Hymn to Hermes (Continued)
"Already an omen of great luck! I don't despise you. Hail, O shapely hoofer and companion of the feast! Your sight is welcome! Whence this lovely toy, the gleaming shell that clothes you, a tortoise living on the mountains? But I shall take you and bring you inside; you'll profit me. And I shall not dishonor you for you will serve me first. Better to be inside; being at the gates is harmful for you. Indeed alive you shall be a charm against baneful witchcraft; and if you die, your singing could be beautiful."
Thus he spoke and with both hands he raised it up and ran back into his abode, carrying the lovely toy. There he tossed it upside down and with a chisel of gray iron he scooped out the life of the mountain-turtle. As when swift thought pierces the breast of a man in whom thick-coming cares churn, or as when flashing glances dart from quick-rolling eyes, so glorious Hermes pondered word and deed at once. He cut measured stalks of reed and fastened them on by piecing through the back the shell of the tortoise; and skillfully he stretched oxhide round the shell and on it he fixed two arms joined by a crosspiece from which he stretched seven harmonious strings of sheep-gut.
And when it was finished, he held up the lovely toy and with the plectron struck it tunefully, and under his hand the lyre rang awesome.