KING PHINEUS'S COUNSEL; THE LANDING IN LEMNOS
HEY came into King Phineus's hall, their bright swords in their
hands. The Argonauts crowded around them and King Phineus raised
his head and stretched out his thin hands to them. And Zetes and
Calais told their comrades and told the king how they had driven
the Harpies down to the Floating Island, and how Iris, the
messenger of Zeus, had sworn the great oath that was by the Water
of Styx that never again would the Snatchers show themselves in
Then a great golden cup brimming with wine was brought to the
king. He stood holding it in his trembling hands, fearful even
then that the Harpies would tear the cup out of his hands. He
drank—long and deeply he drank—and the dread shapes of the
Snatchers did not appear. Down amongst the heroes he came and he
took into his the hands of Zetes and Calais, the sons of the
"O heroes greater than any kings," he said, "ye have delivered
me from the terrible curse that the gods had sent upon me. I
thank ye, and I thank ye all, heroes of the quest. And the thanks
of Phineus will much avail you all."
Clasping the hands of Zetes and Calais he led the heroes through
 hall after hall of his palace and down into his treasure chamber.
There he bestowed upon the banishers of the Harpies crowns and
arm rings of gold and richly colored garments and brazen chests
in which to store the treasure that he gave. And to Jason he gave
an ivory-hilted and gold encased sword, and on each of the
voyagers he bestowed a rich gift, not forgetting the heroes who
had remained on the Argo, Heracles and Tiphys.
They went back to the great hall, and a feast was spread for the
king and for the Argonauts. They ate from rich dishes and they
drank from flowing wine cups. Phineus ate and drank as the heroes
did, and no dread shapes came before him to snatch from him nor
to buffet him. But as Jason looked upon the man who had striven
to equal the gods in wisdom, and noted his blinded eyes and
shrunken face, he resolved never to harbor in his heart such
presumption as Phineus had harbored.
When the feast was finished the king spoke to Jason, telling him
how the Argo might be guided through the Symplegades, the dread
passage into the Sea of Pontus. He told them to bring their ship
near to the Clashing Rocks. And one who had the keenest sight
amongst them was to stand at the prow of the ship holding a
pigeon in his hands. As the rocks came together he was to loose
the pigeon. If it found a space to fly through they would know
that the Argo could make the passage, and they were to steer
straight toward where the pigeon had flown. But if it fluttered
down to the sea, or flew back to them, or became lost in the
clouds of spray, they were to know that the Argo might not make
 that passage. Then the heroes would have to take their ship
overland to where they might reach the Sea of Pontus.
That day they bade farewell to Phineus, and with the treasures he
had bestowed upon them they went down to the Argo. To Heracles
and Tiphys they gave the presents that the king had sent them. In
the morning they drew the Argo out of the harbor of Salmydessus,
and set sail again.
But not until long afterward did they come to the Symplegades,
the passage that was to be their great trial. For they landed
first in a country that was full of woods, where they were
welcomed by a king who had heard of the voyagers and of their
quest. There they stayed and hunted for many days in the woods.
And there a great loss befell the Argonauts, for Tiphys, as he
went through the woods, was bitten by a snake and died. He who
had braved so many seas and so many storms lost his life away
from the ship. The Argonauts made a tomb for him on the shore of
that land—a great pile of stones, in which they fixed upright
his steering oar. Then they set sail again, and Nauplius was made
the steersman of the ship.
The course was not so clear to Nauplius as it had been to Tiphys.
The steersman did not find his bearings, and for many days and
nights the Argo was driven on a backward course. They came to an
island that they knew to be that Island of Lemnos that they had
passed on the first days of the voyage, and they resolved to
 rest there for a while, and then to press on for the passage into
the Sea of Pontus.
They brought the Argo near the shore. They blew trumpets and set
the loudest voiced of the heroes to call out to those upon the
island. But no answer came to them, and all day the Argo lay
close to the island.
There were hidden people watching them, people with bows in their
hands and arrows laid along the bowstrings. And the people who
thus threatened the unknowing Argonauts were women and young
There were no men upon the Island of Lemnos. Years before a curse
had fallen upon the people of that island, putting strife between
the men and the women. And the women had mastered the men and had
driven them away from Lemnos. Since then some of the women had
grown old, and the girls who were children when their fathers and
brothers had been banished were now of an age with Atalanta, the
maiden who went with the Argonauts.
They chased the wild beasts of the island, and they tilled the
fields, and they kept in good repair the houses that were built
before the banishing of the men. The older women served those who
were younger, and they had a queen, a girl whose name was
The women who watched with bows in their hands would have shot
their arrows at the Argonauts if Hypsipyle's nurse, Polyxo,
 had not stayed them. She forbade them to shoot at the strangers
until she had brought to them the queen's commands.
She hastened to the palace and she found the young queen weaving
at a loom. She told her about the ship and the strangers on board
the ship, and she asked the queen what word she should bring to
the guardian maidens.
"Before you give a command, Hypsipyle," said Polyxo, the nurse,
"consider these words of mine. We, the elder women, are becoming
ancient now; in a few years we will not be able to serve you, the
younger women, and in a few years more we will have gone into the
grave and our places will know us no more. And you, the younger
women, will be becoming strengthless, and no more will be you
able to hunt in the woods nor to till the fields, and a hard old
age will be before you.
"The ship that is beside our shore may have come at a good time.
Those on board are goodly heroes. Let them land in Lemnos, and
stay if they will. Let them wed with the younger women so that
there may be husbands and wives, helpers and helpmeets, again in
Hypsipyle, the queen, let the shuttle fall from her hands and
stayed for a while looking full into Polyxo's face. Had her nurse
heard her say something like this out of her dreams, she
wondered? She bade the nurse tell the guardian maidens to let the
heroes land in safety, and that she herself would put the crown
of King Thoas, her father, upon her head, and go down to the
shore to welcome them.
 And now the Argonauts saw people along the shore and they caught
sight of women's dresses. The loudest voiced amongst them shouted
again, and they heard an answer given in a woman's voice. They
drew up the Argo upon the shore, and they set foot upon the land
Jason stepped forth at the head of his comrades, and he was met
by Hypsipyle, her father's crown upon her head, at the head of
her maidens. They greeted each other, and Hypsipyle bade the
heroes come with them to their town that was called Myrine and to
the palace that was there.
Wonderingly the Argonauts went, looking on women's forms and
faces and seeing no men. They came to the palace and went within.
Hypsipyle mounted the stone throne that was King Thoas's and the
four maidens who were her guards stood each side of her. She
spoke to the heroes in greeting and bade them stay in peace for
as long as they would. She told them of the curse that had fallen
upon the people of Lemnos, and of how the menfolk had been
banished. Jason, then, told the queen what voyage he and his
companions were upon and what quest they were making. Then in
friendship the Argonauts and the women of Lemnos stayed together—all
the Argonauts except Heracles, and he, grieving still for
Hylas, stayed aboard the Argo.
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