|The Story of the Greeks|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Greece, made up principally of stories about persons, giving at the same time a clear idea of the most important events in the ancient world and calculated to enforce the lessons of perseverance, courage, patriotism, and virtue that are taught by the noble lives described. Beginning with the legends of Jason, Theseus, and events surrounding the Trojan War, the narrative moves on to present the contrasting city-states of Sparta and Athens, the war against Persia, their conflicts with each other, the feats of Alexander the Great, and annexation by Rome. Ages 10-14 |
THE JEALOUS ATHLETE
 NEAR the statue of Milo of Croton stood that of
Theagenes, another noted athlete, who lived many
years after Milo. He too had defeated every rival. He
was the winner of many prizes, and all envied him his
strength and renown.
One of the men in particular, whom he had defeated in
the games, was jealous of him, and of the honors which
he had won. This man, instead of trying to overcome
these wicked feelings, used to steal daily into the
temple to view his rival's statue, and mutter threats
and curses against it.
In his anger, he also gave the pedestal an angry shake
every night, hoping that some harm would befall the
statue. One evening, when this jealous man had jostled
the image of Theagenes a little more roughly than
usual, the heavy marble toppled and fell, crushing him
to death beneath its weight.
When the priests came into the temple the next day, and
found the man's dead body under the great statue, they
were very much surprised. The judges assembled, as was
the custom when a crime of any kind had been committed,
to decide what had caused his death.
As it was usual in Greece to hold judgment over
lifeless as well as over living things, the statue of
Theagenes was brought into court, and accused and found
guilty of murder.
The judges then said, that, as the statue had committed
a crime, it deserved to be punished, and so they
 condemned it to be cast into the sea and drowned. This
sentence had scarcely been executed, when a plague
broke out in Greece; and when the frightened people
consulted an oracle to find out how it could be
checked, they learned that it would not cease until the
statue of Theagenes had been set up on its pedestal
again. The superstitious Greeks believed these words,
fished the statue up out of the sea, and placed it
again in Olympia. As the plague stopped shortly after
this, they all felt sure that it was because they had
obeyed the oracle, and they ever after looked upon the
statue with great awe.
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