130. Aesacus and Hesperia

Once upon a time, Priam, the son of Laomedon, loved Alexirhoe, the daughter of the double horned river Granicus. Concealed under the shade of Ida, Alexirhoe secretly gave birth to Aesacus, the son of Priam. Aesacus disliked the city and frequented woods. Yet, he was neither coarse nor unconquerable by the appeal of love, for he loved Hesperia, daughter of the river-god Cebrenus. However, Hesperia was not aware of his love.

In the woods, Aesacus had often tried to seek her, and once he found her resting with her plush hair spread over her shoulders, to the warm rays of the sun. At that same moment, Hesperia also saw him and she instantly fled, like a terrified deer flees from a wolf. The love-struck Aesacus pursued her. She ran swiftly due to fear, while he followed swiftly due to love. While Hesperia was running, a cruel snake was lurking in the green grass. The snake dug his venomous fang into her pinkish soft heel, Hesperia fell to the ground and met a most untimely death.

Soon, Aesacus reached there and in agony, embraced the lifeless body of Hesperia. He lamented that why did he pursue, for if he had not pursued, then Hesperia would not have met such a fate. He blamed himself as the cause for making Hesperia flee, and he blamed the snake for delivering the fatal wound. But he blamed himself more as the originating cause and grieved more, for he thought his guilt was greater. Weeping over the lifeless body of Hesperia, Aesacus decided to end his own life.

Climbing a high jutting out rock that overlooked the sea, he threw himself into the rushing waves. Seeing the guilt-ridden fall, Tethys was moved with pity and she changed Aesacus, to a divedapper bird. With death being denied, Aesacus as the divedapper bird, again attempted to die, by plunging headlong into the deep waves. But his wild dive was not granted the desired death. Even now, the divedapper bird dives wildly to die, but remains alive.

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

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