Persephone

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Persephone restored to the arms of her affectionate mother.

Persephone was the daughter of the Greek goddess Demeter. One day, while carelessly wandering away from her parent in the deplorable manner of young girls, she was seen and ravished away to Hell by Hades, God of the Underworld. There she became his wife and queen and was treated with great honour and respect, yet still she pined to be returned to her mother. Showing that iron perseverance in gaining her own way that is so common a trait in maidens of her age, Persephone stubbornly refused all food; for the soul who touches food in Another Place is doomed to stay there forever. No delicacy her impassioned captor could offer would tempt her, or, at least, none until at last he tricked her into eating some few seeds of a pomegranate.

Her mother Demeter, meanwhile, had unceasingly been petitioning the gods to have her daughter restored to her - and since Demeter could prevent the growth of all vegetation on earth, she was in a good position to carry her point. Crops failed; Famine stalked the earth; Mankind starved, and all sacrifices ceased, until at length the angry gods ordered Hades to let his wife return to her mother's embrace. He did so - but stipulated that since she had eaten some of the pomegranate, she must dwell with him for as many months as she had eaten seeds. The force of this argument is not readily apparent to human understanding, but the gods judged this only fair; and so for part of the year Persephone stays with her mother, and for part she stays with her husband - and during those months her mother so grieves that the earth again loses its fruitfulness, and we face autumn and winter...

It seems Persephone retains her weakness for the pomegranate, for the gentleman with the thistle-down hair offers Stephen Black pomegranates "from Persephone's own orchard"[42].