125. Orpheus is slaughtered

Once upon a time, Orpheus, the son of Calliope and King Oeagrus of Thrace, shunned all women after the unfortunate death of his beloved wife Eurydice. He remained content with his sweet lyre, and his songs swayed the leafy trees, calmed savage beasts, and moved unfeeling rocks. But the women of Thrace were angry with the bard, for he scorned their love.

While Orpheus was tuning love songs to his melodious harp, the Ciconian matrons, with loosed tangled hair and concealing their raving breasts under wild skins, saw him from the top of a hill. One of them recognized him as the poet who had refused their love. She threw a spear, but while in flight, the spear trailed a garland of leaves, and failed to come near him. Another hurled a stone, but its force diminished in the air by the power of his music, and fell lightly at his feet, as if seeking pardon for the audacity.

In wild fury, the crazed women, while hurling stones at Orpheus, ran down the mountain shouting Bacchanalian yells, blaring horns, clapping hands, playing loud tambourines, and jarring boxwood pipes. They created a hideous, noisy, discordant commotion that drowned the true harmonies, emanating from Orpheus’ sweet lyre. The hurled stones, failing to hear the music of Orpheus, found their mark and were stained crimson, with the Thracian bard’s blood. Like savage dogs rushing on a wounded stag, the frantic women flocked around Orpheus, and began to throw clods, tree branches, and flint stones.

Nearby, the peasants working in the fields, saw the troop of hysterical women and in fear, fled away leaving their oxen, spades, and rakes. The frenzied women tore the oxen to pieces, picked up the deserted implements and attacked the harmless poet, who with outstretched hands pleaded their mercy. But with unholy hate, they tore him apart. Orpheus’ life-breath came out of the very same lips, which had once moved rocks and tamed violent animals.

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


126. Bacchus punishes Orpheus’ murderers

Once upon a time, the Ciconian women, in Bacchic frenzy, had torn to pieces the famous bard Orpheus, the son of the muse Calliope and King Oeagrus of Thrace, because he had shunned their love.

The birds, stones, animals, and woods, who had followed the poet’s inspiring songs, mourned his death. The trees discarded their leaves, as if tearing their hair in grief. In sadness, the rivers cried and their tears swelled up their waters. With unkempt hair, the lamenting dryads and naiads, wore dark color garments. The torn limbs of Orpheus were scattered in unknown places. Hebros, the river-god of the river Hebros in Ciconia, in eastern Thrace, received the head and the harp of the slain Orpheus.

While floating down the river, Orpheus’ beloved harp mourned immeasurably. Although without any life, yet the tongue voiced a bemoaning sound and sorrowfully, the banks of the river replied. The stream carried the lifeless head to a foreign sandy shore of Lesbos, at Methymna, where a furious serpent opened wide its fatal jaws, but Phoebus appeared and hardened the jaws to stiff stone.

Bacchus grieved for the loss of his beloved poet of hallowed rites, and would not allow the wickedness of the murderers, to remain without punishment. With twisted roots, he bound the feet of all those evil women, who had attacked Orpheus and had torn him apart. Their toes grew long with sharp points, which he thrust in the firm earth. Like a bird, who is entangled in a trap hid by a sly fowler, knows that it is trapped only when it is too late, then frantically beats its wings, and the fluttering only makes the noose more tight with every struggling attempt, likewise, as each cruel woman attempted flight by struggling, the roots went deeper and held them more tightly. Wood grew up and covered them until they became rigid oak trees.

Meanwhile, the shade of Orpheus had descended under the earth, met Eurydice and folded her in his loving arms.

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

127. Midas and his golden touch

Once upon a time, Bacchus along with his retinue of Satyrs and Bacchanals, was travelling from Thrace to Phyrgia. During the journey, Silenus, his foster-father and teacher, got separated from the group. The Phyrgian folk, found a staggering Silenus weak with wine and age, wandering in the rose gardens of King Midas of Phyrgia. Binding Silenus in garlands, they took him to Midas, who recognized Silenus as his old time friend, since earlier, the Thracian Orpheus and the Cecropian Eumolpus, had shown Midas, all the Bacchic rites.

