Dionysius, tyrant of the island of Sicily, was deeply impressed by the bond of trust shared by Pythias and Damon. They, however, weren’t convinced that he admired it quite enough to be allowed to share in it.
LIKE most tyrants, Dionysius of Sicily lived in constant fear of treachery. One day, Pythias fell under his suspicion, and Dionysius sentenced him to death.
Pythias requested permission to make his farewells to his family in Greece, promising to come back on the date appointed. Dionysius just laughed at him. However, Damon declared that he trusted Pythias’s word and would even take his place, for he was quite sure that Pythias would come back as promised.
Soon the day came for sentence to be carried out. Pythias was nowhere to be found, so Damon was led to the place of execution, but still no anxiety clouded his face. At that moment, Pythias himself burst through the crowd. He had been captured by pirates, he explained breathlessly, and had only just escaped; he hoped he had made it back in time?
Even Dionysius was touched, and granted the two loyal friends his pardon, though they politely declined his request to join their ‘brotherhood’.