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Thus she spoke. Athena sped after Aphrodite with a will, and made at her, striking her on the bosom with her strong hand so that she fell fainting to the ground, and there they both lay stretched at full length. Then Athena vaunted over her saying, "May all who help the Trojans against the Argives prove just as redoubtable and stalwart as Aphrodite did when she came across me while she was helping Ares. Had this been so, we should long since have ended the war by sacking the strong city of Ilion."

Hera smiled as she listened. Meanwhile King Poseidon turned to Apollo saying, "Phoebus, why should we keep each other at arm's length? it is not well, now that the others have begun fighting; it will be disgraceful to us if we return to Zeus' bronze-floored mansion on Olympus without having fought each other; therefore come on, you are the younger of the two, and I ought not to attack you, for I am older and have had more experience. Idiot, you have no sense, and forget how we two alone of all the gods fared hardly round about Ilion when we came from Zeus' house and worked for Laomedon a whole year at a stated wage and he gave us his orders. I built the Trojans the wall about their city, so wide and fair that it might be impregnable, while you, Phoebus, herded cattle for him in the dales of many valleyed Ida.

When, however, the glad hours [hôrai] brought round the time-limit [telos] for payment, mighty Laomedon robbed us of all our hire and sent us off with nothing but abuse. He threatened to bind us hand and foot and sell us over into some distant island. He tried, moreover, to cut off the ears of both of us, so we went away in a rage, furious about the payment he had promised us, and yet withheld; in spite of all this, you are now showing favor [kharis] to his people, and will not join us in compassing the utter ruin of the proud Trojans with their wives and children."

And King Apollo answered, "Lord of the earthquake, you would not think me moderate [sôphrôn] if I were to fight you about a pack of miserable mortals, who come out like leaves in summer and eat the fruit of the field, and presently fall lifeless to the ground. Let us stay this fighting at once and let them settle it among themselves."

He turned away as he spoke, for he would lay no hand on the brother of his own father. But his sister the huntress Artemis, patroness of wild beasts, was very angry with him and said, "So you would flee, Far-Darter, and hand victory over to Poseidon with a cheap vaunt to boot. Baby, why keep your bow thus idle? Never let me again hear you bragging in my father's house, as you have often done in the presence of the immortals, that you would stand up and fight with Poseidon."

Apollo made her no answer, but Zeus' august queen was angry and upbraided her bitterly. "Bold vixen," she cried, "how dare you cross me thus? For all your bow you will find it hard to hold your own against me. Zeus made you as a lion among women, and lets you kill them whenever you choose. You will And it better to chase wild beasts and deer upon the mountains than to fight those who are stronger than you are. If you would try war, do so, and find out by pitting yourself against me, how far stronger I am than you are."

She caught both Artemis' wrists with her left hand as she spoke, and with her right she took the bow from her shoulders, and laughed as she beat her with it about the ears while Artemis wriggled and writhed under her blows. Her swift arrows were shed upon the ground, and she fled weeping from under Hera's hand as a dove that flies before a falcon to the cleft of some hollow rock, when it is her good fortune to escape. Even so did she flee weeping away, leaving her bow and arrows behind her.

Then the slayer of Argos, guide and guardian, said to Leto, "Leto, I shall not fight you; it is ill to come to blows with any of Zeus' wives. Therefore boast as you will among the immortals that you worsted me in fair fight."

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