The Tortoise and the Dare: Bk. 2 (Greek Tales)
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750 BC. The boys at school are excited. The Olympic games are coming to the city. They may be too young to compete, but their teacher suggests the school should have its own games. Of course, girls have no part at all in these festivities, so Elena can only watch as her twin brother, Cypselis, prepares for the race. Then she discovers he has made a bet with Big Bacchiad (the school bully). If Cypselis wins he will get a new goat, if he loses then Elena will become Bacchiad's slave. Elena's freedom is at stake - she needs all her cunning to make sure her brother wins. But will he? As Aesop said, 'Slow and steady wins the race.'
important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the great thing is not winning but fighting well. Let us have no cheating, boys!” He nodded to the bronzed men in the stands. “Let us show our heroes that we too can be heroes! May the best man win!” Or the best girl, I smirked. The crowd cheered and the athletes began to sort themselves out into groups – the javelin throwers at one end of the track and the runners near the start. Master Sophus turned to us and smiled. “Now,
strongest, fastest hero the world has ever known. I think he was like a lot of men. Vain. “The world must remember my great victory,” Heracles said. “Humans must have races every four years! They will be called the Olympics.” The priests said it was a good idea and that’s how the games began. But Heracles didn’t just start the Olympic Games … he started a lot of trouble. Oh, yes, a lot of people enjoy watching the winners. They love the show, the sport and the excitement. But what about the
onto the platform and held up a hand for silence. “Bacchiad has cheated. Bacchiad loses the race. I declare the winner to be Cypselis!” My brother looked in wonder as the wreath was placed on his forehead. The crowd cheered till their throats were as sore as mine. That night, my brother showed Father the winner’s crown. Boys and men. Easily pleased. And me? I showed my mother something far more precious. The goat. That night we ate well. Mother raised a glass of milk in a toast to us.
muttered. “The boys have already started talking about who will win. We’re doing the same events as the grownups. There’s the foot race – 200 paces – then the double foot race – 400 paces. We’ll have the standing long jump, quoit throwing and javelin!” “Great,” I said. “I think I could win the foot race,” he babbled. “I’ll practise after dinner. What are we having for dinner, Mother? Cheese and milk?” “Bread and water,” she sighed. “I love cheese and milk!” “Bread and water,” I said,
as old as us. Never mind how Mother and Father will get through the winter. Never mind how we’ll find the money for another goat. All you can think about is your own stomach!” Cypselis blushed. He wasn’t really thoughtless, just stupid. He nodded. “Sorry, Ellie,” he muttered. “You deserve to be sacrificed like Pelops*!” I raged. “Maybe I can win us a goat if I win the race,” he said quietly. I stopped shouting and listened. “A goat is the prize?” “Not exactly … I had a dare with Big Bacchiad