117. Zeus and Ganymedes

Once upon a time, the Phrygian king Tros of Troy married Kallirrhoe, daughter of Skamandros, who begat him one daughter Kleopatra, and three sons Ilos, Assarakos, and Ganymedes. Of all the mortals born, Ganymedes was most beautiful, and the beauty of the godlike lad, burned the heart of Zeus.

Zeus decided to abduct the lad and thought of taking the form of a bird. As the eagle had the power to bear his thunderbolts, Zeus took on the form of a powerful eagle, flew down, and saw Ganymedes on the slopes of a mountain. The eagle circled, swooped, and with sharp talons snatched Ganymedes in a harmless and gentle way, so that the delicate skin of the boy was not hurt. The huge eagle took Ganymedes to heaven, where Zeus made Ganymedes immortal like the gods, and the exceptional blooming boyhood of Ganymedes was forever retained.

Zeus loved the boy and all the gods marveled, at the extraordinary beauty of the golden-haired Ganymedes. Zeus made Ganymedes the cupbearer of the gods, and Ganymedes waited on the gods, pouring delicious nectar of mount Olympos in their cups, while they feasted in the house of Zeus. Hera, the wife of Zeus, frowned on Ganymedes, and refused the cup from the hands of Ganymedes; however, all the other gods enjoyed their drinks mixed by Ganymedes.

Meanwhile Tros was mourning for the mysterious disappearance of his son, and so Zeus sent Hermes to him. Hermes told Tros that Zeus had taken Ganymedes to heaven and by Zeus’ will, the mortal Ganymedes was made immortal, along with exemption from old age. Although no compensation could ever equal the loss of a son, yet, Hermes handed over to Tros, a pair of divine horses, as a gift from Zeus. The immortal Ganymedes resided in heaven and also in the constellation Aquarius, symbolized as pouring water from an urn.

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

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