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Under this mountain
and near the sea
there was, these old years,
a big city,
which was called Iolkos.
In Iolkos was reigning at that time Pelias.
He stole the throne
from his brother Aeson,
and in order not to suffer the same from his relatives,
others he killed and others
he locked in the prison.
Aeson managed to escape
at night with his son. He advanced
through the olive trees and the vineyards
and arrived at the root of the mountain.
In quite some time they arrived
at a huge plane tree,
where at its root water was flowing cold like ice.
They sat there,
they ate some bread,
and then they took the trail
and climped to the top
of a formidable cliff.
Aeson then stopped and said to his son,
while indicating to the right:
-«Do you see, my child, these trees?
There is the cave
where lives the wise Centaur».
In a while they approached
and they looked with admiration.
From the cliffs to the right and left
and over the opening of the cave,
there were hanging vines
loaded with grapes.
A little further ahead
a fountain was pouring its fresh waters
in a deep valley.
From time to time in the clamor of the water
it was heard the sound of the lyre
and sweet song.
Aeson then said to his son:
-«Go, my child, into the cave.
There you will meet
a strange man,
but you shouldn't be scared.
Go near him,
put your hands on his knees
and tell him: On the name of the great Zeus,
I devote to you my self».
The little one listened to the words of his father,
and with courage he entered in the cave.
There he saw
the wise Centaur
lying on branches of laurel and of myrtle.
He was truly a strange creature, the Centaur.
From the head to the waist he was human,
and from the waist down he was powerful horse.
The white hair of his head
was falling like foaming waves on his back,
and the snow white beard of his
was covering his broad chest.
His eyes were full of kindness
and proud was his forehead.
The kid, as he saw Centaur
and listened to the melodic song of his,
he forgot all about what his father said and was looking perplexed.
But when he wanted
to put his hands on his knees
and talk to him, as he had been advised by his father,
he said to him:
The kid ran
and called his father;
and when they came at the cave, Centaur said to Aeson:
-«Why didn't you come as well together,
but you just sent your son?».
-«I wanted to test him», responded Aeson,
«to see if he is fearless, as they should be the children of the heroes».
«But in the name of Zeus,
accept my child to educate him
together with the other little heroes; and when he grows,
let him go to Iolkos to look for his right».
He extended kindly
Centaur his hand
to the blonde head of the little one and said to him:
-«Did you hear what your father says?
Do you want to stay with me?
Aren't you afraid of me?».
-«No», responded the little one.
«The will of my father
is mine too. Ahh,
how would I also like to be Centaur and to have
the same sweet voice!».
Centaur smiled and said:
sit near me.
When the sun sets,
they will return here also the other children
and you will get to know them».
-«You, Aeson, you can go with my best wishes and be patient,
until they pass the difficult years.
I hope, that your son
will honor his generation».
It was about time for the sun to set, when were heard from the outside
voices and footsteps.
They were the young heroes, who returned from the hunt.
«Come out to see our prey!».
they were shouting to Centaur
Pileas and Hercules,
who had run ahead from the others.
-«I killed with my arc these two deers»,
Hercules was saying. -«And I killed the two roe deers»,
two small bears;
they were growling and were trying to bite his hands;
he nevertheless was laughing,
because he knew that neither human nor beast
could hurt him.
He was walking slowly with his head bent,
as if he was thinking something important,
and he was carrying in his hands
I saw a goat that was bitten by a poisonous snake;
she run in a deep ravine,
she ate from this herb and she was saved».
«This other herb
cures the diseases of the humans.
A pastor who was very ill,
I cured him with this!».
-«Apollo and Athena
are handing out to each one the charismas.
To you, Asclepius,
they gave the greatest».
«The others are training
in the art of war
and they are learning how one
can kill the others.
You are looking for the medicines,
in order to rescue all human beings from the death».
Then the little heroes
took the axes
and began to shred woods
in order to ignite fire.
After they had lit the fire,
they put to roast the deers
which they killed in the hunt.
When they finished supper,
they talked with their wise teacher,
they played the lyre and they sang.
Centaur then rose from the table
and he climbed on the top of a high rock.
From there it seemed
like silver the sea,
as the moon illuminated it.
He stood on the top,
with his head raised towards the sky,
and he began to play his lyre
and to sing to the night
with its shining stars
and the silver moon.
The children remained silent
and listened to him. When he stepped down from the top,
they run and they kissed his hands. Then
each one went to sleep.
He was staring the way of the moon
and the position that each star had,
and he was drawing it on a big shell.
When finally the midnight arrived, he entered as well inside the cave,
and he laid down on his mattress,
that was prepared with myrtles
and with woolly skins of bears.
Next to Centaur
there was sleeping the child of Aeson.
A ray of the moon, that was entering into the cave,
was illuminating the smiling face of the child;
it seemed that he was seeing sweet dreams.
He took his trumpet,
that was made from the horn of a bull
and he blew three times.
