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1 HOUGHTON MIFFLIN

2 by Edwin Hernandez Illustrated by Arvis Stewart ILLUSTRATION CREDITS: 5 Joe LeMonnier / Melissa Turk PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Bkgrnd 2, 5, 11, 18 Bob Ainsworth Copyright by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner unless such copying is expressly permitted by federal copyright law. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be addressed to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers, Attn: Permissions, 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida Printed in China ISBN-13: ISBN-10: If you have received these materials as examination copies free of charge, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt School Publishers retains title to the materials and they may not be resold. Resale of examination copies is strictly prohibited. Possession of this publication in print format does not entitle users to convert this publication, or any portion of it, into electronic format.

3 Long ago, the ancient Greeks told many stories about gods and goddesses. These stories are called myths. In these myths, the gods and goddesses often changed people s lives. A Greek poet named Homer wrote a myth called The Iliad. This myth is about love, friendship, death, and glory. The Iliad tells the events of the Trojan War. The Trojan War lasted for ten years. A warrior, or soldier, named Achilles (uh KIL eez) played a big part in the Trojan War. 2

4 The ancient Greeks thought that the river Styx had very special powers. A Choice for Achilles Before Achilles was born, his mother heard a prophecy, or prediction. The prophecy said that Achilles could choose his own fate, or destiny. Achilles could choose to have a family and die peacefully as an old man. If he chose to live that way, he would not be famous. Or, Achilles could choose to be a famous warrior. But if he chose to be a warrior, he would die young. This prophecy made Achilles mother afraid for her son s safety. So after Achilles was born, she carried him to the river Styx. This river s waters were said to have special powers. She dipped Achilles into the river. She thought the river s waters would protect Achilles. 3

5 But Achilles mother held him by the heel. Achilles heel stayed dry. It was the only place on his body that could be hurt. Achilles mother did not want him to fight in any wars. But war did come. The war started because of one rash, or reckless, act by a young prince. His name was Paris. Achilles would have to choose his destiny because of Paris. The Greek Kings Make a Promise Paris was a handsome young prince. He was the son of the king of Troy. Paris heard about a woman of great beauty named Helen. All the kings of Greece wanted to marry Helen. But Helen s father was Zeus, the most powerful Greek god. Zeus would decide who would marry her. Before Zeus made his decision, the kings made him a promise. They promised to protect Helen, no matter who Zeus chose to marry her. Zeus chose Menelaus (men uh LAY uhs), who was king of Sparta. Menelaus was a good, kind man. Helen soon grew to love him. Zeus did not even consider Paris for Helen s husband. So Paris made a deal with the goddess Aphrodite (AF row dy tee). Aphrodite promised to make Helen the wife of Paris. She helped Paris capture Helen. Then Paris took Helen to his home, the city of Troy. 4

6 Ancient Greece Troy was where the Trojan War took place. Menelaus Asks for Help Menelaus learned that Paris had kidnapped Helen. He felt great fury, or anger. He asked the Greek kings to remember their promise. You promised to protect Helen. The time has come to carry out your promise, Menelaus said. The kings set up a massive, or huge, fleet of ships. Each ship had warriors, weapons, and supplies. Menelaus chose his brother, Agamemnon (ag uh MEHM nohn), as the fleet s leader. The plan was to take back Helen and destroy the city of Troy. Achilles had not made a promise to Zeus. But Achilles loved to fight. He agreed to join the fleet. 5

7 A thousand ships sailed to attack Troy. The Trojan War Begins The war to take back Helen from the city of Troy was the Trojan War. (The people of Troy were called Trojans. ) The Greek ships sailed to Troy. They were arranged like a huge labyrinth, or confusing pattern. But the Trojans were ready to fight. Hector led the Trojan army. He was brave and strong. The two armies fought hard, but neither side could win. The fighting went on for years. Finally, the Greeks defeated some small cities close to Troy. The Greeks captured gold, weapons, and prisoners. One of the prisoners was Chryseis (kry SEE ihs). Chryseis was the daughter of a priest. Another prisoner was a beautiful servant named Briseis (bry SEE ihs). 6

8 Achilles fell in love with Briseis. He loved her as much as he loved to fight. Agamemnon made Chryseis his servant. One night, Chryseis s father came to Agamemnon s tent. He called out, Agamemnon, let my daughter go! You have no right to keep her! These words did not affect Agamemnon. Take him away, he ordered his guards. See to it that he never comes back. On his way home, Chryseis s father prayed to the god Apollo. I call upon you to punish Agamemnon. He has dishonored me. He holds my daughter Chryseis against her will. Apollo decided to grant his prayer. The Greeks Fight Each Other The next day, Apollo made the Greek soldiers sick. But the Trojans did not get sick. The Trojans began to win the war. Achilles did not want the Greeks to lose the war. He called a meeting of all the Greek leaders. They talked about what to do next. One person at the meeting was a prophet, or someone who could see into the future. He told Agamemnon, You must return Chryseis to her father if you want to end this sickness. Achilles and the other leaders agreed with the prophet. 7

