Chapter I

IN Haliartus, which is a city of Boeotia, lived a young damsel of surpassing beauty, whose name was Aristoclia, the daughter of Theophanes. This lady was courted by Straton an Orchomenian, and Callisthenes of Haliartus; but Straton was the more wealthy of the two, and more enamored of the virgin. For he had seen her bathing herself in the fountain of Hercyne, which is in Lebadea, against the time that she was to bear the sacred basket in honor of Jupiter the King. But the virgin herself had a greater affection for Callisthenes, for that he was more nearly allied to her. In this case, her father Theophanes, not knowing well what to do (for he was afraid of Straton, who had the advantage both of noble birth and riches above all the rest of the Boeotians), resolved to refer the choice to the oracle of Trophonius. On the other side, Straton (for he was made believe by some of the virgin's familiar acquaintance that his mistress had the greatest kindness for him) earnestly desired to refer the matter to the election of the virgin herself. But when Theophanes put the question to his daughter in a great assembly of all the friends of all parties, it fell out that the damsel preferred Callisthenes. Thereupon it presently appeared in Straton's countenance how much he was disgusted at the indignity he had received. However, two days after, he came to [p. 313] Theophanes and Callisthenes, requesting the continuance of their friendship, notwithstanding that some Daemon had envied him the happiness of his intended marriage. They so well approved his proposal, that they invited him to the wedding and the nuptial feast. But he in the mean time having mustered together a great number of his friends, together with a numerous troop of his own servants, whom he secretly dispersed and disposed up and down in places proper for his purpose, watched his opportunity so well that, as the damsel was going down, according to the custom of the country, to the fountain called Cissoessa, there to pay her offerings to the Nymphs before her wedding-day, he and his accomplices rushing out of their ambuscade seized upon the virgin, whom Straton held fast and pulled to himself. On the other side, Callisthenes, with those that were about him, as it is easy to be believed, flew with all speed to her relief; and in this fatal contest, while the one tugged and the other hauled, the unhappy damsel perished. As for Callisthenes, he was never seen any more; whether he laid violent hands upon himself, or whether it were that he left Boeotia as a voluntary exile; for no man could give any account of him afterwards. And as for Straton, he slew himself before the eyes of all upon the dead body of the unfortunate virgin.

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load focus Greek (Gregorius N. Bernardakis, 1892)
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