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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

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HiDerjestbe ^tiittott

THE

COMPLETE WORKS OF NATHANIEL

HAWTHORNE, WITH INTRODUCTORY

NOTES BY GEORGE PARSONS

LATHROP

AND ILLUSTRATED WITH

Etchings by Blum, Church, Dieltnan, Gifford, Shirlaw, and Turner

IN TWELVE VOLUMES VOLUME IV.

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In compliance with current copyright law, LBS Archival

Products produced this

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1992

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A WONDER-BOOK TANGLEWOOD TALES, AND GRANDFATHER'S CHAIR .

BV

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

BOSTON

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY

N«w York: II Eatt S«ventt«nth Stratt

(CQC ftnuijplOr irarvf) fiailUlllDBr

1883

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* £^§3 Oopyrteht, I860, 1861,»nd 1868,

"^ Bt NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

X Copyright, 1878, 1879. and 1881,

Bt rose HAWTHORNE LATHROP.

vol. M

* CopJrigh^ 1888,

Br HOUGHTON, MIFFUN & CO

AU rigkU ruerved.

The JUvernde Pnu^ OambrUgt: Blectfotjyd and Printed by H. 0. Hoaghtoo A Go.

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CONTENTS.

A WONDEIUBOOK FOB OIBLS AND BOYS.

»AQB

Iktroductokt Note 9

Phxfacb 13

TBI OOSOOmB HEAD. Tamolbwood Pobch. Introductory to "The Gorgon's

Head'' 15

Ths Ooboon's Hbai> SI

Takolxwood PoKCH. After the Stoij .... 49

THE GOLDEN TOUCH.

Shadow Brook. Introdactoiy to ** The Golden Touch " . 51

The Golden Touch 55

Shadow Brook. After the Storj 75

THE PARADISE OF CHILDREN. Tanolewood Plat-Room. Introdnctory to " The Paradife

ofChfldren" . . . 78

The Paradise of Children 8S

Tanolewood Plat-Room. After the Story . . . lOS

THE three golden APPLES.

Tanolewood Fireside. Introdactoiy to "The Three

Golden Apples" 104

The Three Golden Apples 110

Tanolewood Fireside. After the Story . . 184

THE MIRACULOUS PITCHER. The Hili^Sidb. Introdactory to " The Miracnloas Pitcher" 137

The Miraculous Pitcher 140

Thb Hill-Side.— After the Story 163

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VI CONTENTS

THE CHIMJUUL

BALi>-8uMMiT.^IxitrodaetOT7to"TheChimcia'' 165

The Chimjbra 168

Bald-Summit. After tlieStoiy 195

TANGLBWOOD TALES.

Iktboduotobt Notb . 201

The Watside. Introdactozy 205

The Minotaur 213

The Ptomies 247

The Dbaoon's Teeth 271

Circe's Palace ' 306

The Pombobanate Seeds 341

The Golden Fleece 379

THE WHOLE HISTORY OF GRANDFATHER'S CHAIR.

Intboductort Note 425

Pbefaoe 429

Pabt L 431

Pabt n. 496

Pabt IH 565

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A WONDER-BOOK FOB GIBLS AND BOYS.

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

THE WONDER-BOOK.

Even from the data to be obtained by a perusal of bis works, the general reader will be likely to infer that Hawthorne took a vital interest in child-life ; and in Ids published Note-Books are found many brief memoranda which indicate Ids disposition to write for children. After he married and had begun to rear a fiunily of his own, this interest of his in the ear- liest developments of mind and character became, nat- urally, much more active. He was accustomed to ob- serve Ids children very closely. There are private manuscripts still extant, which present exact records of what Ids young son and elder daughter said or did, from hour to hour ; the father seating himself in iibeir play-room and patiently noting all that passed.

To this habit of watchful and sympathetic scrutiny we may attribute in part the remarkable felicity, the fortunate ease of adaptation to the immature under- standing, and the skilful appeal to fresh imaginations, which characterize Ids stories for the young. Natural tact and insight prompted, faithful study from the real assisted, these productions.

While still living at Lenox, and soon after publish- ing ^^ The House of the Seven Grables," he sketched as follows, in a letter to Mr. James T. Fields, May 28,

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10 INTRODUCTORY NOTE.

