84. Medea restores the youth of old Aeson

Once upon a time, Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, had prepared a magical potion, to restore the youth of old Aeson, the father of her husband Jason. The magical ingredients, collected from mysterious places, over nine days and nine nights, boiled in a cauldron. Meanwhile, with loosed unbound hair and flowing garments, Medea moved in wild abandon, like a Bacchanalian.

Three times, she paced the two blazing altars, the right devoted to Hecate and the left to Hebe. Thrice, she dipped the top-splintered ends of torches, into the dark mixture of blood, wine, and milk, which was poured in the trenches dug around the altars. Three times, she lit the dipped ends of the torches, with the fire of the burning altars. Thrice with flames, she purified old Aeson’s sleeping body, following it up three times each with sulphur and water.

Then, taking an old, withered olive branch, she stirred the seething mixture boiling in the cauldron. As the stirring progressed, the branch changed its color, new leaves began to sprout, and the entire branch was heavy with several juicy olives. The bubbling mixture created a sizzling froth, which rising above the cauldron’s edge, spilled over and fell on the ground. Where the mixture fell, immediately new plants, flowers and luxuriant grass, began to grow.

Seeing this miracle, Medea unsheathed her sharp knife and cut the old king’s throat, in such a manner that all the old blood from his body, drained out. Then, through the wound, she poured the hot fizzy mixture in his body. Aeson’s beard and hair changed from white to black. New youthful blood coursed through his veins, and his sallow old body became young. Aeson woke up astonished. His body was young but his mind was still old. His memory recollected that he was forty years younger from that day.

Bacchus witnessed this wonder from his celestial home. He earnestly appealed to Medea, to rejuvenate all his nurses, and the Colchian sorceress granted his request.

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

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