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[3] And at the games celebrated in honor of Pelias he contended in wrestling with Atalanta.1 And Astydamia, wife of Acastus, fell in love with Peleus, and sent him a proposal for a meeting;2 and when she could not prevail on him she sent word to his wife that Peleus was about to marry Sterope, daughter of Acastus; on hearing which the wife of Peleus strung herself up. And the wife of Acastus falsely accused Peleus to her husband, alleging that he had attempted her virtue. On hearing that, Acastus would not kill the man whom he had purified, but took him to hunt on Pelion. There a contest taking place in regard to the hunt, Peleus cut out and put in his pouch the tongues of the animals that fell to him, while the party of Acastus bagged his game and derided him as if he had taken nothing. But he produced them the tongues, and said that he had taken just as many animals as he had tongues.3 When he had fallen asleep on Pelion, Acastus deserted him, and hiding his sword in the cows' dung, returned. On arising and looking for his sword, Peleus was caught by the centaurs and would have perished, if he had not been saved by Chiron, who also restored him his sword, which he had sought and found.

1 See above, Apollod. 3.9.2.

2 The following romantic story of the wicked wife, the virtuous hero, and his miraculous rescue from the perils of the forest, in which his treacherous host left him sleeping alone and unarmed, is briefly alluded to by Pind. N. 4.54(88)ff.; Pind. N. 5.25(46)ff. It is told more explicitly by the Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.54(88) and 59(95); the Scholiast on Aristoph. Cl. 1063; and the Scholiast on Ap. Rhod., Argon. i.224. But the fullest and clearest version of the tale is given by Apollodorus in the present passage. Pindar calls the wicked wife Hippolyta or Hippolyta Cretheis, that is, Hippolyta daughter of Cretheus. His Scholiast calls her Cretheis; the Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, calls her Cretheis or Hippolyte; and the Scholiast on Aristophanes, calls her first Hippolyte and afterwards Astydamia. The sword of Peleus, which his faithless host hid in the cows' dung while the hero lay sleeping in the wood, was a magic sword wrought by the divine smith Hephaestus and bestowed on Peleus by the pitying gods as a reward for his chastity. With this wondrous brand the chaste hero, like a mediaeval knight, was everywhere victorious in the fight and successful in the chase. Compare Zenobius, Cent. v.20. The episode of the hiding of the sword was told by Hesiod, some of whose verses on the subject are quoted by the Scholiast on Pind. N. 4.59(95). The whole story of the adventures of Peleus in the house of Acastus and in the forest reads like a fairy tale, and we can hardly doubt that it contains elements of genuine folklore. These are well brought out by W. Mannhardt in his study of the story. See his W. Mannhardt, Antike Wald- und Feldkulte (Berlin, 1877), pp. 49ff.

3 In fairy tales the hero often cuts out the tongues of a seven-headed dragon or other fearsome beast, and produces them as evidence of his prowess. See W. Mannhardt, Antike Wald- und Feldkulte, pp. 53ff.; Spirits of the Corn and of the Wild, ii.269.

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