I85I9 his plan for the work which this note accom- panies:—

*^ I mean to write, within six weeks or two months next ensuing, a book of stories made np of classical myths. The subjects are : The Story of Midas, with his Golden Touch, Pandora's Box, The Adventure of Hercules in quest of the Golden Apples, Bellerophon and the ChimsBra, Baucis and Philemon, Perseus and Medusa ; these, I think, will be enough to make up a volume. As a framework, I shall have a young col- lege-student telling these stories to his cousins and brothers and sisters, during his vacations, sometimes at the fireside, sometimes in the woods and dells. Un- less I greatly mistake, these old fictions will work up admirably for the purpose ; and I shall aim at substi- tuting a tone in some degree Gothic or romantic, or any such tone as may best please myself, instead of the classic coldness which is as repeUant as the touch of marble.*'

With such precision as to time did he carry out this scheme, that on the 15th of July he wrote the Preface to the completed volume. It was unusual, however, for him to work with such rapidity, or indeed to write at all in the summer season ; and this exertion, com- ing so soon after his work upon the romance, may have had something to do with increasing a languor which he had already begun to feel, and inducing him to remove from Lenox in the autumn. While he re- mained in Berkshire he had more or less literary com- panionship, which is alluded to in the Note-Books and also in the closing chapter of the ^' Wonder-Book," where he likewise refers thus to himself :

" * Have we not on author for our next neighbor ? * asked Primrose. * That silent man, who Uves in the

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INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 11

old red house near Tanglewood Avenue, and whom we Bometunes meet, with two children at his side, in the woods or at the lake. I think I have heard of his hav- ing written a poem, or a romance, or an arithmetic, or a school-history, or something of that kind/ "

The manuscript of the " Wonder-Book " is the only one of Hawthorne's completed books which, in its original form, is owned by any member of his family. The book was written on thin blue paper of rather large size, and on both sides of the pages. Scarcely a correction or an erasure occurs, from the beginning to the end; and wherever an alteration was made, the after-ihought was evidently so swift that the author did not stop to blot, for the word first written is merely smeared into illegibility and another substituted for it. It appears to be certain that, although Hawthorne meditated long over what he intended to do and came rather slowly to the point of publication, yet when the actual task of writing was begun it proceeded rapidly and with very little correction; and in most cases probably very little re-drafting was done. His private correspondence exhibits the same easy flow of composi- tion, in sentences of notable finish ; offering a marked contrast, for example, to the habit of the historian Motley, who even in his letters expunged words on every page.

The " Wonder-Book " proved to be a financial as well as literary success, and was presently translated

and published in Germany.

G. P. L.

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PEEFACE.

The author has long been of opinion that many of the classical myths were capable of being rendered into very capital reading for children. In the little volmne here offered to the public, he has worked up half a dozen of them, with this end in Tiew. A great freedom of treatment was necessary to his plan ; but it will be observed by every one who attempts to ren- der these legends malleable in his intellectual furnace, that they are marvellously independent of all tempo- rary modes and circumstances. They remain essen- tially the same, after changes that would affect the identity of almost anything else.

He does not, therefore, plead guilty to a sacrilege, in having sometimes shaped anew, as his fancy dic- tated, the forms that have been hallowed by an antiq- uity of two or three thousand years. No epoch of time can claim a copyright in these inmiortal fables. They seem never to have been made ; and certainly, so long as man exists, they can never perish ; but, by their in- destructibility itsdf , they are legitimate subjects for every age to clothe with its own garniture of manners and sentiment, and to imbue with its own morality. In the present version they may have lost much of their classical aspect (or, at all events, the author has not been careful to preserve it), and have, perhaps, assumed a Gothic or romantic guise.

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14 PREFACE.

In performing this pleasant task, for it has been really a task fit for hot weather, and one of the most agreeable, of a literary kind, which he ever undertook, the author has not always thought it necessary to write downward, in order to meet the comprehension of children. He has generally suffered the theme to soar, whenever such was its tendency, and when he himself was buoyant enough to follow without an ef- fort Children possess an unestimated sensibility to whatever is deep or high, in imagination or feeling, so long as it is simple, likewise. It is only the artificial and the complex that bewilder them. Lehox, «7tf/y 16, 1851.

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THE GORGON'S HEAD.

TANGLEWOOD PORCH.

INTBODnCTOBY TO ^^ THE GOBGON's HEAD.''

