Soon, however, he repented him of this answer, when the wife of Dareius died in childbirth, and it was evident that he was distressed at this loss of opportunity to show great kindness. Accordingly, he gave the woman a sumptuous burial. One of the eunuchs of the bed-chamber who had been captured with the women, Teireos by name, ran away from the camp, made his way on horseback to Dareius, and told him of the death of his wife.
Then the king, beating upon his head and bursting into lamentation, said: ‘Alas for the evil genius of the Persians, if the sister and wife of their king must not only become a captive in her life, but also in her death be deprived of royal burial.’
‘Nay, O King,’ answered the chamberlain, ‘as regards her burial, and her receiving every fitting honour, thou hast no charge to make against the evil genius of the Persians.
For neither did my mistress Stateira, while she lived, or thy mother or thy children, lack any of their former great blessings except the light of thy countenance, which Lord Oromazdes will cause to shine again with lustre; nor after her death was she deprived of any funeral adornment, nay, she was honoured with the tears of enemies. For Alexander is as gentle after victory as he is terrible in battle.’
When Dareius heard this, his agitation and grief swept him into absurd suspicions, and leading the eunuch away into a more secluded part of his tent, he said: ‘If thou also, together with the fortune of the Persians, dost not side with the Macedonians, and if I, Dareius, am still thy lord and master, tell me, as thou reverest the great light of Mithras and the right hand of thy king, is it not the least of Stateira's misfortunes that I am now lamenting? While she was alive did I not suffer more pitiful evils? And would not my wretched fortune have been more compatible with my honour if I had met with an angry and savage enemy? For what intercourse that is proper can a young man have with an enemy's wife when it leads to such marks of honour?’
While the king was still speaking, Teireos threw himself down at his feet and besought him to hold his peace, and neither to wrong Alexander, nor shame his dead sister and wife, nor rob himself of the greatest consolation for his disasters, namely, the belief that he had been conquered by a man who was superior to human nature; nay, he should even admire Alexander for having shown greater self-restraint in dealing with Persian women than valour against Persian men.
Then, while the eunuch was confirming his testimony with the most solemn oaths, and discoursing on the general self-mastery and magnanimity of Alexander, Dareius went out to his companions, and lifting his hands towards heaven, prayed: ‘O ye gods of my race and kingdom, above all things else grant that I may leave the fortune of Persia reestablished in the prosperity wherein I found it, in order that my victory may enable me to requite Alexander for the favours which I received at his hands when I had lost my dearest possessions;
but if, then, a fated time has now come, due to divine jealousy and the vicissitudes of things, and the sway of the Persians must cease, grant that no other man may sit upon the throne of Cyrus but Alexander.’ That these things were thus done and said is the testimony of most historians.