He had for a friend one who was the wisest of all creatures
Chiron the centaur; Chiron who was half man and half horse;
Chiron who had lived and was yet to live measureless years.
Chiron had fostered Heracles, and it might be that he would not
refuse to foster Jason, Aeson's child.
Away in the fastnesses of Mount Pelion Chiron dwelt; once Aeson
had been with him and had seen the centaur hunt with his great
bow and his great spears. And Aeson knew a way that one might
come to him; Chiron himself had told him of the way.
Now there was a slave in his house who had been a huntsman and
who knew all the ways of the Mountain Pelion. Aeson talked with
this slave one day, and after he had talked with him he sat for a
long time over the cradle of his sleeping infant. And then he
spoke to Alcimide, his wife, telling her of a parting that made
her weep. That evening the slave came in and Aeson took the child
from the arms of the mournful-eyed mother and put him in the
slave's arms. Also he gave him a horn and a ring with a great
ruby in it and mystic images engraved on its gold. Then when the
ways were dark the slave mounted a horse, and, with the child in
his arms, rode through the city that King Pelias ruled over. In
the morning he came to that mountain that is all covered with
forest, the Mountain Pelion. And that evening he came back to the
village and to Aeson's hidden house, and he told his master how
he had prospered.
Aeson was content thereafter although he was lonely and although
his wife was lonely in their childlessness. But the time came
when they rejoiced that their child had been sent into an
unreachable place. For messengers from King Pelias came inquiring
about the boy. They told the king's messengers that the child had
strayed off from his nurse, and that whether he had been slain by
a wild beast or had been drowned in the swift River Anaurus they
did not know.
The years went by and Pelias felt secure upon the throne he had
taken from his brother. Once he sent to the oracle of the gods to
ask of it whether he should be fearful of anything. What the
oracle answered was this: that King Pelias had but one thing to
dread--the coming of a halfshod man.
The centaur nourished the child Jason on roots and fruits and
honey; for shelter they had a great cave that Chiron had lived in
for numberless years. When he had grown big enough to leave the
cave Chiron would let Jason mount on his back; with the child
holding on to his great mane he would trot gently through the
ways of the forest.
Jason began to know the creatures of the forest and their haunts.
Sometimes Chiron would bring his great bow with him; then Jason,
on his back, would hold the quiver and would hand him the arrows.
The centaur would let the boy see him kill with a single arrow
the bear, the boar, or the deer. And soon Jason, running beside
him, hunted too.
No heroes were ever better trained than those whose childhood and
youth had been spent with Chiron the king-centaur. He made them
more swift of foot than any other of the children of men. He made
them stronger and more ready with the spear and bow. Jason was
trained by Chiron as Heracles just before him had been trained,
and as Achilles was to be trained afterward.
Moreover, Chiron taught him the knowledge of the stars and the
wisdom that had to do with the ways of the gods.
Once, when they were hunting together, Jason saw a form at the
end of an alley of trees--the form of a woman it was--of a woman
who had on her head a shining crown. Never had Jason dreamt of
seeing a form so wondrous. Not very near did he come, but he
thought he knew that the woman smiled upon him. She was seen no
more, and Jason knew that he had looked upon one of the immortal
All day Jason was filled with thought of her whom he had seen. At
night, when the stars were out, and when they were seated outside
the cave, Chiron and Jason talked together, and Chiron told the
youth that she whom he had seen was none other than Hera, the
wife of Zeus, who had for his father Aeson and for himself an
So Jason grew up upon the mountain and in the forest fastnesses.
When he had reached his full height and had shown himself swift
in the hunt and strong with the spear and bow, Chiron told him
that the time had come when he should go back to the world of men
and make his name famous by the doing of great deeds.