The Queen of Crete

This is the Mythological story of Europa 

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Calm waves gently washed over the sandy beach of Tyre on that warm summer morning a very long time ago in ancient Greek Mythology. The cool water was soothing to the feet of Princess Europa and her three girl friends as they played in the glistening sea water. She and her friends had gathered handfuls of beautiful flowers in the fields near the seashore where her father, the Phoenician king of Tyre, kept cattle that grazed among the sweet clover. All of the brown bovine were very tame and Europa had given all of them names. 

The girls took the daisies and buttercups they picked and adorned their long hair with them and also weaved them into chains. All of the girls were beautiful but Europa was the absolute epitome of feminine beauty, from her long flowing hair to her tall slender body down to her toes. Her pale white face seemed to glow, highlighting her high cheekbones and subtle dimples. She was wearing a simple but lovely purple flowing tunic that nicely showed off her amble bosom while hiking it up much farther than a Phoenician Princess should as she splashed along the shoreline. 

The image of such exquisiteness certainly caught the eyes of many men desiring to be with her. The herdsman laying in the shade under a large tree was always happy to watch from afar while trying to make music on a flute made of straw. However on this day she also caught the eye of Zeus, the King of the Gods. Zeus was so captivated by her playful innocence and virgin beauty that he instantly fell in love with the mortal. His desire to possess her was so overpowering that he immediately devised a plan to abduct her and ravish her. 

As the girls were giggling and frolicking through the salty water they felt a quick cool breeze instantly giving them all goose bumps. They looked to the sky to reveal no signs of adverse weather and continued their fun, jumping, splashing, and playfully pushing each other into the water. Suddenly Europa’s three friends gasped and their eyes widened as they gazed behind her, now pointing. As Europa quickly turned around her heart jumped and she became paralyzed with fear. Appearing amongst the herd of the cows she knew so well was a magnificent snow-white bull with gem-like horns that glistened in the rising sunlight. The huge bull gently walked towards the sea shore seemingly unaware or unconcerned by the presence of the four beauties. 

“Europa… let us take leave of this place. We know not of this Bull!” one of her friends whispered in a shaky voice. But Europa didn’t move. The bull gently turned his head as if looking directly at her, with soft brown eyes that made him look very gentle and kind and it almost seemed as if he had a hint of a smile. Europa was taken aback by this. 

“Europa, what art thou doing, let’s take leave!” another one of her friends blurted out. They looked for the herdsman but he was asleep under his tree and they were afraid to yell. 

“Wait. Tis a curious feeling I have about this wonderful creature,” she replied never taking her eyes off the magnificent animal. 

The great bull walked gently over to where Europa was standing and lowered its head. The appearance and movements of the bull were so gentle and surreal that she was instantly drawn to it. She gently reached out and touched his head then quickly pulled back, then reached out again and began to softly stroke his head as her fear began to subside. 

“Good-Morning!” she said in a soft voice. The bull’s head looked up slightly, meeting her eyes and he gently blinked a few times in succession as if saying good morning back. 

Her friends were still not very comfortable being that close to such an unknown and strange bull. One of them exclaimed, “What art thou doing Europa! Don’t touch that beast!” 

She paid no attention to their pleas as she stroked his head and neck and the bull seemed very pleased. She demanded the rest of the flowery wreaths and gently placed one around the bull’s neck. The majestic bull gently turned in a circle and proceeded to kneel down on the beach by Europa’s sand covered feet. 

Europa then fashioned a long wreath of daisies then climbed on the bull’s back to twine them around his glistening horns. 

“EUROPA!” screamed her friends, “dismount that beast!” This awoke the herdsman who was surprised at the sight of the white bull which he had never seen before. In fact he had never seen such a pure white bull in all of his days. 

Suddenly the bull sprang up and Europa grasped the horns to avoid falling off. The girls and the herdsman couldn’t believe what they were witnessing when instantly the large bull took off running so swiftly that Europa could not help herself but to hold on tightly. She did not dare jump off while he was going so fast. She just held on and started screaming very loud. 

The herdsman jumped up and ran towards the seashore to cut off the racing bull, running as fast as he could. The bull continued running with her along the beach while her friends cried in horror. As the herdsman approached the charging bull it leaped into the sea and swam swiftly away with Europa screaming on its back, her tunic fluttering in the wind like a sail. Dolphins followed alongside leaping out of the water all in a row. 

The bull continued to swim at breakneck speed until sunset when they reached a very large island. The bull fought its way through the surf and climbed up onto the beach and collapsed from exhaustion. 

Europa slid off the side of the bull onto the foreign beach then stumbled dizzily to her feet. She gazed around in awe at the beauty of the place she had been taken. The landscape, the trees, the plants and flowers were all unfamiliar. She had never been beyond the confines of Phoenicia and in fact never even knew there was anything beyond the confines of Phoenicia. Although the sights of this new land were amazing she was filled with bewilderment and fear as to why this bull has taken her to this place. 

Europa gazed back at the huge bull, its chest heaving up and down from heavy breathing. The bull turned its head to look at Europa and then staggered to its feet. The magnificent bull’s white fur started to turn even whiter, and whiter, until it was actually glowing a bright white. The glow became so brilliant that Europa had to shield her eyes and look away. She felt the same cool breeze she had felt on her own beach just before the appearance of the bull. When the brilliant glow subsided she returned her gaze to the bull, but the bull was no longer there. 

Standing in the place of the bull was a large hulking man dressed in a white toga. His chest, arms, and legs were bulging with muscles. He was very tall with snow white hair including a full long beard. However Europa knew this was no ordinary man, she knew this must in fact be a God. Her heart felt as if it was going to beat out of her chest as the God-man approached her. 

“Be of good cheer, sweet virgin Europa, and never thou fear the clouds,” the God said in a deep commanding voice. “Tis Zeus himself, king of the gods that is speaking. Though upon initial sight I seemed a bull; for I can put on whatever likeness so I wish. It tis the love of thee that hath brought me to make so far a sea-course in a bull’s likeness and deliver you here to Crete to be my Queen. You shall spring famous children who shall all be kings.” 

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And thus is the Greek mythological story of the abduction of Europa by Zeus. He wed her (one of Zeus’ many wives) and she later became the mother of Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. 

It is said that the continent of Europe was named after her, and of course, so was the sixth moon of Jupiter.

Written by Brian P. Kayser
Copyright (c) 2012
All right reserved