For ten days, Midas and Silenus celebrated a Bacchic festival, and on the eleventh day, they traveled to the Lydian lands, where Midas delivered Silenus under the care of Bacchus. Delighted, the divine Bacchus allowed Midas to ask any reward. The Berecynthian hero Midas made a dull-witted decision, by asking that may all that he touched, be at once turn to yellow gold. With grief, Bacchus granted this regrettable request, as it would harm Midas, but the slow-thinking Midas dreaming extreme wealth, was joyous.

To test the trueness of Bacchus’ word, Midas picked a twig and it instantly turned to gold. Whatever he touched, it turned to shining gold. He was rejoicing when he began to eat, but as soon as he touched the food, it became solid gold. He wanted to drink but the wine became liquid gold. Neither could he eat nor drink. All his gold, failed to quieten his gnawing stomach, or wet his parched throat.

Lifting his arms to heaven, he tearfully prayed to be released from his golden touch. Bacchus heard the prayer and told Midas, to approach the stream flowing beside the town of Sardis, and upwardly trace its origin, where if he plunged his head and body in its snowy foam, then at once, his golden touch shall be removed. Midas did as instructed and was relieved of his golden touch. However, the stream was tinged with gold and wherever the river flowed, the surrounding fields were colored with gold.

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


“SAPTAKA SVARA AṢṬAKA KRAMA (सप्तक स्वर अष्टक क्रम)”

The Saptaka Svara-s are introduced in the Nāṭyaśāstra (chapter 28, shloka 21) as follows:

तत्र स्वराः
षड्जश्च ऋषभश्चैव गान्धारो मध्यमस्तथा ।
पञ्चमो धैवतश्चैव सप्तमोऽथ निषादवान् ॥ २१॥
— नाट्यशास्त्रम् अध्याय २८, श्लोक २१

The term “Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ (सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः)” or the “Saptaka Svara Aṣṭaka Krama (सप्तक स्वर अष्टक क्रम)” is herewith introduced for the very first time in Indian Classical Music, as follows:

तत्र सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः
षड्जश्च ऋषभश्चैव गान्धारश्चैव मध्यमो पञ्चमस्तथा ।
धैवतश्चैव निषादवान् अष्टमोऽथ षड्जश्च ॥

The Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ (सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः) or the Saptaka Svara Aṣṭaka Krama (सप्तक स्वर अष्टक क्रम) is defined as a term signifying an arrangement of the seven Svara-s in an octave format (स र ग म प ध न स), where the ending Ṣaḍja षड्ज (स) has double the frequency in Āroha आरोह (ascending), or half the frequency in Avroha अवरोह (descending), with respect to the frequency of the beginning Ṣaḍja.

Accordingly, the following are formed:

मंद्र अष्टक क्रम : स़ ऱ ग़ म़ प़ ध़ ऩ स
Mandra Ashtaka Krama : ‘S, ‘R, ‘G, ‘M, ‘P, ‘D, ‘N, S

मध्य अष्टक क्रम : स र ग म प ध न सं
Madhya Ashtaka Krama : S, R, G, M, P, D, N, S’

तार अष्टक क्रम : सं रं गं मं पं धं नं सॅ
Taar Ashtaka Krama : S’, R’, G’, M’, P’, D’, N’, S”

The term Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ (सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः) is new; however, neither the concept nor its application is new. The concept of an Ashtaka Krama is ancient and a widely accepted arrangement in Indian literature. The Indian literary history of more than 3000 years evidences the usage of the Ashtaka Krama. The Rig-Veda is arranged in the Ashtaka Krama. Devotional poetry is arranged in Ashtaka Krama. It has eight stanzas set to devotional music and is known as an Ashtakam. For example, Mahālakṣmyāṣṭakam, Satyanārāyaṇāṣṭakam, Śivāṣṭakam, Govindāṣṭakam, Gaṇeśāṣṭakam, Rāmāṣṭakam, Ambāṣṭakam, Annapūrṇāṣṭakam, Bilvāṣṭakam, and many more. The venerated great sage Ādi Śaṅkarācārya created an Ashtakam of Ashtakam-s. He is also credited with writing dozens of Stuti Ashtakam-s. Hence, the concept of an Ashtaka Krama is not new.

