THE LEMNIAN MAIDENS
ND now the Argonauts were no longer on a ship that was being
dashed on by the sea and beaten upon by the winds. They had
houses to live in; they had honey-tasting things to eat, and when
they went through the island each man might have with him one of
the maidens of Lemnos. It was a change that was welcome to the
They helped the women in the work of the fields; they hunted the
beasts with them, and over and over again they were surprised at
how skillfully the women had ordered all affairs. Everything in
Lemnos was strange to the Argonauts, and they stayed day after
day, thinking each day a fresh adventure.
Sometimes they would leave the fields and the chase, and this
hero or that hero, with her who was his friend amongst the
Lemnian maidens, would go far into that strange land and look
upon lakes that were all covered with golden and silver water
lilies, or would gather the blue flowers from creepers that grew
around dark trees, or would hide themselves so that they might
listen to the quick-moving birds that sang in the thickets.
Perhaps on their way homeward they would see the Argo in the
harbor, and they would think of Heracles who was aboard, and they
would call to him. But the ship and the voyage they had been on
now seemed far away to them, and the Quest of the Golden Fleece
 seemed to them a story they had heard and that they had thought
of, but that they could never think on again with all that
When Jason looked on Hypsipyle he saw one who seemed to him to be
only childlike in size. Greatly was he amazed at the words that
poured forth from her as she stood at the stone throne of King
Thoas—he was amazed as one is amazed at the rush of rich notes
that comes from the throat of a little bird; all that she said
was made lightninglike by her eyes—her eyes that were not clear
and quiet like the eyes of the maidens he had seen in Iolcus, but
that were dark and burning. Her mouth was heavy and this heavy
mouth gave a shadow to her face that but for it was all bright
Hypsipyle spoke two languages—one, the language of the mothers
of the women of Lemnos, which was rough and harsh, a speech to be
flung out to slaves, and the other the language of Greece, which
their fathers had spoken, and which Hypsipyle spoke in a way that
made it sound like strange music. She spoke and walked and did
all things in a queenlike way, and Jason could see that, for all
her youth and childlike size, Hypsipyle was one who was a ruler.
From the moment she took his hand it seemed that she could not
bear to be away from him. Where he walked, she walked too; where
he sat she sat before him, looking at him with her great eyes
while she laughed or sang.
Like the perfume of strange flowers, like the savor of strange
 fruit was Hypsipyle to Jason. Hours and hours he would spend
sitting beside her or watching her while she arrayed herself in
white or in brightly colored garments. Not to the chase and not
into the fields did Jason go, nor did he ever go with the others
into the Lemnian land; all day he sat in the palace with her,
watching her, or listening to her singing, or to the long, fierce
speeches that she used to make to her nurse or to the four
maidens who attended her.
In the evening they would gather in the hall of the palace,
the Argonauts and the Lemnian maidens who were their comrades.
There were dances, and always Jason and Hypsipyle danced
together. All the Lemnian maidens sang beautifully, but none of
them had any stories to tell.
And when the Argonauts would have stories told the Lemnian
maidens would forbid any tale that was about a god or a hero;
only stories that were about the goddesses or about some maiden
would they let be told.
Orpheus, who knew the histories of the gods, would have told
them many stories, but the only story of his that they would come
from the dance to listen to was a story of the goddesses, of
Demeter and her daughter Persephone.
DEMETER AND PERSEPHONE
 ONCE when Demeter was going through the world, giving men
grain to be sown in their fields, she heard a cry that came to
her from across high mountains and that mounted up to her from
the sea. Demeter's heart shook when she heard that cry, for she
knew that it came to her from her daughter, from her only child,
She stayed not to bless the fields in which the grain was
being sown, but she hurried, hurried away, to Sicily and to the
fields of Enna, where she had left Persephone. All Enna she
searched, and all Sicily, but she found no trace of Persephone,
nor of the maidens whom Persephone had been playing with. From
all whom she met she begged for tidings, but although some had
seen maidens gathering flowers and playing together, no one could
tell Demeter why her child had cried out nor where she had since
There were some who could have told her. One was Cyane, a
water nymph. But Cyane, before Demeter came to her, had been
changed into a spring of water. And now, not being able to speak
and tell Demeter where her child had gone to and who had carried
her away, she showed in the water the girdle of Persephone that
she had caught in her hands. And Demeter, finding the girdle of
her child in the spring, knew that she had
 been carried off by
violence. She lighted a torch at Ætna's burning mountain, and for
nine days and nine nights she went searching for her through the
darkened places of the earth.
