National Geographic : 1956 Jan
43 Photograph by H.M . Queen Frederika of the Hellenes "A National Geographic Member Welcomes The Society's Representative to Greece" After taking this photograph, Queen Frederika smilingly requested a credit line and suggested the caption above. King Paul's sailor tattoo shows beneath the sleeve of his summer uniform (page 37). transformed your myths into art and civics and philosophy. You have improved upon the gods, and made them amenable to reason." We set out to visit the sources of those myths and the homes of those gods. The road from Athens to Marath6n winds between Pentelicus and Hymettus and comes suddenly into the great plain where the victory of the Athenians over the Persians was won in 490 B.C. Flowers for an Ancient Grave No one can doubt where the battle was fought, for the Athenian dead were buried where they fell, and a great Soros, or mound, soars above their resting place. We walked through rhododendrons to the foot of the stairs which ascend the hallowed tomb. A slender girl, perhaps 10 years old, stood at the stairway, a basket of carnations on her arm. She held out a small bouquet. "For the memory of the glorious dead," George translated. I had nothing smaller than a banknote equivalent to about $1.75. "I am sorry," I said. "I have no change." We started up the steps. She pressed the flowers into my hand. "Then take them with my blessing," she said. "It is not fitting to visit the heroes without a tribute." Touched by the child's sincerity, Jean tucked the banknote into her pocket. Indig nantly she returned it. "I sell my flowers, and they are worth only a tenth of that," she protested. "I do not beg. I want you to have the flowers for the Soros." Jean took the blooms and kissed our young benefactress. At the top we laid the bouquet with a dozen others already on the mound. To the west the mountains rose in a solid wall. To the east the blue Aegean washed the sandy shores. The mountains look on Marathon And Marathon looks on the sea. So wrote Byron, and it must have been here that he stood when those deathless lines were born. Invitation to Lunch At the bottom of the steps George asked our young friend if there was an inn near by. "Not for miles," she said, "but my home is only a mile from here. Come and share our lunch. My father speaks beautiful Eng lish, and he'd like to meet your American friends."