Deucalion and Pyrrha

Ovid Metamorphoses 1.375-402

When they reached the steps of the temple, each fell down prone on the ground and, being afraid, gave kisses to the cold stone, and they spoke thus, "If the divinities relent, won over (lit., conquered) by just prayers (i.e., by the prayers of the righteous), if the anger of the gods is turned aside, tell, Themis, how the loss of our race can be made good (lit., restored), and bring help, O gentlest [one], to the submerged world." The goddess was moved and gave [them] an oracle, "Go out from [my] temple and cover [your] heads and loosen [your] clothes, [now] girt up, and throw the bones of the great mother over your backs!"

For a long time they were stunned, and Pyrrha first broke the silence with [herj voice and refused to obey the orders of the goddess, and with frightened mouth asked that [the goddess] pardon her; and she [Pyrrha] was afraid to offend [her] mother s Shade by throwing [her] bones. Nevertheless, they reflected between themselves on the words of the oracle given [to them], obscure because of [their] dark uncertainty (lit., of [their] blind hiding places), and talked over [the oracle] together. Then the son of Prometheus [Deucalion] soothed the daughter of Epimetheus [Pyrrha] with calm words and said, "Either my cleverness deceives me or (oracles are righteous and counsel no crime!) the great mother is the earth; I think that stones are called bones in the earths body; we are being ordered to throw these (i.e., stones) over [our] backs."

Although the Titans daughter was moved by the interpretation of [her] spouse, [their] hopes were faint, to such an extent were they both uncertain about the divine instructions; but what would it hurt to try? They went out and covered [their] heads and unfastened [their] tunics and threw stones, as they had been ordered, behind them (lit., behind [their] footsteps). The stones (who would believe this unless it were vouched for by antiquity?) began to set aside their hardness and rigidity and to soften slowly and, [when] softened, to take on a [new] shape,

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment