Padraic Colum > The Golden Fleece > Part III. The Heroes of the Quest > Chapter V. Admetus > III
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972).  The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived before Achilles.  1921.

Part III. The Heroes of the Quest
 
Chapter V. Admetus
 
III
 
ADMETUS left the chamber where his wife had lain and stood before the door of his palace. Dawn was coming, and as he looked toward the temple he saw Heracles coming to the palace. A woman came with him. She was veiled, and Admetus could not see her features.   1
  “Admetus,” Heracles said, when he came before him, “Admetus, there is something I would have you do for me. Here is a woman whom I am bringing back to her husband. I won her from an enemy. Will you not take her into your house while I am away on a journey?”   2
  “You cannot ask me to do this, Heracles,” said Admetus. “No woman may come into the house where Alcestis, only yesterday, had her life.”   3
  “For my sake take her into your house,” said Heracles. “Come now, Admetus, take this woman by the hand.”   4
  A pang came to Admetus as he looked at the woman who stood beside Heracles and saw that she was the same stature as his lost wife. He thought that he could not bear to take her hand. But Heracles pleaded with him, and he took her by the hand.   5
  “Now take her across your threshold, Admetus,” said Heracles.   6
  Hardly could Admetus bear to do this—hardly could he bear to think of a strange woman being in his house and his own wife gone with Death. But Heracles pleaded with him, and by the hand he held he drew the woman across his threshold.   7
  “Now raise her veil, Admetus,” said Heracles.   8
  “This I cannot do,” said Admetus. “I have had pangs enough. How can I look upon a woman’s face and remind myself that I cannot look upon Alcestis’s face ever again?”   9
  “Raise her veil, Admetus,” said Heracles.   10
  Then Admetus raised the veil of the woman he had taken across the threshold of his house. He saw the face of Alcestis. He looked again upon his wife brought back from the grip of Death by Heracles, the son of Zeus. And then a deeper joy than he had ever known came to Admetus. Once more his wife was with him, and Admetus the friend of Apollo and the friend of Heracles had all that he cared to have.   11

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