“Sleepless Giants and Winged Horses” by Frieda Bubbi
Exantas Publications ISBN 010240046
This is a book with an excellent collection of Greek myths. All Greek heroes are here: Hercules, Theseus, Minotaur, Zeus, Athena, Medusa and so many more. There is english text right next to the Greek one and the paintings that decorate the book are great. Frieda Bubbi has done an excellent job.
27 Greek Myths
In this book I have included the most important myths I haven’t already told you, and of the less important ones those that I thought were the nicest. The story of Alcyone, for instance, is about no particular god or hero, but I wouldn’t leave it out – it has been one of my childhood favorites.
But if you were already familiar with Greek Mythology before you read these books, you might wonder by now what happened to the story of Achilles and Odysseus, why Paris and Helen of Troy are not mentioned here, or why I mentioned the famous hero Jason only once and never told you his story.
The reason is that the tales of these people are too long and too important not to be told separately. They are usually included in a special section of Mythology called Greek Epic Poetry, or Heroic Poetry, because they were originally told in long poems or theatrical plays.
I have saved my version of them, and I will be sending it your way in the near future. I hope that you will be looking for it. Until then,
Long, long ago, when the continent where Greece lies had not yet been named, there reigned in the land of Sidon a king named Agenor with his three sons and his pretty young daughter Europe.
One night Europe had a very strange dream. She dreamt that the continent of Asia and the other nameless continent across the water appeared before her in the shape of women and quarreled about who was going to own her.
“The lovely maiden Europe is mine,” claimed Asia, “for I gave her birth.” “She has been yours until now,” replied the other continent, “but it is the will of Zeus that I should have her for my own.”
Europe awoke startled by this dream, but she decided not to give it any more thought and, summoning her friends, she went to play in a blooming meadow by the seashore. There the girls bathed in the cool water, then ran about on the grass filling their baskets with lovely spring flowers.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bull appeared among them; not such a one as you can find on an ordinary farm or grazing in an earthly meadow, but one of most unusual beauty, with snow-white hide and gleaming, gemlike horns with a narrow black streak running between them. And was he ever gentle! He let the maidens pet him and hang garlands of flowers around his neck and from his horns, while he lowed happily, rubbing his fleecy coat against their legs.
All the girls were delighted with such a marvelous pet, but more so was Europe, who caressed him and kissed him and in the end she even climbed upon his back to take a ride. The bull lowed most joyfully then, and with the young lady on his back he began walking slowly about until he came to the edge of the water. There he stood for a moment, then all at once he leaped forward and set off running into the sea.
Europe was frightened and screamed loudly for help, but when her companions heard her and ran to the shore, they could do nothing to save her. Holding fast to the beast’s horns and clinging to its back, so that she wouldn’t fall off, Europe saw in terror that the shore was being left far behind and she began weeping.
“My good, gentle bull,” she said between her sobs, “you are not an ordinary beast, and of this I am certain. Should you be a god, pray, tell me what it is that you want from me! Where are you taking me? We have left the shore far behind and I am most afraid to think of the coming darkness. when I am away from home.”
The bull answered her gently in a man’s voice. “No need to fear, my beautiful one,” he said. “I am Zeus and I am taking you to Crete where you shall live happily and you shall become the mother of great men. What is more, the continent to which Crete belongs shall take your name.”
It happened just as the father of gods said it would. When the journey ended, Europe found herself being laid softly on the shore of Crete, from where she was directed to a palace and there she became the queen. She lived a happy life and bore three sons, two of whom, Minos and Rhadamanthys, became famous and lived beyond this life to be the judges of souls in the kingdom of Hades.
But imagine now how deeply distressed Europe’s father was to hear that a bull had taken his daughter and had vanished with her across the wide sea. He called his three sons, Phoenix, Cilix and Cadmus and said to them: “Travel to the end of the world if you have to, but bring Europe back to me. I want to see none of you returning without your sister or news about her.” … (The story continues in the book).
- The Labyrinth of Crete , the myth of the Minotaur
© explorecrete.com All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or copying without permission is prohibited.