| Famous Men of Greece|
|by John H. Haaren|
|Attractive biographical sketches of thirty-five of the most prominent characters in the history of ancient Greece, from legendary times to its fall in 146 B.C. Each story is told in a clear, simple manner, and is well calculated to awaken and stimulate the youthful imagination. Ages 9-12 |
DEUCALION AND THE FLOOD
 UPON Olympus there was for every god a shining palace of brass,
built by Vulcan and the Cyclops; and
every day the gods gathered in the great banqueting hall of
Jupiter to feast upon ambrosia and
drink nectar from goblets of gold.
APOLLO AND THE MUSES
At the banquets they were served by a lovely maiden named
Hebe, who was the goddess of
youth. While they feasted Apollo played on his lyre and the
Muses sang. The muses were the
nine goddesses of poetry, arts, and sciences. Even in our
own language playing and singing are
called "music" in memory of them.
 Sometimes the gods came down from Olympus to visit the men
in Greece and taught them what
we call the "useful arts." Minerva, the goddess of wisdom,
showed them how to harness horses
and plow the ground. She showed the women how to spin and
Ceres, the great earth-mother who made the fields fruitful,
showed the farmers how to sow wheat
and barley. Then, when the grain was ripe, she taught the
farmers' wives how to make bread.
Vulcan taught the Greeks how to make plows, spades and hoes
and many other things of iron and
When the gods came down now and then from Olympus they found
that the early Greeks were
very wicked. The kindness of the gods made them no better;
so at last Jupiter decided to destroy
them by a flood.
A certain half-god, half man,
named Prometheus, or
Forethought, warned the Greeks of
their danger. The only person that heeded his warning was
his own son,
Pyrrha, his wife, Deucalion got into an ark as soon as
the rain began.
It rained all over Greece for days and days. The rivers and
brooks overflowed. The valleys were
filled. The trees disappeared. All but the highest
mountains were covered. But Deucalion's ark
 safely. At last the rain ceased. For nine days the ark
drifted about on the face of the water. Then
When the waters had gone down somewhat, Deucalion and Pyrrha
found that they were on one of
the mountains of Greece, called
Parnassus. They left
their ark and walked down the mountain.
Of all the Greeks only these two were left; and among the
quiet hills and valleys near or far not a
living creature was to be seen. The loneliness made them
fearful. Scarcely knowing whither they
went, they came suddenly upon a deep cleft in the rocks.
Out of the cleft dense volumes of steam
and gas were pouring. Deucalion, who was braver than his
wife, peered into the cleft; and while
he did so, a wonderful voice came from the depths.
It said, "Cast behind you the bones of your mother!"
"An oracle!" cried Pyrrha.
"An oracle it is!" Deucalion cried.
Long ages before the flood, the gods used some times to
speak with men and give them advice
about things that were going to happen. What they said was
called an "oracle," a word that
means something told by the gods to men.
So now Deucalion and Pyrrha felt sure that one of the gods
was telling them something.
 But they wondered what the words "Cast behind you the bones
of your mother" could mean.
After a while Deucalion said:
"Pyrrha, the earth is our mother."
"Very true," said she.
"Then," cried Deucalion, "the bones of our mother must be
the stones of the earth."
Both now saw plainly that the oracle meant that they should
cast behind them the stones that lay
scattered upon the ground. So they went on down the
mountain, and as they went they picked up
stones which they cast behind them.
Soon they heard the clatter of many feet behind them, and
looking back they saw that the stones
which Deucalion had thrown had turned into a troop of young
men, who were following
Deucalion, while the stones that Pyrrha had thrown had
become a band of girls, who were
Deucalion and Pyrrha were no longer lonely; and they had
plenty to do for they taught the youths
and maidens the arts of plowing and spinning and weaving
that they themselves had learned from
the gods before the flood.
HOUSEHOLD ART OF THE EARLY GREEKS
Stones lay thick on the face of the land, and the hills were
covered with forests. With the stones
walls were made, and with timber from the forest roofs and
floors were laid, and thus houses were
 Farms were then laid out, fields were sown, and vines and
olive trees planted. Soon the valley
below Mount Parnassus was crowded with many people. In time
the race of Deucalion and
Pyrrha spread from valley to valley, up and down the land of
The people called themselves
Hellenes, because one of the
sons of Deucalion was named
Hellen. Their country, which, as you have learned, we call
Greece, they called Hellas.
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