Excerpt: ...as herdsman to Admetus, the king of Thessaly. It was very humble work for a god to wear a shepherd's dark cloak and pasture his flocks in the meadows outside of Thessaly, particularly a god who was used to living in the sumptuous palace of the sun. Apollo's slender hands were little suited to the work of ploughing, sowing and reaping, ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...as herdsman to Admetus, the king of Thessaly. It was very humble work for a god to wear a shepherd's dark cloak and pasture his flocks in the meadows outside of Thessaly, particularly a god who was used to living in the sumptuous palace of the sun. Apollo's slender hands were little suited to the work of ploughing, sowing and reaping, but he took excellent care of his ewes and lambs and grew to enjoy his task. In his leisure time he found an empty tortoise-shell and stretched some cords tightly across it. Then he ran his slender finger tips across the cords and drew from them most beautiful music. That was the first lute, and Apollo played on it every day. King Admetus heard his music and came out to listen to the tunes his herdsman played, sitting beside Apollo on a mossy bank, but he looked very sorrowful. The sweet strains seemed to have no power to cheer him, or even rouse him from his sadness. Pg 176 "Why do you mourn, O King?" Apollo asked Admetus at last. "I long for the hand of the fair Alcestis, the princess of a neighboring kingdom, that I may make her my queen," King Admetus explained, "but she has expressed a strange desire. She demands that her suitor appear before her in a chariot drawn by lions and bears in which she will ride home with him. In no other way will Alcestis come to my court and it is impossible for me to harness wild beasts to any one of my chariots." Apollo could not help but be amused at the foolish whim of this wayward princess, but he had a desire to bring happiness wherever he went so he decided to humor her. He went with his lute to the edge of the forest that lay just next to his pasture and he played a tune upon it so sweet as to tame any wild beasts. Then out of the forest came two lions and two bears, as quietly as if they had been sheep. The king fastened them to a gilded chariot and drove off for Alcestis with great rejoicing. And Apollo had the pleasure of seeing the two return and Alcestis crowned as the...Read Less
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