50. Vulcan exposes Venus and Mars

Once upon a time, the wakeful eyes of Helios, the Sun god, who beholds whatever may take place, witnessed the loves of Mars and Venus. Grieved of the wrong done to Vulcan, the husband of Venus, Helios showed Vulcan how Venus along with Mars, had defiled Vulcan’s bed.

Vulcan was shocked and his right hand dropped the work that he held. When surprise gave way to anger, he resolved to avenge his spouse’s betrayal, by exposing the adulterous couple to all the gods. With a heart thirsting for revenge, Vulcan filed out fine and delicate chains of brass, from which he fashioned invisible nets, like insect-webs. With cunning skill, he drew these nets all around the bed, where Venus and Mars were sure to dally.

Presently, his faithless wife and her amorous lover arrived, to secretly steal moments of forbidden joy. As they tightly embraced, suddenly they found themselves trapped by invisible nets, which ensnared them with the same tightness, as was the tightness of their passionate embrace. Entangled in the nets crafted by Vulcan’s shrewd wit, the enmeshed couple were forced to remain in strict embrace.

Immediately, Vulcan opened all the ivory doors. He called all the immortals, to witness the shameful act of his faithless wife and her paramour. Bound by invisible nets, Venus and Mars lay there humiliated and disgraced, while the gods laughed. For a long time, the tale was much told with humor, in the courts of heaven.

Vulcan realized his act of exposing Venus and Mars, had revealed his cleverness, but had also declared that he was a cuckold, who was unsuccessful in retaining the love of his wife. Ultimately, his exposing act had reduced him to being a mere object of either ridicule or pity. Unhappy with his married life, Vulcan turned his attention to several other nymphs, but mostly he was considered as a jilted lover, who redirected his frustrated love, into the pleasure and satisfaction of his work.

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

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