Similarly, its application is also not new. In almost all music schools of India, it is common for students to practice the Madhya Ashtaka Krama स र ग म प ध न सं. Advanced students practice the Ashtaka Krama from स़ to स to सं to सॅ, as far as possible by them. However, no suitable term exists to describe this act of practicing the Svara-s in an octave arrangement. Loosely, it is described as a Saptaka, which is technically wrong, since a Saptaka contains seven notes, while an octave contains eight notes. Therefore, the need for a suitable term to describe the act of practicing eight musical notes is acutely felt. This need is fulfilled by arranging the seven Svara-s in an octave format, wherein it starts with Ṣaḍja (S) and ends with Ṣaḍja (S). The ending Ṣaḍja is of an increased (double) or decreased (half) frequency of the starting Ṣaḍja. This widely practiced octave format of the seven Svara-s is herewith given a name, which is Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ or Saptaka Svara Ashtaka Krama.

The Ashtaka Krama can also relate to other systems of music. For example, the Madhya Ashtaka Krama, being an octave format of the seven Svara-s, can easily be correlated with the Western Solfège octave system. The Western Solfège octave system starts with the musical note Do and ends with the musical note Do! (which is double in frequency of the starting Do). Similarly, the Madhya Ashtaka Krama starts with Ṣaḍja (स) and ends with Taar Ṣaḍja (सं) (which is double in frequency of the starting Ṣaḍja).

The Śruti-s (श्रुति microtones) provide a fine-tuned understanding of the frequencies. The 22 Shruti-s used in the Svara Sargam are described by Dattila Muni in his text Dattilam. They are referenced by Bharata Muni in his text Nāṭyaśāstra, and also by Pandit Śārñgadeva in his text Saṅgītaratnākara. The Saṅgītaratnākara (Chapter 3, shlokas 35 to 38) names the 22 Shruti-s as Chandovatī, Dayāvatī, Ranjanī, Ratikā, Raudrī, Krodhā, Vajrikā, Prasāriṇī, Prīti, Mārjanī, Kṣhiti, Raktā, Sandīpanī, Ālāpinī, Madantī, Rohiṇī, Ramyā, Ugrā, Kṣobhinī, Tīvrā, Kumudvatī, and Mandā. [Chandovatī…may be repeated here]

At the end, at the 23rd place, if the first-placed Shruti Chandovatī is repeated, then the Shruti-s continue further to their next existences. The last-placed Chandovatī is double in frequency than the first-placed Chandovatī. The first-placed Chandovatī has a Frequency (Hz) of 261.625, which is the same as the Western 12-TET Chromatic (C) tuning (0 cents), a nondiatonic scale with no tonic, and having twelve pitches, each a semitone above or below its adjacent pitches. The last-placed Chandovatī has a Frequency (Hz) of 523.250 (double of 261.625), which is the same as the Western 12-TET Chromatic (C) tuning (1200 cents). The first-placed Chandovatī begins the Shruti-s and the last-placed Chandovatī enables the Shruti-s, to continue towards their respective further existences. In this same manner, the Saptaka Svara Ashtaka Krama starts with Ṣaḍja, and at the end again places Ṣaḍja (having higher or lower frequency than the frequency of the first-placed Ṣaḍja), so that the Svara-s can continue to their next existences.

THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE TERM “Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ (सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः)”

Ṣaḍja is Agni (अग्नि fire). Agni enables the Ātmā (आत्मा soul) to take birth and rebirth. Because Ṣaḍja is Agni, it enables the soul of the Svara-s (स्वर आत्मा) to take birth and rebirth, from one existence to the next existence, from Ati Mandra, to Mandra, to Madhya, to Taar, and to Ati Taar existences.

Ṣaḍja (स) is essentially the same in all different musical scales, yet it has different frequencies. Due to the different frequencies, the Ṣaḍja at the beginning of an Ashtaka Krama is not the same Ṣaḍja at its end. Thus, technically Ṣaḍja is not repeated. If in Āroha आरोह (ascending) the Ashtaka Krama begins with स़ then it further continues to स, and then to सं, and then to सॅ. Similarly, in Avroha अवरोह (descending) it continues from सॅ to सं to स to स़.

