82. Medea collects magical ingredients

Once upon a time, the Argonauts returned to Thessaly, and they rejoiced with their respective families and friends. In gratitude for their safe return, they sacrificed a hallowed bull to Jove. They praised the gods with sacred fires, which were further made sacrosanct, by burning costly fragrant frankincense and offering consecrated gifts.

However, Aeson, the ailing father of Jason, was on his deathbed, and hence could not participate in the rejoicing. This grieved Jason, who with tears brimming in his eyes, requested his wife Medea, to use her magic and provide his father few more years to live, by taking those years from his own lifespan. But Medea loved Jason far too much, to deduct years from his lifespan, and thought of rejuvenating Aeson, solely with the power of her magic.

In the silent full moon night, Medea, robed in a flowing garment, her long hair unbound and unadorned, and with bare feet, went away from the palace to a solitary place in the woods. There, looking up at the glittering stars, thrice she paced around, and thrice sprayed her hair with water of crystal streams. Kneeling on the bare, cold ground, thrice she screamed, imploring the goddess Hecate, the three-faced queen of magical arts and all magicians, to witness her need of extraordinary herbs and elixirs, which can renew weakened old age with the strong bloom of youth. Hecate’s chariot driven by three flying dragons, came down from the sky. Medea mounted the chariot and flew away, to collect the required magical ingredients.

For nine days and nine nights, the swift wings of the dragons flew to distant places. With a moon-curved brass sickle, Medea cut weeds, grasses, herbs, and roots, from Ossa, Pelion, Othrys, Pindus, vast Olympus; from the banks of Apidanus, Amphrysus, Enipeus, Peneian, Spercheian, and Boebe. She plucked a secret grass from the fair Euboean fields, and also collected many other secret ingredients. Thereafter, the dragons took her home.

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

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