never before brought himself to explain to me when going out on one of his many labors.He had always departed as if to conquer, not to die. But now, as if he were a doomed man, he told me what I should take for my marriage portion, and what share of their father's land he wished divided for his children. And he fixed the time for the division, saying that, when he had been gonefrom our land for a year and three months, he was fated either to die at that time, or by escaping the end of the period to live thereafter an untroubled life. That, he explained, was the fate ordained by the godsto be the end of the labors of Heracles just as, he said, the ancient oak at Dodona had once told him through the mouths of the two Peleiades. And it is in the present time that the truth of these prophecies is coming to pass, so that they must be fulfilled.As a result I leap up from sweet sleep in fear, dear maidens, terrified at the possibility that I must remain widowed of the noblest man of all.