there lived a king
who had two children, a boy and a girl. The boy's name was Cadmus, and
the girl's name was Europa. The king's country was a very small one. He
could stand on his house top and see the whole of it. On one side of it
there were mountains, and on the other side was the sea. The king
that it was the center of the world, and he did not know much about
lands and people.
Yet he was
very happy in
his own little kingdom, and very fond of his children. And he had good
reason to be proud of them; for Cadmus grew up to be the bravest young
man in the land, and Europa to be the fairest maiden that had ever been
seen. But sad days came to them all at last.
Europa went out
into a field near the seashore to pick flowers. Her father's cattle
in the field, grazing among the sweet clover. They were all very tame,
and Europa knew every one of them by name. The herdsman was lying in
shade under a tree, trying to make music on a little flute of straw.
had played in the field a thousand times before, and no one had ever
of any harm befalling her.
morning she noticed
that there was a strange bull with the herd. He was very large and as
as snow; and he had soft brown eyes which somehow made him look very
and kind. At first he did not even look at Europa, but went here and
eating the tender grass which grew among the clover. But when she had
her apron full of daisies and buttercups, he came slowly towards her.
was not at all afraid of him; and so she stopped to look at him, he was
so handsome. He came close to her, and rubbed her arm with his nose to
his head and
neck, and he seemed much pleased. Then she made a wreath of daisies,
hung it round his neck. He looked at her with his soft kind eyes, and
to thank her; and in a little while, he lay down among the clover.
then made a smaller wreath, and climbed upon his back to twine it round
his horns. But all at once he sprang up, and ran away so swiftly that
could not help herself. She did not dare to jump off while he was going
so fast, and all that she could think to do was to hold fast to his
and scream very loud.
herdsman under the tree
heard her scream, and jumped up to see what was the matter. He saw the
bull running with her towards the shore. He ran after them as fast as
could, but it was of no use. The bull leaped into the sea, and swam
away, with poor Europa on his back. Several other people had seen him,
and now they ran to tell the king. Soon the whole town was alarmed.
ran out to the shore and looked. All that could be seen was something
moving very fast over the calm, blue water; and soon it was out of
sent out his fastest
ship to try to overtake the bull. The sailors rowed far out to sea,
farther than any ship had ever gone before; but no trace of Europa
be found. When they came back, everybody felt that there was no more
All the women and children in the town wept for the lost Europa. The
shut himself up in his house, and did not eat nor drink for three days.
Then he called his son Cadmus, and bade him take a ship and go in
of his sister; and he told him that, no matter what dangers might be in
his way, he must not come back until she was found.
glad to go. He
chose twenty brave young men to go with him, and set sail the very next
day. It was a great undertaking; for they were to pass through an
sea, and they did not know what lands they would come to. Indeed, it
feared that they would never come to any land at all. Ships did not
to go far from the shore in those days. But Cadmus and his friends were
not afraid. They were ready to face any danger.
In a few
days they came to
a large island called Cyprus. Cadmus went on shore, and tried to talk
the strange people who lived there. They were very kind to him, but
did not understand his language. At last he made out by signs to tell
who he was, and to ask them if they had seen his little sister Europa
the white bull that had carried her away. They shook their heads and
to the west.
young men sailed
on in their little ship. They came to many islands, and stopped at
one, to see if they could find any trace of Europa; but they heard no
of her at all. At last, they came to the country which we now call
It was a new country then, and only a few people lived there, and
soon learned to speak their language well. For a long time he wandered
from one little town to another, always telling the story of his lost
II. THE PYTHIA
One day an
old man told
Cadmus that if he would go to Delphi and ask the Pythia, perhaps she
tell him all about Europa. Cadmus had never heard of Delphi or of the
and he asked the old man what he meant.
tell you," said the
man. "Delphi is a town, built near the foot of Mount Parnassus, at the
very center of the earth. It is the town of Apollo, the Bringer of
and there is a temple there, built close to the spot where Apollo
a black serpent, many, many years ago. The temple is the most wonderful
place in the world. In the middle of the floor there is a wide crack,
crevice; and this crevice goes down, down into the rock, nobody knows
deep. A strange odor comes up out of the crevice; and if any one
much of it, he is apt to fall over and lose his senses."
"But who is
the Pythia that
you spoke about?" asked Cadmus.
tell you," said the
old man. "The Pythia is a wise woman, who lives in the temple. When
asks her a hard question, she takes a three-legged stool, called a
and sets it over the crevice in the floor. Then she sits on the stool
breathes the strange odor; and instead of losing her senses as other
would do, she talks with Apollo; and Apollo tells her how to answer the
question. Men from all parts of the world go there to ask about things
which they would like to know. The temple is full of the beautiful and
costly gifts which they have brought for the Pythia. Sometimes she
them plainly, and sometimes she answers them in riddles; but what she
always comes true."
went to Delphi
to ask the Pythia about his lost sister. The wise woman was very kind
him; and when he had given her a beautiful golden cup to pay her for
trouble, she sat down on the tripod and breathed the strange odor which
came up through the crevice in the rock. Then her face grew pale, and
eyes looked wild, and she seemed to be in great pain; but they said
she was talking with Apollo. Cadmus asked her to tell him what had
of Europa. She said that Jupiter, in the form of a white bull, had
her away, and that it would be of no use to look for her any more.
shall I do?" said
Cadmus. "My father told me not to turn back till I should find her."
father is dead," said
the Pythia, "and a strange king rules in his place. You must stay in
for there is work here for you to do."
