Bold as he was, however, I rather fancy that it strengthened his valiant heart, just at this crisis, to feel a tremulous twitch at the silken cord, which he was still holding in his left hand. It was as if Ariadne were giving him all her might and courage; and, much as he already had, and little as she had to give, it made his own seem twice as much. (from “The Minotaur” in Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne)
If you are unfamiliar with this story from Classical mythology, the hero Theseus had entered the impossibly bewildering labyrinth in order to fight the Minotaur. Ariadne had helped Theseus to escape his prison, recover his sword, and find the entrance to the labyrinth, and then she held onto the end of a spool of thread, which Theseus took so that he would be able to find his way back out after he had defeated the monster. In Hawthorne’s retelling, Ariadne would pull on the tread from time to time to give a little encouragement to the hero, and though I think Hawthorne thinks too little of her might and courage, I agree with his assessment that her encouragement would surely have made Theseus feel more courageous. It’s always nice to feel connected to someone who is on our side and believes in us. Encouragement is my favorite form of communication.