| 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 SHEPHERD PRINCE OF TROY
RIAM, king of Troy, lived in a splendid city called Ilion,
with many sons and daughters around him. One of the
sons, named Paris, had a strange history. He was only
a few days old when his mother dreamed that he caught
up a blazing torch and ran through the city, setting it
on fire. The king asked an oracle what that dream
meant. He was told that it would all come true. Priam
ordered that the child should be taken to Mount Ida, on
the eastern side of the kingdom, and left there to die.
Some shepherds found the boy and brought him up as
their son. He was strong and bold and liked to fight,
to wrestle, and to run with the other young shepherds.
They called him Alexander, which means, "Defender of
When everybody was afraid to race or fight with him, he
was made umpire of their games. He always gave just
decisions, and even the gods knew that he was fair and
At a feast on Olympus the goddess of Discord threw on
the table a golden apple, marked, "For the most
beautiful." Her said, "That is for me. Who is so
beautiful as the queen of heaven?"
 But Athene stretched out her hand and said, "No, it is
for me. Who can equal me in the beauty of wisdom?"
Then Aphrodite rose up and said, "It is for me. Gods
and men know that I am most beautiful."
There was a bitter quarrel, until some one said, "Let
us go to the shepherd of Mount Ida; he will decide
rightly." It was agreed, and Paris saw all heaven
coming to him on the mountain-side. Among so much
beauty and power the shepherd found it hard to choose.
The goddesses made him fine promises.
Hera said, "Give me the prize, and I will make you the
most powerful king in the world."
Athene said, "None shall be like you for wisdom if you
give me the apple."
Aphrodite smiled on the youth and said, "Give it to me,
and you shall have for a wife the most beautiful woman
in the world."
He gave her the golden apple, and from that moment Hera
and Athene hated him and his family.
THE DECISION OF PARIS
King Priam knew nothing of all this. He intended to
have a contest among the young princes, his neighbors,
and the prize was to be the finest bull upon Mount Ida.
Officers looking for such an animal found it in the
herd of Paris.
"Shepherd," they said, "the king has need of this
"Why does he want him?" inquired Paris. The officers
answered, "To be the prize of the royal games. How
much is he worth?"
Paris replied, "He is not for sale." When the officers
 urged him he said, "You can not have the bull
unless I may enter the games and have a chance to win
When this was told the king he said, "Let the bold
shepherd come." Paris went to Troy, and in the games
conquered everybody except Hector, the king's oldest
son. The younger man was afraid of this great hero, so
he dropped his sword and ran for his life.
When Paris reached the temple of Zeus he went in and
was safe. Nobody would dare to harm him in that holy
Cassandra, his sister, was a prophetess in that temple.
She cried out that this was not a shepherd, but the
king's son; that his name was not Alexander, but Paris;
and that Hector was his brother. They all went to the
palace, and Priam was glad to see again his child whom
he had sent away to die. He welcomed the youth to his
royal home, and gave him every right of a king's son.
Paris as a prince was not so happy as he had been when
a shepherd. He lived in the city instead of on the
mountain, and had nothing to do but amuse himself. His
clothes were very fine and set off his handsome face
and figure. But he grew tired of home and friends.
"Father," he said to Priam, "let me go abroad and see
something of the world."
The king thought well of the plan, so he gave Paris
money, and sent him to travel with several gay young
men like himself. They journeyed from island to
island, and came at last to Sparta where Menelaus was
king. He welcomed the young travelers and was very
kind to them. In a few days he said to his guests, "I
 to Crete on important business. Excuse me
for leaving you, but my queen will do all she can to
make you comfortable while I am gone."
That queen was named Helen and was the most beautiful
woman in the world. When she was a girl many princes
asked her in marriage, but she did not care for any of
Her father said to these princes, "I can give her to
only one. You must not quarrel about her. Let each
man promise to be satisfied when she has made her
choice, and to defend her husband against all enemies."
They promised, and she choose Menelaus, king of Sparta,
and went with him to his home.
They had lived happily for some years when Paris came.
He was a prince, rich, fair to see, and with very
pleasant manners. Helen was young and weak. She
forgot her duty, fell in love with Paris, and went with
him to Troy.
Aphrodite had kept her promise. Paris had the most
beautiful wife in the world. But sorrow, misery, and
death followed, as they are sure to follow selfishness
and deceit. Menelaus called all the princes of Greece
and of the islands to help him get back Helen. They
raised a large army and sailed against Troy. This was
the beginning of the Trojan war, which lasted for ten
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