falcon with a shrill scream follows close after, resolved to have her - even so did Achilles make straight for Hektor with all his might, while Hektor fled under the Trojan wall as fast as his limbs could take him.
On they flew along the wagon-road that ran hard by under the wall, past the lookout station, and past the weather-beaten wild fig-tree, till they came to two fair springs which feed the river Skamandros. One of these two springs is warm, and steam rises from it as smoke from a burning fire, but the other even in summer is as cold as hail or snow, or the ice that forms on water. Here, hard by the springs, are the goodly washing-troughs of stone, where in the time of peace before the coming of the Achaeans the wives and fair daughters of the Trojans used to wash their clothes. Past these did they flee, the one in front and the other giving chase behind him: good was the man that fled,
but better far was he that followed after, and swiftly indeed did they run, for the prize was no mere beast for sacrifice or bullock's hide, as it might be for a common foot-race, but they ran for the life [psukhê] of Hektor. As horses in a chariot race speed round the turning-posts when they are running for some great prize [athlon] - a tripod or woman - at the games in honor of some dead hero, so did these two run full speed three times round the city of Priam. All the gods watched them, and the sire of gods and men was the first to speak.
"Alas," said he, "my eyes behold a man who is dear to me being pursued round the walls of Troy
; my heart is full of pity for Hektor, who has burned the thigh-bones of many a heifer in my honor, at one while on the of many-valleyed Ida, and again on the citadel of Troy
; and now I see noble Achilles in full pursuit of him round the city of Priam. What say you? Consider among yourselves and decide whether we shall now save him or let him fall, valiant though he be, before Achilles, son of Peleus."
Then Athena said, "Father, wielder of the lightning, lord of cloud and storm, what mean you? Would you pluck this mortal whose doom has long been decreed out of the jaws of death? Do as you will, but we others shall not be of a mind with you." And Zeus answered, "My child, Trito-born, take heart. I did not speak in full earnest, and I will let you have your way. Do as your thinking [noos] tells you, without letting up, without hindrance."
Thus did he urge Athena who was already eager, and down she darted from the topmost summits of Olympus
Achilles was still in full pursuit of Hektor, as a hound chasing a fawn which he has started from its covert on the mountains, and hunts through glade and thicket. The fawn may try to elude him by crouching under cover of a bush, but he will scent her out and follow her up until he gets her - even so there was no escape for Hektor from the fleet son of Peleus. Whenever he made a set to get near the Dardanian gates and under the walls, that his people might help him by showering down weapons from above, Achilles would gain on him and head him back towards the plain, keeping himself always on the city side. As a man in a dream who fails to lay hands upon another whom he is pursuing - the one cannot escape nor the other overtake - even so neither could Achilles come up with Hektor, nor Hektor break away from Achilles; nevertheless he might even yet have escaped death had not the time come when Apollo, who thus far had sustained his strength and nerved his running, was now no longer to stay by him. Achilles made signs to the Achaean host, and shook his head to show that no man was to aim a dart at Hektor, lest another might win the glory of having hit him and he might himself come in second. Then, at last, as they were nearing the fountains for the fourth time, the father of all balanced his golden scales and placed a doom in each of them, one for Achilles and the other for Hektor. As he held the scales by the middle, the doom of Hektor fell down deep into the house of Hades - and then Phoebus Apollo left him. Thereon Athena went close up to the son of Peleus and said, "Noble Achilles, favored of heaven, I think in my mind [noos] we two shall surely take back to the ships a triumph for the Achaeans by slaying Hektor, for all his lust of battle. Do what Apollo may as he lies groveling before his father, aegis-bearing Zeus, Hektor cannot escape us longer. Stay here and take breath, while I go up to him and persuade him to make a stand and fight you."
Thus spoke Athena. Achilles obeyed her gladly, and stood still, leaning on his bronze-pointed ashen spear, while Athena left him and went after Hektor in the form and with the voice of Deiphobos. She came close up to him and said, "Dear brother, I see you are hard pressed by Achilles who is chasing you at full speed round the city of Priam, let us await his onset and stand on our defense."