I was coming out of a village in the central Peloponnese called Raptis, where there is a long climb of about a mile. It was a hot day and I was going slowly, Coming down the hill towards me was an elderly man with two mules side by side; he was riding one and the other was carrying a load of firewood. Evidently panicked by the unsettling sight of a cycle tourist the mules wheeled about and began to gallop up the hill. The rider was clearly unfamiliar with this mode of travel and began to slip slowly sideways. I watched helplessly as he slid right round and fell on his head. The mules galloped on together without hesitating and disappeared round a bend, leaving the rider motionless in the middle of the road. Fearing the worst, I parked the bike and went to his assistance. I was relieved to find that he was still alive, though dazed, with slight bleeding from the top of his bald head. I picked him up and supported him to the side of the road where he sat down on a large rock. His principal worry at the moment seemed to be the whereabouts of his hat.

I wondered what to do next. I thought of going back to the village to ask for help, but I didn't like to leave the injured man on his own. Just then, fortunately, a small truck came down the hill towards us, so I flagged it down. The driver got out and asked what had happened to the man. In the stress of the moment I was totally unable to think of the Greek for horse, but after a moment's reflection I came up with the ancient word, ippos. This is no longer used but luckily the truck driver understood it. The patient was still worried about his hat, but it was not to be found, so we loaded him into the truck and off he went to the village. I then continued my interrupted journey, keeping a lookout for the mules, but I never saw them, even though the country was bare and open for a long way on each side of the road.