KING CANDAULES was a lover of the beautiful, and as he was unimaginably rich and therefore able to acquire, arrange, and even bring into being beautiful objects, one would have supposed he must be the happiest of men. And perhaps he was, but if so the level of human happiness is not so high as some persons believe, for Candaules had much to annoy him.
In the first place, he found that his position as absolute monarch prevented the candid criticism and discussion necessary to clarify and ripen his æsthetic ideas. Whatever he recommended his courtiers adopted, or pretended to adopt. Sometimes a courtier would assume an attitude of suspended judgment or even of differing opinion, but it was always with the intention of being convinced in the long run. The artists themselves helped him but little. Generally they were only too eager to discover his views and conform with them. Sometimes if they disapproved his orders they were merely sullen, and made some excuse for abandoning the work. Sometimes he found an artist who differed with him and stuck to his own point of view but could give no reason for it. Candaules was ridden by the idea that beauty is not an accidental thing, depending on the justice of the artist’s eye and hand and incapable of giving an account of itself. And then — is ‘beauty’ certainly the word for what gives us pleasure in a work of art? In all the world Candaules knew no one who could and would discuss these matters with him helpfully and frankly, yet every day the importance for life in general of having some rational understanding of them seemed to him greater. He knew, it is true, one or two pedants who had an almost mathematical clearness of mind in regard to æstheties, but they did not know a good picture from a bad one.
Candaules’ best friend and most trusted adviser was Gyges, the captain of the King’s guards and chief of police of Sardis, a strong, handsome man, as young as he could be and yet have arrived at such distinction. Gyges was quite willing to tell the King his true opinion on any subject. But not only was his opinion of works of art of very little value; he went so far as to disapprove of the King’s absorption in these things and to try to divert him to other interests. And the reason why Gyges took this disobliging attitude was closely related to another reason why the King was not perfectly happy.
The truth is that the most absolute of monarchs cannot confine his relations with his subjects to educating their sense of beauty. Candaules’ subjects were dissatisfied with him. He was aware of this, and since he was a kindly and a conscientious man he was troubled by it. He felt that his view of life was anything but selfish; he had no wish to keep beauty to himself. He gave a great deal of thought to public buildings throughout Lydia, to the planning of gardens, to establishing sound standards in furniture down to the humblest utensils, so that it was practically impossible to buy an ugly object. But here he ran against a fact which disconcerted and discouraged him — some people preferred the ugly, and they considered it a grievance if they could not have it.
And an even greater difficulty than this lay in the fact that many elements of his people’s life had no relation to the æsthetic question, and these elements Candaules could hardly force himself to consider with interest. International politics, internal questions of taxation, of agriculture, of education — he acknowledged their importance, but he felt his incompetence to deal with them and grew daily more inclined to leave them to Gyges and his ministers. But he knew the folly and the danger of doing this and felt his greatest pleasures shadowed by it.
Of all the beautiful things which Candaules owned, the most beautiful was his young wife. She was the daughter of a neighboring monarch, trained from her youth up in courtesy and all the graces. Candaules had never seen her do an awkward or an unbecoming thing. The sight of her was a constant gratification to him. But her conversation was less satisfactory. There was warrant in her face for believing that she had a mind, but he had no idea what was in it. However, it seemed to him that the exploration of his beautiful wife’s mind was a delightful occupation for life, and he was in no great hurry. The trouble was that in the meantime he got no sympathy from her on the main question. She loved beauty, it was true; her taste was sound if purely instinctive; a lovely present brought girlish pleasure into her face. But she took the elimination of the ugly as a matter of course; she was a step higher in the scale than Gyges, who was not disturbed by its presence even in considerable quantities, but like Gyges she preferred to talk about other things. Thus Candaules felt himself somewhat snubbed by the two people nearest to him.
On the morning of a beautiful summer day, which seemed much like other days though it was fraught with fate for Candaules, he sent a message to the Queen to ask if he might wait upon her in her apartments.
