the king of all the gods, had two brothers and three sisters. Each
had an important job. His sister, Demeter, was in charge of the
Demeter did not do her job, the crops could die, and everyone
would starve. It was important to keep Demeter happy. Everyone
helped out with that - both gods and mortals. It was that
the story goes ....
loved her little daughter, Persephone. They played together in the
fields most every day. As Persephone smiled up at her mother,
Demeter's heart swelled with happiness, and the crops grew high
and healthy. Flowers tumbled everywhere. As time passed,
Persephone grew into a lovely goddess. That's when the trouble
the king of the underworld, was a gloomy fellow. He normally
hung out in the Underworld.
day, Hades felt restless. He decided to take his three-headed dog
out for a chariot ride. Cerberus, his dog, usually stood guard at
the gate to Underworld. But Hades gave his pup a break now and
then, and left a couple of spirits in charge instead.
flew his chariot up to earth. Cerberus leaped out of the chariot
and ran around like a crazy thing, sniffing flowers with all three
of his heads. The dog ran up to a lovely young woman, the goddess
Persephone. Some people might have been startled if a three-headed
dog came tearing up. But Persephone only laughed and scratched his
loved that old dog. He watched his dog playing with Persephone. He
heard Persephone delighted laugh. Hades fell deeply in love.
Before anyone could stop him, he grabbed his niece, his dog, and
his chariot and dove deep into the darkest depths of the
locked Persephone in a beautifully decorated room in the Hall of
Hades. He brought her all kinds of delicious food. Persephone
refused to eat. She had heard if you ate anything in Hades, you
could never leave. She had every intention of leaving as soon as
she could figure out how to do it.
a week went by. Finally, in desperate hunger, Persephone ate six
pomegranate seeds. She promptly burst into tears.
was not the only one crying. Demeter, her mother, missed her
daughter terribly. She did not care if the crops died. She did not
care about anything except finding her daughter. No one knows who
told Zeus about it, but it was clear this could not go on. Zeus
sent his son Hermes to work a deal with Hades.
was the deal Hermes worked out: If Persephone would marry Hades,
she would live as queen of the Underworld for six months
each winter. In the spring, Persephone would return to earth and
live there for six months. No one especially liked the deal, but
everyone finally agreed.
spring, Demeter makes sure flowers are blooming and crops are
growing and the fields are green with welcome. Every fall, when
Persephone returns to the underworld, Demeter ignores the crops
and flowers and lets them die. Each spring, Demeter brings
everything to life again, ready to welcome her daughter's return.
the ancient Greeks, that's the reason for the seasons.
and her daughter Persephone
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