The Abduction of Persephone

Persephone was the beautiful daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She was a most innocent child, and spent most of her days roaming her the lands of the earth. Where ever she stepped, flowers would appear, and all of the animals would follow her to marvel at her beauty. Like all blissfull existances, hers soon came to an end. Hades, the lord of the Underworld, was getting lonely and depressed in his gloomy domain. He gazed up to the earth, and who should he spy, but beautiful Persephone. He decided that he must have her. Hades hitched up his chariot and was soon riding up towards the daylight. Persephone heard a rumbling sound and, worried, ran off in search of her mother. She didn't get very far when a hole appeared in the ground, and out rode Hades. The god grabbed Persephone, put her in his chariot, and rode back into the ground before anyone could see him. Or so he thought.

Meanwhile, back on Mt. Olympus, Demeter was frantically looking for her daughter. Apparently the girl was late for dinner, or something. Not finding her, Demeter soon approached all of the gods, asking if they had seen Persephone. None of them had. Not one to give up, Demeter started wandering the Earth in serach of her missing daughter. She searched for nine days to find her daughter, destroying crops, livestock, and anything else that got in the way of finding her daughter. On the tenth day she ran into Hecate, who was able to say that Persephone had been taken somewhere, but the goddesses didn't know who had taken the maiden, or where she had been taken to. Given a small amount of hope, the goddess consulted Helios, the all-seeing sun. He told her that he had seen Hades abduct the girl. Knowing she could not openly rescue her daughter, Demeter was enraged, and she decided to neglect her duties until her daughter was returned to her. All of the plants soon began to wither and die. To make matters for the mortals on earth, the goddess covered the world in snow, saying that the world shall be as barren as my heart. All of the other gods and goddesses pleaded with Demeter to make the earth fertile once again, but she explained to them that she wouldn't until her daughter came back to her. Zeus, in fear of losing everything on earth to Demeter's pain, ordered Hades to return Persephone. Hades reluctantly agreed. Happy that she was soon going to see her mother again, Persephone, ravenously hungry by this time, ate 6 pomegranate seeds from the platter that Hades offered her. When Zeus and Demeter came to get the girl Hades announced that she could not go, for she had eaten of the food of the dead. Not wanting anything to get worse, Zeus made a compromise: Persephone would stay 6 months with Hades in the underworld, and 6 months with her mother on earth. This is why there are seasons. During the winter and fall Demeter makes the earth cold and infertile to match her sad feelings for her missing daughter, and why, in the summer and spring, the earth is once again fertile because Persephone is back with her mother.

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