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THE STORY OF REGULUS
 ON the other side of the sea from Rome there was once a
great city named Carthage. The Roman people were never
very friendly to the people of Carthage, and at last a war began between them. For a long time it was hard to tell
which would prove the stronger. First the Romans would
gain a battle, and then the men of Car-thage would gain a
battle; and so the war went on for many years.
Among the Romans there was a brave general named Regulus,—a man of whom it was said that he never broke
his word. It so happened after a while, that
Regulus was taken prisoner and carried to Carthage. Ill and very
lonely, he dreamed of his wife and little children so far
away beyond the sea; and he had but little hope of ever
seeing them again. He loved his home dearly, but he
believed that his first duty was to his country; and so he
had left all, to fight in this cruel war.
He had lost a battle, it is true, and had been taken
prisoner. Yet he knew that the Romans were gaining ground,
and the people of Carthage were afraid of being beaten in
the end. They had sent into other countries to
hire soldiers to help
 them; but even with these they would not be able to fight
much longer against Rome.
One day some of the rulers of Carthage came to the prison
to talk with Regulus.
"We should like to make peace with the Roman people," they
said, "and we are sure, that, if your rulers at home knew
how the war is going, they would be glad to make peace with
us. We will set you free and let you go home, if you will
agree to do as we say."
"What is that?" asked Regulus.
"In the first place," they said, "you must tell the Romans
about the battles which you have lost, and you must make it
plain to them that they have not gained
anything by the war. In the second place, you must promise us, that, if
they will not make peace, you will come back to your
"Very well," said Regulus, "I promise you, that, if they
will not make peace, I will come back to prison."
And so they let him go; for they knew that a great Roman
would keep his word.
When he came to Rome, all the people greeted him gladly. His
wife and children were very happy, for they thought that now
they would not be parted again. The white-haired Fathers
 made the laws for the city came to see him. They asked him
about the war.
"I was sent from Carthage to ask you to make peace," he
said. "But it will not be wise to make peace. True, we have
been beaten in a few battles, but our army is gaining ground
every day. The people of Carthage are afraid, and well they
may be. Keep on with the war a little while longer, and
Carthage shall be yours. As for me, I have come to bid my
wife and children and Rome farewell. To-morrow I will start
back to Carthage and to prison; for I have promised."
Then the Fathers tried to persuade him to stay.
"Let us send another man in your place," they said.
"Shall a Roman not keep his word?" answered Regulus. "I am
ill, and at the best have not long to live. I will go back,
as I promised."
His wife and little children wept, and his sons begged
him not to leave them again.
"I have given my word," said Regulus. "The rest will be
taken care of."
Then he bade them good-by, and went bravely back to the
prison and the cruel death which he
This was the kind of courage that made Rome the greatest
city in the world.