9 Very well, said Agamemnon. I will let her go on one condition Achilles must also give up Briseis. Achilles became angry. He grabbed his sword. If you take her away, I ll kill you myself! Achilles shouted. The next day, Agamemnon let Chryseis go home to her father. Then Agamemnon sent three servants to take Briseis away. Achilles saw that the servants were afraid of him. He told them, I don t blame you. I blame your master, Agamemnon. Achilles decided to let Briseis go. After she left, Achilles became very sad and cried bitterly. After Chryseis returned to her father, the god Apollo ended the sickness. The Greek soldiers became strong again. They fought hard, but the Trojans fought even harder. And now the Greeks had a new problem. Achilles refused to fight. The Pride of Achilles During the war, the Greeks learned another prophecy about Achilles. This prophecy said that the Greeks would lose if Achilles did not fight. All of the Trojans feared Achilles. Even the Trojans best fighter Hector was afraid of Achilles. Achilles grabs his sword. He makes a threat against Agamemnon. 8

10 Achilles was almost like a god. He was the strongest and bravest of all the Greeks. Achilles was also the most proud. He did not forget that Agamemnon took Briseis away from him. Achilles pride was hurt. He would not forgive Agamemnon. Achilles decided to abandon the Greek army. He said he would not fight anymore. Achilles told his mother, Ask Zeus to make sure the Greeks keep losing. I want them to know how much they need me. I want them to know what I lost because Agamemnon was selfish. Achilles mother agreed to visit Zeus. 9

11 The god Zeus helped the Trojans. As a result, the Greeks lost more battles. The Trojans pushed the Greeks all the way back to the harbor. The Greeks quickly built a wall around the harbor to protect their ships. Still, the Trojans came close to destroying the Greek ships. Agamemnon Sends a Message to Achilles Agamemnon knew the Greeks needed Achilles to fight. They could not win unless Achilles did. Agamemnon sent three leaders to Achilles. One of the leaders was Odysseus (oh DIS ee uhs), king of Ithaca. Achilles trusted Odysseus. Join us, Odysseus said to a somber, or serious, Achilles. If you do, Agamemnon will reward you with gold. Achilles did not respond. Odysseus added, He will also return Briseis to you. Achilles listened. But he stayed steadfast and did not change his mind. He said, Tell Agamemnon he cannot pay me to fight. If he wants me to fight, he should tell me he is sorry. Odysseus returned to Agamemnon. The pride of Achilles may cause the Greeks to lose the war, Odysseus said. 10

12 A Greek poet named Homer wrote The Iliad. He also wrote a story called The Odyssey. The Odyssey tells what happened to Achilles friend Odysseus after the Trojan War ended. Odysseus sailed from island to island, trying to get home. It took him ten years to finally reach Ithaca, his home. Patroclus Fights for Achilles The next day Patroclus (puh TROH klus) came to see Achilles. They had fought side by side in many wars. The battle is not going well, said Patroclus. Agamemnon and Odysseus are wounded. The Trojans are setting fire to our ships. Since you refuse to fight, let me fight in your place. Let me wear your armor. Achilles agreed. His armor had also been dipped in the river Styx. The armor gave extra protection in battle. 11

13 Push back the Trojans, Achilles said to Patroclus. But don t try to kill Hector. We will do that together. We will both gain much glory. Patroclus put on the armor and walked to the battlefield. The Greek army cheered when they saw Patroclus. They thought he was Achilles since he was in Achilles armor. Patroclus stepped into Achilles chariot and raised his hand. The Greek army was ready. Patroclus led them into battle. Patroclus forgets his promise to Achilles and attacks Hector. Hector Patroclus 12

14 By late afternoon, the Greeks pushed the Trojans back. The Greeks were now very close to the city of Troy. Patroclus led another charge. The Greeks pushed the Trojans back even more. The Trojan army was about to unravel, or fall apart. As the sun went down, Patroclus saw Hector. Patroclus forgot his promise to Achilles. He followed Hector. The two warriors lifted their spears. They raced toward each other. Their chariots made a great cloud of dust. Because of the dust, no one could see Patroclus and Hector fighting. When the dust settled, Patroclus lay dead. Achilles Learns That Patroclus Is Dead Achilles was resting in his tent when a messenger came. Achilles looked up. What is it? Achilles asked. Patroclus is dead, said the messenger. Hector killed him in battle. But... how? Achilles asked. He was wearing my armor. Hector s spear hit Patroclus on the hip. Your armor did not cover this spot, so Patroclus died right away. Then Hector took the armor and put it on himself. 13

