About the four men who fled the battle of Argos, we know nearly nothing.
The first one became an meditant in a fishing village.
Sat on the cobblestones of the pier, or in the dust of an alley, he would gaze at the shadows gliding over the walls and seemed to be learning from them. He studied the shapes of clouds under the east wind and compared them to those flying across the sky driven by the sea breeze.
When he died forty years later, no one knew what had been revealed to him.
The second one had walked for a long time. He quietly crossed silent deserts made of sand and sharp stones, then pretended to be blind and became a beggar.
Through his many scars and a dreadfull accent, he lived off alms until he was caught stepping aside a viper at the edge of a well.
He was stoned in a pit. If disabilities are a blessing, faking them is doubtlessly a blasphemy.
Two of them had fought and suffered in the same phalanx.
When they dropped their spears and helmets on the beach, they acted as if they didn’t know each other. When one chose to follow the shore, the other would rather take the path disappearing between the hills.
The third one has been a shepherd for a while, then a farmer and a blacksmith some place else.
Weary of roasting in the sun or by a furnace, he joined a pack of marauders. All together they killed some vermin-eaten bearded hermits and made their caves stained with bat guano their home.
His history as a warrior proved very useful. Soon he ousted the leader and lived off rape and robbery.
One day in the hinterland, one of them ran into a man carrying an oar on his shoulder. As the man seemed robust and in a foul mood, he chose to get out of his way.
The last veteran, who fought many times and crossed many rivers, got lost in marshes where men used to paint their body, then in dry gorge with many junctions where mighty lizards were venerated.
One day, he found the first one again and became fisherman.
He often has been seen around the wise man, or the fool, who gazed upon the clouds. He then seemed to recognize some dirt roads, some peaceful valley or steep hills where yet he never lived.
« Seeing then that the soul is immortal and has been born many times, and has beheld all things both in this world and in the nether realms, she has acquired knowledge of all and everything; so that it is no wonder that she should be able to recollect all that she knew before about virtue and other things. »
Plato, Menon, 81b.
Translated by GC.