The brightest moment of his day was always this in which he visited his beautiful wife in the beautiful room he had made for her. The room looked out from the height on which the palace stood over a great stretch of the prosperous land, with mountains on the horizon and the Pactolus flowing down to the sea. The whole north side was open to the air, with great arches to frame the view into manageable parts, for Candaules held strongly that, as seen from a room, nature should be treated as a work of art. There was another point of importance to which he had given much thought without coming to a decision: should a room be lighted by day from one side only, as this was, or should the light come equally from all sides? When he came to visit the Queen, a second of time as he entered was generally occupied by the fleeting thought: would this room be improved if there were a window in each wall? To make such an arrangement would involve the reconstruction of a considerable part of the palace, but candaules would have been ashamed of himself if he had been swayed by such a consideration.
On this particular morning he met outside the Queen’s room a group of women who had evidently just been dismissed from her presence. They were poor women; each of them carried a child and most of them were accompanied by other children. The children were a sorry-looking crew. All were emaciated, some were languid. One was whimpering, but the rest had already learned the pitiful patience of the children of the poor. Candaules noted none of this, but he saw with approval that the faded garments of the group had reached a harmony of tone they could not have had when new, and he reflected for the thousandth time on the wisdom of Providence that makes the clothes of the poor fade early and at the same time forbids the wearers to discard them when this has happened. He also confirmed an old impression that there is no curve more lovely than that made by the shawl which covers the two heads of mother and child. He was therefore pleasantly impressed by the encounter, and after he had entered the Queen’s room and kissed her heartily he said, ‘Dearest, your kindly rule of letting me find you alone deprived me this morning of a pleasure. I should have liked to see you giving alms to those poor women. They made a charming group outside in the corridor.’
The Queen was a tall young woman, strong as well as graceful, proud as well as gentle. In her face there was visible not only mind but character, and even a touch of temper, though it was almost hidden in youthful loveliness. She looked straight into the King’s eyes when she talked with him, yet her manners expressed due deference.
’Did you notice anything about them but their charm?’ she asked.
‘ I am afraid not,’ said the King. I kept the nostrils averted by force of habit.’
‘Quite right,’ said the Queen. ‘If it is true that approaching death gives off an odor, as many people say, that charming little group must smell foully, for those children are all about to die.’
‘What do you mean?’ exclaimed the King. ‘Not as a sacrifice? We don’t allow such things any longer.’
‘Well, yes,’ said the Queen. ‘I suppose they are a sort of sacrifice. They are all dying of the same disease, and it seems to come upon those only who do not have enough to eat. So they are sacrificed to something, it is hard to say what — the whole system of things, apparently.’
‘My dear child,’ said the King, ‘you ought not to know anything about such matters.’
‘Perhaps not,’ said the Queen; and then she added very gently, ‘but perhaps ought you not to know more? Do you know how many children under four years of age die every year here in Sardis alone?’
‘Good heavens, no,’ said the King. ‘Does anybody?’
‘Gyges is trying to find out for me,’said the Queen, ‘but we have just begun, so it will take a year to get started. And then the count must be kept for many years, and if it is to mean anything we must also know how many children are born in each year, and how many persons there are in all. It is very difficult, and it will cost a great deal.’
‘Of course, my dear,’said Candaules, ‘you may command what cost you will. But I feel differently now about the visit of those poor women. It would be a great misfortune if you were to take illness from them.’
‘It might, of course, damage my looks,’ said the Queen.
‘Hush,’ said the King; ‘don’t blaspheme. Should you mind promising me that you will not again admit to your rooms people whom you know to be ill?’
The Queen’s face flushed. ‘Would you prefer to have me visit them in their own homes?’ she asked.
The King looked at her inquiringly. Was this simplicity or impertinence? He preferred the former hypothesis.
‘Dear child,’ he said, ‘if you will oblige me, you will avoid illness wherever it may occur. If I were to be ill myself, I should forbid you my chamber. And you should not even think overmuch of these serious matters. Let Gyges bring his dismal information to me, and we will see what can be done.’
‘Oh, sir,’ said the Queen eagerly, ‘ if I will promise what you wish, will you promise me to make this matter one of your real interests, to spare no pains to get information, to summon the learned men of all countries, to see how it may be stopped, to do everything that can reasonably be done to stop it?’
Candaules was an honest man; he knew he could not promise these things, and that if he did he should break his promise.
‘Leave it all to Gyges,’ he said. And as the Queen turned away in disappointment he went on quickly, ‘I have to ask your help in something that more nearly concerns us both. You know that the Greek artist comes to-morrow to make your portrait statue, and I have not yet made up my mind what you should wear.'
The Queen’s eyes filled with angry tears and she said nothing.
