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THE GORDIAN KNOT
ALEXANDER did not stop long in Caria. Marching onward,
he soon came to the city of Gordium, in Phrygia, where Midas had once reigned. In one of the temples
the people proudly showed Alexander the cart in which
this king rode as he entered their city.
The yoke was
fastened to the pole by a rope tied in a peculiar and
very intricate knot. Now, it seems that an ancient
prophecy had declared that whoever untied the Gordian
knot would surely be master of all Asia.
Of course, as Alexander had set his heart upon
conquering the whole world, he looked at this knot with
great interest; but a few moments' careful examination
made him feel sure that he would not be able to untie
Rather than give it up, however, Alexander drew his
sword, and cut it with a single quick stroke. Ever
since then, when a person has settled a difficulty by
 violent means instead of patiently solving it, the
custom has been to say that he has "cut the Gordian
knot," in memory of this feat of Alexander's.
Alexander cutting the Gordian Knot.
From Gordium, Alexander next passed on to Tarsus, which also became subject to him; and shortly after
that the young conqueror nearly lost his life.
He had been exposed to the hot sun, and had thus become
terribly overheated, when he came to the river Cydnus. This stream was a torrent whose waters were very cold,
but, in spite of all that his attendants could say,
Alexander insisted upon taking a bath in it.
The sudden chill brought on a cramp, and he would have
drowned had not some of his people plunged into the
water, and pulled him out. As it was, his imprudence
brought on a serious illness, and for a short time
Alexander's life was in great danger.
His physician, however, was Philip, a Greek doctor, who
had attended him ever since he was born, and who now
took great care of him. When the fever was at its
worst, he said he hoped to save the king by means of a
strong medicine which he was going to prepare.
Just after Philip went out to brew this potion,
Alexander received a letter which warned him to beware
of his physician, as the man had been bribed by the
Persian king, Darius III., to poison him.
After reading the letter, Alexander slipped it under
his pillow, and calmly waited for the return of his
doctor. When Philip brought the cup containing the
promised remedy, Alexander took it in one hand, and
gave him the letter with the other. Then, while Philip
was reading it, he drank every drop of the medicine.
 When the physician saw the accusation, he turned deadly
pale, and looked up at his master, who smilingly handed
back the empty cup. Alexander's great trust in his
doctor was fully justified; for the medicine cured
him, and he was soon able to go on with his conquests.