by Padraic Colum
V. THE ARGO
The heroes went the next day through the streets of Iolcus down to where the ship lay. The ways they went through were crowded; the heroes were splendid in their appearance, and Jason amongst them shone like a star.
The people praised him, and one told the other that it would not be long until they would win back to Iolcus, for this band of heroes was strong enough, they said, to take King Aetes's city and force him to give up to them the famous Fleece of Gold. Many of the bright-eyed youths of Iolcus went with the heroes who had come from the different parts of Greece.
As they marched past a temple a priestess came forth to speak to Jason; Iphias was her name. She had a prophecy to utter about the voyage. But Iphias was very old, and she stammered in her speech to Jason. What she said was not heard by him. The heroes went on, and ancient Iphias was left standing there as the old are left by the young.
The heroes went aboard the Argo. They took their seats as at an assembly. Then Jason faced them and spoke to them all.
"Heroes of the quest," said Jason, "we have come aboard the great ship that Argus has built, and all that a ship needs is in its place or is ready to our hands. All that we wait for now is the coming of the morning's breeze that will set us on our way for far Colchis.
"One thing we have first to do--that is, to choose a leader who will direct us all, one who will settle disputes amongst ourselves and who will make treaties between us and the strangers that we come amongst. We must choose such a leader now."
Jason spoke, and some looked to him and some looked to Heracles. But Heracles stood up, and, stretching out his hand, said:
"Argonauts! Let no one amongst you offer the leadership to me. I will not take it. The hero who brought us together and made all things ready for our going--it is he and no one else who should be our leader in this voyage."
So Heracles said, and the Argonauts all stood up and raised a cry for Jason. Then Jason stepped forward, and he took the hand of each Argonaut in his hand, and he swore that he would lead them with all the mind and all the courage that he possessed. And he prayed the gods that it would be given to him to lead them back safely with the Golden Fleece glittering on the mast of the Argo.
They drew lots for the benches they would sit at; they took the places that for the length of the voyage they would have on the ship. They made sacrifice to the gods and they waited for the breeze of the morning that would help them away from Iolcus.
And while they waited Aeson, the father of Jason, sat at his own hearth, bowed and silent in his grief. Alcimide, his wife, sat near him, but she was not silent; she lamented to the women of Iolcus who were gathered around her. "I did not go down to the ship," she said, "for with my grief I would not be a bird of ill omen for the voyage. By this hearth my son took farewell of me-- the only son I ever bore. From the doorway I watched him go down the street of the city, and I heard the people shout as he went amongst them, they glorying in my son's splendid appearance. Ah, that I might live to see his return and to hear the shout that will go up when the people look on Jason again! But I know that my life will not be spared so long; I will not look on my son when he comes back from the dangers he will run in the quest of the Golden Fleece."
EtextPart I The Voyage to Colchis
I. The Youth Jason
II. King Pelias
III. The Golden Fleece
IV. The Assembling of the Heroes and the Building of the Ship
V. The Argo
The Beginnings of Things
VI. Polydeuces' Victory And Heracles' Loss
VII. King Phineas
VIII. King Phineus's Counsel; the Landing in Lemnos
IX. The Lemnian Maidens
Demeter and Persephone
X. The Departure from Lemnos
XI. The Golden Maiden (Pandora)
The Passage Of The Symplegades
XII.The Mountain Caucasus and Prometheus
Part II Return to Greece
Medea The Sorceress
The Winning Of The Golden Fleece
The Slaying of Apsyrtus
Medea Comes to Circe
In The Land of the Phaeacians
They Come to the Desert Land
The Carrying of the Argo
The Story of Perseus
Part III The Heroes
Atalanta the Huntress
Peleus and His Bride From the Sea
Theseus and the Minotaur
The Life and Labors of Heracles
How Orpheus the Minstrel Went Down to the World of the Dead
Jason and Medea