Myth Stories

Here in MyMythStories compiled 10 full myths of Greek Mythology, that we think are the best. Of course, personal preference will tell you that “The Best” is always individual choice, but here are full myths compiled from the works of the russian author A. Kun. His works are fundamental for any lover of Greek Mythology, because his ability to compile such a rich mythos is, quite frankly, extraordinary. From god Zeus to Apollo, Athena, Helios, Pan and many more.

Enjoy reading!

The Great Flood

Many crimes were committed by the people of the Copper Age. Arrogant and wicked, they did not obey the Olympian gods. The thunderbolt Zeus was angry with them; Zeus was especially angry with the king of Lycosura in Arcadia, Lycaon. Once Zeus came to Lycosura as an ordinary mortal. In order for the inhabitants of Lycosura to know that he was a god, Zeus gave them a sign and all the inhabitants fell prostrate before him and worshiped him as a god. Only Lycaon did not want to give Zeus divine honors and ridiculed all who worshiped Zeus. Lycaon decided to test whether Zeus was a god. He killed a hostage who was in his palace, boiled part of his body, burned another part and offered them to the great thunderbolt to eat. Zeus was terribly angry. With a flash of lightning, he destroyed Lycaon’s palace and turned it into a bloodthirsty wolf.

People became more and more wicked, and the great cloud-bearer Zeus, decided to destroy the whole human race. He sent such a torrential downpour on the ground that everything was submerged. Zeus forbade all winds to blow, only the humid south wind Knot pushed dark rain clouds across the sky. The torrential rain fell on the ground. The water in the seas and rivers rose higher and higher, flooding everything around.

The cities with their walls, houses and temples hid under the water, and the towers that protruded above the city walls were no longer visible. Gradually the water covered everything – the forested hills and the high mountains. All of Greece hid under the raging waves of the sea. The top of the two-headed Parnassus rose alone in the waves. Where the peasant used to cultivate his fields and where green vineyards rich in ripe grapes grew, fish sailed, and in the forests, submerged in water, flocks of dolphins roamed.

Thus the human race of the Copper Age perished. Only two escaped the common doom – Deucalion, son of Prometheus, and his wife Pira. On the advice of his father, Prometheus Deucalion built a huge coffin, put food supplies in it and entered it with his wife. For nine days and nights the Deucalion’s ark floated on the waves of the sea, which covered the whole land. Finally, the waves brought him to the two-headed peak of Parnassus.

The torrential rain sent by Zeus stopped. Deucalion and Pira came out of the ark and offered a thanksgiving sacrifice to Zeus, who saved them in the midst of the stormy waves. The water drained away and the desert reappeared beneath the waves, like a desert. Then the aegis-bearer Zeus sent to Deucalion the messenger of the gods Hermes. The messenger of the gods quickly soared over the desolate land, appeared before Deucalion and said to him:

“The lord of the gods and men, Zeus, knowing your piety, commanded that you choose a reward; express your wish and the son of Cronus will fulfill it.”

Deucalion replied to Hermes:

“Oh, great Hermes, I beg Zeus for only one thing: let him populate the earth with people again.”

The swift Hermes rushed back to the bright Olympus and handed Deucalion’s request to Zeus. The great Zeus ordered Deucalion and Pira to gather stones and throw them over their heads without turning. Deucalion obeyed the command of the mighty Zeus, and men emerged from the stones he threw, and women from the stones thrown by his wife Pira. Thus, after the flood, the land gained population again. It was inhabited by a new generation of people who came from stone.

(Link for this article is here)


The Birth of Zeus

Cronus was not sure his great power would remain in his hands forever. He feared that one day his children would rise up against him and doom him to the same fate as he had doomed his father Uranus. He was afraid of his children. And he commanded his wife, Rhea, to bring him the children that were being born, and he devoured them mercilessly. Rhea was horrified to see the fate of her children. He had already swallowed five Cronus: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, and Poseidon.

Rhea didn’t want to lose her last child either. On the advice of her parents, Uranus – Sky, and Gaia – Earth, she retired to the island of Crete and there, in a deep cave, her youngest son Zeus was born, they raised him with milk from the divine goat Amalthea. Bees brought honey to the little god from the entrance of the cave. Young curettes struck the shields with their swords every time little Zeus cried so as not to hear his crying Cronus and so that Zeus would not reach the fate of his brothers and sisters.

Zeus Overthrowns Cronus

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cronus_Rubens_saturn-1-492x1024.jpg
Cronus devours his children,
Peter Paul Rubens

The wonderful and powerful god Zeus grew up and matured. He rebelled against his father and forced him to bring back to life the children he had swallowed. One by one, Cronus vomited his children – gods, beautiful and bright. They shared a struggle with Cronus and the Titans to rule the world.

This struggle was terrible and stubborn. The children of Cronus fortified themselves on the high Olympus. On their side stood some of the titans, and the first – the titan Ocean and his daughter Styx with his children Diligence, Power and Victory. The fight was dangerous for the Olympian gods. Mighty and terrible were their opponents – the Titans. But the Cyclops came to Zeus’ aid. They forged thunder and lightning, which Zeus threw at the Titans. The struggle had been going on for ten years, and the victory was not leaning on either side. In the end, Zeus decided to free the giants with the hundred hands from the bowels of the earth – the hecatonchires; called them for help. Terrible, huge as mountains, they came out of the bowels of the earth and threw themselves into battle. They crushed whole rocks from the mountains and threw them at the Titans. Hundreds of rocks flew against the Titans as they approached Olympus. The ground groaned, a roar filled the air, everything around shook. Even Tartarus shuddered at this struggle. Zeus threw fiery lightning after another and caught the whole earth, the seas boiled, thick stinking smoke covered everything.

Finally, the mighty Titans retreated. Their strength was broken, they were defeated. The Olympians chained them and threw them into the gloomy Tartarus into the age-old darkness. In front of the strong copper doors of Tartarus stood the guards, the hecatonchairs, to keep the mighty titans from escaping Tartarus to freedom again. The rule of the Titans in the world was over.

The Fight Between Zeus and Typhon

But the struggle does not end there. Gaia – Earth, was terribly angry with the Olympian Zeus for treating her children – the defeated titans – so cruelly. She married the gloomy Tartarus and gave birth to the terrible hundred-headed monster Typhon. The huge Typhon, with a hundred dragon heads, rose from the bowels of the earth. He shook the air with a wild howl. Barking of dogs, human voices, the mooing of an angry bull and the roar of a lion were heard in this howl. Violent flames swirled around Typhon, and the earth shook under his heavy footsteps. The gods were horrified. But Zeus the Thunderer boldly attacked him; a fight begins. Lightning flashed in Zeus’s hands again, thunder rumbled. The earth and the sky shook to the ground. The earth blazed brightly again, as it had in the fight against the Titans. The seas boiled as Typhon approached. The thunderbolt Zeus poured his fiery lightning bolts with hundreds; as if their fire had ignited the air itself and blazed the dark storm clouds. Zeus had turned Typhon’s hundred heads into ashes. Typhon collapsed to the ground; such a strong heat radiated from his body that everything around him melted. Zeus grabbed Typhon’s body and threw it into the gloomy Tartarus who had created it. But even from Tartarus, Typhon was still terrible to the gods and to all living things. Caused storms and eruptions; from him and from Echidna, half-snake, were born the terrible two-headed dog Orpho, the hell dog Cerberus, the Lerneian hydra and the Chimera; Typhon often shakes the earth.

