XXI HECTOR COMES HOME

                                         XXI

 

Hector’s sister was the first to see her father coming in the dawn across the plain of Troy with the wagon on which Hector’s body was laid. She came down to the City and she cried through the streets, “Oh men and women of Troy, you, who often went to the gates to meet Hector coming back with victory, now come to the gates to receive Hector‘s corpse.”‘

‘Then every man and woman in the City went outside the gate. They brought in the wagon on which Hector was laid, and all day from the early dawn to the going down of the sun they wailed for him who had been the guardian of their city.’

‘His father took the body to the house where Hector had lived and he laid it on his bed. Then Hector’s wife, Andromache, went to the bed and cried over the body. “Husband,” she cried, “you are gone from life, and you have left me a widow in your house. Our child is still little, and he shall not grow to manhood in the halls that were yours, for long before that the City will be taken and destroyed. Ah, how can it stand, when you, who were its best guardian, has died? The folk mourn you, Hector; but for me and for your little son, doomed to grow up amongst strangers and men unfriendly to him, the pain for your death will stay forever.”‘

‘Hekabe, Hector’s mother, went to the bed and cried “Of all my children you, Hector, were the dearest. You were killed because you were not a coward. You were always protecting the men and women of Troy and for that you were killed, my son.”‘

‘And I, Helen, went to the bed too, to mourn for noble Hector. “Of all the friends I had in Troy, you were the dearest, Hector,” I cried. “Never did I hear one harsh word from you to me who brought wars and troubles to your city. In every way you were like a brother to me. Therefore I mourn you with pain in my heart, for in all Troy there is no one now who is friendly to me.”‘

‘Then the King and the people of the City prepared for Hector’s funeral. On the tenth day, weeping most bitter tears they carried brave Hector away. They made a grave for him, and over the grave they put close set stones, and over it all they raised a great tombstone. On the eleventh day they feasted at King Priam’s house, and on the twelfth day the battle began again.’