‘Come,’ said Candaules cajolingly. ‘No one has so much taste as you, and this is to be a work of art for the ages. Shall he present you in your queenly robes and diadem? No woman ever looked more truly a queen than you. I should even fear that he might be carried away into the allegorical and turn you out as royalty personified. Perhaps it would be better to present you in your own national dress as you came to me. My heart beats when I think of it. To me personally nothing else could ever give so much pleasure of association. But we must think as artists. If you have no other engagement for an hour, perhaps you would kindly let your maidens dress you in various ways to help my dazzled imagination.’
Since a queen is always to some extent a slave, this proud girl stood quietly and allowed her beauty to be exploited. Candaules was charming with the maids and they adored him. They entered fully into the spirit of the business and held many discussions with the King concerning stuffs and colors. But the Queen was silent. She placed a foot or an arm this way or that as she was bidden. She posed as queen, as bride, as maiden, as huntress, and finally Candaules, dismissing the handmaids, dressed her himself in nothing but jewels, a cup of gemmed gold over each breast and a girdle of gold and gems.
‘Wonderful, wonderful!’ he murmured as he sat back in his chair and gazed at her; but evidently he was still not satisfied, and a new idea was working in his mind.
He rose abruptly. ‘My dearest, you have been more than kind. I hope you are not too tired.’
‘ I am tired,’ she admitted. ’Whether too tired who can say?’
‘Sit down,’ said Candaules. ’I have been inconsiderate. Forgive me and tell me what I can do to help you rest. You have been doing what I want; now let me do what you want. What do you want, my dear wife? Let us speak frankly. Your mere existence makes me happy, but you do not love me as I love you. I know that, without bitterness, and I am eager to throw lover’s service into the balance. What do you want, dearest?’
The Queen looked at him searchingly; her eyes were brilliant with emotion and she spoke softly. ‘You know what I want most. I want a child of my own.’
Candaules jumped up impatiently. ‘That is, you want to spoil a masterpiece. Can you imagine how I should feel as I watched you grow more and more grotesque? No, you can’t imagine. I should feel as though I had chipped a piece out of a marble column, or had written my name across the brow of a goddess. Far worse, because you are unique and irreplaceable.’
‘You could let me go away by myself to the summer palace,’ said the Queen; ‘and then, when it is over, perhaps I shall be as good as ever from your point of view—better, perhaps, who knows? And if I am spoiled you can send me home to my father.’
‘Ah, my lovely girl,’ said Candaules, ‘you ask too much of a man who loves as I do. You don’t know what love is.’
And with sorrow in his heart, and a strong sense of grievance, he left her.
When the King regained his own apartments, he found Gyges waiting to make his daily report. The King always saw Gyges with pleasure, as in fact most people did. He met the primary requirement of being good to look at, but in addition he had an air of being able to cope with life, which transferred itself to those in contact with him. His manner with the King was based on invariable respect, but it was lightened by a sort of irony that played over their mutual relation and made it human.
Gyges’ report, however, was not always pleasant hearing, and he had this morning an uncomfortable item to deal with.
‘It seems there’s the devil to pay at Agron about the new water supply,’ he said.
‘For heaven’s sake,’ said the King, ‘what is the matter there now? I’ve taken pains enough about it, and given them the most beautiful nine-mouthed fountain in Lydia and consequently in the world.’
‘But it seems,’ said Gyges, ‘that there is n’t any water. You remember that they came to you to lay before you the insufficiency of the old system. You taxed them stiffly, doubled from your own treasury the amount thus raised, and undertook to manage the whole affair. Then you spent it all on your nine-mouthed fountain and forgot to do anything about the water.’
‘Well,’ said the King wearily, ‘do whatever is necessary, at my expense as usual. I wish you could take the whole job off my hands.’
When the day’s work was done, — and both Gyges and the King were glad to make it as brief as possible, — it was a matter almost of routine to order cooling drinks and fall to discussing the fine arts and the Queen. Sometimes one topic came first, sometimes the other, but a profound connection between them made it certain that when one was spoken of the other soon would be. On this occasion the King attacked at once.
‘what is this new mania for sick, dirty, poor children that you are fostering in the Queen?’
Gyges looked into his beaker of snowcooled wine and water for a moment or two before he replied.
