85. Medea takes vengeance on Pelias

Once upon a time, Jason, the husband of Medea, had asked her to take vengeance on old King Pelias of Iolcus, for the murder of his father Aeson and his younger brother Promachus. Hence, Medea pretending that she had a quarrel with Jason and for her safety, fled to Pelias. Burdened with heavy age, Pelias was unable to greet her, but his daughters, the Peliades, received her with kindness.

In a very short time, the perceptive and shrewd Medea, with her fake display of friendliness, gained the confidence of the Peliades. She recounted her previous experiences and particularly dwelt upon, for a long time, on how she had rejuvenated her father-in-law, old Aeson, to his former youth. Medea subtly induced the Peliades, to desire that their old father Pelias, may also be likewise revitalized with youthful vigor. To flame their desire, Medea changed an old ram to a lamb. Thus tempted to wishful thinking, the Peliades begged Medea, to perform the feat, and make their old father Pelias, once again young.

They went to Pelias’ room, where with incantations, Medea made Pelias and all the guards, fall asleep. Then she set clear water to boil over blazing fire, added some herbs having no potency at all, and falsely demonstrated that she was preparing a magical elixir. Thereafter, Medea urged the Peliades to cut their father’s body with swords, so that the old blood may flow out, and his veins may be filled with the youth-granting magical elixir. The Peliades hesitated, but Medea went on urging them. So, with averted faces, the Peliades wildly struck at their father. Pelias was fatally wounded, but to finish him off with certainty, Medea swiftly slit his skinny throat. Thereafter, she threw his mangled body in the boiling water, while the hopeful Peliades expected their father to emerge as a youth.

Just at that moment, Medea’s chariot of dragons came and she escaped. Fearing punishment for murdering and boiling their own father, the Peliades also fled away.

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

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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.

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

83. Medea prepares a potion for old Aeson

Once upon a time, after collecting magical ingredients that could restore youth to an old person, Medea, in her Hecate-gifted chariot driven by dragons, reached home. But she did not enter and stayed in the field, shunning all contact with her husband Jason, son of Aeson. From the ever-living turf, she built two altars, the right dedicated to Hecate and the left to Hebe, the goddess of eternal youth.

After adorning these altars with boughs and flowers, she dug trenches. Then, she butchered a black ram, whose fresh blood she poured in the trenches, along with wine and warm milk. With such an offering, she added her sacred incantations, to satisfy the Deities of earth and Pluto, lord of the deathly shades, so that they may not in undue haste, deprive the life from the limbs of old Aeson while she performed her magic on him.

When she was certain that her long prayers were heard and approved by Pluto, she went near the palace and ordered the people, to bring the worn out body of her old father-in-law. She cast a spell on Aeson, who went into a deep sleep, so deep as if he were a dead man. Then she laid his body on a bed of herbs, commanded the servants and told Jason, to completely go away. She warned all, not to spy on her with irreverent eyes and obeying her, all left.

Taking a brazen cauldron, she boiled and mixed all the magical ingredients, which she had gathered from distant places. She put seeds, herbs, plants, grass, flowers, acerbic juices, elixirs, oriental stones of amazing virtue, sifted sands from the tides of oceans, white frost gathered under a full moon, flesh and unlucky wings of a screeching owl, the sloughed scaly skin of a water snake, the liver of a stag who had lived long, the beak and head of an ancient crow alive nine centuries ago, entrails of the bizarre animal who changed from wolf to man and then again, from man to wolf, and many other things. Thus, Medea prepared the magical, youth-imparting potion for old Aeson.

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

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.

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

78. Medea resolves to help Jason

Once upon a time, King Aeetes of Colchis had received the Golden Fleece from Phryxus. Jason, the son of Aeson, along with the Argonauts, approached Aeetes to ask the Golden Fleece. Aeetes agreed to give, provided Jason completed three tasks. Firstly, after taming fierce bulls, Jason had to make them plow the field of Mars. Secondly, he had to sow the teeth of a dragon in that field and lastly, he had to defeat the dragon guarding the Golden Fleece.

While Aeetes was explaining the tasks to Jason, the virgin Medea, daughter of Aeetes, was present near her father’s throne. As soon as she saw Jason, at the very first sight, she fell in love with him. Her love-struck heart frantically began to beat with happiness, but knowing the hard labours that Jason faced, her heart sank into unhappiness. Desire persuaded her to help Jason, but reason persuaded her otherwise.