The Nāradīyā Śikṣā (1.5.12) mentions Ṣaḍja as Agni:
पंचस्थानस्थितत्वेन सर्वंस्थानानि धार्यते ।
अग्निगीतः स्वरः षड्ज ऋषभो ब्रह्मणोच्यते ।।१२।।
— नारदीया शिक्षा (प्रथमः प्रपाठकः पंचमी कंडिकाः १२)

Similarly, Saṅgītaratnākara (1.3.57-58) mentions Ṣaḍja as Vahni (वह्नि, another name of Agni):
ऋषयो ददृशुः पञ्च षड्जादींस्तुम्बुरुर्धनी ।
वह्निब्रह्मसरस्वत्यः शर्वश्रीशगणेश्वराः ।।५७।।
सहस्त्रांशुरिति प्रोक्ताः क्रमात्षड्जादिदेवताः ।
क्रमादनुष्टुब्गायत्री त्रिष्टुप्च बृहती ततः ।।५८।।
— संगीतरत्नाकर (१.३.५७-५८)

Agni enables the Ātmā आत्मा (soul) to take birth and rebirth. During conception, the Aatmaa takes birth in a lifeform via the Agni of the lifeform’s parents. During death, the Aatmaa takes rebirth via the Agni of the funeral pyre. The Shatapatha Brahmana mentions this Kravyāda क्रव्याद (recycling) form of Agni, the fire of the funeral pyre that cremates corpses. It states that the funeral fire burns the dead body, yet from that same fire itself, the Aatmaa is reborn, and it gains life due to the heat of the Aatmaa’s offerings of Agnihotra sacrifices.

The Śukla Yajurveda- Vājasaneyī Mādhyandina Śākhā- Śatapatha Brāhmaṇam ( mentions:
स यत्र म्रियते । यत्रैनमग्नावभ्यादधति तदेषोऽग्नेरधि जायतेऽथास्य शरीरमेवाग्निर्दहति तद्यथा पितुर्वा मातुर्वा जायेतैवमेषोऽग्नेरधि जायते शश्वद्ध वा एष न सम्भवति योऽग्निहोत्रं न जुहोति तस्माद्वा अग्निहोत्रं होतव्यम् ।
— शुक्लयजुर्वेदीय वाजसनेयी माध्यन्दिनशाखीय शतपथब्राह्मणम् (काण्डम् २, अध्याय २, ब्राह्मण ४, कण्डिका ८)
[and whereupon his death | when he is placed on fire, then he is reborn out of that same fire, for only the body does the fire consume. As from his father and mother he is born, likewise from fire he is born. Verily, life is not possible for one who does not offer the Agnihotram; therefore, Agnihotram must be offered]

All Svara-s take birth via Ṣaḍja, and again all Svara-s take rebirth via Ṣaḍja. Without Svara Agnihotram, a Svara is born lifeless. With Svara Agnihotram, the Svara gains life and is born alive. By the truthful rendition of the Svara, the artist performs the Agnihotram of the Svara. When the artist renders a Svara truthfully, then the soul of that Svara (स्वर आत्मा) sounds itself within the artist, and he hears the sound of the soul of the Svara (स्वर आत्मनाद). At this time, the Svara Aaatma-Naada sounding within himself, and his outward rendition of that same Svara, become perfectly matched. There is no difference between them, they become fused and one. When this happens, then it is to be known that the artist has truthfully rendered the Svara. This truthful rendition of the Svara is the Svara Agnihotram (स्वर अग्निहोत्रं) due to which the Svara becomes alive. With truthful renditions of the Svara-s, the Svara-s are born and reborn via Ṣaḍja, and the artist traverses different musical scales up and down, in a truthful way. Thus, the artist becomes a devotee, a worshipper (उपासक) of Svara (स्वर उपासक).

Worshipping Svara-s, he realizes that a Svara is essentially his own light, his own voice, his own Guru, his own god, his own self-illuminating sun (Sva स्व = own; Ra र = sun). When this realization dawns in his mind, then he clearly ‘sees’ the Svara. Earlier he used to hear the Svara, and now with his mind’s eye, he sees it. This vision of the Svara (स्वर दर्शन) leads him to another vision, where he sees an infinite number of Śruti-s (microtones). Gaining this vision of the Shruti-s (श्रुति दर्शन), he realizes Svara-s are essentially Shruti-s. Hence, he evolves to become a worshipper of Shruti-s (श्रुति उपासक).

Worshipping Shruti-s, he realizes that Shruti-s express themselves in Svara-s; and Svara-s express themselves in Geet (गीत songs), Vaadya (वाद्य musical instruments), and Nritya (नृत्य dance), which combine together to form Sangeet (संगीत music). Hence, he evolves to become a worshipper of Sangeet (संगीत उपासक).

