Once upon a time, the rose-cheeked virgin Europa, daughter of King Agenor of Phoenix, dreamt that two lands in the disguise of two women, fought one another for her possession. The first woman, who appeared like an outland wife, violently grasped Europa and took her far away, with Europa somewhat willing. The second woman, looked like of her own country and said that she was Europa’s mother. Terrified, Europa woke up and prayed that the dream may turn out well. Later in the day, Europa went with her companions, to gather roses.
Meanwhile, Zeus burned for the love of Europa. Taking the form of a splendid fragrant bull, Zeus sat in the meadows full of roses. When Europa and the other maidens saw the bull, they were afraid. But the bull was very calm, extremely beautiful and a wonderful fragrance emanated from its body. Hence, they approached near the bull, who began to lick Europa’s pretty neck. Europa also lightly kissed the bull. Then the bull knelt before Europa, and with imploring eyes, urged her to mount his back.
Europa smiled and sat on the back of the gentle bull, expecting the other maidens to do likewise. But suddenly, the bull leapt up and ran towards the sea. With one hand holding the horn of the bull and the other holding the purple fold of her dress, the terrified Europa balanced herself on the speeding bull. The bull sped over the surface of the sea without drowning. Seeing this wonder, Europa understood that the bull was some god.
Then the bull spoke that he was Zeus. Instantly they reached Crete and immediately, Zeus showed his own form. Zeus married Europa and unloosed her maiden girdle, upon a bed made by the Seasons. Straight away, Europa who was a virgin, became the wife of Zeus and the mother of Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. The children were raised in the royal palace of Cnossus and later, Minos became the king of Crete.
Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time-II: 150 Greek Mythology Stories” by Rajen Jani