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THE next morning Dion was wakened by feeling a cold wet nose wiggling
about in the back of his neck. It was Argos' nose. Dion knew it at once.
He had felt it before.
"Go away, Argos," he said crossly. He pulled the sheepskin coverings of
his bed closer about his ears and turned over for another nap.
But Argos was a good shepherd dog and he knew that his first work that
morning was to round up the Twins. So he gamboled about on his four
clumsy paws and barked. Then, seeing that Dion had no intention of
getting up, he seized the sheepskin covers and dragged them to the
"Bow-wow," he said.
Dion sat up shivering. "Good dog," said Dion, "go away from here; go wake
"Bow-wow, bow-wow," said Argos, and bounded off to Daphne's room to wake
Dressing took only a minute, for the children each wore but one garment,
and there were no buttons; so, though they were sleepy and their fingers
were cold and clumsy, they appeared in the court while the roosters in
the farm-yard were still crowing and the thrushes in the olive trees were
in the midst of their sunrise song. Chloe had already gone out to feed
the chickens. Lydia was bending over the hearth-fire, and their Father
was just saying good-bye to the Stranger at the door of the court, and
pointing out to him the road to the little seaport town.
"You will probably find a boat going over to the Piraeus some time
to-day," he said, "and as they usually go early in the morning, it is
well for you to make an early start from here. May Hermes speed you
on your way."
"Farewell," said the Stranger, "and if ever a philosopher can serve a
farmer, you have but to ask in the Piraeus for the home of Anaxagoras. I
thank you for your hospitality," and with these words he was gone.
Melas had eaten his breakfast of bread and wine with his guest before
dawn, and was now ready for the day's work in the fields. The slaves of
Pericles were already in the farm-yard, yoking the oxen, milking the
goats, and getting out the tools. There were pleasant early sounds all
about, but the Twins hovered over the hearth-fire, for the morning was
chill; and Dion yawned. Lydia saw him.
"Come," she said briskly, "wash your faces! That will wake you up, if you
are still sleepy. And then I'll have a bite for you to eat, and some
bread and cheese for you to carry with you to the hills."
"Are we going to the hills?" asked Dion.
"Yes," said Melas. "To-day you must watch the sheep. Dromas has to help
me plough the corn-field. You are old enough now to look after the flock
and bring the sheep all safe home again at night. Come, move quickly!
'Still on the sluggard hungry want attends.'"
"They were up too late," said Lydia. "If they can't wake up in the
morning they must go to bed very early every night."
When Dion and Daphne heard their Mother say that, they became at once
quite lively, and were soon washed and ready for their breakfast, which
was nothing but cold barley-cakes left over from the night before and a
drink of warm goat's milk. When they had eaten it, Daphne put the bread
and cheese which Lydia had wrapped up in a towel for their luncheon in
the front of her dress and they were ready to start.
Melas and Dromas, the shepherd, were waiting for them at the farm-yard
gate when the Twins came bounding out of the back door, Dion with a
little reed pipe in his hand and Daphne carrying a shepherd's crook. The
sheep were huddled together at the gate, waiting to be let out.
"Be sure you keep good watch of that old black ewe," said Dromas to the
Twins as he went to open the gate. "She is a wanderer. I never saw a
sheep like her. She is always straying off by herself. Quarrelsome too.
Argos knows she has to be watched more than the others, and sometimes
when she goes off by herself and he goes after her, she just puts her
head down and butts at him like an old goat The wolves will get her one
of these days, as sure as my name is Dromas."
"Are there wolves in the hills?" asked Daphne.
"Maybe a few," answered Dromas, "but they don't usually come round when
they see the flock together, and a good dog along. You needn't be
"I'm not afraid of anything," said Daphne proudly, and then the gate was
opened, the sheep crowded through, and Dion and Daphne with Argos fell in
behind the flock, and away they went toward the hills, to the music of
Dion's pipe, the bleating of the sheep, and the tinkling of their bells.
The children followed the cart-path westward for some distance, and then
left it to drive the flock up the southern slope of a rocky high hill,
where the grass was already quite green in places and there was good
pasture for the sheep. It was still so early in the morning that the sun
threw long, long shadows before them, when they reached the hill pasture,
though they were then two miles from home. The pasture was a lonely
place. Even from the hill-tops there were no houses or villages to be
seen. Far, far away toward the east they could see the olive and fig
trees around their own house. On the western horizon there was a glimpse
of blue sea. In a field nearer they could barely make out two brown
specks moving slowly back and forth. They were oxen, and Dromas was
ploughing with them. It was so still that the children could plainly
hear the breathing of the sheep as they cropped the grass, and the ripple
of the little stream which spread out into a shallow river and watered
the valley below.
The hillside was bare except for shrubs and a few trees, but there were
wonderful places to play among the rocks. Dion proposed that they play
robber cave in a hollow place between two large boulders; but as he
insisted on being the robber, and Daphne wouldn't play if she couldn't be
the robber half the time, that game had to be given up.
Then Daphne said, "Come on! Let's play Apollo and Daphne! I'm Daphne
anyway, and I can run like the wind. You can be Apollo, only I know you
can't catch me! I can run so fast that even the real Apollo couldn't
Dion looked scared.
"Don't you know the Gods are all about us, only we can't see them?" he
demanded. "Apollo may have heard what you said, and if he should take a
notion to punish you for bragging, I guess you'd be sorry. Maybe he'll
turn you into a tree just like the other Daphne."
"Pooh," said Daphne. "I'm not afraid. I should think the Gods wouldn't
have time to listen to everything little girls say! They can't be very
busy if they do."