Later in the day, Medea went to the altar of goddess Hecate to pray. While walking she thought that was her heart made of stone? If not, then why would she deny any help to Jason? Even a heart of flint would be moved by his youth, nobility and handsome countenance. If she did not help, then he would surely die. But, if she helped, then he would marry her. She thought of sailing away with him, forsaking her father, brother, Gods, and her native land. Forsaking would be easy, as her father was strict, her brother was just a child, the Gods were always in her heart, and her native land was rough. If she left, then she would not be leaving behind valued hopes. As Jason’s bride, in his sweet embrace, she would forget all fears and sorrows. But what if he sailed away alone, leaving her behind?

With such mixed thoughts, while Medea proceeded to the altar of Hecate, she met Jason on the way. Holding the hallowed Sun and goddess Hecate as witnesses, Jason promised marriage to Medea. Thus assured of Jason’s love, Medea resolved to help him gain victory in his tasks.

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

87. Medea tries to kill Theseus

Once upon a time, Medea, after taking her revenge on Jason, and escaping in her chariot drawn by enchanted winged dragons, arrived at Athens, where King Aegeus offered her protection from all the evil that she had done. Aegeus joined her to him in wedlock, and also had a child by her, forgetting that years ago, when he had visited Troezen, he had conceived a son named Theseus.

Medea lived in Athens happily, until Theseus arrived. With her magical arts, she recognized Theseus as the son of Aegeus. She knew that earlier, when Aegeus had visited King Pittheus of Troezen, he had consorted with Aethra, the daughter of Pittheus. Thereafter, he hid his sword beneath a rock, and had told Aethra that if she bore him a son, then she should tell her son to remove the rock, take the sword and travel to Athens. The sword would be the sign that he was the son of Aegeus.

With the sword, Theseus came to Athens and Medea feared that instead of her own son, Theseus would inherit the throne of Athens. However, Aegeus did not see the sword and failed, to recognize Theseus as his son. Medea convinced Aegeus that Theseus would kill him. So Aegeus sent Theseus to fight the Marathonian bull, where he would certainly die. But the heroic Theseus killed the bull. Then Medea told Aegeus to invite Theseus for a drink, where the cup of Theseus would be poisoned with aconite.

Accordingly, Aegeus invited Theseus, but when the trusting Theseus was about to drink, Aegeus saw the sword of Theseus. Aegeus recognized the sword as his own sword, since on its ivory hilt, it bore his royal insignia. Immediately, Aegeus realized that Theseus was Aethra’s son and instantly, Aegeus struck Theseus’ cup, which fell on the ground, without being ever touched by Theseus’ lips. The happy Aegeus lovingly embraced Theseus and declared that Theseus was his son. Seeing this, Medea, raised a dark whirlwind, and in it she escaped.

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

86. Medea takes revenge on Jason

Once upon a time, Medea and her husband Jason, had settled in Corinth, and lived a happy marital life along with their children. But after ten years, Jason became weary of being married to a sorceress and decided, to gain a more representative wife. Hence, he shifted his attention to Glauce, daughter of King Creon of Corinth.

This unfaithful behavior of Jason, tormented Medea, as she had never wronged him. She recollected how she had aided Jason to carry away the Golden Fleece, how she had murdered her own brother Apsyrtus, how she had destroyed Talos, how she married Jason in the cave of Macris, how she made old Aeson gain his youth, and how she had become the curse of King Pelias of Iolcus.

She thought that after all her aid, now, the ungrateful Jason had abandoned her for Glauce, and she seethed in this fire of Jason’s betrayal. With passing time, the ongoing frequent social meetings of Jason and Glauce, publicly compounded the humiliation of the already humiliated Medea. With a fake show of false joy, Medea, who was incensed wild with fury beyond endurance, pretended that she welcomed Glauce as the bride of Jason. To strengthen her forged display of love for Glauce, she sent her children to present Glauce, an expensive wedding gown as a gift.

But the heart of Medea was soaked in revenge, and the wedding gown was likewise, drenched in poison. As soon as Glauce wore it, her skin burned, and her body caught fire. Creon, the father of Glauce, attempted to rescue her, but he also burned. Both Glauce and Creon died, while the fire burned the palace. The extremely anguished Medea, with the aim of punishing Jason, discarded her motherly affection, and killed her own children, Mermerus and Pheres, whom Jason loved more than his own life. Then, Medea fled in her chariot of dragons, leaving behind Jason bereft of his wife, his children, and Glauce. Unable to bear the grief of his dead children, Jason killed himself.

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