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That's better: you sound gentler now. You would learn more by hunting rather than from a coward's great deeds or a nymph's ordeal. I won't put up with your loud, quarrelsome words. But calm down and tell me what it is you need.

Mighty Cyllene, lady of this land, I'll tell you in a moment why I've come. But first tell us about that scraping noise and who's making it.

First of all, understand this: if you say one word of what I'm about to tell you, you'll be in trouble. This business is a secret even among the gods, so that no news of it may come to Hera. You see, Zeus came secretly to Atlas's house ... to the deep-girdled goddess 1 ... and in a cave begot a single son. I am bringing him up myself, for his mother's strength is shaken by sickness as if by a storm. So I stay by his crib and take care of his food and drink and rest, all day and all night. He grows, day by day, in a very unusual way, and I'm astounded and afraid. It's not even six days since he was born, and he already stands as tall as a young man. His growth spurt hasn't wasted any time coming. That's the kind of child that's in my treasure-house. His father has ensured he would be difficult to find.

He has a hidden machine that makes the sound you're asking about, that so surprised you. It's a box full of pleasure that he made in just one day from a dead animal he found, and he's down there shaking it.

1 Maia, daughter of Atlas

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