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UNDER THE WAVES
OSEIDON was the god that ruled the sea. Hephæstus built
him a fine house of brass under the water. He did not
like to live there alone, so he set out to find a
As the woods were full of tree spirits, so the sea was
full of water spirits, who were called Nereids. One of
the most beautiful of these was named Amphitrite. She
lived with her father and mother in a grotto under the
waves. Their home was charming with coral and
seashells, and a pretty garden of seaweeds was before
Poseidon had heard of this lovely creature, so he
called a dolphin, upon whose back he mounted and rode
off to make a visit. He found the nymph very pleasant
and agreeable, and she asked him to call again. After
a few visits he asked her father if she
might be his wife.
The father was entirely willing. When they asked
Amphitrite, she said "The mighty ruler of the seas does
me too much honor, but I will gladly take him for my
Poseidon was greatly pleased. He said to his dolphin,
"Good fish, you must carry double to-day. My bride
goes home with me this afternoon, and you shall have a
 They arrived in safety, and Poseidon said, "Now,
faithful dolphin, live no more under the waters, but
shine in the sky among the stars."
The happy couple under the sea had a son, called
Triton. He went before his father, blowing a trumpet,
whenever the king of the sea rode out.
Poseidon did not ride on dolphins any more. He created
horses, and harnessed four of them to his chariot.
These had hoofs of brass and manes of gold. When the
king was going out to drive, Triton blew his horn. The
waters became as smooth as glass. Triton went before,
the prancing horses drew the chariot, and whales and
other huge dwellers in the deep followed after.
Poseidon had another son, called Proteus, who was very
wise, and could foretell the future. He could change
himself into any shape, and be a seal, a whale, a fish
or a man, at his pleasure.
Thetis was another Nereid, and sister of Amphitrite.
She married a man, Peleus, and their son was the great
Achilles, of whom we shall learn more when we read of
the Trojan war.
An insane husband once chased his wife who was carrying
their little boy. Coming to the edge of a cliff which
overhung the sea, in her fright she leaped into the
water. The gods who were sorry for her, changed her
into a sea-goddess, called Leucothea, and her son into
a god named Palæmon. He generally rode upon a
dolphin. Sailors in danger of shipwreck prayed to him
and his mother, and they often answered such prayers,
for they remembered how kind the gods had been to them.
Every river and every fountain had guardian spirits.
These were called Naiads, and are shown in pictures as
beautiful young women.
They were generally friendly to mankind, but sometimes
they carried their favorites away from home and family.
So they did with Hylas. He was a very good-looking
lad, who, being in a strange country, went to a spring
One of the Naiads saw him, and called to the others,
"Oh, come, see this pretty boy!"
He bent down to fill his pitcher, but saw sweet faces
jumping up out of the water.
"Oh, pretty boy!" they said. "Do you live near here?
We never before saw you at this spring."
Hylas blushed and said, "No, I am a stranger, and must
hurry back to the ship and my friends."
"Oh, no!" they said. "Do not go away. Stay with us!"
They stretched up their arms out of the water, caught
Hylas, and pulled him down into the spring. His
friends afterwards found the empty pitcher by the
waterside, but Hylas was never seen again.
Arethusa was a wood nymph who was fond of
hunting. One day, warm from the chase, she stepped
into a river to cool herself, but a voice spoke to her.
She was frightened, and tried to run away. The voice
said, "Why do you fly? I am Alpheus, the god of this
stream!" That made her run the faster. The god
followed her, and she prayed to Artemis, who changed
her into a river which sank into the
ground and came out again far away in Sicily.