40. Ocyroe becomes a mare

Once upon a time, Centaur Chiron was proud to be honoured by Phoebus, to take charge of bringing up Aesculapius, the son of Phoebus. As Chiron was teaching Aesculapius the healing arts, Chiron’s daughter Ocyroe gazed at them. Not satisfied with learning only her father’s arts, Ocyroe also pondered on other mysterious arts, and was able to reveal what Fate concealed.

While gazing on Aesculapius, Ocyroe prophesied that Aesculapius would heal mortals, but when he would test his skill to raise the dead, then his grandfather would strike him with his bolts of fire, for the deed was against the natural order. From a god, Aesculapius shall become a bloodless corpse and again, from a corpse shall he become a god; thereby, his nature shall change twice.

While gazing on her father Chiron, she prophesied that although Chiron was immortal, yet he shall suffer outrageous pain in his body, due to a venomous serpent wounding his foot. The pain would be so great that he would often desire to die. Granting his desire, the three Destinies would cut his thread, and send him to death.

There was still more to tell, but suddenly, she felt a deep aching sigh and unbidden tears made her cheeks wet. She wept that her art of prophecy, although of doubtful worth and small force, had brought the wrath of Heaven on her. Her arms rested on the ground, and her fingers joined together to become one, at whose end instead of nails, grew a round strong hoof having below a whelked horn. Her head and neck lengthened. The kirtle, which was the train of her long flowing gown-like dress, became a fair long tail. Her blazing hair became a hanging mane, tossed to the right. Her speech became a neigh and her shape changed completely. Ocyroe was fully transformed to a mare, since she tried to expose what Fate had cloaked.

Chiron wept and called the Delphian God for help, but his tears were in vain, as Apollo cannot vary Jove’s behest.

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

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