HERMES Maia was a nymph in the train of Diana. She was the most beautiful of the nymphs, a
Maia was a nymph in the train of Diana. She was the most beautiful of
the nymphs, and so fell to Zeus' affections. Hiding from the jealous
eyes of Hera, Zeus made Maia his wife and bore her a home in a cave on
the slopes of Mount Cyllene. It was in this cave that the Son of Zeus
and Maia was born. They gave him the name of Hermes.
Hermes being the child of a god, was different form mortal children.
And so, when he was only a few hours old, the restlessness of his
nature took hold. Leaving the cave and his sleeping mother, Hermes
wandered outside and soon came upon the broad green meadow where
Apollo kept his great herd of cattle. Being a prankster at heart,
Hermes decided to play a trick on Apollo. He drove off fifty herd of
cattle, taking care first, to tie bundles of leaves around their
hoofs, so that they would leave no tracks. He hid the cattle in a
cave, but before he was done, he killed two and ate them.
On his way home, Hermes came upon a tortoise, making it's slow way on
the rocks. An idea struck him. He killed the creature, and hollowed
out the shell. Over this he drew some strings and created a lyre.
Apollo was greatly angered by the loss of his cattle, and using his
divine power of vision, discovered that it was the babe Hermes who had
committed the crime. Greatly angered, Apollo transported himself the
cave on Cyllene and demanded that Hermes restore his cattle. Maia,
Hermes' mother bowed before the Great God and insisted that Hermes was
but a babe, scarce a day old and thus could not possibly be
responsible for the loss of his cattle. However, Apollo knew more
about Hermes than his mother did, and so, grabbing the babe, he bore
Him to Mount Olympus and presented Hermes to his Father, so that he
may judge between them.
Zeus looked at his Son, and demanded that He speak the Truth, and
Hermes, quite without shame confessed to the prank. Then the Baby-God
and The Great Apollo journeyed to where cattle were hidden, and Hermes
Counting His cattle, Apollo discovered two were short. He was about to
approach Hermes with this, when He saw the babe playing a beautiful
instrument and making the most entrancing sounds. Being the God of
Music, Apollo was deeply interested. He asked the Babe Hermes to show
him this wonderful instrument. To the music-loving Apollo, this
instrument was more precious than all the treasures of Olympus. Apollo
demanded to have the instrument, offering in exchange to forget about
the two cattle that were missing.
Although he was delighted at his success, Hermes pushed for more,
saying that his lyre was a bad exchange for a supper. So Apollo
offered Hermes his Caduceus as well. The Caduceus had the power to
reconcile any two men, beasts or elements that were in conflict.
Wanting to try out his new Wand, Hermes thrust the stick at two
serpents that were hissing fiercely at one another. The serpents
instantly forgot their quarrel and entwined themselves around the
Wand. From that day on the Caduceus always bore two intertwined
And so peace was made between Hermes and Apollo and Zeus was pleased.
Because of Hermes agile figure and alertness of mind, Zeus decided to
make him the messenger of the Gods. He gave to Hermes a pair of
golden-winged sandals with which he could speed the Gods messages to
man. The other Gods gave Hermes a broad-brimmed, winged hat, which
made his face look brighter and more charming than ever.
The Homestead BBS
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank