A TALE OF TROY
THE STUB – BOOK
TALE OF TROY
Retold by Padric Colum
When Achilles came near him Hector spoke to him and said, : My heart bids me stand against thee although thou art a mightier man than i. But before we go into battle let us take pledges, one from the other, with the gods to witness, that, if I should slay thee, I shall not carry thy body into the City but shall not carry thy body into his hands his own great spear, “ and he stood guarding himself with his shield and watching Hector for a spot to strike him on. Now in the armor that Hector wore – the armor that he had stripped off Patroklos – there was a point at the neck where there was an opening. As Hector came in Achilles drove at his spear and struck him and Hector fell in the dust. Then Achilles stripped from him the armor that Patroklos had worn. The other captains of the Greeks came up and looked at hector where he lay and all marveled at his size and strength and goodliness. And Achilles dragged the body at his chariot and drove away towards the ships.
Hector’s mother, standing on hw tower on the wall, saw all that as done and she broke into a great cry. And all the women of Troy took up the cry and wailed for Prince Hector who had guarded them and their city from the terrible thing that had happened. She was in the inner chamber of Hector’s house, weaving a great web of cloth and bordering it with flowers, and she had ordered her handmaidens to heat water for the bath, so that Hector might refresh himself when he came in from the fight. But now she heard the wail of the women of Troy. Fear came upon her, for she knew that such wailing was for the best of their warriors.She ran from her chamber and out into the street and came to the battlement where the people stood watching. She saw the chariot of Achilles dashing off towards the ships and she knew that it dragged the dead body of Hector. Then darkness came before her eye’s and she fainted away. Her husband’s sisters and his brother’s wives thronged round her and lifted her up. And at last her life came back to her and she wailed for Hector, “O my husband,” she cried, “ for misery were we two born! Now thou hast been slain by Achilles and I am left husbandless? And ah, woe for our young child! Hardhearted strangers shall oppress him hen he lives among people that care not to him or his. And he will come weeping to me, his widowed mother, who will live forever sorrowful thinking upon where thou liest, Hector, by the ships of those who slew thee.” So Andromache spoke and all the women of Troy joined in her grief and wept for great Hector who had protected their City.”
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The Father was
the wealthiest and most influential man in town. But there was some thing wanting
in his life of which tragedy alone made him aware.
“I think your son has at last brought you a true blessing.”
“Yes. I think so myself.” Said the Father, looking up, while two big tears coursed slowly down his cheeks.
What this blessing was that his son brought him at last is something every man should consider in life.
THE MAN whose story is here to be told was the wealthiest and most influential person in his parish; his name was Thord Overaas. He appeared in the priest’s study one day, tall and earnest.
“I have gotten a son,” said he, “and I wish to present him for baptism.”
“What shall his name be?”
“Finn after my father.”
“And the sponsors?
They were mentioned, and proved to be the best men and women of Thord’s relations in the parish.
“Is there anything else?” inquired the priest.
“There is nothing else?” and the peasant twirled his cap, as though he were about to go.
Then the priest rose. “There is yet this, however,” said he, and walking toward Thord, he took him by the hand and looked gravely by the eyes.
“God grant that the child may become a blessing to you!”
One day sixteen years later, Thord stood once more in the priest’s study.
“Really, you carry your age astonishingly well, Thord,” said the priest; for he saw no change whatever in the man.
“That is because I have no troubles.” Replied Thord.
To this the priest said nothing, but after a while he asked: “What is your pleasure this evening?”
“I have come this evening about that son of mine who is to be confirmed tomorrow.”
“He is a bright boy.”
“I did not wish to pay the priest until I heard what number the boy would have when he takes his place in church tomorrow.”
“He will stand number one.”
“So I have heard; and here are ten dollars for the priest.”
“Is there anything else.”
Thord went out.
Eight years more rolled by, and then one day a noise was heard outside of the priest’s study, for many men were approaching and at their head was Thord, who entered first.
The priest looked up and recognized him.
“You come well attended this evening, Thord,” said he.
“I am here to request that the banns may be published for my son; he is about to marry Karen Storliden, daughter of Gudmund, who stands here beside me.”
“Why, that is the richest girl in the parish.”
“So the say,” replied the peasant, stroking back his hair with one hand.
