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Famous Stories

King Canute On The Seashore
A hundred years or more after the time of Alfred the Great ...

Horatius At The Bridge
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The Story Of Cincinnatus
There was a man named Cin-cin-na'tus who lived on a little ...

The Bell Of Atri
A-tri is the name of a little town in It-a-ly. It is a very...

Socrates And His House
There once lived in Greece a very wise man whose name was S...

Cornelia's Jewels
It was a bright morning in the old city of Rome many hundre...

The Ungrateful Guest
Among the soldiers of King Philip there was a poor man who ...

He Never Smiled Again
The bark that held the prince went down, The sweep...

The Brave Three Hundred
All Greece was in danger. A mighty army, led by the great K...

Damon And Pythias
A young man whose name was Pyth'i-as had done something whi...

Sir Humphrey Gilbert
More than three hundred years ago there lived in England a ...

Bruce And The Spider
There was once a king of Scot-land whose name was Robert Br...

The Barmecide Feast
There was once a rich old man who was called the Bar-me-cid...

King Alfred And The Beggar
At one time the Danes drove King Alfred from his kingdom, a...

The Endless Tale
In the Far East there was a great king who had no work to d...

The Kingdoms
There was once a king of Prussia whose name was Frederick W...

Sir Walter Raleigh
There once lived in England a brave and noble man whose nam...

George Washington And His Hatchet
When George Wash-ing-ton was quite a little boy, his father...

The Miller Of The Dee
Once upon a time there lived on the banks of the River Dee ...

Grace Darling
It was a dark Sep-tem-ber morning. There was a storm at sea...



A LACONIC ANSWER








Many miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we call
Greece. The people of Greece were not u-nit-ed like the Romans; but
instead there were sev-er-al states, each of which had its own rulers.

Some of the people in the southern part of the country were called
Spar-tans, and they were noted for their simple habits and their
brav-er-y. The name of their land was La-co'ni-a, and so they were
sometimes called La-cons.

One of the strange rules which the Spartans had, was that they should
speak briefly, and never use more words than were needed. And so a
short answer is often spoken of as being _la-con-ic_; that is, as
being such an answer as a Lacon would be likely to give.

There was in the northern part of Greece a land called Mac'e-don; and
this land was at one time ruled over by a war-like king named Philip.

Philip of Mac-e-don wanted to become the master of all Greece. So he
raised a great army, and made war upon the other states, until nearly
all of them were forced to call him their king. Then he sent a letter
to the Spartans in La-co-ni-a, and said, "If I go down into your
country, I will level your great city to the ground."

In a few days, an answer was brought back to him. When he opened the
letter, he found only one word written there.

That word was "IF."

It was as much as to say, "We are not afraid of you so long as the
little word 'if' stands in your way."





Next: THE UNGRATEFUL GUEST

Previous: DAMON AND PYTHIAS



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