Marathon, as retold by my dad and me

So a runner comes from the direction of Marathon, from the direction of the great battle between Greeks and Persians, to the gate of Athens. A very ragged, tired runner, tired to the point of death; and he gasps: “Hail Athens! Hail the city of Athena! I bring you this supremely important piece of news—”

At which point he clutches at his heart, collapses, exhausted to the point of death, and dies.

Athenians congregate, worried about Marathon, about the fate of their army, about this supremely important piece of unheard news; and send a runner back to Marathon, with instructions to make supreme haste.

The runner arrives at the edges of Marathon’s battlefield, and hails the Greek sentry: “Hail Marathon! Hail the inferior non-Athenian city of the hinterland! I ask for a bit of clarification—”

Whereupon clutch heart, stagger, fall, die of exhaustion.

The victorious Athenian troops stop their revels, congregate, wonder, worry, and send a runner to their home, instructed to run, run like the wind, like wing-heeled Hermes, without pause or worry of health; so turn back to the first line, Dear Reader.

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