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.

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