Beneath the porch of the oountry-fieat called Tan- glewood, one fine autumnal morning, was assembled a merry party of little folks, with a tall youth in the midst of them. They had planned a nutting expedi- tion, and were impatiently waiting for the mists to roll up the hill-slopes, and for the sun to pour the warmth of the Indian summer over the fields and pastures, and into the nooks of the many-colored woods. There was a prospect of as fine a day as ever gladdened the as- pect of this beautiful and comfortable world. As yet, however, the morning mist filled up the whole length and breadth of the valley, above which, on a gently sloping eminence, the mansion stood.

This body of white vapor extended to within less than a hundred yards of the house. It completely hid everything beyond that distance, except a few ruddy or yellow tree-tops, which here and there emerged, and were glorified by the early simshine, as was likewise the broad surface of the mist. Four or five miles off to the southward rose the summit of Monument Moun- tain, and seemed to be floating on a doud. Some fif-

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16 TANGLEWOOD PORCH,

teen miles farther sway, in the same direction, ap- peared the loftier Dome of Taoonic, looking blue and indistinct, and hardly so substantial as the vapory sea that almost ^rolled over it. The nearer hiUs, which bordered the valley, were half submerged, and were specked with little cloud-wreaths all the way to their tops. On the whole, there was so much doud, and so litiJe solid earth, that it had the effect of a vision.

The children above-mentioned, being as full of life as they could hold, kept overflowing from the porch of Tanglewood, and scampering along the gravel-walk, or rushing across the dewy herbage of the lawn. I can hardly tell how many of these small people there were ; not less then nine or ten, however, nor more than a dozen, of all sorts, sizes, and ages, whether gbls or boys. They were brothers, sisters, and cousins, to- gether with a few of their young acquaintances, who had been invited by Mr. and Mrs. Pringle to spend some of this delightful weather with their own chil- dren, at Tanglewood. I am afraid to tell you their names, or eveii to give them any names which other children have ever been called by ; because, to my cer- tain knowledge, authors sometimes get themselves into great trouble by accidentally giving the names of real persons to the characters in their books. For this rea- son, I mean to call them Primrose, Periwinkle, Sweet Fern, Dandelion, Blue Eye, Clover, Huckleberry, Cow- slip, Squash-Blossom, Milkweed, Plantain, and Butter- cup; fJthough, to be sure, such titles might better suit a group of fairies than a company of earthly chil- dren.

It is not to be supposed that these little folks were to be permitted by liieir careful fathers and mothers, undes, aunts, or grandparents, to stray abroad into

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TANGLEWOOD PORCH. 17

the woods and fields, without the guardianship of some particularly grave and elderly person. Oh no, indeed ! In the first sentence of my book, you will recollect that I spoke of a tall youth, standing in the midst of the children. His name (and I shall let you know his real name, because he considers it a great honor to have told the stories that are here to be printed) his name was Eustace Bright. He was a student at Williams College, and had reached, I think, at this period, the venerable age of eighteen years ; so that he felt quite like a grandfather towards Periwinkle, Dandelion, Huckleberry, Squash-Blossom, Milkweed, and the rest, who were only half or a third as vener- able as he. A trouble in his eyesight (such as many students think it necessary to have, nowadays, in order to prove their diligence at their books) had kept him from college a week or two after the beginning of the term. But, for my part, I have seldom met with a pair of eyes that looked as if they could see farther or better than those of Eustace Bright.

This learned student was slender, and rather pale, as all Yankee students are ; but yet of a healthy as- pect, and as light and active as if he had wings to his shoes. By the by, being much addicted to wading through streamlets and across meadows, he had put on cowhide boots for the expedition. He wore a linen blouse, a doth cap, and a pair of green spectacles, which he had assumed, probably, less for the preserva- tion of his eyes than for the dignity that they imparted to his countenance. In either case, however, he might as well have let them alone ; for Huckleberry, a mis- chievous little elf, crept behind Eustace as he sat on the steps of the porch, snatched the spectacles from his nose, and clapped them on her own ; and as the stu-

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18 TANGLBWOOD PORCH.

dent forgot to take them back, they fell off into the grass, and lay there till the next spring.

Now, Eustace Bright, you must know, had won great fame among the children, as a narrator of wonderful stories ; and though he sometimes pretended to be an- noyed, when they teased him for more, and more, and always for more, yet I really doubt whedier he liked anything quite so well as to tell them. You might have seen his eyes twinkle, therefore, when Qover, Sweet Fern, Cowslip, Buttercup, and most of their playmates, besought him to relate one of his stories, while they were waiting for the mist to clear up.

