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person of his son. For Croesus had two sons, one blasted by a
natural defect, being deaf and dumb; the other, distinguished far
above all his co-mates in every pursuit. The name of the last was
Atys. It was this son concerning whom he dreamt a dream that he
would die by the blow of an iron weapon. When he woke, he considered
earnestly with himself, and, greatly alarmed at the dream, instantly
made his son take a wife, and whereas in former years the youth had
been wont to command the Lydian forces in the field, he now would
not suffer him to accompany them. All the spears and javelins, and
weapons used in the wars, he removed out of the male apartments, and
laid them in heaps in the chambers of the women, fearing lest
perhaps one of the weapons that hung against the wall might fall and
strike him.
Now it chanced that while he was making arrangements for the
wedding, there came to Sardis a man under a misfortune, who had upon
him the stain of blood. He was by race a Phrygian, and belonged to the
family of the king. Presenting himself at the palace of Croesus, he
prayed to be admitted to purification according to the customs of
the country. Now the Lydian method of purifying is very nearly the
same as the Greek. Croesus granted the request, and went through all
the customary rites, after which he asked the suppliant of his birth
and country, addressing him as follows:- "Who art thou, stranger,
and from what part of Phrygia fleddest thou to take refuge at my
hearth? And whom, moreover, what man or what woman, hast thou
slain?" "Oh! king," replied the Phrygian, "I am the son of Gordias,
son of Midas. I am named Adrastus. The man I unintentionally slew
was my own brother. For this my father drove me from the land, and I
lost all. Then fled I here to thee." "Thou art the offspring," Croesus
rejoined, "of a house friendly to mine, and thou art come to
friends. Thou shalt want for nothing so long as thou abidest in my
dominions. Bear thy misfortune as easily as thou mayest, so will it go
best with thee." Thenceforth Adrastus lived in the palace of the king.
It chanced that at this very same time there was in the Mysian
Olympus a huge monster of a boar, which went forth often from this
mountain country, and wasted the corn-fields of the Mysians. Many a
time had the Mysians collected to hunt the beast, but instead of doing
him any hurt, they came off always with some loss to themselves. At
length they sent ambassadors to Croesus, who delivered their message
to him in these words: "Oh! king, a mighty monster of a boar has
appeared in our parts, and destroys the labour of our hands. We do our
best to take him, but in vain. Now therefore we beseech thee to let
thy son accompany us back, with some chosen youths and hounds, that we
may rid our country of the animal." Such was the tenor of their
But Croesus bethought him of his dream, and answered, "Say no more
of my son going with you; that may not be in any wise. He is but
just joined in wedlock, and is busy enough with that. I will grant you
a picked band of Lydians, and all my huntsmen and hounds; and I will
charge those whom I send to use all zeal in aiding you to rid your
country of the brute."
With this reply the Mysians were content; but the king's son,
hearing what the prayer of the Mysians was, came suddenly in, and on
the refusal of Croesus to let him go with them, thus addressed his
father: "Formerly, my father, it was deemed the noblest and most
suitable thing for me to frequent the wars and hunting-parties, and
win myself glory in them; but now thou keepest me away from both,
although thou hast never beheld in me either cowardice or lack of
spirit. What face meanwhile must I wear as I walk to the forum or
return from it? What must the citizens, what must my young bride think
of me? What sort of man will she suppose her husband to be? Either,
therefore, let me go to the chase of this boar, or give me a reason
why it is best for me to do according to thy wishes."
Then Croesus answered, "My son, it is not because I have seen in
thee either cowardice or aught else which has displeased me that I

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