Then, upon a high and a dark hill, the Goddess Demeter came face
to face with Hecate, the Moon. Hecate, too, had heard the cry of
Persephone; she had sorrow for Demeter's sorrow: she spoke to her
as the two stood upon that dark, high hill, and told her that she
should go to Helios for tidings—to bright Helios, the watcher
for the gods, and beg Helios to tell her who it was who had
carried off by violence her child Persephone.
Demeter came to Helios. He was standing before his shining
steeds, before the impatient steeds that draw the sun through the
course of the heavens. Demeter stood in the way of those
impatient steeds; she begged of Helios who sees all things upon
the earth to tell her who it was had carried off by violence
Persephone, her child.
And Helios, who may make no concealment, said: "Queenly Demeter,
know that the king of the Underworld, dark Aidoneus, has carried
off Persephone to make her his queen in the realm that I never
shine upon." He spoke, and as he did, his horses shook their
manes and breathed out fire, impatient to be gone. Helios sprang
into his chariot and went flashing away.
Demeter, knowing that one of the gods had carried off Persephone
against her will, and knowing that what was done had been done by
the will of Zeus, would go no more into the
assem-  blies of the
gods. She quenched the torch that she had held in her hands for
nine days and nine nights; she put off her robe of goddess, and
she went wandering over the earth, uncomforted for the loss of
her child. And no longer did she appear as a gracious goddess to
men; no longer did she give them grain; no longer did she bless
their fields. None of the things that it had pleased her once to
do would Demeter do any longer.
had been playing with the nymphs who are the daughters
of Ocean—Phæno, Ianthe, Melita, Ianeira, Acaste—in the
lovely fields of Enna. They went to gather flowers—irises and
crocuses, lilies, narcissus, hyacinths and rose-blooms—that grow
in those fields. As they went, gathering flowers in their
baskets, they had sight of Pergus, the pool that the white swans
come to sing in.
Beside a deep chasm that had been made in the earth a wonder
flower was growing—in color it was like the crocus, but it sent
forth a perfume that was like the perfume of a hundred flowers.
And Persephone thought as she went toward it that having gathered
that flower she would have something much more wonderful than her
She did not know that Aidoneus, the lord of the Underworld, had
caused that flower to grow there so that she might be drawn by it
to the chasm that he had made.
As Persephone stooped to pluck the wonder flower, Aidoneus,
 in his chariot of iron, dashed up through the chasm, and grasping
the maiden by the waist, set her beside him. Only Cyane, the
nymph, tried to save Persephone, and it was then that she caught
the girdle in her hands.
The maiden cried out, first because her flowers had been
spilled, and then because she was being reft away. She cried out
to her mother, and her cry went over high mountains and sounded
up from the sea. The daughters of Ocean, affrighted, fled and
sank down into the depths of the sea.
In his great chariot of iron that was drawn by black steeds
Aidoneus rushed down through the chasm he had made. Into the
Underworld he went, and he dashed across the River Styx, and he
brought his chariot up beside his throne. And on his dark throne
he seated Persephone, the fainting daughter of Demeter.
more did the Goddess Demeter give grain to men; no more
did she bless their fields: weeds grew where grain had been
growing, and men feared that in a while they would famish for
lack of bread.
She wandered through the world, her thought all upon her
child, Persephone, who had been taken from her. Once she sat by a
well by a wayside, thinking upon the child that she might not
come to and who might not come to her.