^^ Yes, Cousin Eustace," said Primrose, who was a bright girl of twelve, with laughing eyes, and a nose that turned up a little, ** the morning is certainly the best time for the stories with which you so often tire out our patience. We shall be in less danger of hurt- ing your feelings, by falling asleep at the most in- teresting points, as little Cowslip and I did last night!"

" Naughty Primrose," cried Cowslip, a child of six years old ; ^^ I did not fall asleep, and I only shut my eyes, so as to see a picture of what Cousin Eustace was telling about. His stories are good to hear at night, because we can dream about them asleep ; and good in the morning, too, because then we can dream about them awake. So I hope he will tell us one this very minute."

*'*' Thank you, my little Cowslip," said Eustace ; *' certainly you shall have the best story I can think of, if it were only for defending me so well from that naughty Primrose. But, children, I have already told you so many fairy tales, that I doubt whether there is a single one which you have not heard at least twice

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TANGLEWOOD PORCH. 19

over. I am afraid you will fall asleep in reality, if I repeat any of them again."

" No, no, no ! " cried Blue Eye, Periwinkle, Plan- tain, and half a dozen others. *^ We like a story all the better for having heard it two or three times be- fore."

And it is a troth, as regards children, that a story seems often to deepen its mark in their interest, not merely by two or three, but by numberless repetitions. But Eustace Bright, in the exuberance of his re- sources, sconied to avail himself of an advantage which an older story-teller would have been glad to grasp at.

^^ It would be a great pity/' said he, ^* if a man of my learning (to say nothing of original fancy) could not find a new story every day, year in and year out, for children such as you. I will tell you one of the nursery tales that were made for the amusement of our great old grandmother, the Earth, when she was a child in frock and pinafore. There are a hundred such ; and it is a wonder to me that they have not long ago been put into picture-books for little girls and boys. But, instead of that, old gray -bearded grandsires pore over them in musty volumes of Greek, and puzzle themselves with trying to find out when, and how, and for what they were made."

" Well, welL well, well, Cousin Eustace ! " cried all the children at once ; ^^ talk no more about your sto- ries, but begin."

" Sit down, then, every soul of you," said Eustace Bright, ^* and be all as still as so many mice. At the slightest interruption, whether from great, naughty Primrose, little Dandelion, or any other, I shall bite the story short off between my teeth, and swallow the

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20 TANGLEWOOD PORCH.

untold part But, in the first place, do any of you know what a Grorgon is ? "

" I do," said Primrose.

*' Then hold your tongue ! " rejoined Eustace, who had rather she would have known nothing about the matter. ^^ Hold all your tongues, and I shall tell you a sweet pretty story of a Gorgon's head."

And so he did, as you may begin to read on the next page. Working up his sophomorical erudition with a good deal of tact, and incurring great obligar tions to Professor Anthon, he, nevertheless, disre- garded all classical authorities, whenever the vagrant audacity of his imagination impelled him to do so.

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THE GORGON'S HEAD.

Pebseub was the son of Danae, who was the daughter of a king. And when Perseus was a veiy little boy, some wicked people put his mother and himself into a chest, and set them afloat upon the sea. The wind blew freshly, and drove the chest away from the shore, and the uneasy billows, tossed it up and down; while Danae clasped her child closely to her bosom, and dreaded that some big wave would dash its foamy crest over them both. The chest sailed on, however, and neither sank nor was upset ; until, when night was coming, it floated so near an island that it got entangled in a fisherman's nets, and was drawn out high and dry upon the sand. The island was called Seriphus, and it was reigned over by King Polydectes, who happened to be the fisherman's brother.

This fisherman, I am glad to tell you, was an ex- ceedingly humane and upright man. He showed great kindness to Danae and her little boy ; and continued to befriend them, until Perseus had grown to be a handsome youth, veiy strong and active, and skilful in the use of arms. Long before this time. King Polydectes had seen the two strangers the mother and her child who had come to his dominions in a floating chest. As he was not good and kind, like his brother the fisherman, but extremely wicked, he re- solved to send Perseus on a dangerous enterprise, in which he would probably be killed, and then to do

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22 TEE GORGON'S HEAD.

some great mischief to Dajiae herself. So this bad- hearted king spent a long while in considering what was the most dangerous thing that a young man could possibly undertake to perform. At last, having hit upon an enterprise that promised to turn out as fa- tally as he desired, he sent for the youthful Perseus.

