Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Story of Winter

By Marcus Pan

Many stories abound as to the explanation of the coldest of seasons…Winter. My favorite is from the Romans. I relate it to you now, from my memory, as I have heard it as a child.

The Rape of Proserpine

Many long years ago this was a land of eternal spring. One beautiful day Pluto of the underworld was traveling throughout the world in his onyx chariot drawn by his four, wild, black mares. Venus spied him and besought her son, Cupid, to pierce him with his arrows. The boy did just that, loosing one swiftly to his heart.

Meanwhile young Proserpine, daughter of Ceres, was frolicking amongst her friends in the lovely vale of Enna. There mighty Pluto laid his eyes upon the beautiful maiden and, pierced with the shafts of love, fell uncontrollably in love with her. He raced down upon her and snatched her from the ground. Then he flew off with her down into the dark and gloomy depths of the Underworld.

Ceres, the goddess of nature, sought after her daughter in all corners of the world. Saddened and busy with the search she neglected her beloved Earth and let her become barren and without fertility. Long and hard she searched and all for naught. It was not until she came upon the fountain Arethuse till she learned the fate and whereabouts of her beloved daughter. Upon hearing of her daughter's seat beside the dark-skinned Pluto, she hurried off to Mount Olympus to the feet of Jupiter, king of all dieties, and asked for her daughter's release. Jupiter agreed on one condition. And the condition was the Proserpine was not to have partaken of any food whilst in the underworld. Jupiter sent Mercury, flee-footed messenger of the gods, to look after this matter. But, alas, Proserpine had eaten of a few pomegranates while in Pluto's realm.

Jupiter looked down upon his kingdom of Earth and saw it lieing barren and dead. Not a flower bloomed and not a tree flourished. Ceres refused to yield a twig unless her beloved Proserpine was returned to her. A compromise needed to be fabricated and so it was. Six months out of the year, Proserpine frolics once again in Enna. The other six months of the year she spends as Queen of the Underworld.

While with the living, Ceres is overjoyed once again and lets the Earth bloom in full splendour. But upon dear Proserpine's leave to the underworld, Ceres' sadness shows upon the face of the Earth as she once again lets the lands grow barren whilst she awaits the return of her fair Proserpine.

The above item may have been edited by the author since its first appearance in Legends No. 2.