She saw four maidens come near; their grace and their youth
 reminded her of her child. They stepped lightly along, carrying
bronze pitchers in their hands, for they were coming to the Well
of the Maiden beside which Demeter sat.
The maidens thought when they looked upon her that the goddess
was some ancient woman who had a sorrow in her heart. Seeing that
she was so noble and so sorrowful looking, the maidens, as they
drew the clear water into their pitchers, spoke kindly to her.
"Why do you stay away from the town, old mother?" one of the
maidens said. "Why do you not come to the houses? We think that
you look as if you were shelterless and alone, and we should like
to tell you that there are many houses in the town where you
would be welcomed."
Demeter's heart went out to the maidens, because they looked so
young and fair and simple and spoke out of such kind hearts. She
said to them: "Where can I go, dear children? My people are far
away, and there are none in all the world who would care to be
Said one of the maidens: "There are princes in the land who would
welcome you in their houses if you would consent to nurse one of
their young children. But why do I speak of other princes beside
Celeus, our father? In his house you would indeed have a welcome.
But lately a baby has been born to our mother, Metaneira, and she
would greatly rejoice to have one as wise as you mind little
All the time that she watched them and listened to their
Demeter felt that the grace and youth of the maidens made them
like Persephone. She thought that it would ease her heart to be
in the house where these maidens were, and she was not loath to
have them go and ask of their mother to have her come to nurse
the infant child.
Swiftly they ran back to their home, their hair streaming behind
them like crocus flowers; kind and lovely girls whose names are
well remembered—Callidice and Cleisidice, Demo and Callithoë.
They went to their mother and they told her of the stranger-woman
whose name was Doso. She would make a wise and a kind nurse for
little Demophoön, they said. Their mother, Metaneira, rose up
from the couch she was sitting on to welcome the stranger. But
when she saw her at the doorway, awe came over her, so majestic
Metaneira would have her seat herself on the couch but the
goddess took the lowliest stool, saying in greeting: "May the
gods give you all good, lady."
"Sorrow has set you wandering from your good home," said
Metaneira to the goddess, "but now that you have come to this
place you shall have all that this house can bestow if you will
rear up to youth the infant Demophoön, child of many hopes and
The child was put into the arms of Demeter; she clasped him to
her breast, and little Demophoön looked up into her face and
smiled. Then Demeter's heart went out to the child and to all who
were in the household.
 He grew in strength and beauty in her charge. And little
Demophoön was not nourished as other children are nourished, but
even as the gods in their childhood were nourished. Demeter fed
him on ambrosia, breathing on him with her divine breath the
while. And at night she laid him on the hearth, amongst the
embers, with the fire all around him. This she did that she might
make him immortal, and like to the gods.
But one night Metaneira looked out from the chamber where she
lay, and she saw the nurse take little Demopho÷n and lay him in a
place on the hearth with the burning brands all around him. Then
Metaneira started up, and she sprang to the hearth, and she
snatched the child from beside the burning brands. "Demopho÷n, my
son," she cried, "what would this stranger-woman do to you,
bringing bitter grief to me that ever I let her take you in her
Then said Demeter: "Foolish indeed are you mortals, and not able
to foresee what is to come to you of good or of evil!
Foolish indeed are you, Metaneira, for in your heedlessness you
have cut off this child from an immortality like to the
immortality of the gods themselves. For he had lain in my bosom
and had become dear to me and I would have bestowed upon him the
greatest gift that the Divine Ones can bestow, for I would have
made him deathless and unaging. All this, now, has gone by. Honor
he shall have indeed, but Demophoön will know age and death."
The seeming old age that was upon her had fallen from
 Demeter; beauty and stature were hers, and from her robe there
came a heavenly fragrance. There came such light from her body
that the chamber shone. Metaneira remained trembling and
speechless, unmindful even to take up the child that had been
laid upon the ground.
It was then that his sisters heard Demophoön wail; one ran from
her chamber and took the child in her arms; another kindled again
the fire upon the hearth, and the others made ready to bathe and
care for the infant. All night they cared for him, holding him in
their arms and at their breasts, but the child would not be
comforted, becauses the nurses who handled him now were less
skillful than was the goddess-nurse.
