f. They again shook hands and Apollo, taking the child back to Olympus, told Zeus all
that had happened. Zeus warned Hermes that henceforth he must respect the rights of property
and refrain from telling downright lies; but he could not help being amused.
‘You seem to be a very ingenious, eloquent, and persuasive godling,’ he said.
‘Then make me your herald, Father,’ Hermes answered, ‘and I will be responsible for the
safety of all divine property, and never tell lies, though I cannot promise always to tell the whole truth.’
‘That would not be expected of you,’ said Zeus, with a smile. ‘But your duties would
include the making of treaties, the promotion of commerce, and the maintenance of free rights
of way for travellers on any road in the world.’ When Hermes agreed to these conditions,
Zeus gave him a herald’s staff with white ribbons, which everyone was ordered to respect; a
round hat against the rain, and winged golden sandals which carried him about with the
swiftness of wind. He was at once welcomed to the Olympian family, whom he taught the art
of making fire by the rapid twirling of the fire-stick.
g. Afterwards, the Thriae showed Hermes how to foretell the future from the dance of
pebbles in a basin of water; and he himself invented both the game of knuckle-bones and the
art of divining by them. Hades also engaged him as his herald, to summon the dying gently
and eloquently, by laying the golden staff upon their eyes.
h. He then assisted the Three Fates in the composition of the Alphabet, invented
astronomy, the musical scale, the arts of boxing and gymnastics, weights and measures
(which some attribute to Palamedes), and the cultivation of the olive-tree.
(Robert Graves – The Greek Myths: 1955, revised 1960)