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He grinned. And Ptolemy got in one of his gibes at Alexander. “You are a marvelous runner. ” Alexander thought of the crowds watching the great games, the athletes straining over the grass course, the chosen runners of the world. He shook his head. “You’re afraid of not coming in first,” Ptolemy jeered. ” Ptolemy smiled. The servants said that water would always be dangerous to Alexander. The spirit that resided in deep water was hostile to him, and no sacrifice could alter that. Nearchus, who had been brought up on the blue sea, said that here in the mountains the torrents were dangerous enough, spirits or no spirits.

The men laughed, all except Philip, who asked if Alexander had thirteen talents. The boy said no, but he could get the money. Philip said, “You have made a wager. Now go through with it. ” Alexander started to run out toward the black horse and for a moment he felt the paralyzing chill that seized him when he faced Ptolemy with a sword. Remembering that Bucephalus had struggled against a blinding cloth, the boy loosed the cape from his own shoulders, letting it fall as he came up to the horse at a walk.

The new houses had pillared porticoes in the Greek style, yet Pella was ugly and dwarfed compared to the great Greek cities in the south. Philip had insisted on moving down from their old home at Aegae in the hills to this lake near the seashore. “If we have no ships,” he grumbled, “at least we can move the city nearer the highway. “ And for once his wife made no objection. The handsomest place in their new capital was the hippodrome Philip had designed with care for his race horses, down by the lake.

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