The Dancing Princesses

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Yet when the two brothers decided to strengthen the defenses of Thebes by building a high wall all around it, only Amphion could move the heavy stones. He played on his lyre, and the stones were so enthralled by the music that they got up and followed him to Thebes. This act won him fame and riches. Niobe and Amphion had a splendid family, seven strong and handsome sons and seven beautiful daughters, children any parent would be proud of. But Niobe's pride in her children was excessive, almost to the point of madness.

Io fed on green leaves from the trees, and the bitter herbs that grow along the riverbanks. To sleep, she lay on the cold ground, often not even softened by a covering of grass, but rocky and bare. She drank from streams that were roiling with mud. Again and again she longed to stretch out her arms toward Argus to plead for mercy, but she had no arms to stretch. When she wanted to complain, the only sound she could make was the lowing of a cow. Her own voice frightened her. One day, seeking new pastures, Io chanced upon her father's land, where she had so often played as a girl.

Her neck could not bend, her arms could not move, her feet could not go forward. All was changed to stone. And yet she wept and wept. Then, as her tears kept falling, a mighty whirlwind caught her up and carried her to her native land. There on a mountaintop Niobe sits, still weeping for her children. To this day, the marble drips with tears. html [13-02-2009 13:54:37] page_23 < previous page page_23 next page > Page 23 The Pierides Challenge the Muses Image not available. One day, the goddess Minerva chose to pay a visit to the Muses high atop their sacred mountain, Helicon.

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