The Olympian gods defeated their enemies. No one was able to resist their power anymore. They could now rule the world in peace. The strongest of them, the thunderer Zeus, took for himself the sky, Poseidon – the sea, and Hades – the underworld, the kingdom of the souls of the dead. And the land remained in common possession. But although the sons of Cronus shared power over the world, they were still ruled by the lord of heaven, Zeus; he rules over people and gods, he rules everything in the world.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Zeus_Typhon_Staatliche_Antikensammlungen_596-1-1024x642.jpg
Zeus strikes Typhon with a lightning , 540-530 BC

(Link for this article is here)


Birth of Athena

The goddess Athena was born of Zeus himself. He, the Thunderbolt, knew that the goddess of reason, Metis, would have two children: a daughter, Athena, and a son with extraordinary intelligence and extraordinary strength. The Moiras, the goddesses of fate, revealed to Zeus the secret that the son of the goddess Metis would dethrone him and take away his power over the world. The great Zeus was frightened. In order to avoid the terrible fate foretold to him by the moirs, he, after putting the goddess Metis to sleep with kind words, devoured her before she gave birth to her daughter, the goddess Athena.

Head of Athens, detail of a bronze stamnoid situla, 340 – 320 BC.

After a while, Zeus felt a terrible headache. Then Hephaestus called his son and ordered him to cut off his head to save him from the unbearable pain and noise in it. Hephaestus swung his axe hard, splitting Zeus‘ skull with one blow without harming him, and the powerful and warlike goddess Athena was born from the thunderbolt’s head. Fully armed, with a shining helmet, spear, and shield, she stood before the astonished eyes of the Olympian gods. She waved her shiny spear terribly. Her battle cry spread far across the sky, and the bright Olympus shook to its foundations. Beautiful, majestic she stood before the gods. Divine wisdom shone in the blue eyes of Athena; it all shone with wonderful, unearthly, domineering beauty. The gods glorified his beloved daughter, born of the head of father Zeus, defender of the cities, goddess of wisdom and knowledge, the warlike and invincible Athena.

Athena patronizes the heroes of Greece, gives them its wise advice and helps them – fearlessly – in times of danger. She protects cities, fortresses and their walls. Gives wisdom and knowledge, teaches people arts and crafts. And girls in Greece revere Athena for teaching them needlework. None of the mortals and goddesses can compete with Athens in the art of weaving. Everyone knows how dangerous it is to compete with her in this, they know how much Arachna, Idmon’s daughter, who wanted to surpass Athena in this art, paid dearly.

Athena and Arachne

Arachne became famous throughout Lydia for her art. Nymphs on the slopes of Tmol and on the banks of the gold-bearing Pactol often gathered to admire her work. Arachna wove from threads like fog, fabrics as transparent as air. She was proud that there was no equal in the world in the art of weaving. She once shouted:

“If you want, let Athena herself come to compete with me! She won’t beat me, I’m not afraid of the race.”

Here that the goddess Athena, standing like a white-haired and hunched grandmother, stood before Arachne and said to her:

“Not only evil brings with it old age, Arachne; the years also bring experience. Listen to my advice: strive to surpass only mortals with your art. Don’t challenge the goddess to a race. Humbly ask her to forgive you for your haughty words. The goddess forgave those who prayed to her.”

Arachna dropped the thin yarn, her eyes gleaming angrily. Confident in her art, she boldly replied:

“You’re unreasonable, Grandma. You’ve been stupid since old age. Give such instructions to your daughters-in-law and daughters, and leave me alone. I will be able to handle it myself. Whatever I said will be. Why didn’t Athena come, why doesn’t she want to compete with me?”

“Here I am, Arachne!” , yelled the goddess, taking up her true image again.

The nymphs and Lydian women bowed low to the beloved daughter of Zeus and paid homage to her. Only Arachne was silent, As the sky blazed in the early morning with red light, when the pink-fingered Dawn – Eos was flying in the sky on its shining wings, so the face of Athena blushed with anger. Arachne sticks to her decision, still passionate about competing with Athens. She does not feel threatened with imminent doom.

The race begins. The great goddess Athena wove a tablecloth, on which she depicted in the middle the majestic Acropolis of Athens, and on it her dispute with Poseidon for power over Attica. Twelve bright gods from Olympus, and among them her father, Zeus the Thunderer. They sit as judges in this dispute. Poseidon, lifts his trident, strikes a rock with it, and a salt spring gushes from the barren rock. And Athena, with a helmet, shield and aegis, sharpens her spear and plunges it deep into the ground. From there grows the sacred olive tree. The gods judged that she had defeated Athena, recognizing her gift to Attica as more valuable. In the corners, the goddess depicted the gods punishing people for their disobedience, and woven a wreath of olive leaves around it.

Arachne, on the other hand, painted on her tablecloth many scenes from the life of the gods, where they are presented as weak, ruled by human passions. And around these scenes Arachne wove a wreath of flowers intertwined with ivy. Arachne’s work was the pinnacle of perfection; she was not inferior in beauty to the work of Athena, but in her paintings there was disrespect, even contempt for the gods. Athena was terribly angry, interrupted Arachne’s work, and hit her with the shuttle. The unfortunate Arachne could not bear this disgrace; she twisted a rope, made a noose, and hung herself. Athena freed Arachne from the snare and told her:

“Long live the rebellious woman. But you will hang forever and weave forever, and this punishment will continue in your offspring.”

Athena sprayed Arachna with the juice of magic grass and immediately her body shrank, her thick hair fell from her head and she turned into a spider. Since then, the Arachne spider has been hanging on its cobweb and weaving it forever, as it used to weave as a woman.

Minerva (Athena) and Arachne, René-Antoine Houasse, 1706

(Link for this article is here)


Aphrodite – Goddess of Love

It is not the job of the gentle, naughty goddess Aphrodite to intervene in bloody battles. She is here only to awaken love in the hearts of gods and mortals. Thanks to this power, she reigns over the whole world.

