Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

Goddess Demeter and the Wrath of Nature

An allegorical myth that teaches us to respect nature

Erysichthon, the Cruel Hero

In Ancient times, there was a hero from Thessaly in Central Greece, whose name was Erysichthon. His reputation was not exactly one of being kind, but rather an insulter, a very arrogant and greedy person, who was thinking only about himself.

The Sacred Grove and the Hero's Disrespect

During that time in Thessaly, there was a grove dedicated to the goddess Demeter and right in its center, a huge oak tree was rising so high that it could reach the heaven. This tree was dedicated to Demeter and the people in Thessaly loved it very much. They were decorating it and used it to make vows to the goddess.

But Erysichthon differs from all others... consumed with greed, he orders his slaves to destroy the grove and cut the tree in order to make a banquet table. However, no one of the slaves dare to do a disrespect like that, so Erysichthon undertakes the task himself.

With his first chop, the goddess appears to him disguised as a priest, and asks him to stop his destructive work, but without avail...Seeing that Erysichthon will not compromise, she throws the disguise and emerges with all her divine glory. All slaves get scared, but Demeter removes their fears and sends them away. Then she turns to the sacrilegious Erysichthon and punishes him without mercy.

The Fatal Curse

From this moment on, Erysichthon is cursed with a never-ending appetite, longing for anything edible on his way. He starts with the food in his own home, but yet he cannot still his hunger. Then he goes on searching for food in the streets, craving for any food he can find, even that dedicated to gods. Still, his yearning seems invincible. Not knowing what to do, he decides to sell his daughter Mystra, who has powers of a witch and by transforming herself into various shapes always escapes and returns to her father.
Soon Erysichthon finds nothing more to eat and he ends up eating his own flesh until he dies.

An allegorical myth that teaches us to respect nature
Myths about Demeter