Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Persephone Story

Thanks for answering, guys!

I was trying to remember when I first heard this story, and suddenly flashed back to a book I read as a kid...with rather vivid pictures. {shudder} No wonder it stuck in my head. Anyway, the basics as I remember them (I might have bits wrong, but this is the gist. Afterward, I'll see, just for fun, how close I got to the original.

Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter, also known as Mother Earth. One day she's out picking flowers with her mother and is captured by a great bull, who takes her down to the underworld and transforms to his real form, Hades--the God of the Underworld. He wants Persephone to be his wife and stay down there, and he offers her food and drink. Now somehow she knows that she shouldn't eat or drink anything, but she's so hungry, she eats 6 pomegranate seeds.

Meanwhile Demeter is searching the earth for her daughter, and is furious when she finds out what has happened. She demands Persephone back. Hades smugly tells her that Persephone is his--she's eaten at his table and is therefore bound to him. Demeter admits this is true...but because she only ate 6 seeds she only has to stay there for 6 months of the year.

So poor Persephone goes back and forth between being above ground with her mother and being the forced wife of Hades, half of the year with each. And while Persephone is in the Underworld her mother mourns...and we have winter.

Good story, eh?

This version is a bit different than I thought...she only stays there a third of the year, and there's no bull.

The wikipedia version covers some different versions of the myth. I'm still not seeing anything about the bull, so maybe that was a weird version I saw...

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