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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.
Start of Story
Long ago in Greece there lived a young man named Bellerophon.
Bellerophon was brave; he was handsome; he was kind-hearted.
Nearly everyone loved Bellerophon; but there was one man who did not
like him. This was the King of the country in which Bellerophon lived.
The King was jealous. He saw how everyone, rich and poor, high and
low, loved Bellerophon. He feared that they might want to have
Bellerophon for their King. So he thought, "I must send this young man
He wrote letters to his wife's father, the King of Lycia. These
letters he sent by Bellerophon.
The King of Lycia welcomed Bellerophon to his court. For nine days
there was feasting, and Bellerophon won everyone's heart by his wit
On the tenth day he gave his letters to the King. The King opened them
and read. Then his face changed. He went into the next room and bowed
his head upon his hands. He was greatly troubled. His son-in-law had
asked that Bellerophon should be killed.
"But he has just eaten my bread," said the King of Lycia. "He is my
guest. I cannot kill him." He thought for some time and then spoke
again: "I will not kill him myself. I will send him to fight the
Now the Chimæra was a terrible monster that roamed the fields of
Lycia. It had the body of a lion and it had three heads. These heads
were those of a lion, a goat, and a dragon. With its fiery breath the
Chimæra burned up everything that came near it.
Bellerophon was troubled when he heard the orders of the King of
Lycia. He went to ask the advice of the wisest man of that country.
The wise man said: "Bellerophon, if you can ride Pegasus, you will
kill the Chimæra easily."
"What is Pegasus?" said Bellerophon.
"Pegasus is a winged horse. His home is on Mount Olympus. But no one
has tamed him except Athene, the goddess of wisdom. I should ask her
Bellerophon prayed in the temple of Athene and then fell asleep. He
dreamed that Athene herself stood by him. He saw her grey eyes, her
golden hair, and her glistening armour. He thought she put a golden
bridle into his hand.
When he awoke, he found it was no dream, for he held a golden bridle.
He hastened at once to a certain spring where Pegasus often came to
drink. There stood the spirited steed. Bellerophon drew near. Pegasus
spread his strong wings and was just about to fly when Bellerophon
held out the bridle. Then the noble horse bent his head and walked up
to the young man. He knew that the golden bridle came from his
Bellerophon slipped the bridle upon Pegasus and they soared high into
the air. Pegasus was as swift as an eagle.
The next day Bellerophon fought with the ugly Chimæra. With the help
of Pegasus he easily slew the monster.
Then the King of Lycia gave him other hard tasks. But he did them all
easily, with the help of his winged horse. At last the King gave
Bellerophon his daughter as a wife.
And now, just when he was happiest, trouble came to Bellerophon. He
grew proud and vain. He thought that with his winged horse, he could
One day he said, "I should like to visit the gods on Mount Olympus. I
can reach their home easily. I should like to see Jupiter and Mars
face to face."
He mounted Pegasus and turned his head toward the highest heaven.
"This is too great daring," said Jupiter; "Bellerophon must be
Jupiter sent a gadfly to sting Pegasus. The noble horse reared. He
thought his master had struck him and was furious with pain and anger.
Bellerophon lost his seat and fell to the earth.
All the rest of his days he went about a blind and lame old man.
Thus the gods punished his too great daring.