Erysichthon, Grecian Myth of Vengeance

Hi, blogging world.  I’m a friend of Thalassa.  I’ve got some pretty nifty things to say from time to time, and she’s asked me to contribute to her blog.  Isn’t that nice of her?  If you interested in more of me, you can find me over at  where I keep a 365 photoblog project.  It’s pretty neat stuff.  Come check it out.

Back when I was in highschool, I wrote poems like it was my only lifeline in this world.  Even though I knew I was going to grow up to be a scientist (which I did), my true passion was, and has always been creativity.  So, in light of that, I give you this gift.  I wrote a poem in 2004 (good gods, nine years ago) about Erysichthon.  He was the king of Thessaly, and he ordered all the sacred trees of Demeter to be cut down.  In the process, though, he killed a dryad, and Demeter cursed him.  But don’t let me tell it to you straight.  Let me win your hearts with a tale…

Erysichthon – Grecian Myth of Vengeance

Destroyer of a sacred grove
Erysichthon – King of Thessaly
In his ignorance did a deed that made Demeter move
To punish him wholeheartedly.

Erysichthon in his pride and edacity
Sought to grant himself an oak-wood dwelling
Chose he a tree with large capacity
And propelled his axe to swinging.

Upon first strike, the oak began to bleed
But Erysichthon paid no mind
Another strike his axe did feed
Striking the tree from behind.

As blood surged out, in detrimental amounts
The tree turned a sickly gray
A wail arose, from timorous paramount
And the dryad screamed from where she lay.

Her voice was heartbreakingly beautiful as she pleaded
Dissimilar to any mere earthly tones
That this tree is the one she needed
To continue living – O’ horrible moans!

But Erysichthon disregarded her pitied pleas
And strove to strike again
When his wisest councilor approached him, to remind him of deities
Most vengeful against foul men.

“Unto this forest you’ve done damage
More than we can bear
I implore of you, will you manage
To save a dryad in Demeter’s care?”

To this Erysichthon retorted:
“I need not your advice, old man
Demeter instills no fear into me.”  – He gloated
Oblivious to Demeter’s fury spreading across the land.

Suddenly, the great oak heaved a sigh
Branches shivered
And the dryad died
With a final cry, all she uttered.

Demeter – outraged at such abhorred devastation
Sought to punish Erysichthon for the rest of his days
And she sent her favoured dryads to summon Starvation
The Goddess of eternal Hunger to make Erysichthon pay.

With wild speed she flew to Thessaly
Bony, haggard, tousle-haired Hunger
Imported by a whirlwind presently
She approached the Palace of the Monster.

Unto his face, she breathed poison breath
And sheathed his body in her wings
Unaware of his prolonged death
Hunger afflicted this king.

Into the silence the Goddess crept back
As Erysichthon awoke with a scream
Starvation scoured his entrails black
And he bellowed to muster all the food his servants could dream.

Without pausing, he did devour all food
That his hands were lain upon
And in the most foulest of moods
His own daughter he sold – Begone.

Mestra, his daughter – sold into slavery
Beckoned Poseidon to her side
“I beg of you, grant me shape-shifting, to battle my father’s knavery
And your wishes I shall ever abide.”

Touched by the words of a girl he once loved
And stirred by her thoughtful entreaty
Poseidon bestowed a gift upon her – he was moved
Because she was ever the needy.

A bird, a horse, a heifer fair
Did she morph into being
But each time her heart took to care
Erysichthon sold her for feeding.

Finally, overcome by wretched famine
Erysichthon gnawed at his own bone
Grinding his teeth into succulent flesh of a human
Blood curdling from his wounds, he died – gone.

Never again has man irked Demeter so
For lessons once learned, are not to be forgotten
When killing a tree, it’s not to Olympia you go
But to the underworld, after your flesh has rotten.


About kateeleigh

I'm not the greatest at this whole social media thing. I like face-to-face interactions. Phone calls, texts, random cups of tea. I work in some of Canada's most remote places, and I'm having a (not-so) secret love affair with my camera, who goes everywhere with me. When I'm not running away to the great outdoors, I like to read, play video games, and find the myriad ways I can annoy my cat. I'm the author and photographer at and I'm a contributor to Thalassa's Pagan Devotionals over at Welcome to my world. Won't you sit down with a cup of tea and stay a while? View all posts by kateeleigh

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