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[268e] by eliminating part after part, and in that way reach the ultimate object of our search. Shall we do that?

Younger Socrates
By all means.

Then please pay careful attention to my story, just as if you were a child; and anyway you are not much too old for childrenÕs tales.

Younger Socrates
Please tell the story.

Of the portents recorded in ancient tales many did happen and will happen again. Such an one is the portent connected with the tale of the quarrel between Atreus and Thyestes. You have doubtless heard of it and remember what is said to have taken place.

Younger Socrates
You refer, I suppose, to the token of the golden lamb.1

1 Hermes revenged upon the Pelopidae the death of his son Myrtilus by causing a lamb with golden fleece to be born among the flocks of Atreus. When his claim to the succession was disputed, Atreus promised to show this prodigy to prove that the gods were on his side. Thyestes persuaded Aerope, the wife of Atreus, to give him the lamb, and Atreus was in danger of losing his kingdom, had not Zeus, who favored his claim, made the sun and the Pleiades return from their setting towards their rising. This is the form of the story given in a scholium on Eur. Orest. 988, and Plato seems to have this form in mind, though variants existed. The lamb was a token (σημεῖον) of the favor of the gods, and the changed course of the sun and stars was a testimony (μαρτυρήσας) to the right of Atreus.

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