No one can escape her power, not even the gods. Only militant Athena, Hestia, and Artemis are not subject to her power. Tall, slender, with delicate features, with soft, wavy golden hair, like a wreath lying on her beautiful head, Aphrodite is the embodiment of divine beauty and unfading youth. When she walks, in the splendor of her beauty, in fragrant clothes, then the sun shines brighter, the flowers bloom more magnificently. Wild forest animals flock to her from the thicket; birds flock to her as she walks through the forest. Lions, panthers, leopards and bears gently lurk around her. Aphrodite, proud of her radiant beauty, moves calmly among the terrible beasts. Her companions, the Hora and the Harites, goddesses of beauty and grace, serve her. They dress the goddess in sumptuous robes, comb her golden hair, crown her head with a shining tiara.

Aphrodite, Uranus’ daughter, was born not far from the island of Kytera (Zitera) from the snow-white foam of the sea waves. A light, caressing breeze brought her to the island of Cyprus. There the young Hori surrounded the goddess of love, who came out of the sea waves. They dressed her in a gold cloth and placed a wreath of fragrant flowers on her. Where Aphrodite set foot, flowers bloomed magnificently. The whole air was soaked with fragrances. Eros and Chimeros took the wonderful goddess to Olympus. The gods greeted her noisily. Since then, the golden Aphrodite, forever young, the most beautiful of the goddesses, has lived forever among the Olympian gods.

Narcissus (as it is in Ovid’s poem “Metamorphoses”)

But whoever does not worship the golden Aphrodite, who rejects her gifts, who resists her authority, the goddess of love punishes him mercilessly. Thus she punished the son of the river god Kefis and the nymph Lavrion, the beautiful but cold and proud Narcissus. He loved no one but himself, he considered only himself worthy of love.

Once, when he was lost in a dense forest while hunting, the nymph Echo saw him. The nymph could not speak to Narcissus alone. The punishment of the goddess Hera was upon her: the nymph Echo was to be silent, but she could answer questions only by repeating the last words of them. Echo watched with admiration the slender handsome young man, hidden by him in the forest thicket. Narcissus looked around, not knowing where to go, and shouted loudly.

“Hey, who’s here?”
“Here!”, Echo’s response echoed.
“Come here!”, Narcissus shouted.
“Here!”, Echo replied.

The beautiful Narcissus looked around in amazement: there was no one in sight. Surprised by this, he shouted loudly:
“Come to me soon!”
And Echo responded happily:
“With me.”

From the forest the nymph ran with open arms, but the beautiful young man angrily pushed her away. He quickly moved away from the nymph and hid in the dark forest.

She hid in the forest impassable thicket and the rejected nymph. Poor Echo suffers from love for Narcissus, is not shown to anyone and only sadly calls at every exclamation.

And Narcissus remained, as before, proud and in love with himself. He rejected everyone’s love. Many nymphs made his pride unhappy. And once one of the rejected nymphs cried out:

“I hope you fall in love, Narcissus! And may the one you love not reciprocate!”

The nymph’s wish came true. The goddess of love Aphrodite was angry that Narcissus rejected her gifts and punished him. Once in the spring, while hunting, Narcissus approached a stream and asked to drink cold water. Neither a shepherd nor a mountain goat had ever touched the waters of this stream; not once had a broken twig fallen into it, not even the wind blew a leaf of lush flowers into the stream. The water was clean and clear. Everything around her it reflected in it like a mirror: the bushes that grew along the shore, the slender cypress trees, and the blue sky. Narcissus leaned over the creek, resting his hands on a rock protruding from the water, and looked around the creek in all its beauty. It was here that Aphrodite’s punishment befell him. He stares in amazement at his reflection in the water and a strong love overwhelms him. He looks at his image in the water with eyes full of love, speaks kindly to him, calls him, holds out his hands to him. Narcissus leans over the water mirror to kiss his reflection, but kisses only the cold clear water of the stream. Narcissus forgot everything; he does not separate from the stream; he stands inseparably and admires himself. He does not eat, drink, sleep. Finally, filled with despair, Narcissus exclaimed, holding out his hands to his reflection.

“Oh, who has suffered so badly! We are not divided by mountains, not by seas, but only by a strip of water, and yet we cannot come together. Come out of the stream!”

Narcissus thought, staring at the image in the water. Suddenly a terrible thought came to his mind, and he bent over the water, began to whisper softly:

“Oh, grief! I’m scared, am I not in love with myself! You are me! I love myself. I feel that I have little left to live. Barely blossomed, I will wither and descend into the dark realm of shadows. Death does not frighten me; death will put an end to the torments of love.”

The forces leave Narcissus, he pales and already feels the approach of death, but still can not detach himself from his image. Narcissus cries. His tears fall into the clear waters of the stream. Circles form on the mirror water surface and the beautiful image disappears. Narcissus exclaims in horror:

“Narcissus”, Michelangelo da Caravaggio

“Oh, where are you? Come back! Stay! Don’t leave me, this is cruel. Oh, at least let me watch you!”

But here the water is calm again, the image appears again, Narcissus looks at it again, without breaking away. It disappears like dew under the scorching sun. The unfortunate nymph Echo also sees Narcissus suffering. She loves him as before; her heart shrinks in pain at Narcissus’ suffering.

“Oh, grief,” Narcissus shouted.
“Sorrow,” Echo replied.
Finally, exhausted, Narcissus moaned in a low voice, looking at his reflected image.
And even quieter, barely audible, was the voice of the nymph Echo:

Narcissus’s head rested on the green coastal lawn, and the darkness of death covered his eyes. Narcissus died. The young nymphs mourned him in the forest, and Echo mourned him. And the nymphs prepared a grave for the young Narcissus, but when they came for his body, they did not find him. A white, fragrant flower, the flower of death, had sprouted where the Narcissus head had perched on the grass; it is called a narcissus.

Adonis (as it is in Ovid’s poem “Metamorphoses”)

But the goddess of love, who punished Narcissus, personally experienced the torments of love; and she happened to complain to her beloved Adonis. She loved the son of the Cypriot king, Adonis. None of the mortals could compare with him in beauty; he was even better than the Olympian gods. Because of him, Aphrodite forgot both Patmos and the blossoming Kythera. Adonis was even more dear to her than the bright Olympus. She spent all her time with young Adonis. With him she went hunting in the mountains and forests of Cyprus like the virgin Artemis. Aphrodite forgot her gold jewelry, she forgot her beauty. Under the scorching rays of the sun and in bad weather she went hunting for rabbits, timid deer and roe deer, but avoided hunting terrible lions and wild boars. And she begged Adonis to avoid the dangers of hunting lions, bears and wild boars, so that no misfortune would befall him. The goddess seldom left the king’s son alone, and every time she left him she reminded him not to forget her prayers.

