ALEXANDER'S ROYAL CAPTIVES
ALEXANDER was marching southward, and Darius was
hastening northward with a vast army, hoping to meet
him and to prevent his advancing any farther.
By a singular chance it happened that the two armies
missed each other, and passed through separate defiles
in the same range of mountains. Alexander became aware
of this first, and retraced his steps without delay,
for he was anxious to find and defeat the enemy.
The two armies soon met at a place called Issus, where
the Persians were routed. Darius was forced to flee,
and his mother, wife, and family were made captives.
As soon as the battle was over, Alexander went to visit
the royal ladies in their tent, to assure them that
they would be treated with all respect. He was
accompanied by his friend Hephæstion, who was somewhat
taller and larger than he.
As they entered the tent, in their plain armor, the
queen mother, Sisygambis, mistook Hephæstion for
the king, and fell down upon her knees before him,
begging his mercy for herself and her children. When
 she found out her mistake, she was greatly dismayed;
but Alexander kindly reassured her by leaning upon his
friend's shoulder, and saying of him, "He is my other
The young conqueror treated the Persian ladies with the
utmost kindness, and often visited them in their own
tent, to talk for a while with them. As he always found
them idle, he fancied that time must hang very heavily
upon their hands, and once offered to have them taught
to spin and weave, as the Greek ladies were wont to do.
At this proposal, Sisygambis burst into tears, and
asked if he wished to make slaves of them, for Persian
ladies considered any labor a disgrace. Alexander,
seeing her grief, hastened to comfort her, and tried to
explain how happy the Greek ladies always seemed over
their dainty work.
But when he understood that the royal family would
rather remain idle, he never again proposed to furnish
them with occupation of any kind. On the contrary, he
was so gentle and respectful, that Sisygambis soon
learned to love him, and used to treat him like her own