THE CHILDHOOD OF PARIS
 IN those days, Priam and Hecuba were King and Queen
of Troy (or Ilium),—a beautiful city near the coast of
Asia Minor, almost opposite Athens. They were the
parents of a large family of sons and daughters; and
among the sons were Hector and Paris, young men of
remarkable strength and beauty.
Paris had had a very adventurous life. When he was but
a little babe, his mother dreamed that she saw a
flaming brand in the cradle, in the place where the
child lay. This brand seemed to set fire to the cradle
and all the palace; and the queen, awaking with a
start, was overjoyed to find that it was nothing but a
Men in those days believed that dreams were sent by the
gods to warn them of coming events, and so Hecuba was
very anxious to know what the burning brand meant. She
told her husband all about it, and they finally decided
to ask an oracle to explain the dream.
A few days later the messenger they had sent to the
oracle came home, and Hecuba shed many tears when he
brought word that the child Paris was destined to bring
destruction upon his native city.
To escape this calamity, Priam ordered that Paris
should be carried out of the city, and that he should
be left in a forest, where the wild beasts would eat
him up, or where he would be sure to die from hunger
Poor little Paris was therefore lifted out of his
comfortable cradle, and left alone in the woods, where
 cried so hard that a passing hunter heard him. This
man was so sorry for the poor child, that he carried
him home to his wife, who brought the little stranger
up with her own children.
As he lived with hunters, Paris soon learned their
ways; and he became so active that when he was quite
grown up he went to Troy to take part in the athletic
games, which were often held there in honor of the gods.
He was so strong that he easily won all the prizes,
although Hector and the other young princes were also
striving for them.
When Paris went up to receive the crown of wild olive
leaves which was the victor's prize, every one noticed
his likeness to the royal family; and his sister
Cassandra, who was able to foretell future events,
said that he was the son of Priam and Hecuba, and that
he would bring great misfortunes upon Troy.
The king and queen paid no heed to these words, but
gladly welcomed Paris home, and lavished all kinds of
gifts upon him to make up for their cruelty and long
Paris was so fond of change and adventure, that he soon
grew tired of court life, and asked Priam for a ship,
so that he might sail off to Greece.
This request was readily granted, and Paris went away.
The young prince sailed from island to island, and came
at last to the southern part of the Peloponnesus, where
the descendants of Hercules had founded the city of
Sparta. Here he was warmly welcomed by King
Menelaus; but this king was obliged to leave home
shortly after the arrival of Paris, and he bade
his wife, the most beautiful woman in the world, do all
she could to entertain the noble stranger.
Helen was so kind to Paris that he soon fell in love
with her. His greatest wish was to have her as his
wife: so he began to tell her that Venus, the goddess
of love, had promised him that he should marry the most
beautiful woman in the world.
Talking thus day after day, the handsome young Paris
finally persuaded Helen to leave her husband and home. She got on
board of his vessel, and went with him to Troy as his
wife. Of course, this wrongdoing could not bring
happiness; and not only were they duly punished, but,
as you will soon see, the crime of Paris brought
suffering and death to his friends as well.
When Menelaus came home and found that his guest had
run away with his wife, he was very angry, and vowed
that he would not rest until he had punished Paris and
won back the beautiful Helen.
He therefore made ready for war, and sent word to his
friends and relatives to come and help him, telling
them to meet him at Aulis, a seaport, where they would
find swift-sailing vessels to carry them across the sea