Greek Mythology Part 1
Zeus and His Great Company
A long time ago, when the world was much younger than it is now, people told and believed a great many wonderful stories about wonderful things. They often talked about a great being called Zeus, who was king of the sky and the earth; and they said that he sat most of the time between the clouds on the top of a very high mountain where he could look down and see everything that was going on, on the earth below. He liked to ride on the storm-clouds and shoot burning thunderbolts right and left among the trees and rocks; and he was so very, very strong that when he nodded, the earth shook, the mountains wobbled and smoked, the sky became black, and the sun disappeared.
Zeus had two brothers. One of them was called Neptune and he was the king of the sea. He had a shiny, golden palace far down deep in the sea-caves where the fishes live; and whenever he was angry the waves would rise mountain high, and the storm-winds would blow terribly, and the sea would try to break over the land; and men called him the Shaker of the Earth.
The other brother was a sad pale-faced being. His kingdom was below the earth, where the sun never came and there was darkness and sadness and crying all the time. His name was Pluto, and his country was called the Lower World, or the Land of Shadows, or Hades. Men said that whenever any one died, Pluto would send his messenger, or Shadow Leader, to carry that one down into his dark kingdom; and for that reason they never said anything good about him, and saw him as the enemy of life.
Many other potent beings lived with Zeus between the clouds on the mountain top, so many that I can name only a couple. There was Venus, the queen of love and beauty, who was more beautiful than any woman that you or I have ever seen. There was Athena, the queen of the air, who gave people wisdom and taught them how to do very many useful things. There was Juno, the queen of earth and sky, who sat at the right hand of Zeus and gave him all kinds of advice. There was Mars, the great warrior, who loved to fight. There was Mercury, the fast messenger, who had wings, and flew from place to place like the summer clouds. There was Vulcan, a skillful blacksmith, who made many wonderful things of iron and copper and gold. And except these, there were many others that you will learn about later.
They lived in shiny, golden castles, high up between the clouds-so high indeed that nobody on earth could see them. But they could look down and see what men were doing, and often, many said, they would leave their homes and walk unknown across earth or over the sea.
But from all these great beings, Zeus was without a doubt the greatest.