And as for Demeter, she left the house of Celeus and went upon
her way, lonely in her heart, and unappeased. And in the world
that she wandered through, the plow went in vain through the
ground; the furrow was sown without any avail, and the race of
men saw themselves near perishing for lack of bread.
But again Demeter came near the Well of the Maiden. She thought
of the daughters of Celeus as they came toward the well that day,
the bronze pitchers in their hands, and with kind looks for the
stranger—she thought of them as she sat by the well again. And
then she thought of little Demophoön, the child she had held at
her breast. No stir of living was in the land near their home,
and only weeds grew in their fields. As she sat there and looked
around her there came into Demeter's heart a pity for the people
in whose house she had dwelt.
 She rose up and she went to the house of Celeus. She found him
beside his house measuring out a little grain. The goddess went
to him and she told him that because of the love she bore his
household she would bless his fields so that the seed he had sown
in them would come to growth. Celeus rejoiced, and he called all
the people together, and they raised a temple to Demeter. She
went through the fields and blessed them, and the seed that they
had sown began to grow. And the goddess for a while dwelt amongst
that people, in her temple at Eleusis.
But still she kept away from the assemblies of the gods. Zeus
sent a messenger to her, Iris with the golden wings, bidding her
to Olympus. Demeter would not join the Olympians. Then, one after
the other, the gods and goddesses of Olympus came to her; none
were able to make her cease from grieving for Persephone, or to
go again into the company of the immortal gods.
And so it came about that Zeus was compelled to send a messenger
down to the Underworld to bring Persephone back to the mother who
grieved so much for the loss of her. Hermes was the messenger
whom Zeus sent. Through the darkened places of the earth Hermes
went, and he came to that dark throne where the lord Aidoneus
sat, with Persephone beside him. Then Hermes spoke to the lord of
the Underworld, saying
 that Zeus commanded that Persephone should
come forth from the Underworld that her mother might look upon
Then Persephone, hearing the words of Zeus that might not be
gainsaid, uttered the only cry that had left her lips since she
had sent out that cry that had reached her mother's heart. And
Aidoneus, hearing the command of Zeus that might not be denied,
bowed his dark, majestic head.
She might go to the Upperworld and rest herself in the arms of
her mother, he said. And then he cried out: "Ah, Persephone,
strive to feel kindliness in your heart toward me who carried you
off by violence and against your will. I can give to you one of
the great kingdoms that the Olympians rule over. And I, who am
brother to Zeus, am no unfitting husband for you, Demeter's
So Aidoneus, the dark lord of the Underworld said, and he made
ready the iron chariot with its deathless horses that Persephone
might go up from his kingdom.
Beside the single tree in his domain Aidoneus stayed the chariot.
A single fruit grew on that tree, a bright pomegranate fruit.
Persephone stood up in the chariot and plucked the fruit from the
tree. Then did Aidoneus prevail upon her to divide the fruit,
and, having divided it, Persephone ate seven of the pomegranate
It was Hermes who took the whip and the reins of the chariot. He
drove on, and neither the sea nor the water-courses, nor the
glens nor the mountain peaks stayed the deathless horses of
 Aidoneus, and soon the chariot was brought near to where Demeter
awaited the coming of her daughter.
And when, from a hilltop, Demeter saw the chariot approaching,
she flew like a wild bird to clasp her child. Persephone, when
she saw her mother's dear eyes, sprang out of the chariot and
fell upon her neck and embraced her. Long and long Demeter held
her dear child in her arms, gazing, gazing upon her. Suddenly her
mind misgave her. With a great fear at her heart she cried out:
"Dearest, has any food passed your lips in all the time you have
been in the Underworld?"
