|The Story of Greece|
|by Mary Macgregor|
| Stories from the history of ancient Greece beginning with mythical and legendary stories of gods and heroes and ending with the conquests of Alexander the Great. Gives short accounts of battles and sieges, and of the men who made Greece a great nation. Ages 10-14 |
HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE
 THE gods were angry with Aphrodite because she had hidden Paris from the
king, and they determined that, in spite of their oath, the two armies
should again begin to fight.
So Athene was sent to the Trojan hosts, disguised as one of themselves.
In and out among the soldiers she paced, until at length she spoke to
one of them, bidding him draw his bow and wound Menelaus.
The soldier obeyed, and the arrow, guided by Athene, reached the king,
yet was the wound but slight.
When the Greeks saw that the Trojans had disregarded their oath, they
were full of wrath, and seizing their arms they followed their chiefs
to battle. "You had thought them dumb, so silent were they," as they
followed. But as the Trojans looked upon the enemy there arose among
them a confused murmur as when "sheep bleat without ceasing to hear
their lambs cry."
Fierce and yet more fierce raged the battle. Valiant deeds were done
on both sides, but when Hector saw that the Greeks were being helped by
the gods, he left the battlefield and hastened to the city.
At the gates, wives and mothers pressed around him, eager to hear what
had befallen their husbands, their sons. But Hector tarried only to
bid them go pray to the gods.
On to the palace he hastened to find Hecuba, his mother. She, seeing
him come, ran to greet him and beg of him to wait until she brought
honey-sweet wine, that he might pour out an offering to Zeus, and
himself drink and be refreshed.
 But Hector said, "Bring me no honey-sweet wine, my lady-mother, lest
thou cripple me of my courage and I be forgetful of my might. But go
thou to the temple with all thy women, to offer gifts to Athene and to
beseech her aid."
Then leaving his mother, Hector went to the house of Paris, and
bitterly did he rebuke him, because he was not in the forefront of the
"Stay but till I arm and I will go with thee," answered Paris. But
Hector heeded him not, for he was in haste to find his dear wife
Andromache and their beautiful boy, Skamandriss. By the people the
child was called Astyanax, the City King, for it was his father who
Andromache was not in their house, but on the wall of the city,
watching the battle, fearing lest harm should befall her lord. With
her was her little son, in the arms of his nurse.
Hector dared not linger to search for his wife, but as he hastened back
to the gates she saw him and ran to bid him farewell ere he returned to
Close to his side she pressed, and her tears fell as she cried:
"Too brave! thy valour yet will cause thy death.
Thou hast no pity on thy tender child,
Nor me, unhappy one, who soon must be
Thy widow. All the Greeks will rush on thee
To take thy life. A happier lot were mine
If I must lose thee to go down to earth,
For I shall have no hope when thou art gone—
Nothing but sorrow. Father have I none,
And no dear mother. . . .
Art father and dear mother now to me,
And brother and my youthful spouse besides,
In pity keep within the fortress here,
Nor make thy child an orphan nor thy wife
But Hector, though he dearly loved his wife, could not shrink from
battle. As Andromache ceased to plead
 with him, he held out his arms
to his little son, but the child drew back in fear of the great plumes
that waved on his father's shining helmet.
Then Hector took off his helmet and laid it upon the ground, while he
caught his child in his arms and kissed him, praying Zeus and all the
gods to defend him.
Andromache gazed pitifully at her husband as, at length, he gave the
child to its nurse, and he seeing her great grief, took her hand and
"Sorrow not thus, beloved one, for me.
No living man can send me to the shades
Before my time; no man of woman born,
Coward or brave, can shun his destiny.
But go thou home and tend thy labours there,
The web, the distaff, and command thy maids
To speed the work. The cares of war pertain
To all men born in Troy, and most to me."
Then springing into his chariot, Hector drove swiftly back to the field
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