Maid of Artemis

Maid of Artemis

by Olivia Coolidge, Bea Holmes (Illustrator)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
©1969, Item: 91154
Hardcover, 132 pages
Not in stock

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The first time Ala stepped outside her home, she felt like a child holding tightly onto her father's hand as together they walked to the Acropolis, there to watch the awesome splendor of the young maidens of Artemis performing the mysterious bear dance by moonlight.

A year later Ala herself was to take part in the same rite. But until then she must live away from her family at the Temple of Brauron. There she would learn from the patron goddess, whose image she found so frightening, the meaning of the mysteries of Artemis, which would lead to an understanding of the mysteries of her own womanhood. Ala's lighthearted friend Agarista brightened the troubled year. But the task that faced Ala at the end of the year was constant shadow on the brighter moments. Giving up the pet bird she knew she loved to marry the boy her father had selected for her seemed an impossible choice. It was the young man, Nicolaos, however, who helped Ala decide whether or not to make the final sacrifice which the goddess required of all her maidens.

Writing for the first time a book for younger readers, Olivia Coolidge describes what life must have been like for a girl growing up in ancient Athens. She tells simply and honestly the old, and at the same time very modern, story of a girl desperately trying to hold onto the last comforting vestiges of her childhood. Like her heroine's wise mother, Mrs. Coolidge softly suggests that "growing is pain as well as pleasure."

—from the dust jacket

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