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THE son of king Croesus, when he was already old enough to speak, was dumb, and after lie had become a well-grown youth, he was still unable to utter a word. Hence he was for a long time regarded as mute and tongue-tied. When his father had been vanquished in a great war, the city in which he lived had been taken, and one of the enemy was rushing upon him with drawn sword, unaware that he was the king, then the young man opened his mouth in an attempt to cry out. And by that effort and the force of his breath he broke the impediment and the bond upon his tongue, and spoke plainly and clearly, shouting to the enemy not to kill king Croesus. Then the foeman withheld his sword, the king's life was saved, and from that [p. 405] time on the youth began to speak. Herodotus in his Histories 1 is the chronicler of that event, and the words which he says the son of Croesus first spoke are: “Man, do not kill Croesus.” But also an athlete of Samos—his name was Echeklous—although he had previously been speechless, is said to have begun to speak for a similar reason. For when in a sacred contest the casting of lots between the Samians and their opponents was not being done fairly, and he had noticed that a lot with a false name was being slipped in, he suddenly shouted in a loud voice to the man who was doing it that he saw what he was up to. And he too was freed from the check upon his speech and for all the remaining time of his life spoke without stammering or lack of clearness. 2
1 i. 85.
2 Valerius Maximus, i. 8. ext. 4 says: cum ei victoriae quam adeptus erat titulus et praemium eriperetur, indignatione accensus vocalis evasit. Just how he was cheated in the story told by Gellius is not clear, unless the lots were cast to determine which of the contestants should be matched together, and he was matched against an unsuitable opponent.
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