NEAR TO IOLCUS AGAIN
HE sun sank; then that star came that bids the shepherd bring
his flock to the fold, that brings the wearied plowman to his
rest. But no rest did that star bring to the Argonauts. The
breeze that filled the sail died down; they furled the sail and
lowered the mast; then, once again, they pulled at the oars. All
night they rowed, and all day, and again when the next day came
on. Then they saw the island that is halfway to Greece—the great
and fair island of Crete.
It was Theseus who first saw Crete—Theseus who was to come to
Crete upon another ship. They drew the Argo near the great
island; they wanted water, and they were fain to rest there.
 Minos, the great king, ruled over Crete. He left the guarding of
the island to one of the race of bronze, to Talos, who had lived
on after the rest of the bronze men had been destroyed. Thrice a
day would Talos stride around the island; his brazen feet were
Now Talos saw the Argo drawing near. He took up great rocks and
he hurled them at the heroes, and very quickly they had to draw
their ship out of range.
They were wearied and their thirst was consuming them. But still
that bronze man stood there ready to sink their ship with the
great rocks that he took up in his hands. Medea stood forward
upon the ship, ready to use her spells against the man of bronze.
In body and limbs he was made of bronze and in these he was
invulnerable. But beneath a sinew in his ankle there was a vein
that ran up to his neck and that was covered by a thin skin. If
that vein were broken Talos would perish.
Medea did not know about this vein when she stood forward upon
the ship to use her spells against him. Upon a cliff of Crete,
all gleaming, stood that huge man of bronze. Then, as she was
ready to fling her spells against him, Medea thought upon the
words that Arete, the wise queen, had given her—that she was not
to use spells and not to practice against the life of any one.
But she knew that there was no impiety in using spells and
practicing against Talos, for Zeus had already doomed all his
 race. She stood upon the ship, and with her Magic Song she
enchanted him. He whirled round and round. He struck his ankle
against a jutting stone. The vein broke, and that which was the
blood of the bronze man flowed out of him like molten lead. He
stood towering upon the cliff. Like a pine upon a mountaintop
that the woodman had left half hewn through and that a mighty
wind pitches against, Talos stood upon his tireless feet, swaying
to and fro. Then, emptied of all his strength, Minos's man of
bronze fell into the Cretan Sea.
The heroes landed. That night they lay upon the land of Crete and
rested and refreshed themselves. When dawn came they drew water
from a spring, and once more they went on board the Argo.
A day came when the helmsman said, "To-morrow we shall see the
shore of Thessaly, and by sunset we shall be in the harbor of
Pagasæ. Soon, O voyagers, we shall be back in the city from
which we went to gain the Golden Fleece."
Then Jason brought Medea to the front of the ship so that they
might watch together for Thessaly, the homeland. The Mountain
Pelion came into sight. Jason exulted as he looked upon that
mountain; again he told Medea about Chiron, the ancient centaur,
and about the days of his youth in the forests of Pelion.
The Argo went on; the sun sank, and darkness came on. Never was
there darkness such as there was on that night.
 They called that
night afterward the Pall of Darkness. To the heroes upon the Argo
it seemed as if black chaos had come over the world again; they
knew not whether they were adrift upon the sea or upon the River
of Hades. No star pierced the darkness nor no beam from the moon.
After a night that seemed many nights the dawn came. In the
sunrise they saw the land of Thessaly with its mountain, its
forests, and its fields. They hailed each other as if they had
met after a long parting. They raised the mast and unfurled the
But not toward Pagasæ did they go. For now the voice of Argo
came to them, shaking their hearts: Jason and Orpheus, Castor and
Polydeuces, Zetes and Calais, Peleus and Telamon, Theseus,
Admetus, Nestor, and Atalanta, heard the cry of their ship. And
the voice of Argo warned them not to go into the harbor of
As they stood upon the ship, looking toward Iolcus, sorrow came
over all the heroes, such sorrow as made their hearts nearly
break. For long they stood there in utter numbness.
Then Admetus spoke—Admetus who was the happiest of all those who
went in quest of the Golden Fleece. "Although we may not go into
the harbor of Pagasæ, nor into the city of Iolcus," Admetus
said, "still we have come to the land of Greece. There are other
harbors and other cities that we may go into. And in all the
places that we go to we will be honored, for we have gone through
toils and dangers, and we have brought to Greece the famous
Fleece of Gold."
 So Admetus said, and their spirits came back again to the
heroes—came back to all of them save Jason. The rest had other cities
to go to, and fathers and mothers and friends to greet them in
other places, but for Jason there was only Iolcus.
Medea took his hand, and sorrow for him overcame her. For Medea
could divine what had happened in Iolcus and why it was that the
heroes might not go there.
It was to Corinth that the Argo went. Creon, the king of Corinth,
welcomed them and gave great honor to the heroes who had faced
such labors and such dangers to bring the world's wonder to
The Argonauts stayed together until they went to Calydon, to hunt
the boar that ravaged Prince Meleagrus's country. After that they
separated, each one going to his own land. Jason came back to
Corinth where Medea stayed. And in Corinth he had tidings of the
happenings in Iolcus.
King Pelias now ruled more fearfully in Iolcus, having brought
down from the mountains more and fiercer soldiers. And Æson,
Jason's father, and Alcimide, his mother, were now dead, having
been slain by King Pelias.
This Jason heard from men who came into Corinth from Thessaly.
And because of the great army that Pelias had gathered there,
Jason might not yet go into Iolcus, either to exact a vengeance,
or to show the people THE GOLDEN FLEECE that he had gone so far