One of the Titans, Typhoeus, long imprisoned for his part in the rebellion against Jupiter, lies in agony beneath Mount Aetna on the island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. When Typhoeus groans and stirs, he shakes the sea and the island of Sicily so much that the god of the underworld, Hades, becomes frightened lest his kingdom be revealed to the light of day.
Rising to the upper world to make entrance to his kingdom, Hades is discovered by Venus, who orders her son Cupid to aim one of his love darts into the breast of Hades and so cause him to fall in love with Proserpine, daughter of Ceres, goddess of fertility. Proserpine went with her companions to gather flowers by the banks of a stream in the beautiful vale of Enna. There Hades, stricken by Cupid’s dart, sees Proserpine, seizes her, and lashes his fiery horses to greater speed as he carries her away. In her fright the girl drops her apron, full of flowers she gathered. At the River Cyane, Hades strikes the earth with his scepter, causing a passageway to appear through which he drives his chariot and takes his captive to the underworld.
Ceres searches for her daughter everywhere. At last, sad and tired, she sits down to rest. A peasant and his daughter find her in her disguise as an old woman; they take pity on her and urge her to go with them to their rude home. When the three arrive at the house, they find that the peasant’s only son, Triptolemus, is dying. Ceres first gathers some poppies. Then, kissing the child, she restores him to health. The happy family bids her to join them in their simple meal of honey, cream, apples, and curds. Ceres puts some of the poppy juice in the boy’s milk. That night when he is sleeping, she places the child in the fire. The mother, awakening, seizes her child from the flames. Ceres assumes her proper form and tells the parents that it...
(The entire section is 760 words.)