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Lycia, weary with her burden and parched with thirst. There the following adventure ensued. By chance the persecuted goddess espied in the bottom of the valley a pond of clear water, where the country people were at work gathering willows and osiers. She approached, and kneeling on the bank would have slaked her thirst in the cool stream, but the rustics forbade her. "Why do you refuse me water?" said she. "Water is free to all. Yet I ask it of you as a favor. I have no intention of washing my limbs in it, weary though they be, but only of quenching my thirst. A draught of water would be nectar to me, and I would own myself indebted to you for life itself. Let these infants move your pity, who stretch out their little arms as if to plead for me."
But the clowns persisted in their rudeness; they added jeers, and threatened violence if she did not leave the place. They waded into the pond, and stirred up the mud with their feet, so as to make the water unfit to drink. Enraged, the goddess no longer supplicated the clowns, but lifting her hands to heaven exclaimed, "May they never quit that pool, but pass their lives there!" And it came to pass accordingly. They still live in the water, sometimes totally submerged, then raising their heads above the surface or swimming upon it; sometimes coming out upon the bank, but soon leaping back again into the water. Their voices are harsh, their throats bloated, their mouths distended by constant railing; their necks have shrunk up and disappeared, and their heads are joined to their bodies. Their backs are green, their disproportioned bellies white. They dwell as frogs in the slimy pool.1
§ 73. Apollo, the Light Triumphant. —Soon after his birth the sun-god spent a year among the Hyperboreans, whose shining land has been already described.2 On his return, slaying with his golden arrows the Python that had infested the slopes near Delphi, he sang for the first time that song of victory, which, as the Paan, is still among all nations synonymous with jubilation, praise, and thanksgiving. In his conflict with another monster of darkness
1 Ovid, Metam. 6: 313-381. "§ 38.
and winter, the god of the silver bow had the assistance of his sister Diana. By their unerring fiery darts they subdued the giant Tityus, who not only had obstructed the peaceful ways to the oracle of Delphi, but had ventured to insult the mother of the twin deities. They overthrew also the Aloadse, Otus and Ephialtes, sons of Iphimedia and Neptune. These monsters, the reputed sons of Aloeus, represent, perhaps, the unregulated forces of vegetation; they were renowned for their strength, stature, and courage. They grew at the rate of three cubits in height, and one in breadth, every year; and, when nine years of age, they attempted, by piling Mount Ossa upon Olympus, and Mount Pelion on top, to scale the skies and dethrone the immortals. It is reported that not Apollo and Diana, but Jupiter himself with his lightning slew them. They atoned for their presumption in Hades, where bound by serpents to a pillar, they were tormented by the perpetual hooting of a screech-owl.1
§ 74. Hyacinthus. —The fiery force of the Far-darter was not felt by the monsters of darkness alone. His friendship for the young and the vigorous was frequently as dangerous as it was dear to the objects of it. He was, for instance, passionately fond of a youth named Hyacinthus. The god of the silver bow accompanied the lad in his sports, carried the nets when he went fishing, led the dogs when he went to hunt, followed him in his excursions in the mountains, and neglected for him both lyre and arrows. One day they played a game of quoits; Apollo, heaving aloft the discus, with strength mingled with skill, sent it high and far. Hyacinthus, excited with the sport and eager to make his throw, ran forward to seize the missile: hut it bounded stanch the wound and retain the flitting life, but in vain. As when one has broken the stem of a lily in the garden it hangs its head and turns its flowers to the earth, so the head of the dying boy, as if too heavy for his neck, fell over on his shoulder. "Thou diest, Hyacinth," spake Phcebus, "robbed of thy youth by me. Would that I could die for thee! But since that may not be, my lyre shall celebrate thee, my song shall tell thy fate, and thou shalt become a flower inscribed with my regret." While the golden god spoke, the blood which had flowed on the ground and stained the herbage, ceased to be blood; and a flower of hue more beautiful than the Tyrian sprang up, resembling the lily, save that this is purple and that silvery white. Phcebus then, to confer still greater honor, marked the petals with his sorrow, inscribing "Ai! ai!" upon them. The flower bears the name of Hyacinthus, and with returning spring revives the memory of his fate.1
It was said that Zephyrus (the west wind), who was also fond of Hyacinthus and jealous of his preference of Apollo, blew the quoit out of its course to make it strike Hyacinthus.
§ 75. While this youth met his death by accident, another of Apollo's favorites, his own son, brought death upon himself by presumption.
