56. Latona changes peasants to frogs

Once upon a time, Juno drove away the pregnant Latona, to wander the cruel world. While wandering, Latona came at the foam like Isle of Delos, where she gave birth to the twins, Diana and Apollo. But the jealous Juno, forced Latona to flee the island. Holding both her divine babes, tightly clasped to her bosom, the goddess Latona long wandered the hot days over the dry land of Lycia, which was heated with an unrelenting scorching sun.

Latona yearned for water, for herself as well as for her babes, who could suckle no milk from her drained and dehydrated breasts. Then far ahead, she saw a shimmering in the arid valley and coming near, viewed a pool of crystal water, where some peasants were gathering bulrush, osiers and reeds. She approached the pool, knelt and cupped her hands, to take some water but the peasants denied her.

With a dry mouth, parched throat and cracked lips, the mild-mannered Latona gently spoke to them. She said the sun, air and water belonged to everyone and thus, she also had a right to the water of the pool. She stated that she just wanted to take only a small amount of water, which like a draught of life-giving nectar, would renew her and her babes. She humbly appealed, to the hearts of the peasants for showing mercy and taking pity on her tender babes, whose frail arms also chanced to stretch out at that very moment, as if joining their mother in her appeal. But the evil peasants, poured forth abusive words from their foul mouths. Then they spitefully jumped in the pool, here and there, to make the water muddy and unfit for drinking.

Enraged at such evil behavior, Latona forgot her urgent thirst for water. With all the majesty and glory of her high state, she raised her hands to Heaven and cursed the peasants, to forever live in muddied pools. The curse took immediate effect and the ugly peasants changed to ugly frogs. As frogs, the peasants croaked from their stinking mouths and leapt, here and there, making the pool muddy.

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

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