93. Scylla becomes a bird

Once upon a time, King Minos of Crete, attacked Megara, ruled by King Nisos, the brother of King Aegeus of Athens. Nisos was renowned in warfare and on the center of his snowy hair, he had a lock of purple hair, by whose grace he was always victorious. Scylla, a daughter of Nisos, ascended a tower and saw Minos, while Minos attacked the high walls of Megara.

She did not know whether to rejoice or grieve, because she had fallen in love with Minos, who was an enemy of her people. She thought of ending the war, by giving away herself in marriage to Minos, and by opening the gates, give her country as a dowry. But the gates were heavily guarded. Scylla then thought of cutting the purple lock from his father’s head, due to which Minos would win.

As night came on, she tiptoed to her soundly sleeping father, clipped his lock of purple hair, concealed it within her bosom, slipped past a lightly guarded gate, ran to the enemy camp, entered the tent of Minos and shamelessly offered the gloomy prize of her degenerate crime, while professing her love to him. The astonished Minos was shocked at such a monstrous crime, and refused to accept the purple hair of Nisos. He also refused to accept marriage with Scylla, saying that a doer of such a hideous act, can never desecrate Jupiter’s sacred Isle of Crete.

The rejected Scylla went back to her chambers, but because Nisos lacked his purple lock, Minos defeated him. The gods changed the form of Nisos to a hawk. Minos left the shores of Megara. As the Gnossian ship was sailing away, Scylla jumped in the waves, followed the ship, reached the curving stern and grasped it. When Nisos as the hawk, saw his daughter clinging to the ship, he swooped down to tear her with his sharp beak. In fright, Scylla let go of the stern, but before she hit the ocean spray, she was changed to a bird, whom the people named as “Ciris”-cut-the-lock.

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

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