Arion and the Dolphin

Ovid Fasti 2.93-108,111-118

The name of Arion had filled the cities of Sicily, and the Ausonian shore had been captivated by the sounds of [his] lyre. Returning from there to [his] home, Arion boarded a ship and took the wealth won in this way by [his] skill. Perhaps, unfortunate [man], you feared the winds and the waves, but for you the sea was safer than your ship; for the helmsman took a stand with drawn sword, together with (lit., and) the rest of the guilty band with armed hands. What business do you have with a sword? (lit,, What [business is there] for you with a sword?) Sailor, steer the uncertain ship. Your fingers should not be holding this weapon.

He (i.e., Arion), trembling with fear, said, "I do not beg to avoid death, but let me take up my lyre and repeat a few [tunes] (lit., may it be allowed [to me], lyre having been taken up, to repeat,..)." They gave permission and laughed at the delay. He put on a chaplet, [one] that could adorn your own hair, Phoebus. He put on a cloak twice dipped in Tyrian dye; the strings, struck by [his] thumb, gave back sounds [all] their own. Immediately, he, adorned [as he was], jumped into the middle of the waves. The blue ship was splashed by the water [when] hit (i.e., by Arion). Then, incredible as it sounds (lit., greater than belief), they say that a dolphin placed itself under an unfamiliar burden with [its] curved back. And he, sitting and holding [his] lyre, sang [as] payment for being carried and calmed the waters of the sea with [his] song.

The gods take note of good deeds: Jupiter admitted the dolphin among the constellations and directed [it] to have nine stars.

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