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MILO OF CROTON
AMONG the athletes whose statues were to be seen at Olympia
was Milo, a man of Croton, one of the Greek colonies
in Italy. This man was remarkable for his great
strength, and could carry very heavy weights. In order
to develop his muscle and become strong, he had trained
himself from a boy, and had practised carrying burdens
until he could lift more than any other man of his
We are told that he was so earnest in his efforts to
become strong, that he daily carried a pet calf,
gradually increasing the distance. As the calf grew
larger, Milo became stronger, and his muscles became so
powerful that he could carry the animal with ease when
it became a full-sized ox.
To please his companions and show them what he could
do, Milo once carried an ox for several miles, and
 then, feeling hungry, killed it with one blow of his
fist, cooked it, and ate it all at a single meal. On
another occasion, Milo was sitting with several
companions in a rather tumble-down house. All at once
he noticed that the roof was falling in. He stretched
up his great arms, spread out his hands, and held the
roof up until all his companions had run out of the
Milo's hands were so strong that when he seized a
chariot, even with one hand only, four horses could not
make it stir until he let it go. Of course, Milo was
very proud of his great strength, which, however,
proved unlucky for him, and caused his death.
One day when he was very old, Milo wandered out alone
into a forest where some woodcutters had been at work.
The men had gone away, leaving their wedges in an
unusually large tree trunk.
Milo, remembering his former strength, gazed for a
moment at the tree, and then, feeling sure that he
could easily pull it apart, he slipped his fingers into
the crack. At his first effort the tree parted a
little, and the wedges fell out; but the two halves,
instead of splitting apart, suddenly came together
again, and Milo found his hands held fast.
In vain he struggled, in vain he called. He could
neither wrench himself free nor attract any one's
attention. Night came on, and soon the wild beasts of
the forest began to creep out of their dens.
They found the captive athlete, and, springing upon
him, tore him to pieces, for he could not defend
himself, in spite of all his boasted strength.