Once, in Aphrodite’s absence, Adonis’s dogs came across the tracks of a huge boar while hunting. They drove the animal out of its lair and chased it furiously. Adonis enjoyed this rich hunt; he had no idea that this would be his last hunt. The barking of the dogs could be heard closer and closer, and here the huge boar appeared among the bushes. Adonis was about to pierce the enraged boar with his spear, but the boar suddenly lunged at Aphrodite’s lover and fatally wounded him with its huge protruding teeth. Adonis died from the terrible wound.

When Aphrodite learned of Adonis’ death, overwhelmed with inexpressible grief, she went alone to the mountains of Cyprus to look for the body of her beloved young man. She walked on steep mountain slopes, through gloomy gorges, along deep precipices. The sharp stones and thorns of the thorn wounded the tender feet of the goddess. Drops of blood fell on the ground and left traces wherever it passed. Aphrodite finally found Adonis’ body. She wept bitterly over the beautiful young man who had died without time. In order to preserve the memory of Adonis forever, the goddess ordered a delicate pine to grow from his blood. And wherever drops of blood fell from Aphrodite’s wounded feet, magnificent roses grew, scarlet as the blood of the goddess. The thunderer Zeus took pity on the grief of the goddess of love. He ordered his brother Hades and his wife Persephone to release Adonis to earth each year from the dark realm of the shadows of the dead. Since then, Adonis has remained in the kingdom of Hades for half a year, and for half a year he has lived on earth with the goddess Aphrodite. All nature rejoices when Adonis, the young, beautiful lover of golden Aphrodite, returns to earth in the bright rays of the sun.

Venus / Aphrodite and Cupid over the dead Adonis, 1656 Cornelis Holsteyn

(Link for this article is here)


Apollo and Daphne

The bright, cheerful god Apollo also knows sorrow: misfortune befell him too. He knew the grief soon after his victory over Python. When Apollo, proud to have defeated Python, stood over the monster defeated by his arrows, he saw the young god of love, Eros, stretching his golden bow. Apollo told him with a laugh:

“Why do you need, child, such a terrible weapon? You better let me send the devastating golden arrows I just used to kill Python. Is it up to you to compare yourself to me, the archer? Do you want to achieve greater glory than mine?”
The offended Eros proudly replied to Apollo:
“Your arrows, Phoebus-Apollo, strike unmistakably, they all strike, but my arrow will strike you.”

Eros fluttered his golden wings and in an instant flew to the high Parnassus. There he drew two arrows from his archer – one, wounding the heart and provoking love, with it he pierced the heart of Apollo; a second, killing love, shot it in the heart of the nymph Daphne, daughter of the river god Penei.

By chance, Apollo met the beautiful Daphne and fell in love with her. But as soon as Daphne saw the golden-haired Apollo, she ran away with the speed of the wind, because the arrow of Eros, killing love, had pierced her heart. The silver-bowed god hurried to catch up with her.

“Wait, beautiful nymph,” cried Apollo, “Why do you flee from me like a sheep chased by a wolf. Like a dove escaping an eagle, you fly! I’m not your enemy! Look, you hurt your feet on the sharp thorns of the thorn. Wait, stop! I am Apollo, the son of the thunderer Zeus, not an ordinary mortal shepherd.”

But the beautiful Daphne ran even faster. Apollo ran after her like on wings. He was getting closer and closer to her. Almost catch up with her! Daphne can already feel his breathing. Her strength leaves her. And she prayed to her father Penei:

“Father Penei, help me! Dissolve soon, earth, and devour me! Oh, take away this image of me, it only causes me suffering!”

She hadn’t yet finished her plea, and her limbs immediately went numb. Bark covered her delicate body, her hair turned into leaves, and her arms raised to the sky became branches. Apollo stood mournfully for a long time in front of the laurel tree that appeared, and finally said:

“Let a wreath of your greenery adorn my head alone, adorn my lyre and my archer with your leaves from now on. May your greenery never fade, Oh, laurel tree. Be evergreen!”

And the laurel tree rustled softly with its thick branches in response to Apollo and seemed to bend its green top as a sign of agreement.

Apollo and Daphne attributed to Piero del Pollaiolo

(Link for this article is here)


The Daughters of Minyas

And in Orchomenus, in Boeotia, they did not want to recognize the god Dionysus. When the priest of Dionysus (Bacchus) appeared in Orchomenus and called on all the girls and women to go to the forests and mountains in merry mourning in honor of the god of wine, the three daughters of King Minyas refused to go to the feast: they did not want to recognize Dionysus for god. All the women of Orchomenus went out of the city into the shady forests and there sang and danced to celebrate the great god.
Decorated with ivy, with sawdust in their hands, they ran and shouted loudly like menades in the woods and glorified Dionysus. And the daughters of the king of Orchomenus sat at home and quietly weaved and weaved; they did not even want to hear about the god Dionysus.

In the evening, the sun set, and the king’s daughters still did not give up their work, hurrying to finish it at all costs. Suddenly a miracle happened before their eyes. Sounds of timpani and flutes spread in the palace, the threads of their yarn turned into vine sticks and heavy bunches hung on them. Their looms turned green: they were densely wrapped in ivy. The fragrance of myrtle and flowers spread everywhere.

The Daughters of Minyas, Antonio Fantuzzi (Italian, active France, 1537–45)

The king’s daughters marveled at this miracle. Unexpectedly, the ominous light of torches shone throughout the palace, already enveloped in the evening twilight. There was a roar of wild beasts. Lions, panthers, lynxes and bears appeared in all the rooms of the palace. With a terrible howl they ran around the palace and their eyes shone fiercely. Terrified, the king’s daughters struggled to hide in the farthest, darkest rooms of the palace, so as not to see the glow of the torches and hear the roar of the beasts.

But everything was in vain, they could not hide anywhere. Dionysus‘ punishment did not end there. The bodies of the king’s daughters began to shrink, covered with dark mouse fur, instead of their hands grew wings with a thin zipper – they turned into bats. Since then, they have been hiding from daylight in dark, damp ruins and caves. This is how Dionysus punished them.

The Tyrrhenian Pirates

Dionysus also punished the Tyrrhenian pirates, but not so much because they did not recognize him as a god, but because of the evil they wanted to do to him as a mere mortal.

One time young Dionysus was standing on the shore of the azure sea. The sea breeze played fondly with his dark curls and barely moved the folds of the purple cloak that descended from the slender shoulders of the young god. Not far from the sea, a ship appeared; it was fast approaching the shore. When the ship was near, the sailors saw – and they were Tyrrhenian pirates – the beautiful young man on the desert beach. They quickly dropped anchor, went ashore, grabbed Dionysus and took him to their ship. The robbers had no idea that they had captured a god. They rejoiced that such tresure had fallen into their hands. They were sure that they would get a lot of gold for such a beautiful young man when they sold him as a slave. When they reached their ship, the robbers wanted to chain Dionysus in heavy chains, but the chains came off the young god’s arms and legs. And he sat and watched the robbers with a calm smile. When the helmsman saw that the chains were not in the hands of a young man, he said to his comrades in fear:

“Idiots! What are we doing! Do we want to chain a god? Look, even our ship can barely hold it! Isn’t he Zeus himself, isn’t he the silver-arched Apollo or the earthquaker Poseidon? No, he doesn’t look like a mortal! He is one of the gods who live on the bright Olympus. Release him as soon as possible, take him ashore or he can summon the stormy winds and cast a terrible storm in the sea!”

