Many miles beyond Rome there was a famous country which we call

Greece. The people of Greece were not u-nit-ed like the Romans; but

instead there were sev-er-al states, each of which had its own rulers.

Some of the people in the southern part of the country were called

Spar-tans, and they were noted for their simple habits and their

brav-er-y. The name of their land was La-co'ni-a, and so they were

es called La-cons.

One of the strange rules which the Spartans had, was that they should

speak briefly, and never use more words than were needed. And so a

short answer is often spoken of as being _la-con-ic_; that is, as

being such an answer as a Lacon would be likely to give.

There was in the northern part of Greece a land called Mac'e-don; and

this land was at one time ruled over by a war-like king named Philip.

Philip of Mac-e-don wanted to become the master of all Greece. So he

raised a great army, and made war upon the other states, until nearly

all of them were forced to call him their king. Then he sent a letter

to the Spartans in La-co-ni-a, and said, "If I go down into your

country, I will level your great city to the ground."

In a few days, an answer was brought back to him. When he opened the

letter, he found only one word written there.

That word was "IF."

It was as much as to say, "We are not afraid of you so long as the

little word 'if' stands in your way."