In Ancient Greece there once lived a young girl called Hipparchia. She had a brother called Metrocles, and both spent much time thinking and talking about life and the nature of wisdom.
Metrocles became interested in the teaching of a man called Theophrastus and began to attend his discourses. He was a very dedicated young man and when he found that, despite his best efforts, he was no wiser than before, he became despondent. One day he fell asleep during one of Theophrastus’s lectures. This was a disgrace, and poor Metrocles was so ashamed that he shut himself up in his room, determined to starve himself to death.
His sister, Hipparchia, and his mother and father grew alarmed. Unable to dissuade him, they sought the aid of a philosopher called Crates.
Crates went to Metrocles and began to speak to him.
"Do not be downcast, dear Metrocles," he said. "Man is so made that if he feels weary, he falls asleep. It is no fault of yours. If I had been in your position I would have behaved no differently from you."
Hearing these kind words, Metrocles was comforted and he became a student of Crates.
Hipparchia also became a student of the great philosopher. She loved nothing so well as listening to him, and being in his presence, and she neglected her loom and household duties. She also paid no heed to the many suitors who came to seek her hand in marriage.
Her parents reproached her for this conduct, and told her that it was time she chose a husband.
"I do not wish to marry anyone but Crates," said Hipparchia. "If you force me to wed another I will end my life."
Her reply frightened her parents, and they once again sent for Crates.
"O Crates," they said. "Please speak to our daughter and dissuade her from the resolution she has made. She has many rich and handsome suitors, but she will have none of them. She wishes to marry you, and everyone knows that you own nothing, and have no means of earning a living."
Crates obeyed the request of Hipparchia’s parents, and tried to persuade the girl to change her mind. Nothing he said made any difference, and at last he rose up and placed all his furniture before her.
"See," he said, "this is the bridegroom you are choosing, and this is the whole of his property. Consider what you are doing, for if you become my wife you will have to devote yourself to the same studies and adopt the same habits as myself."
Hipparchia accepted the conditions with joy and thenceforward she accompanied Crates wherever he went, and became famous for her wisdom.
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