| 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 |
SOWING DRAGON'S TEETH
HOENICIA was a kingdom on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean
Sea. Its king had a daughter named Europa, who went
out one day and never came home. Some said that Zeus
had taken her, others declared that pirates had carried
her off in their ship.
The called his sons together and said, "Without your
sister the palace is dark and my heart is broken. Go
through the world and find her. Do not come back
without her, for you will not be welcome."
The young men scattered in all directions. They did
not find their sister, but found wives in different
lands where they settled. One of the brothers, named
Cadmus, went to the oracle of Apollo and asked where he
should make his home. The oracle told him to follow a
cow until she stopped, and there he should build a city
and call it Thebes.
Cadmus went out from the cave, and saw a cow before
him. She walked along very slowly, stopping only for a
minute to eat a mouthful of grass, then going on again
until the youth was nearly tired out. Finally she came
to a broad plain, where she lay down.
Cadmus was glad and thankful. He needed some pure
water for a sacrifice, perhaps to drink. He told his
ser-  vants to go and find a spring. They found one in a
thick grove where was a cave overgrown with bushes, and
from it a clear stream of sparkling water flowed out.
As the servants dipped their pitchers, they heard a
frightful hiss. At the same moment a terrible head
came out of the cave,—a dragon's head. The
dragon had a body like a snake, covered with scales
like a fish. Its claws were those of a lion, its head
had a beak like that of an eagle, and its teeth were
like those of any wild beast. It breathed out fire and
smoke, and was altogether a dreadful thing to meet.
The strangers from Phnica stood still with
surprise and fright. The dragon struck some with its
claws, crushed some with its teeth, stifled others with
its breath and strangled in its coils those who were
Cadmus waiting a long time, but his men did not return.
He followed them and found a fiery dragon. A battle
began between them, but the man kept his spear always
at the dragon's mouth so that the monster could not
reach him. He already wounded the creature, and by one
strong push of the spear he fastened its head to a
CADMUS AND THE DRAGON
When it was dead he heard a voice say, "Sow the
dragon's teeth! Sow the dragon's teeth!" he took the
sharp white teeth out of the jaws and planted them in
the ground. In a few minutes armed men began to come
up out of the earth. They had shields, breastplates,
helmets and swords. Some had bows and arrows.
As soon as they saw each other, they began to fight
savagely. Cadmus expected them to turn upon him, but
they never looked at him.
 They struck and shot and stabbed each other until only
five were left. One of these said, "Stop! We are all
brothers, why should we fight any more? Let us live in
Then turning to Cadmus he added, "You have brought us
here. What shall we do to serve you?"
Cadmus was glad to see them peaceable. He said, "The
oracle told me to build a city here. I cannot do it
alone, and the dragon destroyed my servants. If you
will help me I shall be very glad."
They answered, "You are our master. What you command
They very willingly helped to build the city, which was
not very large at first, but grew in time to be rich
Cadmus is said to have taught the Greeks the alphabet
which was used at his old home in Phnicia.
Before he went to Greece, there were no books in that
land, and nobody wrote a letter, for nobody could read
one. Instead of written histories, men told their
children what their own grandfathers had told them.
Poets carried their verses in their memories, or made
them up as they went along. There were no schools and
no teachers, except that every father taught his boys
how to farm and to fight, and girls learned from their
mothers how to spin and weave and sew.
The coming of Cadmus made a great difference. First
men learned to write, then to read, for no one can read
when nothing is written. After books came schools, and
Greek civilization and learning went on together.
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