By this time she began to pant with the effort of speaking and died. The grief of her children was doubled, as was that of their father, and he swore before the woman whose heart had broken that he would never again be destroyed by fire, and would walk out from his house to dwell by the sea.
The gods were shocked to their foundations. They believed that they had truly killed Zeus and had been giving his body to live; for the children would come to the holy site of Delphi to praise him as they remembered his glory and proclaim their great dread. On their approach they met the priests in the street, but the fathers waved their children away, and said ‘They think they are honouring the Greek gods. They are not worthy of our esteem!’
‘Why not?’ asked a young girl who wanted to know, ‘Why should the Greeks think we are honouring Zeus? We are honouring a great man, the greatest being in the universe.’
Her mother, an oracle, retorted:
‘You are saying foolish things! Your father has sworn, and your sister has sworn, and so have I! So let this death of our mother be an eternal lesson to you! Whoever else shall say such a thing, shall by my hand or by the hand of your children be flayed.’
This brought him to his senses, and he put his arm through his daughter’s, and declared:
‘I would die gladly for the Greek gods, but we shall stand together on one side or the other, and offer the fire to the gods of Zeus as a sacrifice for the foundation of their city. If they refuse it, we shall always come to their aid, as we did in the great and terrible earthquake that was prepared for this very day.’
He died in peace, though at first it was rumoured that the gods had destroyed him, when he refused to go against them.
:: 03.16.2021 ::