But the captain replied viciously to the wise helmsman:
“Despicable man! See the wind is traveling. Our ship will quickly sail on the waves of the boundless sea. And we will take care of the young man later. We will sail to Egypt or Cyprus, or to the far side of the Hyperboreans, and sell him there; let this young man look for his friends and brothers there. No, the gods themselves sent it to us!”

The pirates calmly lifted the ship’s sail and the ship went out to sea. Suddenly, a miracle happened: fragrant wine began to flow on the ship and the whole air was filled with fragrance. The pirates were stunned. But behold, vines with heavy bunches of greenery grew green on the ships’ sails; dark green ivy enveloped the mast; wonderful fruits appeared everywhere; the wedges on which the oars rested were wrapped in garlands of flowers. When the priates saw all this, they began to beg the wise helmsman to drive ashore sooner. But it was too late! The young man turned into a lion and stood on the deck with a terrible roar, his eyes gleaming fiercely. A furry bear appeared on the deck of the ship; she gritted her huge mouth terribly. Terrified, the robbers rushed to the stern and gathered around the helmsman. With a huge leap, the lion lunged at the captain and tore him apart. Losing hope of salvation, the robbers one by one threw themselves into the waves, and Dionysus turned them into dolphins. He spared the helmsman. Taking his previous image and smiling kindly, Dionysus said to the helmsman:

“Do not be afraid! I loved you! I am Dionysus, son of Zeus and Cadmus’ daughter Semela.”

“The Daughters of Minyas – according to “Metamorphoses”, “The Tyrrhenian Pirates” – exhibited one Homer’s anthem and according to “Metamorphoses”; on the work of A. Kun

Dionysus transforms the pirates, Bardo National Museum, Tunis

(Link for this article is here)


God Pan

The god Pan could often be seen in the midst of Dionysus‘ entourage. When the great Pan was born, his mother, the nymph Driopa, looked at her son, terrified, and fled. He was born with goat’s legs and horns and a long beard. But his father, Hermes, rejoiced that a son had been born to him, took him in his arms, and carried him to the bright Olympus and the gods. All the gods rejoiced loudly at the birth of Pan and laughed as they watched him.

God Pan did not live with the gods of Olympus. He retired to the shady forests of the mountains. There he grazes the herds, playing the sound of the flute instrument – syrinx. As soon as the nymphs hear the wonderful sounds of Pan’s syrinx, they rush to it in crowds, surround it, and soon a merry dance swings through the secluded green valley to the sounds of Pan’s music. Pan himself likes to take part in nymph dances. When Pan cheered, a merry noise echoed through the woods on the mountain slopes. The nymphs and satyrs play merrily with the restless goat-legged Pan. And when the hot noon comes, Pan retreats to the largest thicket of the forest or to a hungry cave and rests there. It is dangerous for Pan to be disturbed then; he is hot-tempered and can send a heavy, depressing sleep in his anger; it may, when it appears unexpectedly, frighten the passenger who has disturbed it. Finally, he may instill panic fear. Such a horror that a person throws himself to run through his head, without choosing a path, through forests, through mountains, on the edge of precipices and without noticing that running threatens him with death at any moment. It happened that Pan instilled such fear in an entire army and that it ran uncontrollably to flee. Pan should not be annoyed – when he is angry, he is scary. But if Pan is not angry, he is merciful and good-natured. He sends many blessings to the shepherds. The great Pan, the merry participant in the dances of the raging menads, the frequent companion of the god of wine Dionysus, guards and looks after the flocks of the Greeks.

God Pan, Peter Paul Rubens. possible time of painting 1610.

Pan and Syrinx

And the great Pan was not spared by the arrows of Eros. He fell in love with the nymph Syrinx. She was proud and rejected everyone’s love. For both Latona’s daughter, the great Artemis, and Syrinx, hunting was a favorite pastime. Even Syrinx was often recognized as Artemis, so beautiful was the young nymph in her short dress, with an archer over her shoulder and a bow in her hands. Like two drops of water, they then resembled Artemis, except that her bow was made of horn, not gold, as was the bow of the great goddess.

Once Pan saw Syrinx and wanted to approach her. The nymph looked at him and ran away in horror. Pan could barely run after her, wanting to catch up with her. But here is a river that crossed the path of the nymph. Where to run? Syrinx reached for the river and began to beg the river god to save her. The god of the river listened to the nymph’s pleas and turned her into a reed. The running Pan wanted to hug Syrinx now, but he hugged only the lithe, quietly rustling reed. Pan stood sad, sighed, and heard in the gentle noise of the reeds the greeting of the beautiful Syrinx. He cut several stems and made a sweet-sounding whistle by waxing tubes of different lengths. In memory of the nymph, Pan called this whistle the syrinx. Since then, the great Pan has loved to play the syrinx on the whistle, alone in the woods, announcing the surrounding mountains with its gentle sounds.

The magic of Pan’s flute, John Reinhard Weguelin (1905)

Pan’s competition with Apollo

Pan was proud of his playing the syrinx. He once called Apollo himself to a competition. This happened on the slopes of Mount Tmol. The judge was the god of this mountain. Apollo appeared at the race in a purple cloak, with a golden lyre in his hands and a laurel wreath on his head. The competition began with Pan playing. The simple sounds of his shepherd’s whistle spread gently on the slopes of Tmol. Pan graduated. When the echoes of his whistle subsided, Apollo struck the golden strings of his lyre. The majestic sounds of divine music resounded. Everyone around stood listening to Apollo’s music as if enchanted. The golden strings of the lyre sounded solemn, the whole of nature sank into deep silence, and in the midst of the silence a melody full of marvelous beauty spread in wide waves. Graduated from Apollo; the last sounds of his lyre died. The god of the mountain Tmol awarded a victory to Apollo. Everyone praised the great god of his guitar. Only Midas did not admire Apollo’s playing, but praised Pan’s simple playing. Apollo became angry, grabbed Midas by the ears and stretched them. Since then, Midas has donkey ears, which he carefully hides under a large turban. And the sad Pan, defeated by Apollo, retreated even deeper into the thicket; the tender, sad sounds of his syrinx are often heard from there, and the young nymphs listen with love.

