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“But let me tell you, my boy,” said the other, “there are some instances in which we must wrestle not against men but against actual facts, and it is not so easy to get the better of these without trouble. For1 instance, you doubtless know that if your army does not receive its rations, your authority will soon come to naught.”

“Yes, father,” said he; “but Cyaxares says that he will furnish supplies for all who come from here, however many they be.”

“But, my son,” said he, “do you mean to say that you are marching out trusting to the funds at the command of Cyaxares?”

“Yes, I do,” said Cyrus.

“But say,” said his father, “do you know how much he has?”

“No, by Zeus,” said Cyrus, “I know nothing about it.”

“And do you nevertheless trust to these uncertainties? And do you not know that you will need many things and that he must now have many other expenses?”

“Yes,” said Cyrus, “I do.”

“Well, then,” said he, “if his resources fail or if he play you false on purpose, how will your army fare?”

“Evidently not very well; but father,” said he, “if you have in mind any means that I might find at my own command for obtaining supplies, tell me about it, while we are still in a friendly country.”

1 Supplies essential to success

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