But factions arose among the Molossians, and expelling Aeacides they brought into power the sons of Neoptolemus.1
The friends of Aeacides were then seized and put to death, but Pyrrhus, who was still a babe and was sought for by the enemy, was stolen away by Androcleides and Angelus, who took to flight. However, they were obliged to take along with them a few servants, and women for the nursing of the child,
and on this account their flight was laborious and slow and they were overtaken. They therefore entrusted the child to Androcleion, Hippias, and Neander, sturdy and trusty young men, with orders to fly with all their might and make for Megara, a Macedonian town; while they themselves, partly by entreaties and partly by fighting, stayed the course of the pursuers until late in the evening.
After these had at last been driven back, they hastened to join the men who were carrying Pyrrhus. The sun had already set and they were near their hoped-for refuge, when suddenly they found themselves cut off from it by the river which flowed past the city. This had a forbidding and savage look, and when they tried to cross it, proved altogether impassable. For its current was greatly swollen and violent from rains that had fallen, and the darkness made everything more formidable.
Accordingly, they gave up trying to cross unaided, since they were carrying the child and the women who cared for the child; and perceiving some of the people of the country standing on the further bank, they besought their help in crossing, and showed them Pyrrhus, with loud cries and supplications. But the people on the other side could not hear them for the turbulence and splashing of the stream,
and so there was delay, one party shouting what the other could not understand, until some one bethought himself of a better way. He stripped off a piece of bark from a tree and wrote thereon with a buckle-pin a message telling their need and the fortune of the child; then he wrapped the bark about a stone, which he used to give force to his cast, and threw it to the other side.
Some say, however, that it was a javelin about which he wrapped the bark, and that he shot it across. Accordingly, when those on the other side had read the message and saw that no time was to be lost, they cut down trees, lashed them together, and made their way across. As chance would have it, the first of them to make his way across was named Achilles; he took Pyrrhus in his arms, and the rest of the fugitives were conveyed across by others in one way or another.