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keep thee back; but because a vision which came before me in a dream
as I slept, warned me that thou wert doomed to die young, pierced by
an iron weapon. It was this which first led me to hasten on thy
wedding, and now it hinders me from sending thee upon this enterprise.
Fain would I keep watch over thee, if by any means I may cheat fate of
thee during my own lifetime. For thou art the one and only son that
I possess; the other, whose hearing is destroyed, I regard as if he
were not."
"Ah! father," returned the youth, "I blame thee not for keeping
watch over me after a dream so terrible; but if thou mistakest, if
thou dost not apprehend the dream aright, 'tis no blame for me to show
thee wherein thou errest. Now the dream, thou saidst thyself, foretold
that I should die stricken by an iron weapon. But what hands has a
boar to strike with? What iron weapon does he wield? Yet this is
what thou fearest for me. Had the dream said that I should die pierced
by a tusk, then thou hadst done well to keep me away; but it said a
weapon. Now here we do not combat men, but a wild animal. I pray thee,
therefore, let me go with them."
"There thou hast me, my son," said Croesus, "thy interpretation is
better than mine. I yield to it, and change my mind, and consent to
let thee go."
Then the king sent for Adrastus, the Phrygian, and said to him,
"Adrastus, when thou wert smitten with the rod of affliction- no
reproach, my friend- I purified thee, and have taken thee to live with
me in my palace, and have been at every charge. Now, therefore, it
behoves thee to requite the good offices which thou hast received at
my hands by consenting to go with my son on this hunting party, and to
watch over him, if perchance you should be attacked upon the road by
some band of daring robbers. Even apart from this, it were right for
thee to go where thou mayest make thyself famous by noble deeds.
They are the heritage of thy family, and thou too art so stalwart
and strong."
Adrastus answered, "Except for thy request, Oh! king, I would
rather have kept away from this hunt; for methinks it ill beseems a
man under a misfortune such as mine to consort with his happier
compeers; and besides, I have no heart to it. On many grounds I had
stayed behind; but, as thou urgest it, and I am bound to pleasure thee
(for truly it does behove me to requite thy good offices), I am
content to do as thou wishest. For thy son, whom thou givest into my
charge, be sure thou shalt receive him back safe and sound, so far
as depends upon a guardian's carefulness."
Thus assured, Croesus let them depart, accompanied by a band of
picked youths, and well provided with dogs of chase. When they reached
Olympus, they scattered in quest of the animal; he was soon found, and
the hunters, drawing round him in a circle, hurled their weapons at
him. Then the stranger, the man who had been purified of blood,
whose name was Adrastus, he also hurled his spear at the boar, but
missed his aim, and struck Atys. Thus was the son of Croesus slain
by the point of an iron weapon, and the warning of the vision was
fulfilled. Then one ran to Sardis to bear the tidings to the king, and
he came and informed him of the combat and of the fate that had
befallen his son.
If it was a heavy blow to the father to learn that his child was
dead, it yet more strongly affected him to think that the very man
whom he himself once purified had done the deed. In the violence of
his grief he called aloud on Jupiter Catharsius to be a witness of
what he had suffered at the stranger's hands. Afterwards he invoked
the same god as Jupiter Ephistius and Hetaereus- using the one term
because he had unwittingly harboured in his house the man who had
now slain his son; and the other, because the stranger, who had been
sent as his child's guardian, had turned out his most cruel enemy.
Presently the Lydians arrived, bearing the body of the youth,
and behind them followed the homicide. He took his stand in front of
the corse, and, stretching forth his hands to Croesus, delivered

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