The young man came to the palace, and found the king sitting upon his throne.

*^ Perseus," said King Polydectes, smiling craftily upon him, ^^you are grown up a fine young man. You and your good mother have received a great deal of kindness from myself, as well as from my worthy brother the fisherman, and I suppose you would not be sorry to repay some of it."

"Please your Majesty," answered Perseus, "I would willingly risk my Kfe to do so."

** Well, then," continued the king, still with a cun- ning smile on his lips, " I have a little adventure to propose to you ; and, as you are a brave and enterpris- ing youth, you will doubtless look upon it as a great piece of good luck to have so rare an opportunity of distinguishing yourself. You must know, my good Perseus, I think of getting married to the beautiful Princess Hippodamia ; and it is customary, on these occasions, to make the bride a present of some far- fetched and elegant curiosity. I have been a little perplexed, I must honestly confess, where to obtain anything likely to please a princess of her exquisite taste. But, this morning, I flatter myself, I have thought of precisely the article."

"And can I assist your Majesty in obtaining it?" cried Perseus, eagerly.

" You can, if you are as brave a youth as I believe you to be," replied King Polydectes, with the utmost

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THE GORGON'S HEAD. 28

graciousness of maimer. " The bridal gift which I have set my heart on presenting to the beautiful Hip- podamia is the head of the Gorgon Medusa with the snaky locks ; and I depend on you, my dear Perseus, to bring it to me. So, as I am anxious to settle affairs with the princess, the sooner you go in quest of the Gorgon, the better I shall be pleased."

"I will set out to-morrow morning," answered Perseus.

" Pray do so, my gallant youth," rejoined the king. ** And, Perseus, in cutting off the Gorgon's head, be careful to make a clean stroke, so as not to injure its appearance. You must bring it home in the very best condition, in order to suit tiie exquisite taste of the beautiful Princess Hippodamia."

Perseus left the palace, but was scarcely out of hearing before Polydectes burst into a laugh ; being greatly amused, wicked king that he was, to find how readily the young man fell into the snare. The news quickly spread abroad that Perseus had undertaken to cut off the head of Medusa with the snaky locks. Everybody was rejoiced ; for most of the inhabitants of the island were as wicked as the king himself, and would have liked nothing better than to see some enormous mischief happen to Danae and her son. The only good man in this unfortunate island of Seri- phus appears to have been the fisherman. As Perseus walked along, therefore, the people pointed after him, and made mouths, and winked to one another, and ridiculed him as loudly as they dared.

" Ho, ho ! " cried they ; " Medusa's snakes will sting him soundly ! "

Now, there were three Gorgons alive at that period; and they were the most strange and terrible monsters

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24 THE QORGON*S HEAD.

that had ever been since the world was made, or that have been seen in after days, or that are likely to be seen in all time to come. I hardly know what sort of creature or hobgoblin to call them. They were three sisters, and seem to have borne some distant resem- blance to women, but were really a very frightful and mischieyous species of dragon. It is, indeed, difficult to imagine what hideous beings these three sisters were. Why, instead of locks of hair, if you can be- lieve me, they had each of them a hundred enormous snakes growing on their heads, all alive, twisting, wriggling, curling, and thrusting out their venomous tongues, with forked stings at the end ! The teeth of the Goi^ons were terribly long tusks ; their hands were made of brass ; and their bodies were all over scales, which, if not iron, were something as hard and impenetrable. They had wings, too, and exceedingly splendid ones, I can assure you ; for every feather in them was pure, bright, glittering, burnished gold, and they looked very dazzlingly, no doubt, when the Gror- gons were flying about in the sunshine.