(Link for this article is here)

Phaeton and Helios

Only once was the established order in the world challenged, and the sun-god did not go out in his chariot to heaven to shine upon men. This is what happened. The Sun, Helios, had a son by Clemena, the daughter of the sea goddess Thetis, who was called Phaeton. Phaeton’s cousin Epaphus, the son of the thunderer Zeus, once laughed at him, telling him:

“I do not believe that you are the son of the radiant Helios. Your mother is lying. You are the son of an ordinary mortal.”

Anger stew up in Phaeton, redness of shame flooded his face, he ran to his mother, threw himself into her arms and with tears in his eyes complained about the insult. And his mother, stretching out her hands to the radiant sun, cried out:

“Oh, son! I swear to you in Helios, who sees and hears us, whom you yourself see now, that he is your father! Let him deprive me of his light if I do not tell the truth. Go to him alone, his palace is not far from us. He will confirm my words to you.”

Phaeton immediately went to his father Helios. He quickly reached his palace, which shone with gold, silver, and precious stones. The whole palace seemed to sparkle with all the colors of the rainbow, so wonderfully decorated by the god Hephaestus himself. Phaeton entered the palace and saw Helios sitting there on his throne in purple. But Phaeton could not approach the radiant god; his eyes, the eyes of a mortal, could not bear the radiance that radiated from the crown of Helios. The sun god saw Phaeton and asked him:

“What brings you to me in the palace, son?”

“Oh, light of the whole world, oh, Father Helios! But do I dare call you Dad?”, Phaeton shouted. “Give me proof that you are my father. Please remove my doubt.”

Helios took off the radiant wreath, called Phaeton to him, hugged him and told him:

“Yes, you are my son; your mother, Klimena, told you right. And so that you do not doubt any more, ask me what you wish, and swear in the waters of the sacred river Styx, I will fulfill your request.”

Helios had just said this, and Phaeton began begging to allow him to travel in the sky instead of Helios himself in his golden chariot. The radiant god was terrified.

“Madman, what do you want?”, shouted Helios. “Oh, that I could break my oath! You want the impossible, Phaeton. This is beyond your power. You are mortal, and is this a mortal job? Even the immortal gods are unable to hold on to my chariot. The great Zeus the Thunderer alone cannot rule it, and who is more powerful than him! Just think: at first the road is so steep that even my winged horses can barely climb it. Towards the middle it walks so high above the ground that even I am overwhelmed with fear as I look down at the seas and lands below me. And towards the end, the road descends so steeply to the sacred shores of the ocean that without my experienced driving, the chariot will fly headlong and crash. You may think that you will meet many good things along the way, No, the road leads through dangers, horrors and among wild animals. It is narrow; if you turn aside, there the horns of the terrible taurus are waiting for you, they are threatened by the bow of the centaur, the raging lion, the monstrous scorpions and cancer. There are many horrors on the heavenly path. Believe me, I don’t want to be the cause of your death. Oh, if you could peek into my heart and see how afraid I am of you! Look around, look at the world, how many good things there are in it! Ask for anything you want, I won’t deny you anything, just don’t ask for this. Because you do not want a reward, but a terrible punishment.”

But Phaeton did not want to listen to anything; wrapping his arms around Helios’s neck, he begged him to comply with his request.

“All right, I’ll comply with your request. Calm down, I swore in the waters of the Styx. You will receive what you ask of me; but I thought you were wiser”, said the sadden Helios.

He took Phaeton to the place where his chariot stood. Phaeton began to admire the chariot: she was all golden and shone with multicolored stones. They brought the winged horses of Helios, fed with ragweed and soaked in nectar. They were harnessed to the chariot. The pink-fingered Eos opened the door to the sun. Helios anointed Phaeton’s face with sacred grease to keep the sun’s flame from burning him, and placed a dazzling wreath on his head. With a sigh of sorrow, Helios gives his last instructions to Phaeton.

“Son, remember my last instructions, follow them if you can. Do not ride the horses hard, hold the reins as tightly as possible. My horses will run on their own. It’s hard to stop them. And you will clearly see your path on the tracks that pass through the whole sky. Do not go up too high so as not to set the sky on fire, but do not go down too low, otherwise you will set the earth on fire. Do not deviate, remember, neither to the right nor to the left. Your path is right in the middle between the Serpent and the Altar. I leave everything else to fate, I only hope for it. But it is time, the night has already left the sky; the pink-fingered Eos has already ascended. Hold the reins tighter. And maybe you will change your decision after all – it threatens you with death. Oh, let me shine on the earth! Don’t perish.”

But Phaeton quickly jumped on the chariot and grabbed the reins. He happily rejoices, thanks to his father Helios and hurries to leave. The horses rummage with their hooves, a flame jumps out of their nostrils, they gently pull the chariot and through the fog they quickly make their way forward on the steep road to the sky. The chariot is unusually light for horses. Here they are already racing across the sky, deviating from the ordinary path of Helios and flying without a path. And Phaeton does not know where the road really is, he is not able to control the horses. He looks down from heaven to the earth and pales with fear, it is so far below. His knees tremble, darkness obscures his eyes. He already regrets asking his father to let him drive his chariot. What to do! He has come a long way, but he has an even longer way to go. Phaeton can’t handle the horses, he doesn’t know their names, and he has no strength to keep them with the reins. Around him he sees terrible celestial beasts and is even more frightened.

The fall of Phaeoton, Adolphe Pierre Sunaert

There is a place in the sky where a monster, a terrible scorpion, is lying – the Phaeton horses continue to suffer. The unfortunate young man saw a scorpion covered in dark poison, threatening him with his deadly sting, and, mad with fear, missed the reins. Feeling free, the horses then endure even faster. Here they ascend to the stars themselves, here they descend and float above the earth itself. Helios‘ sister, the goddess of the Moon Selena, watches in amazement as her brother’s horses rode off the road, unmanned by anyone, across the sky. The earth is engulfed in the flames of the low chariot. Big rich cities perish, whole tribes perish.

Mountains covered with forests blaze: the two-headed Parnassus, the shady Kitheron, the green Helicon, the forests of the Caucasus, Tmol, Ida, Pelion and Osa. The smoke obscures everything around; due to the thick smoke, the Phaeton does not see where he is going. The water in the rivers and streams boils. The nymphs cry and hide in the deep caves in terror. The Euphrates, Orontes, Alpheus, Eurota and other rivers boil. From the great heat the earth cracks and a ray of the sun penetrates the dark realm of Hades. The seas begin to dry up and the sea deities suffer from heat. Then the great goddess Gaia-Earth rises and shouts loudly:

“Oh, the greatest of the gods, thunderer Zeus! Should I perish, should the kingdom of your brother Poseidon perish, should all living things perish? Look at Atlas, it can barely hold the weight of the sky. So the sky and the palaces of the gods can collapse. Will everything return to the original Chaos? Oh, save from the fire what is left!”

