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Hephaestus. Apollo

Heph. Have you seen Maia's baby, Apollo? such a pretty little thing, with a smile for everybody; you can see it is going to be a treasure.

Ap. That baby a treasure? well, in mischief, Iapetus is young beside it.

Heph. Why, what harm can it do, only just born?

Ap. Ask Posidon; it stole his trident. Ask Ares; he was surprised to find his sword gone out of the scabbard. Not to mention myself, disarmed of bow and arrows.

Heph. Never! that infant? he has hardly found his legs yet; he is not out of his baby-linen.

Ap. Ah, you will find out, Hephaestus, if he gets within reach of you.

Heph. He has been.

Ap. Well? all your tools safe? none missing?

Heph. Of course not.

Ap. I advise you to make sure.

Heph. Zeus! where are my pincers?

Ap. Ah, you will find them among the baby-linen.

Heph. So light-fingered? one would swear he had practised petty larceny in the womb.

Ap. Ah, and you don't know what a glib young chatterbox he is; and, if he has his way, he is to be our errand-boy! Yesterday he challenged Eros--tripped up his heels somehow, and had

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him on his back in a twinkling; before the applause was over, he had taken the opportunity of a congratulatory hug from Aphrodite to steal her girdle; Zeus had not done laughing before--the sceptre was gone. If the thunderbolt had not been too heavy, and very hot, he would have made away with that too.

Heph. The child has some spirit in him, by your account.

Ap. Spirit, yes--and some music, moreover, young as he is.

Heph. How can you tell that?

Ap. He picked up a dead tortoise somewhere or other, and contrived an instrument with it. He fitted horns to it, with a cross-bar, stuck in pegs, inserted a bridge, and played a sweet tuneful thing that made an old harper like me quite envious. Even at night, Maia was saying, he does not stay in Heaven; he goes down poking his nose into Hades--on a thieves' errand, no doubt. Then he has a pair of wings, and he has made himself a magic wand, which he uses for marshalling souls--convoying the dead to their place.

Heph. Ah, I gave him that, for a toy.

Ap. And by way of payment he stole--

Heph. Well thought on; I must go and get them; you may be right about the baby-linen.


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