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but so her malice might be satisfied
Medea feigned she had a quarrel with
her husband, and for safety she had fled
to Pelias. There, since the king himself
was heavy with old age, his daughters gave
her generous reception. And these girls
the shrewd Medea in a short time won,
by her false show of friendliness; and while
among the most remarkable of her
achievements she was telling how she had
rejuvenated Aeson, and she dwelt
particularly, on that strange event,
these daughters were induced to hope that by
some skill like this their father might regain
his lost youth also. And they begged of her
this boon, persuading her to name the price;
no matter if it was large. She did not
reply at once and seemed to hesitate,
and so she held their fond minds in a deep
suspense by her feigned meditation. When
she had at length declared she would restore
his youth, she said to them: “That you may have
strong confidence in this my promised boon,
the oldest leader of your flock of sheep shall be
changed to a lamb again by my prized drugs.”

Straightway a wooly ram, worn out with length
of untold years was brought, his great horns curved
around his hollow temples. After she
had cut his scrawny throat with her sharp knife
Thessalian, barely staining it with his
thin blood, Medea plunged his carcass in
a bronze-made kettle, throwing in it at
the same time juices of great potency.
These made his body shrink and burnt away
his two horns, and with horns his years. And now
thin bleating was heard from within the pot;
and even while they wondered at the sound,
a lamb jumped out and frisking, ran away
to find some udder with its needed milk.

Amazed the daughters looked on and, now that
these promises had been performed, they urged
more eagerly their first request. Three times
Phoebus unyoked his steeds after their plunge
in Ebro's stream, and on the fourth night stars
shown brilliant on the dark foil of the sky,
and then the treacherous daughter of Aeetes
set some clear water over a hot fire
and put in it herbs of no potency.
And now a death-like sleep held the king down,
his body all relaxed, and with the king
his guards, a sleep which incantations with
the potency of magic words had given.

The sad king's daughters, as they had been bid,
were in his room, and with Medea stood
around his bed. “Why do you hesitate,”
Medea said. “You laggards, come and draw
your swords; let out his old blood that
I may refill his empty veins again
with young blood. In your hands your father's life
and youth are resting. You, his daughters, must
have love for him, and if the hopes you have
are not all vain, come, do your duty by
your father; drive out old age at the point
of your good weapons; and let out his blood
enfeebled—cure him with the stroke of iron.”

Spurred on by these words, as each one of them
was filial she became the leader in
the most unfilial act, and that she might
not be most wicked did the wicked deed.
Not one could bear to see her own blows, so
they turned their eyes away; and every face
averted so, they blindly struck him with
their cruel hands. The old man streaming with
his blood, still raised himself on elbow, and
half mangled tried to get up from his bed;
with all those swords around him, he stretched out
his pale arms and he cried: “What will you do,
my daughters? What has armed you to the death
of your loved father?” Their wrong courage left
them, and their hands fell. When he would have said
still more, Medea cut his throat and plunged
his mangled body into boiling water.

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