‘The truth is, sir,’ he said at last, ‘that, as I have often had the honor to tell Your Majesty, you don’t in the least understand the Queen.’
‘And, pray, do you?' asked the King.
‘of course I do,’ said Gyges. ‘In the first place, it is my business to understand everybody; and in the second place, she is quite easy to understand.’
‘But too much for my poor intelligence, apparently,’ said the King.
‘It’s your own mania that distorts what you look at. If for one day, for one hour, you could see things as they really are — well, probably on that day we should see the Pactolus flow up the mountain.’
‘In the meantime, what about these malodorous infants?’ said the King.
‘The Queen,’ said Gyges, ‘has two strong instincts — more, doubtless, for she is a strong person altogether and highly emotional — ’
‘Emotional!’ cried the King, helping himself to a spoonful of snow. ‘She is as cold, as pure, as delicious as this snow.’
‘And highly emotional,’continued Gyges; ‘but I restrict myself to two for the purpose of this discussion. The first is the maternal instinct.’ He put out a soothing hand as the King began to fidget. ‘I am not going to enlarge on that; we’ve often been over that ground, and I understand you as well as I do her. One point only in your attitude has never been clear to me: how you can fail, as an amateur, to see how far more beautiful than we have ever known her the Queen would be with a little head nestling in her arm. Can’t you see the divine look there would be in her eyes, the new sweetness in her smile? ’
‘By heaven, Gyges,’ said the King, ‘that’s the first sensible argument I’ve heard advanced on this foolish subject. Could n’t we get the baby readymade? ’
‘As I was saying,’ said Gyges, ‘I don’t propose to enlarge on this theme except to point out that if this maternal passion is denied its proper vent it will pour itself out somewhere else — on the unattractive children of the poor, for instance. And where I come in is that in point of fact too many children do die in Lydia and especially in Sardis. Recruiting grows more difficult every year simply from lack of male children. Of course I think Your Majesty should have an heir. That is the crying need of the realm to-day. Next to that we need a lower death rate among infants, and if you will not employ the Queen’s fine powers for the first purpose I am glad enough to quiet her pain by making them serviceable for the second. We are making plans and shall presently ask you to pay the piper. I know I can never hope to interest you directly in so ugly an affair.’
‘I think that’s a little severe,’ said Candaules. ‘Do I ever thwart any of your plans? Is n’t treasure always forthcoming when you say the word? But don’t for heaven’s sake let the Queen get the plague, or even contract fleas.’
‘I said,’ continued Gyges after a pause, ‘that the Queen had two strong instincts. I have spoken on one only; the other is harder to define. I have never before met it in a woman. I feel it as an interest in things in general, and more particularly in things that affect the State. With most women, even the cleverest, the interest is personal — the husband, the lover, the son. But this woman — well, she is not perhaps a great success as a queen, but I think she would have made a great king, one of the kings that go down in history as having made their people happy. If I were you, I would keep her quiet with a child or two.’
The King laughed and drained his cup. ‘She is going down in history as a queen,’ he said. ‘She is to grant tomorrow the first sitting for her portrait statue. And that reminds me that I have something really important to discuss with you. I can’t yet make up my mind how she is to be dressed, and an idea struck me this morning which charms me more and more.’
The King rose and began to walk up and down. Gyges sighed his resignation and refilled his cup.
‘Why,’ said the King, ’are we enslaved by the purely conventional idea that the human body in life and in art should be draped? Of course I grant you that the questions are quite different. That is, I have never heard that art should be representational. I mean to say that, even if we all went naked habitually, the artist might have good reasons, some purely technical and some psychological, for draping us in significant lines and colors as objects of art. But on the other hand, what an influence it would have on health and on morals if the artist could find his effect in showing us as we are! My dear Gyges, the thing grows on me enormously as I think of it. I believe that in some more enlightened age the sculptor’s work will deal with the nude, and that it will reflect the fact that the human body is known and respected and perfected in everyday life to an extent we don’t dream of with our prudish notions. Good heavens! If one could start a movement in that direction he would most certainly benefit mankind.’
‘Well,’ said Gyges, ‘if you will go down to the council naked, I will.’
’It is n’t time yet,’ said the King; ‘and do be serious for a moment. Will you oblige me with a friendly service?’
‘Probably,’ said Gyges.
