Demeter and Persephone

Demeter and Persephone Part III
No one seemed happy in the Underworld when Zeus arrived.
No one seemed happy in the Underworld when Zeus arrived.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Below is the ending of Demeter and Persephone's story:

"Hades!" thundered Zeus when he reached the gates of the Underworld. He made his way inside easily, for even fierce Cerberus was afraid of the king of the gods.

Zeus found Hades sitting sadly on his dark throne, watching Persephone. Persephone hardly looked like the beautiful girl she had been before. Her golden hair had grown dull, and her rosy cheeks were pale.

"Hades, I demand that you return Persephone to the earth. Demeter misses her terribly, and the earth has grown fruitless and barren since you stole her daughter away," said Zeus.

"Very well," sighed Hades. "I thought her beauty would make my Underworld a happier place, but she is only sad and silent since she has come. You may take her back to the earth."

But Hades was very clever. He did not want to lose his queen, so he decided to trick Zeus. When Zeus was getting ready to take Persephone back to earth, Hades took her aside for a moment.

He told her she would need food for her journey. He offered her a pomegranate, a fruit which has juicy seeds to eat. Persephone ate just six pomegranate seeds before she returned to earth.

Hades offered Persephone some food before her journey.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

But the pomegranate came from the Underworld. Persephone did not know that Hades had tricked her into eating the food of the dead.

Zeus carried Persephone back to the earth. When Persephone returned, Demeter was overjoyed. She was so happy to see her daughter that the earth bloomed again.

Suddenly, Hades appeared before them. "Wait!" he exclaimed. "Persephone has eaten the food of the dead! She ate six seeds from a pomegranate before she came back to earth. She must live in the Underworld forever!"

Hades had tricked Persephone!
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Zeus was angry about the trick Hades had played. He thought very carefully before he said, "You did eat six pomegranate seeds. For each seed, you will spend one month of the year in the Underworld. The other six months you will spend on earth."

And so each year when Persephone goes to the Underworld, winter comes to the earth. But when Persephone returns, her mother is overjoyed and summer reigns on earth.


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