THE STORY OF THESEUS
Adapted by Mary E. Spooner.
AT the foot of a very high mountain there lived, many,
many years ago, a little boy named Theseus. His
grandfather was the ruler of the country and a very
brave, wise man.
Theseus was a bright little lad. He had never seen his
father, but, as far back as Theseus could remember, his
mother had taken him very often to a deep wood, and a
huge rock which was covered with moss and sunk down
into the earth.
Here she talked to him about his father, telling him
that his name was Ægeus, and that he was a great king.
Little Theseus was very fond of hearing about his
father, and he sometimes asked his mother why King
Ægeus did not come to live with them.
"Ah, my dear little boy!" she would say with a sigh, "a
king has his people to take care of—the men and women
over whom he rules are his children. A king cannot
spare the time to love his own children as other
fathers do. Your father will never be able to leave
his kingdom for the sake of seeing his little boy."
"Why may I not go to the famous city of Athens
 and tell King Ægeus that I am his son?" asked Theseus.
But his mother told him he was not strong enough to set
out on such an errand, and she asked him to try and
lift the rock upon which they sat as they talked.
The little boy felt that he was very strong, and he
tried his hardest to move the rock, but he could not
stir it. It seemed rooted to the ground.
"You must be much stronger than you are now," said his
mother, "before I can trust you to go to Athens. When
you are able to lift this rock and show me what is
underneath I promise you that you may go to see your
Again and again Theseus and his mother went to the
rock, and each time Theseus asked his mother if it were
yet time for him to go to Athens. Then his mother
would point to the rock and tell him that he was still
a very little boy, and it would be a great many years
before he could move it. But still Theseus tried
harder and harder to lift it.
One day he cried: "I have started it!" His mother saw
that the rock had really moved a little, and, although
she was proud of her little boy's strength, she felt
very sad. She knew that her son was no longer a little
child, and he would soon have to go away to this far
In another year Theseus tried again. "I never felt so
strong as I do now!" he cried, as he strained and
pulled at the great stone; and at last he raised it
slowly from the earth and bedded moss, uprooting the
flowers, and laid it upon its side. Little Theseus had
done what he had been trying so faithfully for many
years. He looked joyfully at his mother who smiled at
him through her tears, as she said: "Yes, Theseus, the
 time has come. You must stay no longer at my
side. Your father will be glad to see you. He will
show you his stately palace and introduce you to his
subjects, and some day you will be a king, too."
And what do you think Theseus' father had left for his
son under the rock?—a golden sword and a pair of
wonderful sandals which would carry him quickly away
from all danger!
When Theseus' grandfather heard of the long journey he
was to take alone, he said he must go in a ship, as he
was too small a boy to be trusted on a road where he
would meet robbers. But when Theseus learned of the
robbers he wanted all the more to travel by land and
face them with his sword. "My sandals will carry me
quickly away from them," he said.
By the time he had reached his journey's end he had
done many brave deeds with his sword, and he was called
the bravest young man of the day. Even before he
arrived at Athens the news of the brave acts had
reached there first. As he entered the city he heard
the people saying: "Theseus, the great hero, the son
of the king, is coming!"
King Ægeus was glad, indeed, to see his brave son, and
he gave him a place beside him upon the throne and
never tired of hearing him tell about his dear mother,
his own childhood, and the many, many times he tried to
lift the heavy stone.