The great goddess Demeter, who gives fertility to the earth, taught people how to cultivate fertile fields. She gave the young son of the Eleusinian king, Triptolemus, wheat seeds, and he first plowed the Rary field near Eleusis with a plow three times and threw the seeds into the dark earth. A rich harvest yielded the fields blessed by Demeter herself. In a wonderful chariot drawn by the wings of dragons, Triptolemus, by order of Demeter, flew around all the countries and taught people agriculture everywhere.

Triptolemus with the chariot with dragons, 2nd century Roman sarcophagus, Louvre

Triptolemus was also in distant Scythia under King Lynch. And he taught him farming. But the proud king of the Scythians wanted to take away from Tryptolemus the fame of an agricultural teacher, he wanted to appropriate that fame for himself. Lynch decided to kill the great Triptolemus while he slept. But Demeter did not allow this atrocity to take place. She decided to punish Lynch for violating the custom of hospitality and raising his hand against her chosen one.

When Lynch slipped into the room where Triptolemus slept peacefully at night, Demeter turned the Scythian king into a wild lynx just as he leaned his dagger over the sleeper.

Lynch, turned into a lynx, hid in the dark forests, and Triptolemus left the land of the Scythians to teach the people of the great king of Demeter – agriculture, passing from country to country with his wonderful chariot.


It was not only the Scythian king Lynch who punished the goddess Demeter; she also punished the king of Thessaly, Erysichthone. Erysichthone was arrogant and wicked, he never worshiped the gods by offering sacrifices. In his wickedness he went so far as to dare to boldly insult the great goddess Demeter. He decided to cut down a hundred-year-old oak tree in the sacred forest of Demeter, inhabited by a dryad, a favorite of Demeter herself. Nothing stopped Erysichthone.

“If she were not Demeter’s favorite, but the goddess herself,” exclaimed the wicked man, “I will cut down this oak!”

Erysichthone sells his daughter, Johann Wilhelm Baur

Erysichthone snatched the ax from the servant’s hands and drove it deep into the tree. A heavy moan spread inside the oak and blood splattered from its bark. The king’s servants stood in astonishment before the oak. One of them dared to stop the king, but the angry Erysichthone killed the servant, shouting:

“Here is a reward for your obedience to the gods!”

Erysichthone cut down the hundred-year-old oak. With a groan-like noise, the oak fell to the ground and the dryad living in it died.

Dressed in dark clothes, the dryad from the sacred grove appeared before the goddess Demeter and asked her to punish Erisichton, who had killed their dear friend. Demeter was angry. She sent to bring the goddess of hunger. The dryad she sent quickly flew to Demeter’s chariot, drawn by winged dragons, to Scythia, to the Caucasus Mountains, and there she found on a barren mountain the goddess of hunger with sunken eyes, pale, with disheveled hair, with rough skin under which they could be seen only bones. The envoy surrendered Demeter’s will to the goddess of hunger, and she obeyed Demeter’s command.

The goddess of hunger found herself in Erysichthone’s home and gave him an insatiable hunger that burned all his insides. The more Erysichthone ate, the stronger his hunger pangs. Erysichthone spent his entire fortune on all sorts of dishes, which only inflamed his unquenchable agonizing hunger even more. Finally, Erysichthone was left with nothing – only one daughter. To make money and get enough, he sold his daughter as a slave. But his daughter received from the god Poseidon the gift to take on a different image, and each time she freed herself from her buyers, turning into a bird, a horse, or a cow. Many times he sold his daughter Erysichthone, but he still did not have enough money to receive from this sale, the Hunger tormented him more and more, his suffering became more and more unbearable. Finally, Erysichthone began to gnash his body with his teeth and died in terrible torment.