Immediately they jumped from their beds the kids
and they ran to the fountain to wash themselves.
they raised their hands to the sky
and they said: «Help us, oh gods,
to become equal and better from our ancestors».
Ahead went the master
and behind followed the children,
and listened with attention
to the wise words that he was telling them.
The son of Aeson,
as younger that he was,
could not follow them
to the long walk.
The gentle Centauro lifted him then to ride over his shoulders.
Thus they walked
inside the forest,
until the sun rose high up
and started to gild
the tops of the mountains.
Centaur was inspecting them all,
he was correcting their mistakes
and he was teaching them how to play the strings
in order to make sounds more sweet.
they sat on thrones of stone that were dispersed
under the shadow of the trees,
and they were listening carefully
to Centaur who was teaching.
«The King», was saying the wise Centaur,
«must sacrifice himself
and all his possessions for his homeland.
A single concern only
must have the good king;
how to make happy his people,
and his kingdom strong and famed».
In the evening they went to a totally green plain due to the vegetation;
they took off their clothes
and they trained in running, in wrestling,
in jumping and in stone throwing.
Vividly and happily the little heroes were training,
and from their voices and their laughters
they were echoing around the mountains and the gorges.
When they finished the training,
they lined up all together held by their arms
and they started a dance.
Centaur was playing his lyre
and the children twisted, jumped,
and moved sometimes forward
and sometimes backward,
according to the tune of the lyre.
Thus they were dancing until the sun set,
and while they were completely nude,
they seemed like alive statues
in the light of the night.
Together with the others
he was dancing cheerful also the child of Aeson;
he was not thinking any more neither of Iolkos,
nor of his friends, nor of his father.
Centaur taught him
everything that he thought he would need
in order to become one day
an invincible warrior and a famous one,
and since often he let him ride on his back,
he also made him a good rider.
Along with these
he also taught him many secrets of the medical science,
and for that reason he called him Jason (the one who cures).
was preparing to do his great achievements
and Peleas was going to Fthia,
in order to take as his wife Thetis, the water nymph
and give birth to Achilles.
There passed quite a few more years.
One day Jason climped
to the highest summit of the mountain
and he sat there for a long time pensive.
a little closer, almost under his feet,
he saw the juicy fields of his homeland,
and then he saw Iolkos.
-«What happens to you, my son?».
-«I would like to know», said Jason,
«if it's true
that I am the heir of the country
that extends under this mountain».
«He will command you to do
many dangerous feats,
and only the gods know, whether you shall manage
to reign some day in Iolkos.
-«There is nothing that scares me!».
Then the wise Centaur said to him:
-«Then go with my blessing.
But you should never forget what I am going to tell you».
You should never give your word before you think well over it;
but once you give it, you should keep it
till you die».
arrived to his homeland,
Pelias got scared,
and in order to ward him off from his side, he ordered him
to go and fetch the Golden Fleece.
Jason invited as partners
many of the kids that he met
in the cave of Centaur.
Most of them were already famous heroes.
He entered in the ship with his companions,
he lifted the sails
and he started his journey to Colchis.
At that moment the Argonauts woke,
and as they saw the mountain,
they remembered their school years.
«Why don't we go out», says Peleas,
«to see our master
and also receive his blessing?
Who knows if we will ever see him again!
When they arrived to the cave,
they found Centaur lying down
and next to him they saw little Achilles
playing the lyre.
When Centaur saw them he got up all happy,
he embraced them one by one,
he kissed them and he begged them
to stay a little with him.
in the arms of his father
and after he kissed him,
he begun to play with his rich armor.
-«He can't wait», said Centaur;
and caressed Achilles,
who was trying to pull from it's scabbard
the sword of his father.
Meanwhile Centaur prepared the table
with tender meats from deers
and small wild boars,
and he had filled up the flasks with old wine.
The argonauts sat
and ate with much appetite;
when they emptied the flasks,
they begged Orpheus
to play his lyre and to sing.
-«I, my son, have grown old now
and my voice has weakened.
Take my lyre
and sing for our sake
the song of the sea».
From there he begun to sing
about the sea the blue,
that takes the ships
and drives them to distant lands.
While Orpheus was singing, his voice was raising
above the cliffs
and was pouring soft and sweet all around.
The trees were bowing their tops
in order to receive the music,
and were resounding it downward the slopes and the gorges.
They stopped all startled the wild beasts
and begun to crawl tamed
towards the place from where it was coming
the magic song.
-«You have enchanted me, my boy.
Apollo and your mother, Kalliopi,
they offered you the most precious gifts.
I wish that Zeus will give to you every kind of happiness».
-«The greatest happiness»,
said the wise Centaur,
«is for someone to be able
to make the others happy».
The time arrived for them to leave
and Centaur accompanied them till the shore.
When Argo reached the open sea, the Argonauts turned their eyes towards Pelio.
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