She had not tasted food in all the time she was there, Persephone
said. And then, suddenly, she remembered the pomegranate that
Aidoneus had asked her to divide. When she told that she had
eaten seven seeds from it Demeter wept, and her tears fell upon
"Ah, my dearest," she cried, "if you had not eaten the
pomegranate seeds you could have stayed with me, and always we
should have been together. But now that you have eaten food in
it, the Underworld has a claim upon you. You may not stay always
with me here. Again you will have to go back and dwell in the
dark places under the earth and sit upon Aidoneus's throne. But
not always you will be there. When the flowers bloom upon the
earth you shall come up from the realm of darkness, and in great
joy we shall go through the world together, Demeter and
And so it has been since Persephone came back to her mother
 after having eaten of the pomegranate seeds. For two seasons of
the year she stays with Demeter, and for one season she stays in
the Underworld with her dark lord. While she is with her mother
there is springtime upon the earth. Demeter blesses the furrows,
her heart being glad because her daughter is with her once more.
The furrows become heavy with grain, and soon the whole wide
earth has grain and fruit, leaves and flowers. When the furrows
are reaped, when the grain has been gathered, when the dark
season comes, Persephone goes from her mother, and going down
into the dark places, she sits beside her mighty lord Aidoneus
and upon his throne. Not sorrowful is she there; she sits with
head unbowed, for she knows herself to be a mighty queen. She has
joy, too, knowing of the seasons when she may walk with Demeter,
her mother, on the wide places of the earth, through fields of
flowers and fruit and ripening grain.
Such was the story that Orpheus told—Orpheus who knew the
histories of the gods.
A day came when the heroes, on their way back from a journey they
had made with the Lemnian maidens, called out to Heracles upon
the Argo. Then Heracles, standing on the prow of the ship,
shouted angrily to them. Terrible did he seem to the Lemnian
maidens, and they ran off, drawing the heroes with them. Heracles
shouted to his comrades again, saying that if they did not come
aboard the Argo and make ready
 for the voyage to Colchis,
he would go ashore and carry them to the ship, and force them
again to take the oars in their hands.
Not all of what Heracles said did the Argonauts hear.
That evening the men were silent in Hypsipyle's hall, and it was
Atalanta, the maiden, who told the evening's story.
There are two Atalantas, she said; she herself, the Huntress, and
another who is noted for her speed of foot and her delight in the
race—the daughter of Schœneus, King of Bœotia, Atalanta of
the Swift Foot.
So proud was she of her swiftness that she made a vow to the gods
that none would be her husband except the youth who won past her
in the race. Youth after youth came and raced against her, but
Atalanta, who grew fleeter and fleeter of foot, left each one of
them far behind her. The youths who came to the race were so many
and the clamor they made after defeat was so great, that her
father made a law that, as he thought, would lessen their number.
The law that he made was that the youth who came to race against
Atalanta and who lost the race should lose his life into the
bargain. After that the youths who had care for their lives
stayed away from Bœotia.
Once there came a youth from a far part of Greece into the
country that Atalanta's father ruled over. Hippomenes was his
name. He did not know of the race, but having come into
 the city and seeing the crowd of people, he went with them to the
course. He looked upon the youths who were girded for the race,
and he heard the folk say amongst themselves, "Poor youths, as
mighty and as high-spirited as they look, by sunset the life will
be out of each of them, for Atalanta will run past them as she
ran past the others." Then Hippomenes spoke to the folk in
wonder, and they told him of Atalanta's race and of what would
befall the youths who were defeated in it. "Unlucky youths,"
cried Hippomenes, "how foolish they are to try to win a bride at
the price of their lives."
Then, with pity in his heart, he watched the youths prepare for
the race. Atalanta had not yet taken her place, and he was
fearful of looking upon her. "She is a witch," he said to
himself, "she must be a witch to draw so many youths to their
deaths, and she, no doubt, will show in her face and figure the
But even as he said this, Hippomenes saw Atalanta. She stood with
the youths before they crouched for the first dart in the race.
