The Trouble with Oracles
Apollo's Oracle at Delphi
Ancient Greek Myths for Kids
The ancient Greek god Apollo enjoyed having temples built in his honor. He liked the gifts. He liked the attention. Everyone knew that Apollo was the god of music. He also brought out the sun each day. He had other special powers. Apollo could see the future, not always, but sometimes. Everyone wanted to know the future. So Apollo's temples were busy places, full of people full of questions about their future. His temples were so busy, in fact, that the stream of visitors asking him questions wore him out.
As the story goes ....
Apollo decided he needed an assistant, a wise woman, an oracle. An oracle, in ancient Greece, was someone who could see the future. But Apollo did not want any old oracle to speak for him. He wanted a real one. But there weren't any real ones, not really. The oracles he had met always had vague answers.
For example, if you asked an oracle if you should plant your garden tomorrow, they might say "the frost will be gone if the gods will it." Not really helpful.
Apollo had the power to magically make someone truly see the future, just as he could. But Apollo didn't want to take the fun out of things. So Apollo set some ground rules for his oracle. He would use his magic to allow her to truly see the future. Apollo's rules stated that she had to tell the truth, but she could not be too specific. That would allow the possibility of misunderstanding. That would made it fun!
Apollo magically turned a young priestess into a real oracle. He magically built a special temple for her home. He magically told a few people here and there about his wonderful oracle.
It did not take long for the word to spread. People came from all over to ask Apollo's oracle a question. People had heard she could really see the future and could only tell the truth.
One day, a weary king came to the temple. He asked Apollo's oracle if he would win the battle. She smiled and told him a great king would win the battle. That was exactly what he had wanted to hear. He went away happy, leaving many gifts for the oracle behind him.
When he led his men into battle, they lost. The king was killed. But people still flocked to Apollo's oracle. They knew she had told the truth. She had to tell the truth. What a pity the king had not listened.
The Oracle Cassandra Outsmarted
Explore Ancient Greece
For Kids: Overview
Early Greece: Minoans, Mycenaeans, Dorians
Rise of Greek City-States
- On Land: Greek Warriors
- At Sea: Greek Ships
- Trojan War
- Persian Wars
- The Delian League
- Peloponnesian War
- Alexander the Great
- The League of Corinth
Investigate Real Life Artifacts
For Kids: Art, Culture, Government
Greek Columns and Architecture
For Kids: Greek Mythology
Ancient Greek Myths for Kids, retold by Lin Donn
- Zeus, Hera, and Little Io
- The Competition, Athena and Poseidon
- Theseus, the Minotaur, and the Maze
- Dionysus and Ariadne
- Icarus and Daedalus, Wings
- The 12 Labors of Hercules
- Demeter and Persephone, Reason for the Seasons
- Apollo's Oracle at Delphi
- Perseus, Andromeda, and the sea god, Poseidon
- King Midas and the Donkey Ears
- And Many More
Ancient Greek Gods & Goddesses
For Kids: Ancient Greek Daily Life
NEW: From the Case Files of the Hercules Detective Agency: Join Herc and his friends as they solve daily life problems of the ancient Greeks
- The Misunderstood Minotaur - How Hercules made a best friend
- The Scaredly Fish
- The Tricked Bully
- The Stone Zoo
- The Bad Barber
- The Constant Chatterbox
- The Monster Under the Bridge
- The Festival Arrow
- The Amazing Matchmaker
- And many more, original short stories by Lin and Don Donn - learn about the ancient Greeks the easy way, through the case files of the Hercules Detective Agency!
For Kids: People
For Kids: Interactive Quizzes
Alexander the Great &
Gifts from the Greeks
For Kids and Teachers: Other Ancient Civilizations
See Also: Early Humans for Kids and Teachers