Phaeton2 was the son of Apollo and the nymph Clymene. One day Epaphus, the son of Jupiter and Io,2 scoffed at the idea of Phaeton's being the son of a god. Phaeton complained of the insult to his mother Clymene. She sent him to Phcebus to ask for himself whether he had not been truly informed concerning his parentage. Gladly Phaeton travelled toward the regions of sunrise, and gained at last the palace of the Sun. He approached his father's presence, but stopped at a distance, for the light was more than he could bear. Phcebus Apollo, arrayed in purple, sat on a throne that glittered with diamonds. Beside him stood the Day, the Month, the Year, the Hours, and the Seasons. Surrounded by these attendants, the Sun beheld the youth dazzled with the novelty and splendor of the scene, and inquired the purpose of
J Ovid, Metam, 10: 162-219. 2 Properly spelled Phaethon.
his errand. The youth replied, " Oh, light of the boundless woild, Phoebus, my father—if thou dost yield me that name—give me some proof, I beseech thee, by which I may be known as thine!" He ceased. His father, laying aside the beams that shone around his head, bade him approach, embraced him, owned him for his son, and swore by the river Styx1 that whatever proof he might ask should be granted. Phaeton immediately asked to be permitted for one day to drive the chariot of the sun. The father repented of his promise, and tried to dissuade the boy by telling him the perils of the undertaking. "None but myself," he said, "may drive the flaming car of day. Not even Jupiter, whose terrible right arm hurls the thunderbolts. The first part of the way is steep, and such as the horses when fresh in the morning can hardly climb; the middle is high up in the heavens, whence I myself can scarcely, without alarm, look down and behold the earth and sea stretched beneath me. The last part of the road descends rapidly, and requires most careful driving. Tethys, who is waiting to receive me, often trembles for me lest I should fall headlong. Add to this that the heaven is all the time turning round and carrying the stars with it. Couldst thou keep thy course, while the sphere revolved beneath thee? The road, also, is through the midst of frightful monsters. Thou must pass by the horns of the Bull, in front of the Archer, and near the Lion's jaws, and where the Scorpion stretches its arms in one direction and the Crab in another. Nor wilt thou find it easy to guide those horses, with their breasts full of fire that they breathe forth from their mouths and nostrils. Beware, my son, lest I be the donor of a fatal gift; recall the request while yet thou canst." He ended; but the youth rejected admonition, and held to his demand. So, having resisted as long as he might, Phoebus at last led the way to where stood the lofty chariot.
It was of gold, the gift of Vulcan: the axle of gold, the pole and wheels of gold, the spokes of silver. Along the seat were rows of chrysolites and diamonds, reflecting the bright
ness of the sun. While the daring youth gazed in admiration, the early Dawn threw open the purple doors of the east, and showed the pathway strewn with roses. The stars withdrew, marshalled by the Daystar, which last of all retired also. The father, when he saw the earth beginning to glow, and the Moon preparing to retire, ordered the Hours to harness up the horses. They led forth from the lofty stalls the steeds full fed with ambrosia, and attached the reins. Then the father, smearing the face of his son with a powerful unguent, made him capable of enduring the brightness of the flame. He set the rays on the lad's head, and, with a foreboding sigh, told him to spare the whip and hold tight the reins; not to take the straight road between the five circles, but to turn off to the left; to keep within the limit of the middle zone, and avoid the northern and the southern alike; finally, to keep in the well-worn ruts, and to drive neither too high nor too low, for the middle course was safest and best.1
Forthwith the agile youth sprang into the chariot, stood erect, and grasped the reins with delight, pouring out thanks to his reluctant parent. But the steeds soon perceived that the load they drew was lighter than usual; and as a ship without ballast is tossed hither and thither on the sea, the chariot, without its accustomed weight, was dashed about as if empty. The horses rushed headlong and left the travelled road. Then, for the first time, the Great and Little Bears were scorched with heat, and would fain, if it were possible, have plunged into the water; and the Serpent which lies coiled round the north pole, torpid and harmless, grew warm, and with warmth felt its rage revive. Bootes, they say, fled away, though encumbered with his plough, and unused to rapid motion.
When hapless Phaeton looked down upon the earth, now spreading in vast extent beneath him, he grew pale, and his knees shook with terror. He lost his self-command, and knew not whether to draw tight the reins or throw them loose; he forgot the names of the horses. But when he beheld the monstrous forms scattered
1 Medio tulissimus ibis. — Ovjd.