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VALE, DENISE - STORIES OF THE STARS 1971 G. Bell & Sons. 

 

A book about the Greek mythology behind the story of four of the great constellations, simply told with beautiful blue on white illustrations by the author. A few of the stories seem a little sanitized, not being half as violent as they ought to be, but their power and majesty still shines through. The Tale Of The Great And Little Bear (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor) is about a woman called Calisto, and her son. This is not the Calisto we meet in Xena Warrior Princess, but a great hunter, who teachers her son how to hunt too. When Calisto gives offence to the gods of Olympus, they turn her into a bear. Her son, out hunting, sees the bear and he is about to shoot it with a bow and arrow, oblivious that she is his mother coming to hug him. The gods take pity on them, and turn the son into a bear too, later elevating them to the heavens forever. Orionís story is that of a womanising giant. He ditches girls and Goddesses each time he finds a fresh female conquest. This eventually gives offence to Diane, Goddess of Hunting, who kills Orion with a poisonous scorpion. Late, she laments his death and puts his soul among the stars, alongside the scorpion, and his own hunting dog, Sirius to commemorate the events eternally. The story of the non identical twins Castor & Pollox is a complex one, which sweeps over a great deal of general mythology. One twin is mortal, the other a god, due to complications in there mixed parentage (best not to ask). They have many adventures, taking part in the Trojan War, and the Wooden Horse events. They sailed with Jason and his Argonauts. Their doom came when they eloped with the brides of Lyceas & Idas, who kill the mortal Pollox in revenge. Castor wants to die too, but being a God, he cannot die. Eventually the gods heard his lament and made him mortal so that he could unite with Pollox in the skies. The story of Pegasus, the winged horse is next. Rose as a thing of beauty from the blood of the Gorgon slain by Perseus, Pegasus, and the flying horse took its master on many adventures. Pegasus helped Perseus kill the serpent monster that had threatened to destroy Ethiopia. Andromeda was willing to kill herself to save the great country, but Pegasus flew Perseus close enough to it to show the serpent Medusaís severed head. The monster was instantly turned to stone.Pegasus now went into the employment of Jupiter (Zeus for some reason gaining his Roman, rather than his Greek name). He then helped Belerathon kill the Chimera, a fire-breathing monster, by dropping lead lumps into its jaws. The monsterís fire melts the lead, which chokes and poisons it. Belerathon was reluctant to give Pegasus back to the gods, so they made the horse throw him from its back in mid air. Belerathon fell to his doom, while Pegasus went into the heavens, never again to be entrusted to mortals. 

 

Arthur Chappell

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