it to him who should come from Greece and ask for it. So he told Jason he should have it, but that he must first yoke the brazen bulls to a plough, and plough a large field and sow it with the dragon's teeth. Now the brazen bulls lived and moved like real bulls, only they blew flames out of their mouths and nostrils, and were far stronger and fiercer than real bulls; on that account they were kept in a stable built with iron and huge stones, and chained with great strong iron chains.
As for the dragon's teeth, when they were sown like corn in the earth, there grew up men in armour with swords and spears, who killed the person that had sowed them. Thus, you see, the king wanted Jason to be killed, and he thought that if the brazen bulis did not kill him the armed men would.
The Argonauts sailed in a fine ship called the Argo, to Colchis. Many heroes went in the ship, amongst whom were Jason and Hercules. They had numerous adventures on their way to Colchis, but they arrived safely, for the gods and goddesses helped them, and so did a snow-white dove, which is now a constellation of stars in the sky.
THE VOYAGE OF THE ARGONAUTS.
BUT the king's daughter, Medea, saw Jason at her father's palace, and loved him. Now she was a magician, and could brew magic potions and ointments. So she got into the chariot, drawn by winged serpents, and flew through the air, and gathered herbs on hill and dale, and by many streams and rivulets; she squeezed the juices out of all these herbs and made an ointment, and gave it to Jason, and told him to rub his face and hands and his eyes and arms with it, and also his armour, his shield and sword and lance. Jason did as she had told him; and for one whole day he was far stronger than all the other heroes; and fire could not burn him, and iron could not wound him nor cut through his armour or his shield; but his sword and spear cut and thrust through iron as if it were butter.
Now this was the day fixed for Jason to yoke the bulls and sow the dragon's teeth. All the people came out of the city to see what would happen, and the little boys climbed into the trees to get a better view.
Jason rubbed himself and his armour as Medea had told him, and came out to the field, close by which was the stable in which the brazen bulls were kept shut up. Then the door was thrown open, and Jason went boldly in and unchained the bulls, and held each of them by one horn, one with one hand and one with the other, and dragged them out of the stable. The bulls bellowed frightfully, and fire and smoke came out of their mouths and noses as out of a burning mountain. Then the wicked King Etes was delighted; but those among the lookers-on were good, and saw how brave and handsome Jason was, were grieved, and
feared he would be killed; for they did not know that Medea helped him. And Jason bent the heads of the bulls down to the ground, and, though they kicked and struggled, he threw them on their knees.
Then Pollux brought the plough to which they were to be yoked, which was all made of iron, and threw the yoke over their necks and an iron chain round their horns; meanwhile Jason held their noses so close to the ground that they could not breathe out fire. As soon as Pollux had yoked the bulls, he sprang quickly away, and Jason seized the iron chain with the one hand and the handle of the plough with the other, and then let go their horns. Up jumped the bulls, and tried to run away; but Jason held the chain so tight that they were forced to go slowly and plough properly. Now the sun had risen just as the bulls were harnessed, and, by mid-day, Jason had ploughed the whole field. Then he took the yoke off them, and let them go; and they were so frightened that they ran away, and did not stop till they got to the mountains.
When Jason had done ploughing, he went to King Etes and asked for the dragon's teeth, and Etes gave him a brazen helmet quite full of teeth; and Jason went and scattered them with his hand all over the field; and when he had done he went and lay down to rest till evening, for
Towards sunset Jason came out into the field again, and found the armed men growing up on all sides; some had grown up as far as their knees, others to their hips, some to their shoulders, and there were several of whom only the helmet was beginning to appear; those whose arms were already out of the earth, so that they could move them, shook their spears and flourished their swords; and some were already getting their feet out of the ground and pre