’This affair of the Queen’s portrait is in my eyes of great importance. I believe her to be the most beautiful woman in the world. This Greek is a great artist. Something wonderful must come of it. But I have never believed art to be an end in itself.’ At this point Gyges apparently composed himself for slumber. ‘The influence of a great work of art is simply incalculable. I want to kill a whole lot of birds with my stone. And I am inclined to believe that in the present case I shall succeed best by having Her Majesty pose for the nude.’
Gyges came to with a start. ‘My dear sir,’ he said, ‘you are quite, quite mad.’
‘But I want to be sure first that I do her no injustice. Doubtless she has defects. My eye is too prejudiced to note them, and I do not wish to have them brought to my attention by the artist, either by direct criticism, if he is bold enough, or by adroit management of them in his work. You, Gyges, are certainly a judge of women if not of art. I want you to let me secrete you in the Queen’s room to-night so that you may observe her when she quits her clothes and steps into bed. She—'
‘Sir,’ cried Gyges, springing to his feet, ‘accept my sword and let me leave your glorious and indulgent service. There are a dozen reasons against this folly, but what strikes me at once is that if the Queen should detect it — and she would — we are both dead men.’
Candaules laughed. ‘You are more afraid of the Queen, then, than you are of me?’
‘I am afraid of you both,’ declared Gyges. ‘In different ways you are both very dangerous people. I wonder that I have dared to live here between you so long. Transfer me, I beg you, to the command of a frontier post where I shall have nothing to fear but Scythians and lions.’
The King was highly entertained by the real dismay apparent under Gyges’ extravagance, and he became obstinately determined to make his insouciant friend do something he really disliked.
‘Gyges,’ he said, ‘do not force me to command.’
‘Sir,’ said Gyges,—and now it was he who paced the floor while the King took a seat, — ‘sir, if you have come to consider it no indecorum, but actually in the direction of a public service, that other eyes than yours should behold the Queen’s full beauty, why do you not put it thus to Her Majesty and persuade her of her own gracious will to grant the privilege?’
The King laughed aloud. ‘Very ingenious,’ he said. ‘There are, as you know and wish to make me admit, several reasons against that method. But the one that weighs with me is that even if she consented it would defeat my end. For if she knew you were judging her I should never get a candid opinion from you. One shoulder might be an inch higher than the other and you would not dare say so.’
‘Candaules,’ said Gyges, ‘let me tell you again that you don’t in the least understand your wife. You think her a plastic young girl. She is really an unusually developed woman with a force of brain and an emotional power that will some day make her master of us all. She is proud as the devil. She does what you order her to do because that is her conception of her duty. But if you play tricks with her, if you subject her to such an indignity as you are hatching, she will never forgive you. And that is the sort of material that tragedies spring from.’
‘You seem to admire my wife very much,’ said Candaules.
‘Who does not?’ said Gyges.
‘If by any chance,’ Candaules went on thoughtfully, ‘you admired her too much, how would you respond to my suggestion? Any other man in such a case would jump at it, but I believe it would be your instinct to refuse. I wonder whether that is it?’
The King noted with pleasure that this speech annoyed Gyges quite as much as it was intended to do. It upset his circulation and he flushed red.
‘I am a fool to mind what you say when you are in this mood,’ he said,
‘but one has one’s little self-respect.’
‘I should n’t blame you, my dear fellow,’ said the King. ‘When I say “too much,” I merely mean too much for your own peace of mind. But frankly, I think it is an error in etiquette to be more solicitous for my wife’s dignity that I am myself. You might drive me to suppose that she had entrusted its protection to you.’
Gyges was quite calm again. ‘It is your own dignity that I am concerned for,’ he said.
‘Gyges,’ said the King, ‘you have finally driven me to command. Oblige me by attending me here at ten o’clock to-night.’
Gyges saluted. ‘Your Majesty shall be obeyed,’ he said. ‘Have I leave to retire?’
In the evening of that day the King complained of fatigue and retired early to the royal chamber, taking Gyges with him. The Queen, who was in the habit of almost unconsciously noting Gyges’ movements, felt nearly sure that he had not returned to the anteroom where the court was assembled. When she in turn entered the bedroom, she expected to find him still in attendance, but apparently no one Was there but the King, and he was asleep. A moment’s attention convinced her that he was pretending, and a guarded glance round the room showed her a projection of the tapestry at the side of the door. She stood stock-still for a moment, resisting the impulse to cry out. Then quietly, and even more slowly than usual, she let her draperies slip to the floor, threw her hands high over her head with a simulated yawn, and stepped into bed. When her breathing became slow and regular, Gyges stole from the room, and the Queen watched him go.