Worshipping Sangeet, he realizes that music is essentially a worship of Nāda (नाद the sound that pervades the entire universe). Hence, he evolves to become a worshipper of Naada (नाद उपासक).

Worshipping Naada, he realizes Naada is Brahma (ब्रह्म the Absolute Reality). By worshipping Nādabrahma (नादब्रह्म) he worships all divinities, as they are all Naada. Hence, he evolves to become a worshipper of Naada-Brahma (नादब्रह्म उपासक).

The Saṅgītaratnākara (1.3.2) mentions:
नादोपासनया देवा ब्रह्मविष्णुमहेश्वराः ।
भवन्त्युपासिता नूनं यस्मादेते तदात्मकाः ।।२।।
— संगीतरत्नाकर (१.३.२)
[with Nāda worship, Brahma, Viṣṇu, Maheṣvarā, are worshipped, without any doubt, because they are of that form]

Worshipping Naada-Brahma, he realizes that the originating source is the Anāhat Nāda (अनाहत नाद), which is AUṂkāra (ॐ, ओंकार oṃkāra, or औंकार auṃkāra, or प्रणव praṇava). Hence, he evolves to become a worshipper of AUMkaara (ओंकार उपासक).

Worshipping AUMkaara, his worldly chains fall away on their own. He finds himself freed from his human bondages. His Ātmā (आत्मा soul) merges with the Paramātmā (परमात्मा supreme soul), and he gains Mokṣa (मोक्ष liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth).

In this manner, he gains Mokṣa (मोक्ष) with the worship of Svara (स्वर उपासना), Śruti (श्रुति उपासना), Saṅgīta (संगीत उपासना), Nāda (नाद उपासना), Nādabrahma (नादब्रह्म उपासना), and AUṂkāra (ॐ, ओंकार उपासना).

Similarly, from Ṣaḍja (स) the Svara-s evolve from one level of existence to another level of existence. They take births and rebirths in Ati Mandra, Mandra, Madhya, Taar, and Ati Taar existences.

When all the Svara-s are truthfully rendered by the artist, when his Svara Agnihotram is perfect in all respects, then all his Svara-s merge in Ṣaḍja (स). At this time, he experiences the supreme bliss of Mokṣa (मोक्ष) because Ṣaḍja (स) is Nādabrahma (नादब्रह्म) and Ṣaḍja (स) is AUṂkāra (ॐ). Worshipping Ṣaḍja (स, षड्ज उपासना) is equivalent to worshipping AUṂkāra (ॐ, ओंकार उपासना). Hence, the Saptaka Svara Ashtaka Krama starts with Ṣaḍja and further continues with Ṣaḍja.

Thus, the term “Saptasvaro’aṣṭakramaḥ (सप्तस्वरोऽष्टक्रमः)” or the “Saptaka Svara Aṣṭaka Krama (सप्तक स्वर अष्टक क्रम)” is herewith introduced.


Excerpt from the Preface of the book, “MERUKHAND: Svara Permutations” Vols. 1&2 by Rajen Jani

128. Midas’ ears become donkey-ears

Once upon a time, King Midas of Phyrgia, after being relieved of his golden touch, now disliked riches. He stayed in forests and followed the shepherd-god Pan. On the mount Tmolus, Pan was playing on his reed pipe and arrogantly boasting to the mountain nymphs, about his musical skill. So conceited was Pan that he challenged the great Apollo, to a musical contest to be judged by the mountain-god Tmolus. Apollo accepted the challenge.

On his own mountain, Tmolus sat with a wreath of oak leaves adoring his azure hair, and from his temples hung ripe acorns. As a judge, Tmolus gave the first chance to Pan, who played some pastoral sounds on his coarse reeds. After Pan had finished playing, Tmolus turned to Apollo, and all the mountain trees turned to look at Apollo.

A fresh Parnassian laurel wreathed the golden locks of Apollo, and his Tyrian purple robe swept the earth. With his left hand holding his lyre adorned with gemstones and Indian ivory, and his right hand holding the plectrum, the divine Apollo stood as an artist before Tmolus. His skillful fingers artfully touched the rightly tuned strings, and an enchanting melody emanated. The revered mountain-god Tmolus was delighted, and he judged in favor of Apollo. The verdict pleased all present except Midas. Apollo changed the ears of Midas to ears of a donkey.

