Meanwhile, Antaeus had scrambled upon his feet again, and pulled his pine tree out of the earth; and, all aflame with fury, and more outrageously strong than ever, he ran at Hercules, and brought down another blow.
Before Antaeus could get out of the way, Hercules let drive again, and gave him another knock- down blow, which sent him heels over head, but served only to increase his already enormous and insufferable strength.
Now Hercules (though strong enough, as you already know, to hold the sky up) began to be sensible that he should never win the victory, if he kept on knocking Antaeus down; for, by and by, if he hit him such hard blows, the Giant would inevitably, by the help of his Mother Earth, become stronger than the mighty Hercules himself.
On came Antaeus, hopping and capering with the scorching heat of his rage, and getting new vigor wherewith to wreak his passion, every time he hopped.
But the most wonderful thing was, that, as soon as Antaeus was fairly off the earth, he began to lose the vigor which he had gained by touching it.
If Hercules heard their shrieks, however, he took no notice, and perhaps fancied them only the shrill, plaintive twittering of small birds that had been frightened from their nests by the uproar of the battle between himself and Antaeus. Indeed, his thoughts had been so much taken up with the Giant, that he had never once looked at the Pygmies, nor even knew that there was such a funny little nation in the world.
Yonder lies Antaeus, our great friend and brother, slain, within our territory, by a miscreant who took him at disadvantage, and fought him (if fighting it can be called) in a way that neither man, nor Giant, nor Pygmy ever dreamed of fighting, until this hour.
"Antaeus was our brother, born of that same beloved parent to whom we owe the thews and sinews, as well as the courageous hearts, which made him proud of our relationship.
"It only remains for us, then, to decide whether we shall carry on the war in our national capacity--one united people against a common enemy--or whether some champion, famous in former fights, shall be selected to defy the slayer of our brother Antaeus to single combat.
For, as these sage counselors remarked, the stranger's club was really very big, and had rattled like a thunderbolt against the skull of Antaeus. So the Pygmies resolved to set aside all foolish punctilios, and assail their antagonist at once.
"You have killed the Giant Antaeus, our great brother, and the ally of our nation.
"You have slain the enormous Antaeus, our brother by the mother's side, and for ages the faithful ally of our illustrious nation.