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Tithonus

Tales beyond belief

The Myth of Tithonus
Every day, when Helios drove his wonderful horses and his fiery chariot across the sky, it was Aurora who opened the gates of pearl and drew back the dark curtains of the night; for Aurora, goddess of the dawn. She was so beautiful that the whole sky flushed pink with pleasure when she appeared in the east.

On the earth lived a mortal called Tithonus, who loved Aurora so well that he never failed to leave his bed while it was still dark, to watch for her coming. Aurora loved Tithonus in return, and one day she flew to the king of the gods, and begged of him that Tithonus might be given a draught of nectar, and so become immortal.

Jupiter granted this request, and Aurora took Tithonus up to Mount Olympus to live in her golden house.

The goddess had forgotten to ask that Tithonus might never grow old. Therefore, the time came when gray hairs could be seen among his golden curls. Aurora was kind to him in spite of this, and continued to give him beautiful garments, and to feed him on ambrosia. Still, Tithonus grew older and older, and in time, after several hundred years, he was so very old that he could not move at all. Little was left of him but his voice, and even that had grown high and thin. Then he withered away so much that he had to be shut up in a room, for safe-keeping. Aurora felt so sorry to see him withering away in this manner that she changed him into a little insect, and sent him down to the earth again, where men called him the grasshopper.

Very glad to be free and active once more, Tithonus hopped about in the fields all day, chirping cheerfully to Aurora.

The Legend and Myth of Tithonus

The Myth of Tithonus
The story of Tithonus is featured in the book entitled Favorite Greek Myths by Lilian Stoughton Hyde, published in 1904 by D. C. Heath and Company.

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