BLTC Press Titles

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot

Arthur Edward Waite

The Secret Doctrine, Volume II Anthropogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu, James Legge (trans.)

Men of old Greece

by Jennie Hall


"So to-morrow you become a man, my boy," Ion was saying; "a soldier of Sparta.


We have been friends for a long time, Leonidas,—eleven years. I have seen you grow tall. I have seen your shoulders broaden. I have seen your muscles harden. I have seen the fire of courage lighted in your eyes. I have seen your heart grow big. I am an old man. I shall not do much more work for Sparta, but I am proud of this, my last piece of work, this boy that has grown up under my hand. Has it been a hard life, Leonidas?"

"Yes, hard," the boy answered, "but very sweet. I have been working for Sparta, and I love her."

"Yes, I can see love for Sparta shining in your face every day," Ion said. "You have never shrunk from pain and hard work. You have never complained. The hardest trial of all comes to-morrow. But I believe that you will go through it well. Some will fail and will be sent away from Sparta with fingers pointed at them. But you will not fail. And you will remember, too, that Sparta does it all in love. She will lash your back until the blood flows. But you will kneel at Heracles' altar and smile; for you will know that if you cannot bear pain, it is better that you go away now. If you stayed, you would some time shame yourself and your family and Sparta and Heracles in battle. You will get your sword to-morrow. Shall a man carry a sword if he is afraid of the cut of a whip? Your grandfather was a king of Sparta. Your brother is king now. But it is a poor thing to have men point at you and say: 'There is the brother of a king.' It is a fine thing to have them say of you: 'There goes a Spartan.'

"But no more talk now. It is time for you to report to the Iren."

On the next day things happened as Ion had said. Leonidas walked away from Heracles' altar with a bleeding back, but his heart sang for joy. He was a man! He had been found brave enough to save Sparta. Perhaps he would be chosen Iren of some boys' company. Before long he could be a captain of Helots. Soon he could join a mess. He thought of the mess he would like to join. It was the Iren's old company. But his friend was more than sixty years old now. So he lived at home and did no soldier's work.

"I will get them a boar for supper," Leonidas thought.

Off he ran to the west, towards Mount Taygetus. On the way he stopped at a little hut.

"Pisander!" he called.

A young man came out. He was a Helot. He was not so tall or so strong as Leonidas. His skin was not so smooth and clear. His hands were stiff from holding the spade. Sfet he was a fine-looking lad.

"Come for a hunt," Leonidas said.

Pisander's face lighted up.

"Artemis give us luck!" he cried, and started off on a run beside Leonidas. "Hare or deer?" he asked.

"Boar," answered Leonidas.

Pisander stopped short.

"You go to hunt boar with only two people?" he cried. "We shall be killed."

Leonidas had kept on running. He called back over his shoulder,

"Don't come if you are afraid."

"I'm not," shouted Pisander, and started on again.

"There are dogs at Ion's," Leonidas said.

Soon they stopped before a house. In the garden at the side were dog-kennels. The boys went there. They took down five leashes and collars from a peg in the fence. Inside were a dozen dogs barking and leaping up. Leonidas and Pisander went into the yard. They picked out five of the largest dogs and put the collars on them and led them out. Then they went to a little shed and opened it. There lay nets piled up. Spears of all kinds leaned against the walls.

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