But when people happened to catch a glimpse of their glittering brightness, aloft in the air, they sel- dom stopped to gaze, but ran and hid themfil^lves as speedily as they could. You will think, perhaps, that they were afraid of being stung by the serpents that served the Grorgons instead of hair, or of having their heads bitten off by their ugly tusks, or of be- ing torn all to pieces by their brazen daws. Well, to be sure, these were some of the dangers, but by no means the greatest, nor the most difficult to avoid. For the worst thing about these abominable Grorgons was, that, if once a poor mortal fixed his eyes fuU upon one of their faces, he was certain, that very in-

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TEE GORGON'S HEAD. 26

stant to be changed from warm flesh and blood into cold and lifeless stone I

Thus, as you will easily perceive, it was a very dan- gerous adventure that the wicked King Polydectes had contrived for this innocent young man. Perseus him- self, when he had thought over the matter, could not help seeing that he had very little chance of coming safely through it, and that he was far more likely to become a stone image than to bring back the head of Medusa with the snaky locks. For, not to speak of other difficulties, there was one which it would have puzzled an older man than Perseus to get over. Not only must he fight with and slay this golden-winged, iron-scaled, long-4nisked, brazen-clawed, snaky-haired monster, but he must do it with his eyes shut, or, at least, without so much as a glance at the enemy with whom he was contending. Else, while his arm was lifted to strike, he would stifiEen into stone, and stand with that uplifted arm for centuries, until time, and the wind and weather, should crumble him quite away. This would be a very sad thing to befall a young man who wanted to perform a great many brave deeds, and to enjoy a great deal of happiness, in this bright and beautiful world.

So disconsolate did these thoughts make him, that Perseus could not bear to tell his mother what he had undertaken to do. He therefore took his shield, girded on his sword, and crossed over from the island to the mainland, where he sat down in a solitary place, and hardly refrained from shedding tears.

But, while he was in this sorrowful mood, he heard a voice dose beside him.

" Perseus," said the voice, " why are you sad ? "

He lifted his head from his hands, in which he had

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26 THE QORQON'S HEAD,

hidden it, and, behold I all alone as Perseus had sup- posed himself to be, there was a stranger in the soU- tary place. It was a brisk, intelligent, and remarka- bly shrewd-looking young man, with a doak over his shoulders, an odd sort of cap on his head, a strangely twisted staff in his hand, and a short and very crooked sword hanging by his side. He was exceedingly light and active in his figure, like a person much accustomed to gymnastic exercises, and well able to leap or run. Above all, the stranger had such a cheerful, knowing, and helpful aspect (though it was certainly a little mischievous, into the bargain), that Perseus could not help feeling his spirits grow livelier as he gazed at him. Besides, being really a coiurageous youth, he felt greatly ashamed that anybody should have found him with tears in his eyes, like a timid little school-boy, when, after all, there might be no occasion for despair. So Perseus wiped his eyes, and answered the stranger pretty briskly, putting on as brave a look as he could.

^^ I am not so veiy sad," said he, ^* only thoughtful about an adventure that I have undertaken."

" Oho ! " answered the stranger. " Well, tell me all about it, and possibly I may be of service to you. I have helped a good many young men through adven- tures that looked difficult enough beforehand. Per- haps you may have heard of me. I have more names than one ; but the name of Quicksilver suits me as well as any other. Tell me what the trouble is, and we will talk the matter over, and see what can be done."

The stranger's words and manner put Perseus into quite a different mood from his former one. He re- solved to tell Quicksilver all his difficulties, since he could not easily be worse off than he already was, and, very possibly, his new friend might give him some ad-

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THE QOROON'S HEAD, 27

vice that would torn out well in the end. So he let the stranger know, in few words, precisely what the case was, how that King Polydectes wanted the head of Medusa with the snaky locks as a bridal gift for the beautiful Princess Hippodamia, and how that he had undertaken to get it for him, but was afraid of being turned into stone.

** And that would be a great pity," said Quicksilver, with his mischievous smile. ^^ You would make a very handsome marble statue, it is true, and it would be a considerable number of centuries before you crumbled away ; but, on the whole, one would rather be a young man for a few years, than a stone image for a great many."

*^0h, far rather! " exclaimed Perseus, with the tears again standing in his eyes. *^ And, besides, what would my dear mother do, if her beloved son were turned into a stone ? "

^* Well, well, let us hope that the affair will not turn out so very badly," replied Quicksilver, in an encour- aging tone. ^^ I am the very person to help you, if anybody can. My sister and myself will do our ut- most to bring you safe through the adventure, ugly as it now looks."

" Your sister ? " repeated Perseus.

"Yes, my sister," said the stranger. " She is very wise, I promise you ; and as for myself, I generally have all my wits about me, such as they are. If you show yourself bold and cautious, and follow our advice, you need not fear being a stone image yet awhile. But, first of all, you must polish your shield, till you can see your face in it as distinctly as in a mirror."