Zeus, hearing the request of the titan Gaia, swung his right hand terribly, threw his blinding lightning and extinguished the fire with its fire. With lightning, Zeus broke the chariot. Helios’s horses ran in different directions. Pieces of the chariot and the harnesses of Helios‘ horses were scattered throughout the sky.

And Phaeton, with burning curls on his head, soared through the air like a shooting star and fell in the midst of the waves of the river Eridan, far from his homeland. There the Hesperian nymphs picked up his body and buried it. Phaeton’s father Helios fell into deep sorrow, covered his face and did not appear in the blue sky all day. Only the glare of the fire illuminated the earth.

Phaeton’s unfortunate mother, Klimena, searched for the body of her dead son for a long time. Finally, she found not her son’s body on Eridan’s shores, but his grave. The inconsolable mother wept bitterly over her son’s grave; together with her they mourned their dead brother and Klimena’s daughters, the heliads. Their grief was boundless. The great gods turned the weeping heliads into poplars. The heliad poplars stand on the shores of Eridanus, leaning over him and their tears – glue, falling into the cold water. The glue hardens and turns into transparent amber.

His friend Kicken also mourned the death of Phaeton. His cries spread far and wide on the shores of Eridanus. Seeing Kicken’s inconsolable grief, the gods turned him into a snow-white swan. Since then, the Kikan swan has lived in the water – on rivers and wide bright lakes. He is afraid of the fire that destroyed his friend Phaeton.

(Link for this article is here)

Night, Moon, Dawn and Sun

Night and Moon

Selene and Endymion,от Albert Aublet

Slowly travels across the sky in her chariot, drawn by black horses, the goddess Night – Nukta. With her dark veil she has swept the earth. Darkness has enveloped everything. Near the chariot of the goddess Night the stars are crowded and an uncertain flickering light pours on the earth – these are the young sons of the goddess Dawn – Eos, and of Astrey. There are many; they dotted the whole dark night sky. But here it is as if a slight glow appears to the east. It is getting hotter and hotter. Ascends to heaven the goddess Moon – Selene. Bulls slowly pull her chariot across the sky. Calmly, majestically, the goddess Moon travels across the sky in her long white robe, with a crescent moon above her forehead. It meekly illuminates the sleeping earth, flooding everything with a silver glow. After orbiting the firmament, the goddess Moon will descend into a deep cave on Mount Latham, in Caria. There he lay, sunk; in eternal slumber, the beautiful Endymion. Selene is in love with him. She leans over him, caresses him and whispers love words to him. But Endymion, drowsy, can’t hear her, that’s why Selene is so sad, and that’s why her light, which she pours on the ground at night, is sad.

Dawn and Sun

Eos (1895), Evelyn de Morgan, London

The morning is getting closer. The moon goddess has long since descended from the sky. It has barely blushed east. The harbinger of the dawn of Eosphoros, the Daydream, blazes brightly to the east. A light breeze blows. It ignites the east more and more brightly. Here is the pink-fingered goddess Dawn – Eos, opens the doors, from which will soon emerge the radiant god Sun – Helios. In a bright orange robe, with her pink wings, the goddess Dawn flies up to the bright sky, flooded with pink light. The goddess pours dew from a golden vessel on the ground and the dew sprinkles grass and flowers with diamond-like drops. Everything on earth smells, aromas are carried everywhere, The awakened earth joyfully greets the rising sun god – Helios.

The radiant god sets off into the sky from the shores of the ocean with four winged horses in a golden chariot forged by Hephaestus. The rays of the rising sun illuminate the mountain peaks and they rise as if covered with fire. The stars flee from the sky at the sight of the sun god; they hide one after the other in the bosom of the dark night. The chariot of Helios rises higher and higher. He travels in the sky with a radiant wreath on his head and a long shining garment and pours his life-giving rays on the earth, giving it light, warmth and life.

After completing his daily journey, the sun god descends to the sacred waters of the Ocean. There awaits him a golden boat, with which he sails back to the east to the land of the sun, where his magnificent palace is located. At night, the sun god rests there to recapture the next day in his former splendor.

(Link for this article is here)

Demeter and Persephone

Mighty is the great goddess Demeter. She gives fertility to the land and without its beneficial power nothing grows in the shady forests, meadows or lush fields.

Hades kidnaps Persephone

The great goddess Demeter had a young, beautiful daughter, Persephone. Persephone’s father was the great son of Cronus himself, the Thunderer Zeus. Once upon a time, the beautiful Persephone, along with her oceanid friends, played carefree in the blossoming Nise Valley. Like a light-winged butterfly, the young daughter of Demetrius came running from flower to flower. She plucked gorgeous roses, fragrant violets, snow-white lilies and red hyacinths. Persephone was carelessly mad, not knowing what fate her father Zeus had ordained for her. De could think that she would not see the clear sunlight again soon, that she would not soon enjoy the flowers and inhale their sweet scent. Zeus gave her in marriage to his gloomy brother Hades, the ruler of the realm of the shadows of the dead, and with him she was to live in the darkness of the underworld, deprived of the light of the scorching southern sun.

Hades saw Persephone as she went mad in the Nise Valley, and immediately decided to steal her. He begged the goddess Gaia to create an unusually beautiful flower. The goddess Gaia agreed, and a wonderful flower blossomed in the valley of Nise; its intoxicating aroma spread to all sides. Persephone saw the flower, she reached out, grabbed the stalk, and tore it off. But suddenly the earth dissolves and in a golden chariot, drawn by black horses, the ruler of the realm of shadows of the dead, the gloomy Hades, appears. He grabbed the young Persephone, put her on his chariot, and in an instant disappeared with his fast horses into the bowels of the earth. Persephone barely managed to shout. The cry of terror from Demeter’s young daughter spread far and wide; he reached both the abysses of the sea and the high bright Olympus. No one saw the gloomy Hades kidnap Persephone, only the god Helios, the Sun, saw it.

Hades kidnaps Persephone, Luca Giordano

The goddess Demeter heard Persephone’s cry. She quickly found herself in the Nise Valley, looking everywhere for her daughter, asking her friends, the Oceanids, but she was nowhere to be found. The Oceanids did not see where Persephone had disappeared.

