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    Long ago, when the 12 Olympians ruled over the earth, there was a daughter of the gods of great beauty.  She was full of life, innocent, joyful.  She was the daughter of the grain mother and the sky father, Demeter and Zeus.  Her name was Kore, and she was the very essence of spring. She and her mother Demeter were very close, and spent most of their time together.

    Hades, the Lord of Darkness, Ruler of the Underworld, approached his brother Zeus and asked for Kore as his bride.  He was alone, and needed a Queen.   Zeus, happy to oblige his brother, agreed.

    Kore was out picking flowers one beautiful morning, enjoying the sunshine, and she spotted the most amazing black narcissus growing among the bright flowers!  She had to have it.  She reached, and as she took the flower from the earth a great chasm opened, and out roared Hades in a black carriage driven by fiery black stallions, blowing black smoke from their nostrils which obscured all light.  They bore the terrified Kore deep into the earth, and she was not seen again.  There was only one witness, who for the fear of Hades was to keep silent.

    Demeter missed her child.  As Kore remained hidden for longer and longer, Demeter became utterly desolate.  She wandered the earth in grief, searching for her beloved daughter Kore.  Demeter no longer cared if the people of the earth were fed, and the earth no longer gave up her bounty to living creatures.  There was hunger, want.  The gods received no sacrifices.  The cries of the people reached the ears of Zeus.

    Demeter, when she discovered what Zeus and Hades had done, was outraged, and demanded the immediate return of her daughter.  Zeus delayed, and the earth withered.  Finally, recognizing that he had perhaps erred, he sent the messenger God Hermes to bring Kore back to her mother.

    Persephone, as she was now called, was not free to go.  She had eaten six pomegranate seeds while she had dwelt with Hades in the Underworld.  She could visit her mother for six months of the year, but she would always return for six months, to rule with Hades, and to guide the lost souls who found themselves in the darkness.

    Thus it came to pass that she who was swept away into darkness against her will became a queen.  Her name, Persephone, became an utterance of dread and a beacon of hope.

     

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