115. Agdistis and Attis

Once upon a time, Zeus in his sleep let fall his seed, which fell on the ground and in course of time, the seed gave birth to a demon having two sexual organs, both male and female. The demon was called Agdistis and the gods fearing the demon, cut off the male organ. Agdistis, now had only the female organ, but from the castrated male organ, grew an almond tree having ripe fruits.

During a fair season, when the winds were blowing languidly, the daughter of the river Sangarius, chanced to come across the almond tree. Seeing a ripe almond fruit, she picked it up and placed it on her bosom. Immediately, the fruit vanished and she found herself pregnant. The virgin maiden was amazed to find herself with child, and in time, she gave birth to a boy, whom she abandoned by exposing him to the elements of nature. However, the boy did not die as a she-goat nourished him with the needed milk. Some shepherds who owned the she-goat, adopted the boy, and they named him as Attis.

Attis grew up and his blooming beauty was far greater than human. When Agdistis saw Attis, she fell in love with him. But the relatives of Attis sent him to the city of Pessinus, near Mount Dindymus, to marry the king’s lovely daughter. The marriage was solemnized and the wedding rites were celebrated with joyful singing.

All of a sudden, Agdistis made her appearance. Seeing Agdistis, both Attis and the king lost their reason. Both immediately became totally mad. In absolute lunacy, Attis cut off his own genitals. The king also did likewise.

Anguished over what had happened, Agdistis repented her arrival at the wedding ceremony. Agdistis prayed to Zeus not to let the body of Attis decay, but her prayer was in vain, for Zeus always upholds the natural order. The body of Attis was buried near Pessinus, and a temple of Agdistis was built there. Since then, all the priests of Agdistis castrated themselves.

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

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