146. Peleus and the monster-wolf

Once upon a time, Peleus, son of Aeacus, was banished from his native land Aegina, for killing his brother Phocus. Wandering in exile, he had traveled to Trachyn, where king Ceyx had related the tale of Daedalion to him. At this time, Onetor, who was assigned to watch the herds of Peleus, came hurriedly and said that a fierce monster-wolf was killing all the cattle. More than satisfying his rapacious hunger, the wolf seemed to sate his brutal passion for killing, since instead of pausing to eat the slain cattle, the wolf delighted in mangling the entire herd, as if at battle.

Although the loss of the cattle was immense, yet Peleus remained unmoved, for remembering his own crime, he thought the Nereid had given him that loss, as an offering to his dead brother Phocus. While Ceyx was putting on his armor when his beloved queen, Halcyone, the daughter of Aeolus, came running and clinging on his neck, begged him not to go. Peleus said that the fears of Halcyone were commendable but they were needless, as he did not desire to fight the ghastly wolf, rather he wanted to appease and adore the divinity of the ocean.

From the summit of a lofty tower, they saw the ravaging wolf with its blood dripping jaws, amidst the mangled herd. Peleus stretched out his arms to the wide sea, and begged Psamathe, the azure goddess of the sea, to become calm and help him. However, Psamathe refused to give aid, until Thetis, wife of Peleus, interceded on behalf of her distressed husband, and Psamathe agreed. Psamathe bade the wolf to stop his monstrous deed, but the wolf ignored the bidding, as his rage had increased with the taste of fresh blood. Just when his ferocious jaws dug deep into the neck of another heifer, Psamathe changed the wolf to rigid stone of marble color.

Thereafter, the steering Fates made the banished Peleus go to Magnesia, the land of King Acastus, who purified Peleus from his guilt of fratricide.

Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani

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