The Mythological Pluto

Pluto was the Roman god of the dead, whom the Greeks called Hades. He was the son of Saturn, and brother of Jupiter and Neptune. When the three brothers overthrew their father and divided up the world among themselves, Jupiter chose the earth and heavens, Neptune took the sea, and Pluto became ruler of the dark underworld.

Pluto fell in love with Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, and wished to marry her. Demeter, however, would not give her consent, and Pluto resorted to seizing Persephone while she gathered flowers, and carried her off to his kingdom, where she was treated well and given the treasures of the earth. Demeter was disconsolate, and set about searching the earth for her daughter.

Finally, Zeus sent Hermes, messenger of the gods, to persuade Pluto to return Persephone. Knowing how homesick she was, Pluto consented, but asked her to come back to him in due season. At this point he cheated by slipping into her mouth a pomegranate seed, the food of the dead, whose magical powers compelled her to descend to the underworld each autumn to be with her husband through the dark winter days. Returning again to the earth each spring, Persephone thus personified the revival of nature.

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