II. KING PELIAS

That day King Pelias, who was walking through the streets of his city, saw coming toward him a youth who only had one sandal. He remembered the words of the oracle that told him to beware of a man with only one shoe, and straightway he gave orders to his guards to seize the youth.

But the guards hesitated when they went toward him, for there was something about the youth that put them in awe of him. He came with the guards, however, and he stood before the king’s judgment seat.

Fearfully Pelias looked at him. But fearlessly the youth looked at the king. With head lifted high he cried out, “You are Pelias, but I do not bow to you as king. Know that I am Jason, the son of Æson from whom you took the throne and scepter that were rightfully his.”

King Pelias looked to his guards. He would have given them a sign to kill the youth with their spears, but behind his guards he saw a threatening sight—the people of the city of Iolcus. They gathered around, and Pelias knew that he had become more and more hated by them. A cry went up, “Æson, Æson! May Æson come back to us! Jason, son of Æson! May nothing evil happen to you, brave youth!”

Then Pelias knew that the youth could not be killed. He bent his head while he plotted against him in his heart. Then he raised his eyes, and looking upon Jason he said, “It may be that you are the son of Æson, my brother. I am very pleased to see you here. I have had hopes that I might be friends with Æson, and your coming here may be the way to renew our friendship. We two brothers may come together again. I will send for your father now, and he will be brought to meet you in my royal palace. Go with my guards and with these rejoicing people, and in a little while you and I and your father Æson will sit at a feast of friends.”

Jason went with the guards and the crowd of people, and he came to the palace of the king and he was taken inside. The maids led him to the bath and gave him new robes to wear. Dressed in these Jason looked like a prince indeed.

But all that time King Pelias remained on his judgment seat with his crowned head bent down. When he raised his head he was frowning and had a dark expression on his face. He looked at the swords and spears of his guards, and he made a sign to the men to stay close to him. Then he left the judgment seat and he went to the palace.