Dion was horrified. "That's a wicked thing to say," he said. "You must
never speak that way of the Gods. Oh dear! This is bound to be an unlucky
day. This morning when Argos woke me, I was having a bad dream! That's a
very bad sign."
"It's a sign you ate too much last night," said Daphne. She said it very
boldly, but really she was beginning to feel a little frightened too, for
every one she knew believed in such signs and omens.
"Come along out of this place, anyway," said Dion. "Let's go somewhere
else and play. Let's go to the brook."
The two children came out of their cave between the rocks and started
toward the little stream, which was hidden from them by bushes. The sheep
were all grazing contentedly along the hillside, the old black ewe
browsing in the very middle of the flock. Argos was sitting on the
hill-top in the sunshine, watching them, with his tongue hanging
out. The sun was now quite high in the sky and the day was warm. The
children paddled in the water and built a dam, and sent fleets of leaves
down the stream, and played knuckle-bones on a flat rock beside it, until
at last they were hungry, and then they ate their bread and cheese.
When they had finished the last crumb, Daphne curled herself up on the
flat rock with her head on her arm.
"I'm so sleepy," she said. "I can't keep awake another minute."
You see, they had been up ever so many hours then, and the sunshine was
very warm, and the bees buzzed so drowsily in the sunshine!
"You and Argos watch the sheep," she begged, and was asleep before you
could say Jack Robinson.
Dion came out of the bushes and counted the flock like a careful
shepherd. They were all there, and Argos was still on watch.
"I'll lie down a little while, too," said Dion to himself, "but I won't
go to sleep. I'll just look at the sky."
He stretched himself out beside Daphne and watched the white clouds
sailing away overhead, and in two minutes he was asleep too.
How long they slept the children never knew. They were awakened at last
by a long, long howl, which seemed to come from the other side of the
hill. They sat up and clutched each other in terror. There was an
answering howl from Argos, and mingled with it they heard the dull thud
of many feet, the bleating of sheep, and the frightened cries of lambs.
"The sheep are frightened. There's a stampede!" cried Dion.
The two children plunged through the bushes and gazed about them. The
whole flock had disappeared! Their bells could be heard in a mad jangle
of sound from the farther side of the hill, Argos was barking wildly.
"Come on," shouted Dion, springing out of the bushes, "We must get them
"Suppose it is a wolf!" shrieked Daphne, tumbling after him.
"We'll have to get the sheep back even if it is a bear," cried Dion, and
he tore away over the crest of the hill and down the farther slope.
Daphne followed after him, as fast as she could run.
The sheep were already a long distance away, in a region of the hills
which the children had never seen before in their lives, but they did not
stop to think of that. All they thought was that the sheep must be
brought back at any cost. They could see Argos barking and circling round
the frightened flock, and away in the distance a huge wild creature was
just disappearing into the woods.
On the children ran, over rocks and through briars, until at last they
reached the sheep, whose flight Argos had already checked. Dion ran
beyond to turn them back, while Daphne herded them on one side and Argos
on the other. When they had the flock together and quiet once more, the
children counted them.
"There's one missing!" cried Daphne, aghast. "And it's the old black ewe!
What will Father say?"
"It's all your fault," said Dion. "I told you you would have bad luck if
you spoke about the Gods the way you did. I shouldn't wonder if that
wasn't really a wolf that we saw. It may have been Pan himself! Or it may
have been Apollo, and he meant to show you that you can't run even as
fast as a sheep!"
"Anyway, the old black ewe is gone."
"Oh dear! Oh dear! What shall we do?" mourned Daphne.
By this time the sun was low in the sky, and it was late afternoon.
"The first thing to do is to get home as fast as we can," said Dion.
"Which way is home?" said Daphne.
Dion looked about him. "I don't know," he said. "Maybe Argos does. Here
Argos! Good dog! Take 'em home! Home Argos! Home!"
Argos wagged his tail, and ran around behind the flock.
"Bow-wow, bow-wow," he barked, and nipped the heels of the wether. In a
short time he had the whole flock moving toward a hollow between the
hills. As they trotted along behind the sheep, Daphne struck her hands
together in dismay.
"What else do you think I have done?" she cried. "I've left my crook in
the robber's cave!"
"And I left my pipe there, too," Dion wailed.
"We can't get them to-night anyway," sobbed Daphne. "We could never find
the place! And besides, it is too late. It will be dark before we get
They trudged along behind Argos and the sheep in dismal silence. Argos
did not seem at all in doubt about the way home. He drove the sheep
through the hollow between the hills and across two fields, and brought
them out at last upon a roadway.
"This must be the road that goes by the house," cried Dion joyfully. For
answer Daphne pointed toward the east. There some distance ahead of them
was Dromas driving the oxen home from the day's ploughing.
Daphne clapped her hands for joy. "I knew Argos would find the way!" she
The bright colors of the sunset were just fading from the sky when they
reached the farm-yard gate. Dromas had gone in before them with the oxen,
and Melas himself was waiting to let them in and to count the sheep.
"Where is the old black ewe?" he said sternly to the Twins, when the last
sheep had passed through the gate.
"We don't know," sobbed Daphne. "We lost her. We lost the crook, and
Dion's little pipe, too. A wolf frightened the flock, and they ran away,
"Maybe it was a wolf," said Dion darkly.
Then the Twins told the whole story to their Father. Melas did not say
much to them. He was a man of few words at any time, but he made them
feel very much ashamed. And when Lydia heard the things Daphne had said
about the Gods, they felt worse than ever, at least Daphne did.
That night, before the family went to bed, Melas kindled a fire upon the
little altar which stood in the middle of the court and offered upon it a
handful of barley, and prayed to Pan and to Apollo that Daphne might be
forgiven for her wicked words.