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Onetor then began, “About the time
when the high burning Sun in middle course,
could look back on as much as might be seen
remaining: and some cattle had then bent
their knees on yellow sand; and as they lay
might view the expanse of water stretched beyond.
Some with slow steps were wandering here and there,
and others swimming, stretched their lofty necks
above the waves. A temple near that sea
was fair to view, although 'twas not adorned
with gold nor marble. It was richly made
of beams, and shaded with an ancient grove.
“A sailor, while he dried his nets upon
the shore nearby, declared that aged Nereus
possessed it with his Nereids, as the gods
who ruled the neighboring waters. Very near
it is a marsh, made by the encroaching waves,
all thickly covered with low willow trees.
“From there a loud uncanny crashing sound
alarms the neighborhood. A monster-wolf!
All stained with mud he breaks forth from the marsh,
his thundering jaws thick-covered with vile foam
and clotted blood—his fierce eyes flashing flames
of crimson: and though he was raging, both
with fury and with hunger, the true cause
of his fierce passions was Ferocity.
“He never paused to sate his ravenous hunger
with the first cattle that he fell upon,
but mangled the whole herd, as if at war.
And some of us, while we defended them,
were wounded with his fatal bite and killed.—
the shore and nearest waves were red with blood,
and marshy fens were filled with mournful sounds—
the longings of our cattle.—This delay
is dangerous. We must not hesitate.
We must unite before all is destroyed!
Take up your arms. Arm! and unite, I say!
And bear our weapons for the cause of Right!”
So spoke the countryman, and yet the loss
had no effect on Peleus, though severe,
for he, remembering his red crime, believed
the Nereid had given him that loss—
a just misfortune, as an offering
to the departed Phocus. After this,
King Ceyx, while he put his armor on,
ordered his men to arm themselves with their
best weapons, and to follow his command.
But his fond wife, Halcyone, aroused
by such a tumult, ran to him in haste;
in such haste that her hair was still unfinished,
and such as had been done, she threw
in wild disorder.—Clinging to the neck
of her loved husband, she entreated him
with words and tears, to send his men along.
But keep himself at home and so to save
two lives in one.
But Peleus said “O queen,
'Tis sweet and commendable in you to fear
but needless. Though you promise generous aid,
my hope lies not in fighting with the beast,
I must appease a goddess of the sea.
And the divinity of ocean must
be properly adored.”
A lofty tower
is near there, and upon its extreme height
a signal-fire is burning night and day,
known to the grateful ships. They all went there;
and from its summit they beheld with sighs,
the mangled cattle scattered on the shore,
and saw the ravager among the herd,
his blood-stained jaws and long hair dripping blood.
Then Peleus stretched his arms out towards the sea,
and he implored the azure Psamathe
to lay aside her wrath and give him aid.
But she was deaf to any word of Peleus
entreating her, and would not offer aid,
till Thetis, interceding on behalf
of her afflicted husband, moved her will.
The monster-wolf persisted in his rage,
even when the sea nymph bade him turn aside.
His keen ferocity increased by taste
of new sweet blood; till Psamathe, while he
was seizing the last mangled heifer's neck,
transformed him to hard marble. Every part
of that ferocious monster's shape remained
but it was changed to marble colored stone,
which showed the monster was no more a wolf,
and should no longer be a cause of fear.
But still, the guiding Fates did not permit
the banished Peleus to continue there,
in this land governed by the friendly king.
A wandering exile, he proceeded north
into Magnesia; and was purified
of guilt by King Acastus of that land.
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