Select the desired text size

courtesy of the spartan boy.

Age Rating 8 plus.

yyyyy Start of Story

There were, hundreds of years ago, two very large and grand cities, which strove to excel each other. The one city was Sparta, the other was Athens. These cities were not like our cities of today. They had beautiful, broad streets, but no street cars. They had magnificent buildings, but no electric lights. They did have schools, but they were unlike our schools. The boys in both Athens and Sparta were taken away to school when they were six years of age. In Athens the boys were taught that they must become very strong and manly. They had running, jumping, leaping, swimming, and racing exercises, to give them rigid muscles and strong, healthy bodies. Occasionally they were allowed to visit at their homes for a day or two. The boys were also taught to sing and to read. The Spartan boy was taught that he must become very strong and self-reliant. His schoolroom was very plain and bare. He was never allowed to go home to visit. He had to wear, in both summer and winter, the same plain, loose clothing. He slept out of doors in the summer-time, under the trees. In the wintertime he slept in a very open building, on a bed of reeds and rushes, which he had to gather from the river in the long, heated summer days for his winter bed. He had no bedclothing except the down which the wild ducks had shed, and which he had gathered in the forests. He learned to read, write, and to sing. He learned to run, to leap, to swim, and to throw the javelin.

One time the boys from both Athens and Sparta were to meet in a great amphitheater to hear a very wise and learned old man speak. The boys had all gathered, and with them many other people. The amphitheater was full. Not a vacant seat was left, and the people were patiently waiting for the old man to appear. At last he came. He came in so quietly that he was not noticed, except by two boys, one on each side of the aisle. One was a Spartan boy and one was an Athenian. The Athenian boy and Spartan boy both rose immediately. The Athenian boy sat down, but the Spartan boy still stood. He insisted that the old man take his seat, but the old man gently refused, and passed on up the aisle to the place from which he was to address the people. Then the Spartan boy sat down. The old man recognized this act of courtesy, and, while talking to the boys, said that the Athenian boy knew what to do, but did not do it. The Spartan boy had the courage to do it.

the end

back to top
Back To Top

Download the text
download the text