| Stories of the Ancient Greeks|
|by Charles D. Shaw|
|Delightful collection of both mythological and historical stories of the ancient Greeks, in language simple enough for younger listeners, yet appealing to all ages. Provides an excellent introduction to ancient Greece, beginning with 32 of the best-known myths, and then continuing with 32 short stories of the historical era, arranged in chronological order. An extensive pronunciation guide is included. Ages 8-11 |
THE HORSE WITH WINGS
N the country of Lycia lived a monster called the
Chimæra. It was part lion, part goat, and part
dragon, but altogether ugly and terrible. Its breath
was fire, and wherever it went the grainfields and
cottages were burned. It ate cattle and people, so
that the whole land groaned and trembled because of
this dreadful creature.
The king was very anxious to find some hero who would
kill the monster, but everybody was afraid. One day a
handsome young man went to the palace and asked the
king for something to do. The king told him about the
Chimæra, and asked him if he would dare to meet
and fight the beast. Bellerophon—that was the
young man's name—said, "I am willing to try, but
first I must find a wise man who can give me good
They led him to an old wizard, or soothsayer, who told
him, "The best thing you can do is to get the winged
"But where shall I find him?" asked the young man.
"You must go to the temple of Athene to-night and sleep
there. It may be that the goddess will appear to you
and tell you what you wish to know."
Bellerophon went to the temple, and when night came lay
down and slept. The goddess appeared to him in
dream and gave him a magic bridle, made of gold and
precious stones. When he awoke the bridle was in his
That day the kind Athene led him to a well where
Pegasus was drinking. He was a beautiful horse with
silver wings. He could gallop faster than any earthly
horse and fly higher than any eagle.
The young man drew near to him and said, "Beautiful
horse, do not fly away. Help me kill a monster which
makes a whole country unhappy. See, Athene has given
you this splendid bridle. No other horse ever had one
so fine. Let me put it over your head."
Pegasus stood still, took the bit into his mouth, and
let Bellerophon buckle the bridle. Then the youth
jumped on the horse's back and said, "Now for Lycia and
the Chimæra! Up, gallant steed, and make the
people wonder as they see us sailing through the air."
THE HORSE WITH WINGS
Up they rose, and flew over mountains and rivers until
they reached Lycia. They found the Chimæra in a
cave. It came out hissing and spitting fire, and there
was a dreadful battle. But a horse with wings could
easily get out of the monster's way and fly upon him
before he could turn around. First Bellerophon cut off
the goat's head. The lion's head and claws fought the
more savagely, but the good sword cut away that head
too, and then the horse with wings stamped on the
dragon's body until it lay quite still. The
Chimæra was conquered and killed.
Bellerophon rode proudly to the palace, and the king
was glad to hear the good news. He asked Bellerophon
 to do a great many other hard and dangerous
things, and with the help of Pegasus he did them all.
Then of course he married the king's daughter and lived
very happily for a while.
But the young man grew very proud and insulting, even
to the gods. He said he would fly up into heaven and
live there, and nobody could hinder him. Zeus was
angry and send a gadfly to sting the horse. Pegasus
gave such an unexpected jump that his rider was thrown
and fell a long distance to the ground.
Friends picked him up. "You are not much hurt,
Bellerophon," they said, to comfort him.
"Oh, yes!" he answered. "I cannot see, and I can
hardly walk, and I have lost my horse with wings."
He wandered about in the fields lonely and blind and
sorrowful, and after a while died in poverty and grief.
The horse with wings flew back to Mount Helicon where
his real owners, the Muses, lived. Sometimes men
caught him and kept him for a while, but he could fly
away as well as run away.
Once a poet caught him and rode him for some time. But
poems sold for very little money in the market, and the
poet said, "I can feed neither my horse nor myself. I
will sell him, and the money will buy bread for some
He took the horse to a fair and sold him to a farmer,
who hitched him to a cart. He kicked the cart to
pieces. They put him before a plow, but he galloped
around the field and broke the plow. The farmer took a
 and beat him cruelly. The horse hung his
head and would not move.
The neighbors gathered around. They said, "Your horse
seems balky. You were cheated when you bought him."
"Yes, yes," said the farmer. "I wish I had my good
money back in my pocket."
A young man had been looking closely at the horse.
"Neighbor," he said, "let me try what I can do with
this animal. Unhitch him from the plow and take off
the broken harness."
This was done. The young man went to the horse's head
and whispered, "By your bright eyes and wings I see you
are not of common earth. Let me mount upon your back,
and we will astonish these dull people."
The horse gave a soft whinny. The young man leaped on
his back. Pegasus lifted his head, spread his wings,
and sprang from the ground. Higher and higher they
went, and while the people below stood with open eyes
and mouths, Pegasus and his rider flew away to the
mountain of the Muses.
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