Ganymede was a strikingly good-looking Trojan boy who tended flocks on Mt. Ida. One day Zeus took
the form of an eagle, swooped down, picked the hot1 tip in his talons, and flew him off to heaven to be cupbearer
for the gods.
ZEUS. We'll, Ganymede, now that weve reached our destination, gives me a kiss. I want you to see
I no longer have a curved beak, claws, and wings the way I did when you thought I was a bird.
You're a man! But weren't you a bird a little while ago? Didn't you swoop down
and snatch me from the middle of my flock? How did those wings fall off you? How were you able to change your appearance just
ZEUS. My boy, what you're looking at is neither man nor eagle. I'm king of the gods, thats who I am,
and I change into whatever shape the occasion calls for.
What? Oh, then you must be Pan.1 But how come you don't have a pipe,
horns, and shaggy legs?
ZEUS. Is he the only god you think there is?
Yes. We sacrifice a goat to him. We bring it to the cave where his statue is.
You are god? You look like a kidnaper to me.
ZEUS. Tell me, havent you ever heard the name Zeus? Haven't you seen his altar on Cargara?2 The god of thunder, lightning, and rain?
Oh, sir, you mean youre the one who poured all the hail on us the other clay?
The one they say lives in heaven and makes all that noise? The one my father sacrificed the ram to? Oh, King of the
Gods, why did you carry me off? What did I do wrong? Now my sheep are all alone and the wolves will probably come down on
them and ruin the flock.
ZEUS. You're immortal now. Youre going to live with us. What are you still worrying about your sheep for?
Whats that you say? You mean youre not going to take me back to Mt. Ida today?
ZEUS. I should say not. And waste all the effort it took to turn myself from a god into an eagle?
But my father will be looking for me and hell get angry if he doesnt find me.
And afterward hell give me a whipping for leaving the flock.
ZEUS. Where's he going to find you?
No, no, I want to go home to my father right now. If you take me back, I promise
hell pay you for it. He'll sacrifice another ram. We have a three-year-old, the big one that leads the flock to pasture.
ZEUS. How simple and ingenuous this boy is! When you come right down to it, he's still just a child.
Ganymede, put all that out of your mind. Forget about your flock, Mt. Ida, and the rest. Why, youre in heaven now, and from
here youll be able to do a world of good for your father and your fatherland. And instead of cheese and milk you'll eat ambrosia
and drink nectar. Whats more, you'll even pour the nectar and serve it to the rest of us. Best of all, you won't be mortal
any longer; youll be immortal, and I'll make your star shine the brightest in the heavens. Oh, you'll be perfectly happy.
But if I want to play, who'll play with me? There were lots of boys my age on
ZEUS. You'll have a playmate here, tooEros over there. And we have plenty of checkers for you. So cheer
up, lets have a smile, and no more sighs for what you left down there.
But what use can I be to you? Do you need shepherds here too?
ZEUS. No, but you can pour for us. You can he in charge of the nectar and serve when were having drinks.
Thats not hard. I know how to pour milk and hand the mug around.
ZEUS. Listen to that! He's back to milk again! He thinks its mortals hes going to serve. Ganymede,
this is heaven. I told you we drink nectar here.
Is nectar sweeter than milk?
ZEUS. You'll see for yourself in a little while. Once youve tasted it you'll never want milk again.
Where will I sleep at night? With my playmate Eros?
ZEUS. No. I brought you here so we could sleep together.
GANYMEDE. Can't you sleep alone? You mean its nicer for you to sleep
ZEUS. With someone as beautiful as you are, Ganymede? Oh yes.
How can my being beautiful help your sleeping?
ZEUS. Your looks have a lovely magic; they'll make my sleep all the sweeter.
GANYMEDE. But my father used to get angry at me when I slept
with him. When dawn came he used to say that, with my twisting and turning and kicking and talking in my sleep, I didn't
let him close his eyes for a minute. So he used to send me to bed with my
mother most of the time. If that's the reason you carried me off, youd better take me right back to earth or youll
be in trouble. I'll get on your nerves, too, with all my twisting and turning. You'll be lying awake all night.
ZEUS. If I can lie awake with you, kissing you and holding
you in my arms, thats the nicest thing you can do for me.
You'd know about that. But I'll be asleep, even while you're kissing me.
ZEUS. Well see to what has to be done when the time comes. Hermes!
Take this boy and give him a drink of the immortal nectar. Then teach him how to serve drinks and bring him to wait on us