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Phaethon was the son of Helios and Klymeme. In Greek mythology, he begged his father to allow him to drive the chariot of the sun. At first Helios said "no," because Phaethon was too young and inexperienced. However, in time Helios gave into his son's constant badgering.
When Phaethon took the reigns of the immortal steeds, he could not control the sun-chariot. Two things happened. First, part of the earth was scorched with fire - the plains of Africa. Second, Zeus, who saw what was happening, was shocked and had to do something. So he sent a thunderbolt and struck the boy, killing him.
After his death Phaethon was placed among the stars as a constellation.
This story has many meanings when it comes to the relationship between fathers and sons. First, often times children want to grow up too fast. They think they can do more than they are ready to handle. This can cause dangers. Second, fathers often give into their children against their better judgment either because they cannot put up with all the badgering, or because they know that their children need to take risks in order to grow. Sometimes things work out. Other times things end disastrously.
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