Nathaniel Hawthorne: Tanglewood Tales:
Review: Nathaniel Hawthorne undertook the project of re-writing some of the most famous of the ancient Greek myths in a volume for children called The Tanglewood Tales. Contemporary Charles Kingsley (See Above), like Hawthorne, directed his retold myths to children.
“The Golden Fleece”. From: Tanglewood Tales (1853):
“At all events, turn back who may, I will never see Greece again, unless I carry with me the Golden Fleece”.
(Ibd. Jason. Op Hawthorne. The Golden Fleece. From “Tanglewood Tales”, 1853)
Quotes and Extracts From “The Golden Fleece”:
“What would you do, brave Jason“, asked King Pelias, “if there were a man in the world, by whom, as you had reason to believe, you were doomed to be ruined and slain–what would you do, I say, if that man stood before you, and in your power?”… “I would send such a man,” said he, “in quest of the Golden Fleece!” .
“This enterprise, you will understand, was, of all others, the most difficult and dangerous in the world. In the first place it would be necessary to make a long voyage through unknown seas. There was hardly a hope, or a possibility, that any young man who should undertake this voyage would either succeed in obtaining the Golden Fleece, or would survive to return home”…
“But when the Argonauts, as these fifty brave adventurers were called, had prepared everything for the voyage, an unforeseen difficulty threatened to end it before it was begun. The vessel, you must understand, was so long, and broad, and ponderous, that the united force of all the fifty was insufficient to shove her into the water”…
“All at once, Jason bethought himself of the galley’s miraculous figure-head. “O, daughter of the Talking Oak,” cried he, “how shall we set to work to get our vessel into the water?” .”Seat yourselves,” answered the image (for it had known what had ought to be done from the very first, and was only waiting for the question to be put), “seat yourselves, and handle your oars, and let Orpheus play upon his harp.”
“Immediately, the fifty heroes got on board, and seizing their oars, held them perpendicularly in the air, while Orpheus (who liked such a task far better than rowing) swept his fingers across the harp. At the first ringing note of the music, they felt the vessel stir… The rowers plied their fifty oars; the white foam boiled up before the prow; the water gurgled and bubbled in their wake; while Orpheus continued to play so lively a strain of music, that the vessel seemed to dance over the billows by way of keeping time to it”.
“Then, the Argonauts sailed onward and met with many other marvelous incidents, any one of which would make a story by itself. At one time they landed on an island, and were reposing on the grass, when they suddenly found themselves assailed by what seemed a shower of steel-headed arrows. So Jason ran to the galley as fast as his legs would carry him. “O, daughter of the Speaking Oak,” cried he, all out of breath, “we need your wisdom more than ever before! We are in great peril from a flock of birds, who are shooting us with their steel-pointed feathers. What can we do to drive them away?”. “Make a clatter on your shields,” said the image. On receiving this excellent counsel, Jason hurried back to his companions (who were far more dismayed than when they fought with the six-armed giants), and bade them strike with their swords upon their brazen shields!…
“Gleaming among the venerable oaks, there was a radiance, not like the moonbeams, but rather resembling the golden glory of the setting sun. It proceeded from an object, which appeared to be suspended at about a man’s height from the ground, a little farther within the wood… With one bound, he leaped aboard. At sight of the glorious radiance of the Golden Fleece, the nine and forty heroes gave a mighty shout, and Orpheus, striking his harp, sang a song of triumph, to the cadence of which the galley flew over the water, homeward bound, as if careering along with wings! “.
Nathaniel Hawthorne ( 1804/1864 ).-
Read “The Golden Fleece” and others Tanglewood Tales, by Nathaniel Hawthorne:
See Also: “Adventures of the Greek Heroes Jason and the Argonauts”. From: The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales for My Children, by Charles Kingsley:
(Preface of The Heroes or Greek Fairy Tales for my children, by Charles Kingsley):
(“Adventures of the Greek Heroes Jason and the Argonauts”. From The Heroes, or Greek Fairy Tales for My Children, by Charles Kingsley).-