This is a chapter of The Trojan War, by C. Witt & F. Younghusband.
When the battle began again, the Trojans lost many more of their bravest heroes by the hand of Achilles; yet it was not long before he also met his death. At close quarters and with equal weapons no one was a match for him, but, whilst he was fighting in the thick of the battle, smiting down everyone within his reach, Paris laid an arrow upon his bowstring and aimed at him. The god Apollo guided the shaft, and the mightiest hero of the Greeks was wounded to death.
Achilles felt that his hour was come, but he would not yield at once to the dread messenger, but fought on as long as he had strength to wield his spear, spreading death and destruction all around him. He was completely surrounded by the dead bodies of those he had slain, when at last he suddenly gave way and fell upon the ground, a corpse himself. The Trojans would have spoiled him of his armor and dragged his body to their city to wreak their vengeance upon it, but the Greeks gathered around it and, after long fighting, wrested it from them and bore it back to their camp.
For many days, his mother Thetis and all the Greeks mourned and bewailed the death of Achilles, and, after his corpse had been burned, his bones were placed beside those of Patroclus in the golden urn. The urn was then buried, and over the grave of the two friends was raised a mound that could be seen from far, with a pillar of stone on its summit. The next day, funeral games were celebrated in honor of Achilles, and Thetis brought all her most beautiful treasures to be given away as prizes.
Thetis also gave to King Agamemnon the armor and the weapons of Achilles and said that they were to be given to whichever of the Greek heroes was most worthy of possessing them, and that the heroes were themselves to decide whose they should be. Then two heroes came forward to claim the honor, both of whom were worthy — the mighty Ajax and the wise Odysseus.
The judges were long in doubt, but at last they decided for Odysseus “For,” said they, “in giant strength and courage on the battlefield there is indeed none like Ajax, but Odysseus is not only a brave hero, but he is also distinguished for wisdom, and there is none more worthy than he;” and they gave him the prize of honor.
But Ajax was deeply mortified and longed to be avenged not only on his rival, but also on all those who had decided in his favor. Whilst all others were asleep, he sat at the door of his tent brooding over his defeat, and in his fury he considered whether he should set the camp on fire and thus deliver all the Greeks over to death, or whether he should fall upon his enemies and murder them only. He finally resolved upon the last alternative and sprang up to go to the tents of his enemies and kill them.
But the goddess Athene was watching over the heroes, and she now worked confusion in the mind of Ajax and dazzled his sight. Instead of taking the way to the tents, he strode towards the pasture where the flocks were kept that the Greeks had from time to time taken as spoil, and, imagining that the sheep were Greeks, he soon espied amongst them those whom he took to be Agamemnon and Menelaus and Nestor and Diomedes, and killed them with his sword. There was a noble ram whom he supposed to be Odysseus; on him he heaped words of angry abuse and, taking a thorny rod, he scourged him with it until he had thus satisfied his fury, and then killed him. Then he sank upon the ground exhausted and went to sleep.
But when he awoke in the morning, with his reason restored, and saw all around him the dead sheep instead of the enemies that he had intended to kill, he was filled with the deepest shame.
“How will they despise me,” he thought, “who intended to have killed my enemies and have wreaked my vengeance on sheep!”
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He could not bear to live any longer, and he drew his sword —the same that Hector had presented to him as a gift of honor after his fight with him—, buried the handle deep in the earth, and threw himself upon the point.
All the Greeks mourned for Ajax, and Odysseus would willingly have given up the arms of Achilles if that would have recalled the dead hero to life.