This seemed to Perseus rather an odd beginning of the adventure ; for he thought it of far more conse-

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28 THE GORGON'S HEAD.

qnence that the shield should be strong enough to de- fend him from the Gorgon's brazen daws, than that it should be bright enough to show him the reflection of his face. However, concluding that Quicksilver knew better than himself, he immediately set to work, and scrubbed the shield with so much diligence and good-will, that it very quickly shone like the moon at harvesttime. Quicksilver looked at it with a smile, and nodded his approbation. Then, taking ofiE his own short and crooked sword, he girded it about Per- seus, instead of the one which he had before worn.

" No sword but mine will answer your purpose " ob- served he; ^^the blade has a most excellent temper, and will cut through iron and brass as easily as through the slenderest twig. And now we will set out. The next thing is to find the Three Gray Women, who will tell us where to find the Nymphs."

" The Three Gray Women ! " cried Perseus, to whom this seemed only a new difficulty in the path of his adventure ; " pray who may the Tliree Gray Wo- men be ? I never heard of them before.''

"They are three very strange old ladies," said Quicksilver, laughing. " They have but one eye among them, and only one tooth. Moreover, you must find them out by starlight, or in the dusk of the evening ; for they never show themselves by the light either of the sun or moon."

" But," said Perseus, " why should I waste my time with these Three Gray Women? Would it not be better to set out at once in search of the terrible Gror- gons?"

" No, no," answered his friend. ** There are other things to be done, before you can find your way to the Gorgons. There is nothing for it but to hunt up

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THE GORGON'S HEAD. 29

these old ladies ; and when we meet with them, you may be sure that the Gorgons are not a great way o£E. Come, let us be stirring I "

Perseus, by this time, felt so much confidence in his companion's sagacity, that he made no more objections, and professed himself ready to begin the adventure im- mediately. They accordingly set out, and walked at a pretty brisk pace ; so brisk, indeed, that Perseus found it rather difficult to keep up with his nimble friend Quicksilver. To say the truth, he had a singular idea that Quicksilver was furnished with a pair of winged shoes, which, of course, helped him along marvel- lously. And then, too, when Perseus looked sideways at him, out of the comer of his eye, he seemed to see wings on the side of his head ; although, if he turned a full gaze, there were no such things to be perceived, but only an odd kind of cap. But, at all events, the twisted staff was evidently a great convenience to Quicksilver, and enabled him to proceed so fast, that Perseus, though a remarkably active young man, be- gan to be out of breath.

" Here ! " cried Quicksilver, at last, for he knew well enough, rogue that he was, how hard Perseus found it to keep pace with him, " take you the staff, for you need it a great deal more than I. Are there no better walkers than yourself in the island of Seri- phus?"

" I could walk pretty well," said Perseus, glancing slyly at his companion's feet, " if I had only a pair of winged shoes."

" We must see about getting you a paii-," answered Quicksilver.

But the staff helped Perseus along so bravely, that he no longer felt the slightest weaiiness. In fact, the

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stick seemed to be aliye in his hand, and to lend some of its life to Perseus. He and Quicksilyer now walked onward at their ease, talking very sociably together ; and Quicksilver told so many pleasant stories about his former adventures, and how well his wits had served him on various occasions, that Perseus began to think him a very wonderful person. He evidently knew the world ; and nobody is so charming to a young man as a friend who has that kind of knowledge. Perseus listened the more ei^rly, in the hope of brightening lus own wits by what he heard.

At last, he happened to recollect that Quicksilver had spoken of a sister, who was to lend her assistance in the adventure which they were now bound upon.

^ Where is she?" he inquired. ^^ Shall we not meet her soon?"

*^A11 at the proper time," said his companion. ^^But this sister of mine, you must understand, is quite a different sort of character from myself. She is very grave and prudent, seldom smiles, never laughs, and makes it a rule not to utter a word un- less she has something particularly profound to say. Neither will she listen to any but the wisest conversa- tion.

^ Dear me I " ejaculated Perseus ; ^^I shall be afraid to say a syllable."

^ She is a very accomplished person, I assure you," continued Quicksilver, ^*and has all the arts and sciences at her fingers' ends. In short, she is so im- moderately wise, that many people call her wisdom personified. But, to tell you the truth, she has hardly vivacity enough for my taste ; and I think you would scarcely find her so pleasant a travelling companion as mysell She has her good points, nevertheless;

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and you will find the benefit of tiiem, in your en-