A NOVEL IN PROGRESS: From an Age of Gold

"THE WRESTLING MATCH"

There was to be a royal wedding celebrated in Phthia and by royal ukase no one in the city might be absent from that.

This I heard from Aphrocleia, my hostess, the owner of taverna where I had installed myself, hidden, as paying guest. She told me that the old king had died of a fall on his great charcoal black horse while hunting, only a few weeks before my arrival. His only son, Eurytion, had succeeded him. Barely eighteen years of age, the lad was said to be already as kingly as his more pleasure-loving sire had been. Handsome, and generous, wise and courteous, if he had any fault at all, the always critical Aphrocleia declared, it was that he listened to the advice of his three older sisters over that of the male elders of the royal court. But this was not really unanticipated: the three princesses were already half grown when his mother had died, soon after giving birth to him. Together they had raised him, so naturally enough, respectful Eurytion treated the sisters as if they were his mother.

They wished him married off to one of their own friends, a woman of the second best family of Phthia, named Polydora, some years older, and beautiful, if already a widow and with a daughter. Many Phthians assumed that Eurytion would be ruled by his wife, and thus by his sisters. But then, aside from his sport, the old king he succeeded had been secretly swayed in most matters by his own three wise daughters and most thought that no harm had or would come to Phthia because of it. So matters could be worse. If the young king could keep the wife pregnant repeatedly she would be less interfering, or so Aphrocleia declared, and added that the king seemed virile enough for that easy task.

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