Mystical Tales Children

The man with one sandal

Let’s begin the story of Jason and the Argonauts, one of the most popular tales in Greek mythology. Since this is a very long story, we’ll start with the birth of Jason.

Pelias and Aeson were half-brothers who lived in Iolcus. Aeson was the son of the Cretheus, who ruled that city. But, when the king died, Pelias imprisoned Aeson and took over the kingdom. In a bid to keep him safe, Aeson’s son Jason was sent away to be brought up by Chiron, the centaur. (In Greek mythology, centaurs were half-horse, half-human creatures.) Chiron was known for his wisdom and strength; so Jason grew up to be a strong and smart young man.

In the meanwhile, Pelias had consulted the oracle at Delphi to find out if he would stay on as king and received a cryptic message: “Beware the man with one sandal”. What he did not know was that Goddess Hera was very angry with him because he had stopped people from worshipping her and also murdered his stepmother at the altar of the goddess’ temple.

Claiming his birthright

When Jason turned 20, Chiron told him the truth about his birth, who his parents were and why he’d been brought up with the centaurs. The young man then decided that he would get his throne back. So he set off for Iolcus. On the way, he had to cross the river Anauros. When he reached the banks, he saw an old woman there. Jason asked, “What are you doing here, mother?” The old woman looked at him and said, “I need to cross the river but I am afraid that the current will sweep me away.” Jason had a kind heart so he offered to take her across.

So the woman climbed on to his back and Jason stepped into the waters. Though he made it across, the swiftly flowing river took away one of his sandals. When they reached the other side, the old woman blessed him and went away. Jason continued his journey, not knowing that he had actually helped Hera, who had disguised herself to see what kind of a man he was.

When Jason arrived at Iolcus, the people were celebrating the festival of Poseidon, the sea god. Pelias was shocked to see Jason arrive with one sandal; the prophecy had come true. When Jason explained who he was, Pelias cunningly agreed to step down from the throne if Jason would prove his worth by bringing the Golden Fleece from the land of Colchis. Everyone knew that the Golden Fleece was guarded by a dragon and Pelias was sure that Jason would never come back alive.

(To be continued)

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 7:34:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/beginning-the-story-of-jason-and-the-argonauts-from-greek-mythology/article34187449.ece

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