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The Pleiades

Tales beyond belief

The Myth of the Pleiades
Among the nymphs of Diana's train were seven sisters, the daughters of Atlas. On moonlight nights these sisters used to dance in the forest glades; and one night Orion, the hunter, saw them dimly through the trees. They looked like a flock of beautiful wild birds, and the sight made the hunter's heart beat loud and fast. Just as he had chased the deer so many times, he began now to chase these nymphs.

Not that he meant to hurt them, but he wanted to go near enough to them to see them better. The nymphs were frightened and ran away swiftly through the trees. The faster they ran, the faster Orion followed.

At last the poor frightened sisters came out into an open place, where it was almost as light as day, and there Orion nearly overtook them. Seeing how near he was, the sisters called to Diana for help; and then, when they were almost in the hunter's grasp, they suddenly disappeared, and seven white pigeons rose from the grass where they had been, and flew away - up, up, into the night sky.

When they reached the sky, the seven pigeons became seven bright stars. There the stars shone, in a little group, close together, for hundreds of years. They were called the Pleiades.

Long after the time when the frightened nymphs were changed first into pigeons, and then into stars, one of the sisters left her place among the Pleiades, that she might not see the fall of Troy. While this city was burning, she rushed madly through space, her hair flying out behind her, and men called her a comet. She never returned to her place among the Pleiades.

At the end of his life on earth, Orion too was placed among the stars. He is there, in the sky, to this day, with his lion's skin, his club, and his jewelled belt. Some people say that the Pleiades still fly from before him.

The Legend and Myth of the Pleiades

The Myth of the Pleiades
The story of the Pleiades 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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