“Thither came Phoenicians, men famed for their ships, greedy knaves, bringing countless trinkets in their black ship. Now there was in my father's house a Phoenician woman, comely and tall, and skilled in glorious handiwork. Her the wily Phoenicians beguiled.
First, as she was washing clothes, one of them lay with her in love by the hollow ship; for this beguiles the minds of women, even though one be upright. Then he asked her who she was, and whence she came, and she straightway shewed him the high-roofed home of my father, and said:
“‘Out of Sidon
, rich in bronze, I declare that I come, and I am the daughter of Arybas, to whom wealth flowed in streams. But Taphian pirates seized me, as I was coming from the fields, and brought me hither, and sold me to the house of yonder man, and he paid for me a goodly price.’
“Then the man who had lain with her in secret answered her: ‘Wouldest thou then return again with us to thy home, that thou mayest see the high-roofed house of thy father and mother, and see them too? For of a truth they yet live, and are accounted rich.’
“Then the woman answered him, and said:
‘This may well be, if you sailors will pledge yourselves by an oath, that you will bring me safely home.’
“So she spoke, and they all gave an oath thereto, as she bade them. But when they had sworn and made an end of the oath, the woman again spoke among them, and made answer:
“‘Be silent now, and let no one of your company speak to me, if he meets me in the street or haply at the well, lest some one go to the palace and tell the old king, and he wax suspicious and bind me with grievous bonds, and devise death for you.
Nay, keep my words in mind, and speed the barter of your wares. But, when your ship is laden with goods, let a message come quickly to me at the palace; for I will also bring whatever gold comes under my hand. Aye, and I would gladly give another thing for my passage.
There is a child of my noble1
master, whose nurse I am in the palace, such a cunning child, who ever runs abroad with me. Him would I bring on board, and he would fetch you a vast price, wherever you might take him for sale among men of strange speech.’