15 Achilles was so sad that his mother came from miles away to comfort him. Achilles Accepts His Fate Achilles cried bitterly over the death of his friend. Even the loss of Briseis did not cause Achilles so much pain. Only one thing will make my sadness go away, Achilles said to his mother. And that is Hector s death. I will make him pay for what he has done. Achilles mother tried to change his mind. She said, The gods say that when Hector dies, you will die soon after him. If you return home now, you can still die an old man. The choice is yours, my son. Anger burned inside Achilles. I will do what must be done, Achilles said. 14

16 The next day, Achilles saw a flash of light in the sky. His mother held up a new suit of shining armor. The gods had made the armor for Achilles, and he felt joy in his heart. Achilles mother knew the fate that Achilles had chosen. Before you put this on, she said, I want you to listen to me. Thousands of Greek soldiers died in battle while you sat in your tent. Swallow your pride. Accept your fate on the battlefield. You will gain great fame and glory. Achilles knew that his mother was right. He hugged her in a warm embrace. Then, Achilles met with Agamemnon and the other Greek kings. Achilles forgave Agamemnon. What is past is past, he said. It s time to finish what we started ten long years ago. Achilles mother gives him a new suit of armor made by the gods. 15

17 Achilles Hector Achilles wears his new armor. He is fighting Hector. Achilles put on his new armor. He climbed into his chariot. Achilles led a final charge against the Trojans. The Trojan army was afraid of Achilles in his shining armor. 16

18 They ran back to the city of Troy. The king of Troy opened the city gates, and the Trojan army went safely inside. When the gates closed, only one warrior faced Achilles Hector. The people of Troy stood on top of the city walls. They watched the two great warriors fight on the battlefield below them. Both Hector and Achilles were strong. Each warrior wanted to win glory for himself and victory for his army. Hector threw his spear first. Achilles held up his shield. The armor of the gods was very strong. The spear bounced away. With a loud cry, Achilles threw his spear. It went straight into Hector s collarbone, and he fell dead. The Fate of Achilles After Hector died, the Greeks began to win the war. Meanwhile, Achilles waited for the rest of his fate. He had won glory in battle. But Achilles knew he was going to die soon. The Trojan army stayed inside the walls of Troy. They stood on top of the walls and shot arrows at the Greek soldiers below. Paris who started the war shot arrows better than any other Trojan. Paris aimed a poisoned arrow at Achilles. The god Apollo helped Paris and guided the arrow. It struck Achilles in the heel. 17

19 Achilles heel was the only place on his body that was not protected. This is where Achilles mother held him when she dipped him in the river Styx. He reached down and pulled the arrow out. Achilles stumbled, then fell dead. The prophecy had come true. Achilles helped the Greeks defeat the Trojans at last. Helen returned to Menelaus, her rightful husband. Thousands of years later, Achilles story is still told. He was a very strong warrior. But Achilles had a weakness, too. He was too proud. Even proud Achilles could not escape his fate in the end. The term Achilles heel is often used today. It describes a weakness in a person. For example, picture a student who gets good grades but fails math. Math would be that person s Achilles heel. 18

20 Responding TARGET SKILL Story Structure What is the setting of Proud Achilles? Who are the major characters? What is the conflict in the story? How is it resolved? Copy and complete the chart below. Characters:? Setting:? Conflict: Achilles could win fame, but die young. Or he could live a long life, but have no fame. Resolution:? Write About It Text to Self Why did the Greeks go to war against the Trojans? Write a summary paragraph that answers this question. Include only major characters and events in your summary. 19

21 TARGET VOCABULARY abandon bitterly embrace fury labyrinth massive rash somber steadfast unravels TARGET SKILL Story Structure Examine details about characters, setting, and plot. TARGET STRATEGY Infer/Predict Use text clues to figure out what the author means or what might happen in the future. GENRE A myth is a story that tells what a group of people believes about the world. Write About It In a famous quotation, Aung San Suu Kyi said, Please use your freedom to promote ours. What freedoms do you value most? Why? Write a letter to the editor of a Burmese newspaper explaining the freedoms you have and why they are important to you. 20

22 Level: V DRA: 50 Genre: Myth Strategy: Infer/Predict Skill: Story Structure Word Count: 2, HOUGHTON MIFFLIN Online Leveled Books

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