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ALEXANDER IS WOUNDED
 ALEXANDER determined to begin the homeward journey by sailing
down the Hydaspes to the Indus in order to reach the
The king himself with part of the army embarked in the
ships which awaited them on the Hydaspes. The rest of
the army was divided into two companies, and marched on
either bank of the river, one being under Hephæstion,
the king's friend.
On the way the fleet and the army joined their forces
in order to subdue some of the warlike tribes that
refused to submit to them.
One of these tribes, the Malli, Alexander pursued to
their chief city, which stood where the town of Multan
has since been built.
The city was easily taken, but not so the citadel in
which the Malli had taken refuge.
Before the walls surrounding it could be scaled,
ladders were needed, and two were hurriedly brought to
the spot. But it was difficult to place them in
position, for the Malli hurled upon the soldiers every
missile on which they could lay their hands.
Alexander growing impatient, seized one of the ladders,
and covering himself with his shield he placed it in
position and began to mount.
Peucestas, carrying the sacred shield of Troy, and
Leonnatus, two of the companions, followed closely
after their king, while Abreas began to climb the
second ladder which was now also ready for use.
 The king was soon standing alone on the top of the
wall, having flung down those of the Malli who were
keeping guard at that point.
In despair the Macedonians saw the danger to which
their king had exposed himself. He was a mark for
every weapon hurled from the citadel.
They rushed in a body to the ladders, and began to
mount in such numbers that the ladders both gave way,
Peucestas, Leonnatus and Abreas alone having first
reached the top of the wall.
His friends called aloud to Alexander, entreating him
to come back. But he leaped down on the other side
among his foes. Fortunately he landed on his feet, and
at once placing his back against the wall, he strove to
keep back the enemy as they rushed upon him.
The foremost fell before the swift stroke of the king's
sword, as did also those who followed him. At two more
the king hurled stones which felled them to the ground.
After that the Malli were afraid to approach close to
the great king, but they began to throw at him stones
and great pieces of rock.
A moment later his three companions had leaped down and
were by the side of their king, ready to defend him
with their lives.
Abreas fell at his feet almost at once, pierced by a
dart. Alexander himself was wounded, but fought on
until at length, faint through loss of blood, he fell
fainting on his shield.
Peucestas covered him with the sacred shield, while
Leonnatus fought on desperately until help came.
A few of the Macedonians, maddened by the thought of
their king's danger, scrambled up on each other's
shoulders, and leaped down on the other side to rescue
him and his three companions if they still lived.
Some ran to the gates, and opened them, and the anxious
soldiers poured in and took the citadel. They
 believed that their king was dead, and they wreaked
their fury on the miserable inhabitants, leaving
neither men, women nor children alive.
Alexander was not dead, and although his wound was
severe, he recovered. But the rumour of his death had
reached the camp near the river where the main body of
the army had been left. No letters, no messages could
make the grief-stricken soldiers believe that their
king still lived.
Alexander was brought down the river in a ship. He was
lying on a couch in the stern of the vessel as he drew
near to the camp, and he ordered the canopy which
screened him to be raised that his soldiers might see
At first they thought it was but his lifeless body
which they beheld, but as he drew nearer still, the
king waved his hand. Then a great shout of joy rent