Riding the wave


Phaethon, according to the best known version of the myth, was the son of the Sun and of the Oceanid Clymene, but had been kept in the dark as to his orings by his mother. When he became an adult Clymene eventually informed him, and he asked, as proof of his noble birth, that his father let him drive his chariot. The Sun complied with a thousand recommendations, and Phaeton began to follow the Sun's usual route on the sky. Soon, however, he got frightened at the sight of the animals of the Zodiac, and left the Sun's established course: he descended to an altitude so low, that he risked to set fire to the ground, or climbed too high, thus provoking the protests of the stars. Jupiter, to avoid further danger, piercied him with a lightning, and Phaethon fell into the river Eridanus, by most authors identified with the Po, by others with the Rhone. His sisters the Heliades rendered him funeral honors and wept so much they that were turned into poplars.

constellation Eridanus