He saw that she was a girl of a light and a lovely form. Then
they crouched for the race; then the trumpets rang out, and the
youths and the maiden darted like swallows over the sand of the
On came Atalanta, far, far ahead of the youths who had started
with her. Over her bare shoulders her hair streamed, blown
backward by the wind that met her flight. Her fair neck shone,
and her little feet were like flying doves. It seemed to
Hippomenes as he watched her that there was fire in her
body. On and on she went as swift as the arrow that the Scythian
shoots from his bow. And as he watched the race he was not sorry
that the youths were being left behind. Rather would he have been
enraged if one came near overtaking her, for now his heart was
set upon winning her for his bride, and he cursed himself for not
having entered the race.
She passed the last goal mark and she was given the victor's
wreath of flowers. Hippomenes stood and watched her and he did
not see the youths who had started with her—they had thrown
themselves on the ground in their despair.
Then wild, as though he were one of the doomed youths, Hippomenes
made his way through the throng and came before the black-bearded
King of Bœotia. The king's brows were knit, for even then he was
pronouncing doom upon the youths who had been left behind in the
race. He looked upon Hippomenes, another youth who would make the
trial, and the frown became heavier upon his face.
But Hippomenes saw only Atalanta. She came beside her father; the
wreath was upon her head of gold, and her eyes were wide and
tender. She turned her face to him, and then she knew by the
wildness that was in his look that he had come to enter the race
with her. Then the flush that was on her face died away, and she
shook her head as if she were imploring him to go from that
The dark-bearded king bent his brows upon him and said, "Speak, O
youth, speak and tell us what brings you here."
 Then cried Hippomenes as if his whole life were bursting out with
his words: "Why does this maiden, your daughter, seek an easy
renown by conquering weakly youths in the race? She has not
striven yet. Here stand I, one of the blood of Poseidon, the god
of the sea. Should I be defeated by her in the race, then,
indeed, might Atalanta have something to boast of."
Atalanta stepped forward and said: "Do not speak of it, youth.
Indeed I think that it is some god, envious of your beauty and
your strength, who sent you here to strive with me and to meet
your doom. Ah, think of the youths who have striven with me even
now! Think of the hard doom that is about to fall upon them! You
venture your life in the race, but indeed I am not worthy of the
price. Go hence, O stranger youth, go hence and live happily, for
indeed I think that there is some maiden who loves you well."
"Nay, maiden," said Hippomenes, "I will enter the race and I will
venture my life on the chance of winning you for my bride. What
good will my life and my spirit be to me if they cannot win this
race for me?"
She drew away from him then and looked upon him no more, but bent
down to fasten the sandals upon her feet. And the black-bearded
king looked upon Hippomenes and said, "Face, then, this race
to-morrow. You will be the only one who will enter it. But
bethink thee of the doom that awaits thee at the end of it." The
king said no more, and Hippomenes went
 from him and from
Atalanta, and he came again to the place where the race had been
He looked across the sandy course with its goal marks, and in his
mind he saw again Atalanta's swift race. He would not meet doom
at the hands of the king's soldiers, he knew, for his spirit
would leave him with the greatness of the effort he would make to
reach the goal before her. And he thought it would be well to die
in that effort and on that sandy place that was so far from his
Even as he looked across the sandy course now deserted by the
throng, he saw one move across it, coming toward him with feet
that did not seem to touch the ground. She was a woman of
wonderful presence. As Hippomenes looked upon her he knew that
she was Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and of love.
"Hippomenes," said the immortal goddess, "the gods are mindful of
you who are sprung from one of the gods, and I am mindful of you
because of your own worth. I have come to help you in your race
with Atalanta, for I would not have you slain, nor would I have
that maiden go unwed. Give your greatest strength and your
greatest swiftness to the race, and behold! here are wonders that
will prevent the fleet-footed Atalanta from putting all her
spirit into the race."
And then the immortal goddess held out to Hippomenes a branch
that had upon it three apples of shining gold.
"In Cyprus," said the goddess, "where I have come from, there is
a tree on which these golden apples grow. Only I
 may pluck them.
I have brought them to you, Hippomenes. Keep them in your girdle,
and in the race you will find out what to do with them, I think."
