When Harpagus heard this, he bowed and went to his home, very pleased to find that his offense had turned out for the best and that he was invited to dinner in honor of this fortunate day.
Coming in, he told his only son, a boy of about thirteen years of age, to go to Astyages' palace and do whatever the king commanded, and in his great joy he told his wife everything that had happened.
But when Harpagus' son came, Astyages cut his throat and tore him limb from limb, roasted some of the flesh and boiled some, and kept it ready after he had prepared it.
So when the hour for dinner came and the rest of the guests and Harpagus were present, Astyages and the others were served dishes of lamb's meat, but Harpagus that of his own son, all but the head and hands and feet, which lay apart covered up in a wicker basket.
And when Harpagus seemed to have eaten his fill, Astyages asked him, “Did you like your meal, Harpagus?” “Exceedingly,” Harpagus answered. Then those whose job it was brought him the head of his son and hands and feet concealed in the basket, and they stood before Harpagus and told him to open and take what he liked.
Harpagus did; he opened and saw what was left of his son: he saw this, but mastered himself and did not lose his composure. Astyages asked him, “Do you know what beast's meat you have eaten?”
“I know,” he said, “and all that the king does is pleasing.” With that answer he took the remains of the meat and went home. There he meant, I suppose, after collecting everything, to bury it.