“Is there anything that you wish?” he asked. “Tell me, and you shall have whatever you desire.”
“We should like, above all things,” said Deucalion, “to see this land full of people once more; for without neighbors and friends, the world is a very lonely place indeed.”
“Go on down the mountain,” said Mercury, “and as you go, cast the bones of your mother over your shoulders behind you;” and, with these words, he leaped into the air and was seen no more.
“What did he mean?” asked Pyrrha.
“Surely I do not know,” said Deucalion. “But let us think a moment. Who is our mother, if it is not the Earth, from whom all living things have sprung? And yet what could he mean by the bones of our mother?”
[Illustration: “As they walked they picked up the loose stones in their way.”]
“Perhaps he meant the stones of the earth,” said Pyrrha. “Let us go on down the mountain, and as we go, let us pick up the stones in our path and throw them over our shoulders behind us.”
“It is rather a silly thing to do,” said Deucalion; “and yet there can be no harm in it, and we shall see what will happen.”
And so they walked on, down the steep slope of Mount Parnassus, and as they walked they picked up the loose stones in their way and cast them over their shoulders; and strange to say, the stones which Deucalion threw sprang up as full-grown men, strong, and handsome, and brave; and the stones which Pyrrha threw sprang up as full-grown women, lovely and fair. When at last they reached the plain they found themselves at the head of a noble company of human beings, all eager to serve them.
So Deucalion became their king, and he set them in homes, and taught them how to till the ground, and how to do many useful things; and the land was filled with people who were happier and far better than those who had dwelt there before the flood. And they named the country Hellas, after Hellen, the son of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and the people are to this day called Hellenes.
But we call the country Greece.
THE STORY OF IO.
In the town of Argos there lived a maiden named Io. She was so fair and good that all who knew her loved her, and said that there was no one like her in the whole world. When Jupiter, in his home in the clouds, heard of her, he came down to Argos to see her. She pleased him so much, and was so kind and wise, that he came back the next day and the next and the next; and by and by he stayed in Argos all the time so that he might be near her. She did not know who he was, but thought that he was a prince from some far-off land; for he came in the guise of a young man, and did not look like the great king of earth and sky that he was.
But Juno, the queen who lived with Jupiter and shared his throne in the midst of the clouds, did not love Io at all. When she heard why Jupiter stayed from home so long, she made up her mind to do the fair girl all the harm that she could; and one day she went down to Argos to try what could be done.