|The Story of the Romans|
|by Helene A. Guerber|
| Elementary history of Rome, presenting short stories of the great heroes, mythical and historical, from Aeneas and the founding of Rome to the fall of the western empire. Around the famous characters of Rome are graphically grouped the great events with which their names will forever stand connected. Vivid descriptions bring to life the events narrated, making history attractive to the young, and awakening their enthusiasm for further reading and study. Ages 10-14 |
THE BOARDS ARE EATEN
VENUS went away after telling her son the story of the
oxhide and of the founding of Carthage; and Æneas,
following her advice, then walked on to the city. Here
he was kindly received by the beautiful queen, who made
him and all his companions welcome in her palace.
While there Æneas told her all about the long siege of
Troy, the taking of the city, his escape by night, his
long wanderings on the sea, and his shipwreck near her
These stories greatly interested Dido, and she kept
Æneas in her palace almost a whole year. As she had
fallen in love with him, she would have liked to keep
him there always; but the gods had decided that Æneas
should again set sail, and one day they sent him orders
to depart at once.
Æneas knew that Dido would do her best to keep him in
Carthage, so he stole away while she slept, without
even bidding her good-by. When she awoke and asked for
him his ships were almost out of sight.
 In her grief at his departure, Dido made up her mind to
die. She gave orders that all the things he had used
during his visit should be placed on a great pile of
wood. Then she set fire to it with her own hand, and,
stabbing herself, sprang into the flames, where she
Of course we know that such a deed is a crime; but in
the days of Queen Dido, people had not learned many of
the things that are now taught even to children, and
they thought it was very brave to take one's own life.
Æneas and his companions, having left Carthage, now
sailed back to Sicily, where they visited the tomb of
Anchises just one year after his death. To show
respect for his father's memory, Æneas ordered the
celebration of games, as was the custom among the
Trojans. The men strove with one another in a boat
race, a foot race, in boxing and archery matches; and
the boys took part in a drill and sham battle on
After the games were over, the Trojans coasted along
the shore of Italy for some time, and finally came to
the mouth of the Tiber River. When Æneas saw the
fair country that stretched out before him, he bade his
men sail up the stream, and towards evening they all
went ashore to cook their food. Some flat cakes were
baked, and as they had no dishes with them, Iulus
proposed that these should serve as plates.
The men all sat down around the fire; and Iulus, who
was very hungry indeed, quickly ate his share of meat,
and then devoured the cake on which it had been placed.
As he swallowed the last mouthful he cried: "Just see
how hungry I was! I have eaten even the board on which
my meal was served!"
 At these words Æneas sprang to his feet, and cried
that the prophecy was fulfilled at last, and that now
they could settle in the beautiful country they had
reached. The next day they were welcomed by Latinus,
King of Latium, who, after hearing their story,
remembered his dream, and promised that Æneas should
have his daughter Lavinia in marriage.
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