Chapter 40 of the Book of Stories for the Storyteller
This is a LibriVox recording.
All librivox recordings are in the public domain.
For more information, or to volunteer, please visit librivox.org.
Recording by Ginger Cuccullo
The Book of Stories for the Storyteller, by Fanny Coe. Followed by
Damon & Pythias
Ella Lyman Cabot
More than two thousand years ago two young men who were intimate friends lived in Sicily. Their names were Damon and Pythias.
The ruler of the country, named Dionysius, was a cruel man. He put Pythias in prison and fixed a day for his death. Pythias had done nothing wrong, but he had angered Dionysius.
The father and mother of Pythias lived far away. "May I go home to bid my father and mother good-bye, and to arrange my affairs before I die?" asked Pythias.
The ruler laughed. "That is a strange request," said he. "Of course you would escape and you would never come back."
Still from the American film Damon and Pythias (1914) with William Worthington and Herbert Rawlinson, from the front piece to the 1915 novel.
At that moment Damon stepped forward. "I am his friend," he said. "I will stay in prison till Pythias returns."
Then the ruler asked: "What will happen if Pythias does not return?"
"I will die for him," said Damon.
This surprised Dionysius very much. He put Damon in prison and Pythias went home. Weeks went by and Pythias did not return. At last the day of execution came, and Damon was led out to be put to death. He said: "Pythias will come if he is alive. I can trust him absolutely."
Just then soldiers ran up shouting: "Here he comes! Here he comes!"
Yes, there was Pythias, breathless with haste. He had been shipwrecked on his journey and had been cast ashore many miles away.
Dionysius was greatly moved. "You are both free," said he. "I would give all I have for one such friend. Will you let me become a friend to you both?"