The Death of Phaethon

Helios, the Sun God, guided the sun through the sky with his flaming chariot and winged horses.  His mortal son Phaethon asked Helios to grant him a favor, to prove his parentage.   After the promise was given the boy asked if he could steer his father's chariot the following day.  Helios pleaded with his son to reconsider saying that not even Zeus would dare, but to no avail.  

Helios anointed his son with oils, as a protection, and asked the boy to keep the winged steads on their path.  "Phaethon, please change your mind!"  He begged, but Phaethon would not, and guided the chariot into the sky.  Recognizing that inexperienced hands were at the reigns the horses deviated from their course, the seas boiled, the land was scorched.  The mighty horses pulled up, and a freeze covered the land with ice.  The danger of the situation caused those on earth to tremble.  Zeus, seeing no other way to prevent more havoc threw a thunderbolt down from Mt. Olympus and Phaethon's charred body fell from the heavens, into a river below.  

 Helios mourned greatly the death of his son, and only after much persuasion did he take the reigns of the sun chariot, bringing the world out of darkness.  All day long his tears fell to the earth, and where each tear fell a sunflower grew that followed the sun chariot across the sky.   Sunflowers still follow Helios across the sky, mourning with the father for the loss of his son.

These sunflowers looked so sad on this evening.  It reminded me of Phaethon.

~ Red Clover


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ksr said...

The wonderful Greek Myths... I will never look at sunflowers the same. Yes, after their beauty fades, they hang their heads. But the birds are always thankful... and greedy!

Rugger said...

They do look laden with sorrow!