The priest sat a while as if in deep thought, them entered the names in his book, without making any comments, and the men wrote their signatures underneath. Thord laid three dollars on the table.
“One is all I am to have,” said the priest.
“I know that very well; but he is my only child, I want to do it handsomely.”
The priest took the money.
“This is now the third time, Thord , that you have come here on your son’s account.”
“But now I am through with him,” said Thord, and folding up his pocket book he said farewell and walked away.
The men slowly followed him.
A fortnight later the father and son were rowing across the lake, one calm, still day, to Storliden to make arrangements for the wedding.
“This thwart is not secure,” said the son, and stood up to straighten the seat on which he was sitting.
At the same moment the board he was standing on slipped from under him, he threw out his arms, uttered a shrek, and fell over board.
“Take hold of the oar!” shouted the father, springing to his feet and holding out the oar.
But when the son had made a couple of efforts he grew stiff.
“Wait a moment,” cried a father, and began to row toward his son. Then the son rolled over on his back, gave his father one long look, and sank.
Thord could scarcely believe it; he held the boat still, and stared at the spot where his son had gone down, as through he must surely come to the surface again. There rose some bubbles, the some more, and finally one large one that burst; and the lake lay there as smooth and bright as a mirror again.
For three days and three nights people saw the father-rowing round and round the spot, without taking either food or sleep; he was dragging the lake for the body of his son. And toward morning of the third day he found it, and carried it in his arms up over the hills to his guard.
It might have been about a year from that day, when the priest, late one autumn evening, heard someone in the passage outside of the door, carefully trying to find the latch. The priest opened the door, and in walked a tall, thin man, with bowed form and white hair. The priest looked long at him before he recognized him. It was Thord.
“Are you out walking so late?” said the priest, and stood still in front of him.
“Ah yes! It is late,” said Thord, and took a seat.
The priest sat down also, as though waiting. A long, long silence followed. At last Thord said:
“I have something with me and I should like to give to the poor; I want it to be invested as a legacy in my son’s name.”
He rose, laid some money on the table, and sat dawn again. The priest counted it.
“It is a great deal of money,” said he.
“It is half the price of my grade. I sold it today.”
The priest sat long in silence. At last he asked, but gently:
They sat there for a while, Thord with downcast eyes, the priest with his eyes fixed on Thord. Presently the priest said, slowly and softly:
“I think your son has at last brought you a true blessing.”
“Yes, I think so myself,” said Thord looking up, while tow big tears coursed slowly down his cheeks.
Modern Norwegian literature reached in full flowering and international status with two of Norway’s literary luminaries. One of the two was Bjornsonstjerne Bjornson.
Bjornson’s writing is characterized as buoyant and cheerful. Never critical in his interpretation of human weaknesses, he seems to be full of understanding and vigor in his treatment of them.
His stories of peasant life reveal his understanding of their natural reserve and their taciturn nature.
As a poet Bjornson is regarded by his own people as the poetic spokesman of
said as little Frog to he big one sitting by the side of a pool, “I have
seen such a terrible monster! It as as big as a mountain, with horns of its
head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two.”
“Tush, child, tush” said the old frog. “That was only Farmer White Ox. It isn’t so big either; he maybe a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see.” So he blew himself out. “Was he as big as that?” asked he.
Oh, much bigger than that,” said the young frog.
Again the old frog blew himself out, and asked the young one if the ox was as big as that.
“Bigger, father, bigger,” was the reply.
So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew, and swelled and swelled. And then he said: “I’m sure the Ox is not as big as– ” But at this moment he burst.
Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.
A man and his
son were once walking with their Donkey to market. As they ere walking along
by its side, a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a
Donkey for but to ride upon?”
So the man put the boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But as soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster; he lets his father walk while he rides.”
So the Man ordered the Boy to get of, and got on himself. But hadn’t gone far when they passed two women. One of them said to the other: “Shame on the lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along!”
Well, the Man didn’t know what to do; but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passerby began to jeer and point them. The Man stopped and asked hat they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours – you and your hulking son?”
The Man and the Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought, till at last they cut down a pole and tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to the Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy drop his end of the pole. In the struggled the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his forefoot being tied together, he was drowned.
“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:
“Please all, and you will please none.”