From Chapter TRIUMPHS OF THE GODS, Io and Europa
Suddenly the girls looked up and saw a herd of bulls coming toward them. "Oh, look!" cried Europa to her friends. "Have you ever seen a bull as magnificent as that one? What a rich chestnut color he is! And he has a silver circle on his brow!"
The bull, who was Zeus of course, ambled toward Europa and mooed softly. "How gentle he is!" Europa said, stroking him. Then the bull lay down at her feet, as if inviting her to climb onto his back.
Europa did so without fear. But before her friends could join her, the bull leaped up, dashed toward the ocean, and then flew over it, far out to sea. Clinging to the bull''s horns, Europa looked down and saw a procession of sea gods riding on dolphins, led by Poseidon.
Europa cried out to the bull, "You, too, must be a god. And if you are, take pity on me. Do not carry me off to some strange land far from all my friends."
And the bull answered, "I am Zeus, lord of the sky, but do not be afraid, for I love you. I am carrying you to my own special island, Crete, where I was born. There I shall show myself to you as a god, and you shall bear me sons who one day will be famous and revered."
And so it happened. Europa became the mother of a great king, Minos, and also of Rhadamanthus, both judges of the dead. And Europa, after whom the continent of Europe is named, became even more famous than her sons.
Copyright © 1985 by Macmillan Publishing Company