Next morning it was the Queen who feigned sleep, and the King rose early and went quietly into his dressing room. When he was gone, the Queen dressed quickly, and, having assured herself that the door into Candaules’ room was closed behind its curtain, she sent for Gyges. He came at once, saluted, and stood at attention near the door. The Queen was sitting in a low chair, leaning forward, her clasped hands hanging between her knees. Her face was very white and her eyes looked enormously large and dark, like the eyes of a sick person.
‘Gyges,’ she said in a dull voice, ‘it would be natural to ask you first, why did you do it? But I know why you did it. I know you men have a theory of honor that covers any infamy, and that while you are in the King’s service you believe you must obey him. Why you remain in his service when it sets you such tasks as this is another question. But in a general way I understand that you thought you must do it, and so I am not very angry. I am merely in despair. And I am not very angry with the King, either, for him too I understand. To him there was, one might almost say, nothing personal in the matter at all. He had some absurd abstract question to solve and he forgot all about persons. We all are what we are and we act as we must, and nothing is gained by calling names. But, Gyges, I ask you also to understand me, and to realize that I am speaking the exact truth when I say that either you must kill Candaules or he must kill you, for I cannot suffer that there should be two men alive who have seen me naked.’
‘Madam,’ cried Gyges, ‘on my honor as a soldier, the dilemma does not exist, for I shut my eyes!’
The Queen looked at him long and incredulously. Finally she said coldly, ‘I think I must now put the question, why did you do that?’
Gyges advanced slowly until he was directly before her; then he knelt and handed her the little dagger which was the only weapon he wore. Slowly he opened his tunic and bared his left breast.
‘Madam,’ he said, ‘here is a dagger, and here between my outspread fingers is the place to push it home. The reason I shut my eyes is that I love you. The reason I have stayed in the King’s service is that I have not been willing to leave you alone with him.’
As the Queen did nothing and said nothing, he went on. ‘I leave his service to-day, whether by your hand or by my own word. I cannot be useful to you any longer, for you have ceased to believe me. But one thing you must believe if we are speaking together for the last time. I have loved you ever since I went to bring you to Candaules; first, no doubt, for your beauty, but so much more deeply every day as I learned to know your qualities, your gentle heart and your strong head, and to watch your proud obedience to this absurd husband of yours and your patient use of the meagre chance he gave you to develop a nature infinitely superior to his. I closed my eyes because to me you are sacred, as I close them now because I cannot bear to see your pain.’
For in fact the Queen was crying, and she seemed not to know it herself. The dagger slipped to the floor and she laid her hand on Gyges’ over his heart.
‘If I have been patient since I came to Lydia,’ she said, ‘it was because you were there. Very likely I have been a better wife to Candaules because I loved you. But it is over now: I cannot stay with him any longer. If he will not let me go home to my father, I will go even farther away. Leave me your dagger, Gyges.’
As she spoke, the drapery over Candaules’ door rustled a little and a strange noise came from behind it. The Queen caught Gyges’ left hand and thrust the dagger into His right. Quietly Gyges laid down the dagger and set her aside. He went quickly to the door, raised the curtain, and let it fall behind him. After a few minutes he came back, looking strangely at her, and said, ‘The King is dead. I found him so. And yet I killed him, after all.’
Strangely the Queen looked back at him. ‘At last he has done something really beautiful,’ said she.
Gyges sent for the King’s physician, who was his friend. Between them they wiped up the blood and prepared the body for exhibition. A bulletin was quickly written: —
His Majesty the King, having complained last night of fatigue and retired early, expired this morning at a quarter before eight o’clock of heart failure.
(Signed) BELUS, physician in attendance GYGES, chief of police
One copy was sent to the Prime Minister, one was wafered on the palace door, and one was posted in the market place. Half an hour later the council of the elders, amid the applause of the people and the wild cheers of the army, offered the crown to Gyges on condition that he marry the Queen.
Thus did one dynasty end in Lydia and another begin. Gyges and the Queen had five children, introduced half a dozen reforms a year, and lived happily to old age. The last king of their line was Crœsus.