So Aphrodite said, and then she vanished, leaving a fragrance in
the air and the three shining apples in the hands of Hippomenes.
Long he looked upon their brightness. They were beside him that
night, and when he arose in the dawn he put them in his girdle.
Then, before the throng, he went to the place of the race.
When he showed himself beside Atalanta, all around the course
were silent, for they all admired Hippomenes for his beauty and
for the spirit that was in his face; they were silent out of
compassion, for they knew the doom that befell the youths who
raced with Atalanta.
And now Schœneus, the black-bearded king, stood up, and he spoke
to the throng, saying, "Hear me all, both young and old: this
youth, Hippomenes, seeks to win the race from my daughter,
winning her for his bride. Now, if he be victorious and escape
death I will give him my dear child, Atalanta, and many fleet
horses besides as gifts from me, and in honor he shall go back to
his native land. But if he fail in the race, then he will have to
share the doom that has been meted out to the other youths who
raced with Atalanta hoping to win her for a bride."
Then Hippomenes and Atalanta crouched for the start. The trumpets
were sounded and they darted off.
 Side by side with Atalanta Hippomenes went. Her flying hair
touched his breast, and it seemed to him that they were skimming
the sandy course as if they were swallows. But then Atalanta
began to draw away from him. He saw her ahead of him, and then he
began to hear the words of cheer that came from the throng—"Bend
to the race, Hippomenes! Go on, go on! Use your strength to
the utmost." He bent himself to the race, but further and further
from him Atalanta drew.
Then it seemed to him that she checked her swiftness a little to
look back at him. He gained on her a little. And then his hand
touched the apples that were in his girdle. As it touched them it
came into his mind what to do with the apples.
He was not far from her now, but already her swiftness was
drawing her further and further away. He took one of the apples
into his hand and tossed it into the air so that it fell on the
track before her.
Atalanta saw the shining apple. She checked her speed and stooped
in the race to pick it up. And as she stooped Hippomenes darted
past her, and went flying toward the goal that now was within his
But soon she was beside him again. He looked, and he saw that the
goal marks were far, far ahead of him. Atalanta with the flying
hair passed him, and drew away and away from him. He had not
speed to gain upon her now, he thought, so he put his strength
into his hand and he flung the second of the
shin-  ing apples. The
apple rolled before her and rolled off the course. Atalanta
turned off the course, stooped and picked up the apple.
Then did Hippomenes draw all his spirit into his breast as he
raced on. He was now nearer to the goal than she was. But he knew
that she was behind him, going lightly where he went heavily. And
then she was beside him, and then she went past him. She paused
in her speed for a moment and she looked back on him.
As he raced on, his chest seemed weighted down and his throat was
crackling dry. The goal marks were far away still, but Atalanta
was nearing them. He took the last of the golden apples into his
hand. Perhaps she was now so far that the strength of his throw
would not be great enough to bring the apple before her.
But with all the strength he could put into his hand he flung the
apple. It struck the course before her feet and then went
bounding wide. Atalanta swerved in her race and followed where
the apple went. Hippomenes marveled that he had been able to
fling it so far. He saw Atalanta stoop to pick up the apple, and
he bounded on. And then, although his strength was failing, he
saw the goal marks near him. He set his feet between them and
then fell down on the ground.
The attendants raised him up and put the victor's wreath upon his
head. The concourse of people shouted with joy to see him victor.
But he looked around for Atalanta and he
 saw her standing there
with the golden apples in her hands. "He has won," he heard her
say, "and I have not to hate myself for bringing a doom upon him.
Gladly, gladly do I give up the race, and glad am I that it is
this youth who has won the victory from me."
She took his hand and brought him before the king. Then
Schœneus, in the sight of all the rejoicing people, gave
Atalanta to Hippomenes for his bride, and he bestowed upon him
also a great gift of horses. With his dear and hard-won bride,
Hippomenes went to his own country, and the apples that she
brought with her, the golden apples of Aphrodite, were reverenced
by the people.
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