Thereafter, Midas wore a purple turban so that his humiliation was hidden from ridicule. However, a servant while cutting his hair, saw the shame. Eager to reveal the secret that his master had donkey-ears, but not having the courage to expose, the servant dug a small hole in the earth. Then, in a low voice revealed to the hole his secret, which he buried by filling the hole with loosed earth. After sometime, a shaky reed sprang up from that spot and in a year, there grew a thick grove. Moved by the soft southern wind, the grove betrayed its planter, by repeating all the whispered words, and the secret was disclosed.

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

129. Hercules gives Hesione to Telamon

Once upon a time, Apollo saw king Laomedon’s land, where the thin sea divided Phrygia from Thrace. On the right was the promontory of Sigaeum, on the left arose the lofty Rhoetaeum, and at that place there was an old altar dedicated to mighty Jupiter. Close to that place, Laomedon was just starting to build the walls of the renowned Troy.

Apollo was convinced that the task demanded immense resources and surpassed the power of mortals. Hence, Apollo along with Neptune, the trident-bearing god of the deep, adopted mortal forms, approached Laomedon, offered to labor for an amount of gold, which Laomedon agreed, and they built the powerful wall. But Laomedon demonstrated how false his words were, by refusing all payment and thus, added perjury to his fake bargaining.

Neptune was enraged and punished the deceitful Laomedon, by causing all the surrounding waters of the sea, to rise high above the wall built through perfidy. The furious waves swept the fields, and the hard-earned possessions of its farmers were ruined. The shores, city, and every bit of land was flooded. The sorrowful land resembled a sea and the punishment was awful.

But as if this penalty was not enough, a sea-monster arose and the tormented citizens consulted an oracle, who told to sacrifice Hesione, the daughter of Laomedon, as food to the sea-monster. The royal maid Hesione was chained to a craggy rock jutting out on the sea, for the terrible sea-monster to devour.

Hercules, the son of Alcmene and Jupiter, arrived at that place and agreed to rescue Hesione, if Laomedon gave him the pair of divine horses, received as a compensation for Ganymedes. Laomedon agreed and Hercules delivered Hesione from all harm, but the perfidious Laomedon refused to keep his promise. In anger, Hercules conquered Troy. As a reward, he gave Hesione to Telamon, the son of Aeacus, for Telamon had fought for him.

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

130. Aesacus and Hesperia

Once upon a time, Priam, the son of Laomedon, loved Alexirhoe, the daughter of the double horned river Granicus. Concealed under the shade of Ida, Alexirhoe secretly gave birth to Aesacus, the son of Priam. Aesacus disliked the city and frequented woods. Yet, he was neither coarse nor unconquerable by the appeal of love, for he loved Hesperia, daughter of the river-god Cebrenus. However, Hesperia was not aware of his love.

In the woods, Aesacus had often tried to seek her, and once he found her resting with her plush hair spread over her shoulders, to the warm rays of the sun. At that same moment, Hesperia also saw him and she instantly fled, like a terrified deer flees from a wolf. The love-struck Aesacus pursued her. She ran swiftly due to fear, while he followed swiftly due to love. While Hesperia was running, a cruel snake was lurking in the green grass. The snake dug his venomous fang into her pinkish soft heel, Hesperia fell to the ground and met a most untimely death.

Soon, Aesacus reached there and in agony, embraced the lifeless body of Hesperia. He lamented that why did he pursue, for if he had not pursued, then Hesperia would not have met such a fate. He blamed himself as the cause for making Hesperia flee, and he blamed the snake for delivering the fatal wound. But he blamed himself more as the originating cause and grieved more, for he thought his guilt was greater. Weeping over the lifeless body of Hesperia, Aesacus decided to end his own life.

Climbing a high jutting out rock that overlooked the sea, he threw himself into the rushing waves. Seeing the guilt-ridden fall, Tethys was moved with pity and she changed Aesacus, to a divedapper bird. With death being denied, Aesacus as the divedapper bird, again attempted to die, by plunging headlong into the deep waves. But his wild dive was not granted the desired death. Even now, the divedapper bird dives wildly to die, but remains alive.

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