| 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 |
IN THE MOONLIGHT
HE moon had different names. She was called Selene or
Artemis. As Artemis she was a mighty hunter and the
friend of hunters. She and Apollo, the sun-god, were
twins, and their mother was Latona.
It is said that Latona was once going on a long
journey, carrying her children in her arms. She
reached the country of Lycia, very tired and thirsty.
In a valley she saw a number of people gathering
willows on the banks of a pond where the clear water
sparkled in the sunlight.
She knelt down to drink, but the countrymen stopped
"You cannot drink here," they said.
"Why not?" she asked. "It is true I am a stranger
here, but water, like the air and light, is free to
all. Why should you prevent me from drinking when my
thirst is so great? See, I ask it of you as a favor.
I will not bathe in it, but only cool my parched
throat. That will not rob you, for there is plenty.
Even my poor children stretch their hands to plead with
your for this mercy."
But the rude and unkind people said, "No! You are a
foreigner. Your dress is strange; you do not talk as
we do. Where do you come from with these children?
 You should have stayed in your own country and drunk
its waters. This pond is ours, and it is not for you."
To make sure that she should not drink, they waded into
the pond, and with their feet stirred up the mud from
the bottom. Latona was angry, and she prayed to the
gods in heaven.
"O ye gods!" she said, "if there is any among you who
pities a poor mother and her helpless children thus
wronged, hear my prayer! Grant that these
cold-blooded wretches may never leave that
pond, but live there, they and their children after
A change came over the men in the pool. Their mouths
stretched very wide, and out of them came harsh,
croaking voices. Their heads joined their
bodies without any neck between. Their breasts turned
white and their backs green, and their
legs grew very slim. Some jumped out upon the bank of
the pond, but soon jumped in again. Some swam in the
water, others dived into the mud.
They were no longer men; they had become frogs.
The story of Endymion is very different. He kept a
flock of sheep upon Mount Latmos, and in the quiet
nights of summer, when the moon was shining brightly,
he delighted in singing to the moon, whose light he
loved. One evening he saw before him a charming young
woman, as he supposed. Her belt and sandals were
silver, and in her hand she carried a silver bow. A
diamond sparkled like a star upon her forehead. At the
same moment the moon had gone behind a cloud, but the
young woman herself seemed to shine all over.
The shepherd was surprised but not afraid. "Fair
 creature," he said, "you wander late upon the mountain
"Yes," she answered; "it is my duty, as it is yours to
"But you are a stranger here," said Endymion. "I have
seen all the daughters of the shepherds upon this
mountain, and you are not one of them."
"The daughter of a shepherd! No!" she replied. "Yet
you have often looked upon my face."
"Pardon me!" he returned. "your dress and manner show
me that you are at least the daughter of a king, and if
I had ever seen you I could not have forgotten."
"You have not only seen me, but you have sung to me.
Many a night I have heard you praising me when flock
and men were wrapped in sleep and only you and I were
Then Endymion knew that this was Artemis, the moon
"Have my poor songs made you angry?" he asked.
"Oh, no!" she answered. "They have pleased me so much
that I have come to thank you and to ask what you most
desire, that I may grant it to you."
"Bright goddess!" he cried, "I do not want to grow old.
Grant that I may be forever young."
"For that," she replied, "I must ask the king and
father of the gods. For to-night farewell. To-morrow
evening we shall meet again."
Then she vanished, but the moon smiled all night on the
The next night she came again, but her face was sad.
 "I have brought your gift," she said, "but I am sorry
you asked it. The king of heaven commands that you
shall be forever young, but that you must forever
"Alas!" he cried. "Then I can see you no more, you
whom I love!"
His eyes closed, he sank down upon the grass. The
Greeks believed that he lay somewhere on top of
Latmos, and that the moon-goddess watched
over his long sleep. Every night when her bright light
shone on the mountain the people said, "Artemis is
smiling upon Endymion."
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