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THE RETURN TO BABYLON
 UPON reaching the
Hyphasis River, Alexander would have liked to cross
it, and continue his conquests; but his soldiers now
refused to go any farther. They were tired of fighting
and danger, and were longing to go back to Macedon.
Although he was unwilling to do so, Alexander was
therefore obliged to stop in his conquests; but,
instead of going home as he had come, he now built a
fleet and sailed down the Indus River to the sea.
Now, the Greeks had no maps such as we have; and their
knowledge of geography was very small. When Alexander
came to the sea, however, he thought it must be the
same as that into which the Euphrates flowed.
To find out if this was true, he bade his admiral,
Nearchus, sail along the coast and explore it, while
the army went homeward on foot. Alexander himself
staid with the army, and led the soldiers along a new
way, which was very wearisome and dangerous.
The Macedonians had to pass through large wastes of
burning sand, where they suffered a great deal. They
were cheered and encouraged, however, by the example of
Alexander, who nobly shared their hardships, and always
went ahead of them on foot, carrying his own armor.
Once, when they were panting with thirst, some of his
men found a little water, which they brought him.
Rather than indulge in anything which all could not
share with him, Alexander poured the water out upon
 the sand, saying he would refresh himself only when his
men could do so too.
After many months of weary travel and great suffering,
the army finally joined the fleet at the mouth of the
Euphrates, for Nearchus had in the mean while sailed
all along the northern coast of the Indian Ocean and up
the Persian Gulf.
He wrote an account of this wonderful sea journey,
which was of great importance, as it opened a new and
convenient road for Eastern commerce. The people soon
took advantage of it to establish colonies and trading
stations, and to carry on a lively business with the