Severe grief over the loss of her only beloved daughter gripped Demeter’s heart. Dressed in dark clothes, for nine days, alien and indifferent to everything else, the great goddess Demeter wandered the earth, shedding bitter tears. She looked everywhere for Persephone, begging everyone for help, but no one could help her in her grief. Finally, only on the tenth day, she went to the god Helios – the Sun, and with tears in her eyes asked him:

“Oh, radiant Helios! You travel in a golden chariot high in the sky all over the earth and all the seas; you see everything, nothing can be hidden from you; if you have at least a little mercy on me, an unhappy mother, tell me where my daughter Persephone is, tell me where to look for her! I heard her cry, they stole her from me. I was looking for her everywhere, but I couldn’t find her anywhere!”
The radiant Helios replied to Demeter:

“Great goddess, you know how I respect you and you see how I grieve as I watch your grief. Know: the great cloudman Zeus gave your daughter to his gloomy brother, the ruler Hades, who stole Persephone and kidnapped her in his horrified kingdom. Overcome your heavy grief, goddess; great is your daughter’s husband, she became the wife of the mighty brother of the great Zeus.”

This made the goddess Demeter even sadder. She was angry with the thunderer Zeus for giving Persephone to Hades‘ wife without her consent. She left the gods, left the bright Olympus, took the form of an ordinary mortal, and, dressed in dark clothes, wandered among mortals for a long time, shedding bitter tears.

Stopped all growth on the ground. The leaves of the trees withered and fell. The forests stood bare. The grass burned; the flowers loosened their colorful wreaths and withered. There were no fruits in the orchards, no green vines, no heavy, juicy grapes ripening in them. The once fertile fields were desolate, not a single stalk in them. Life on earth died. Hunger reigned everywhere; crying and moaning could be heard everywhere. Doom threatened the entire human race. But immersed in grief for her tenderly beloved daughter, Demeter saw nothing, heard nothing.

Finally, Demeter came to the town of Eleusis. There, by the city walls, she sat in the shade under an olive tree on the “stone of sorrow,” next to the “well of the virgins.” Demeter sat motionless like a real statue. Her dark robe came down in straight folds. Her head was relaxed, and tears and drops fell from her eyes one after another. Demeter sat like that for a long time, lonely and inconsolable.

The daughters of the Eleusinian king Kelei saw her. They were surprised to see a crying woman in dark clothes by the well, approached her and asked her sympathetically who she was. But the goddess Demeter did not reveal herself to them. She said that her name was Deo, that she was a native of Crete, that she had been kidnapped by robbers, but she escaped from them and after long wanderings reached Eleusis. Demeter asked Kelei’s daughters to take her to her father’s house; she agreed to become their mother’s maid, look after the children, and work at Kelei’s home.

Kelei’s daughters took Demeter to their mother Metaneira. It never crossed their minds that they were bringing a great goddess to their father’s house. But when Demeter was brought into the house, she touched the top threshold of the door with her head, and the whole house was illuminated by a wonderful light. Metaneira rose to meet the goddess; she realized that the stranger her daughters had brought to her was no ordinary mortal. Kelly’s wife bowed low to her and invited her to sit in her queen’s place. Demeter refused; she sat silently in the maid’s usual place, still indifferent to everything that was going on around her. But Metaneira’s maid, the merry Yamba, seeing the stranger’s deep sorrow, tried to cheer her up. She nimbly served both her and her mistress Metaneira; her laughter sounded loud and her jokes poured out. Demeter smiled for the first time since her grim Hades had stolen her daughter, and agreed to taste food for the first time.

Demeter stayed with Kelei. She took care of the upbringing of his son Demophont. The goddess decided to make Demophont immortal. She held the boy on her goddess’s breast, on her knees; it breathed the immortal breath of the goddess. Demeter smeared him with ragweed, and at night, when everyone in Kelei’s house was asleep, she wrapped Demophont in diapers and put him in the hot furnace. But Demophont did not receive immortality. Once Metaneira saw her son lying in the furnace, she was terribly frightened and began to beg Demeter not to do so. Demeter was angry with Metaneira, pulled Demophont out of the furnace, and said,

“Oh, unreasonable woman! I wanted to give immortality to your son, to make him invulnerable. Know that I am Demeter, who gives strength and joy of mortals and immortals.”

Demeter revealed to Kelei and Metaneira who she was and took her ordinary image of a goddess. Divine light spread over Kelei’s chambers. Goddess Demeter stood upright, majestic and beautiful, her golden hair falling on her shoulders, divine wisdom shining in her eyes, fragrance flowing from her clothes. Metaneira and her husband fell to their knees in front of her.

Goddess Demeter ordered a temple to be built in Eleusis near the spring of Calichora and remained to live in it. At this temple Demeter herself began solemn celebrations.

The grief for her tenderly loved daughter did not leave Demeter, she did not forget her anger towards Zeus. The earth was still barren. The famine became more and more intense, as not a single grass grew in the fields of the farmers. In vain did the oxen of their owners pull the heavy plow on them – their work was in vain. Whole tribes died out. The cries of the hungry rose to the sky, but Demeter ignored them. Eventually, the smoking sacrifices on earth in honor of the immortal gods stopped. Doom threatened all living things. But the great cloudman Zeus did not want mortals to die. He sent to Demeter the messenger of the gods Iris. She quickly flew on her rainbow wings to Eleusis, for the temple of Demeter. And he called her, begged her to return to the bright Olympus among the gods. Demeter remained deaf to her pleas. Other gods were sent by the great Zeus to Demeter, but the goddess did not want to return to Olympus before Hades returned her daughter Persephone.

Then the great Zeus sent to his gloomy brother Hades Hermes, as fast as a thought. Hermes descended into the horrified kingdom of Hades, appeared before the ruler of the souls of the dead sitting on a golden throne, and surrendered the will of Zeus to him.

Hades agreed to let Persephone go to her mother, but before that he let her swallow a grain of pomegranate fruit, a symbol of marriage. Persephone ascended in her husband’s golden chariot, accompanied by Hermes; the immortal horses of Hades flew – no obstacles existed for them and in an instant reached Eleusis.

Forgetting everything out of joy, Demeter rushed to meet her daughter and grabbed her in her arms. Her beloved daughter Persephone was with her again. Demeter returned to Olympus with her. Then the great Zeus decided that two-thirds of the year Persephone should live with her mother, and for one-third to return to her husband Hades.

Pinax of Persephone and Hades, Reggio Calabria

The great Demeter restored the fertility of the earth and again everything turned green and began to bloom. The forests were covered with tender spring leaves; flowers variegated green lawn in the meadows. Soon the grain fields were planted; orchards blossomed and began to smell; the greenery of the vineyards shone in the sun. The whole of nature woke up. All living things rejoiced and glorified the great goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone.

But every year Persephone leaves her mother, and each time Demeter sinks into grief and dresses in dark clothes again. And all nature mourns the past of Persephone. The leaves on the trees turn yellow and the autumn wind blows them away, the flowers bloom, the fields are deserted, winter comes. Nature sleeps to awaken in the joyous glow of spring – when she returns to her mother from the unhappy kingdom of Hades Persephone. And when her daughter returns to Demeter, then the great goddess of fertility with a generous hand pours her gifts to the people and blesses the work of the farmers with a rich harvest.

(Link for this article is here)