I do?" said Cadmus.
white cow," said
the Pythia; "and on the hill where she lies down, you must build a
what she meant by this; but she would not speak another word.
be one of her
riddles," he said, and he left the temple.
III. THE DRAGON
Cadmus went out of
the temple, he saw a snow-white cow standing not far from the door. She
seemed to be waiting for him, for she looked at him with her large
eyes, and then turned and walked away. Cadmus thought of what the
had just told him, and so he followed her. All day and all night he
through a strange wild country where no one lived; and two of the young
men who had sailed with Cadmus from his old home were with him.
sun rose the next
morning, they saw that they were on the top of a beautiful hill, with
on one side and a grassy meadow on the other. There the cow lay down.
will build our city,"
young men made a
fire of dry sticks, and Cadmus killed the cow. They thought that if
should burn some of her flesh, the smell of it would go up to the sky
be pleasing to Jupiter and the Mighty Folk who lived with him among the
clouds; and in this way they hoped to make friends with Jupiter so that
he would not hinder them in their work.
needed water to
wash the flesh and their hands; and so one of the young men went down
hill to find some. He was gone so long that the other young man became
uneasy and went after him.
waited for them till
the fire had burned low. He waited and waited till the sun was high in
the sky. He called and shouted, but no one answered him. At last he
his sword in his hand and went down to see what was the matter.
the path which
his friends had taken, and soon came to a fine stream of cold water at
the foot of a hill. He saw something move among the bushes which grew
it. It was a fierce dragon, waiting to spring upon him. There was blood
on the grass and leaves, and it was not hard to guess what had become
the two young men.
sprang at Cadmus,
and tried to seize him with its sharp claws. But Cadmus leaped quickly
aside and struck it in the neck with his long sword. A great stream of
black blood gushed out, and the dragon soon fell to the ground dead.
had seen many fearful sights, but never anything so dreadful as this
He had never been in so great danger before. He sat down on the ground
and trembled; and, all the time, he was weeping for his two friends.
now was he to build a city, with no one to help him?
IV. THE CITY
Cadmus was still weeping
he was surprised to hear some one calling him. He stood up and looked
On the hillside before him was a tall woman who had a helmet on her
and a shield in her hand. Her eyes were gray, and her face, though not
beautiful, was very noble. Cadmus knew at once that she was Athena, the
queen of the air-she who gives wisdom to men.
Cadmus that he
must take out the teeth of the dragon and sow them in the ground. He
that would be a queer kind of seed. But she said that if he would do
he would soon have men enough to help him build his city; and, before
could say a word, she had gone out of his sight.
SOON THEY BEGAN TO FIGHT
had a great many
teeth-so many that when Cadmus had taken them out they filled his
heaping full. The next thing was to find a good place to sow them. Just
as he turned away from the stream, he saw a yoke of oxen standing a
way off. He went to them and found that they were hitched to a plow.
more could he want? The ground in the meadow was soft and black, and he
drove the plow up and down, making long furrows as he went. Then he
the teeth, one by one, into the furrows and covered them over with the
rich soil. When he had sown all of them in this way, he sat down on the
hillside and watched to see what would happen.
In a little
while the soil
in the furrows began to stir. Then, at every place that a tooth had
dropped, something bright grew up. It was a brass helmet. The helmets
their way up, and soon the faces of men were seen underneath, then
shoulders, then their arms, then their bodies; and then, before Cadmus
could think, a thousand warriors leaped out of the furrows and shook
the black earth which was clinging to them. Every man was clothed in a
suit of brass armor; and every one had a long spear in his right hand
a shield in his left.
he saw the strange crop which had grown up from the dragon's teeth. The
men looked so fierce that he feared they would kill him if they saw
He hid himself behind his plow and then began to throw stones at them.
The warriors did not know where the stones came from, but each thought
that his neighbor had struck him. Soon they began to fight among
Man after man was killed, and in a little while only five were left
Then Cadmus ran towards them and called out:
are my men, and must come with me. We will build a city here."
obeyed him. They
followed Cadmus to the top of the hill; and they were such good workmen
that in a few days they had built a house on the spot where the cow had
they built other
houses, and people came to live in them. They called the town Cadmeia,
after Cadmus who was its first king. But when the place had grown to be
a large city, it was known by the name of Thebes.
a wise king. The
Mighty Folk who lived with Jupiter amid the clouds were well pleased
him and helped him in more ways than one. After a while he married
the beautiful daughter of Mars. All the Mighty Ones were at the
and Athena gave the bride a wonderful necklace about which you may
something more at another time.
greatest thing that
Cadmus did is yet to be told. He was the first schoolmaster of the
and taught them the letters which were used in his own country across
sea. They called the first of these letters alpha and the second beta,
and that is why men speak of the alphabet to this day. And when the
had learned the alphabet from Cadmus, they soon began to read and
and to make beautiful and useful books.
As for the
she was carried safe over the sea to a distant shore. She may have been
happy in the new, strange land to which she was taken-I cannot tell;
she never heard of friends or home again. Whether it was really Jupiter
in the form of a bull that carried her away, nobody knows. It all
so long ago that there may have been some mistake about the story; and
I should not think it strange if it were a sea robber who stole her
her home, and a swift ship with white sails that bore her away. Of one
thing I am very sure: she was loved so well by all who knew her that
great unknown country to which she was taken has been called after her
name ever since-Europe.