STORIES OF THE OLD WORLD.
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THE son of Cretheus, Æson, bequeathed the kingdom of Thessaly to his brother Pelias, to keep for Jason, his son, whom he had sent to be taught by Chiron, the wise Centaur. Now when Jason was returning from Chiron he came to Anaurus, which is a river of Thessaly, and would have crossed it; but there was an old woman on the river bank, and she entreated of Jason that he would carry her over the river, for she feared herself, she said, to cross it. But the old woman was in truth the goddess Heré, who had taken upon herself the likeness of an old woman to try the young man’s heart. Jason therefore carried her over, but in crossing he lost one of his sandals, for it cleaved to the sand that was in the river; and so he came to the dwelling of King Pelias, where they were preparing a great sacrifice and feast to Poseidon and the other gods. Now there had come an oracle aforetime to Pelias, saying, “Beware of him who shall come to thee with one sandal only, for it is thy doom to die by his means.” Therefore, when Pelias saw Jason come in this plight, he was afraid; also he would fain keep the kingdom for himself. He dared not slay him; but he set him a task from which he might win great renown,8 hoping that he should never return therefrom; and the task was this: to fetch the fleece of gold from the land of the Colchians.